15+ Things To Do In South Shields

Disclosure - I have worked with some of the attractions mentioned in this post in the past but nobody has asked/paid to be included in this round-up. 

We absolutely love South Shields. It is around a 25 minute drive from our home in Northumberland and as we drive through the tunnel, it always feels like a proper day out.
15+ Things To Do In South Shields - dodgems at ocean beach

I still remember my first visit to South Shields - it was a day trip organised by our local Sure Start Centre (RIP) when the kids were under 5. I took my mam and we had such a good day out - I could not believe all of this traditional fun was right here on our doorstep.

These days, we tend to head to South Shields if we are looking for a cheap day out (there are lots of free/low-cost activities there) or if we fancy a trip to the fair.  Here are my top reasons to visit:

1 - Ocean Beach Pleasure Beach 

15+ Things To Do In South Shields - dodgems at ocean beach

We love visiting Ocean Beach Pleasure Beach - there seems to be a really good mix of fairground rides for little ones and thrillseekers alike.

Rides are paid for by tokens which you can pre-book online for the best deal or buy on arrival from the kiosks. This is ideal if you fancy 1 or 2 rides or if like us, you bulk buy tickets to get the best deal and use them throughout the year. Unlimited wristbands and £1 Friday nights are also available. Find out more here. 

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - swings at Ocean Beach

2 - Laser Force & Amusements 

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - laser force

You will find Laser Force inside of Quaser Amusements at Ocean Beach Pleasure Park. It is SO much fun and I would definitely recommend for the whole family (ages 6+).

You have 10 minutes to battle it out against each other / as a team and gain the most points in the labyrinth. Games start at around £3 and can be pre-booked or booked on arrival. Find out more here. 

Ocean Beach is also home to a couple of amusement arcades which are brill for spending your pocket money on a rainy day.

3  - Dunes Adventure Island 

15+ Things To Do In South Shields - Soft play at the dunes
Credit - The Dunes 

The Dunes is joined onto Ocean Beach Pleasure Park and the place to be if you are looking for good value (and something indoors). They run loads of offers across the year including ten pin bowling deals, food offers, soft play, arcades, kids parties and more. Find out more here. 

4 - The Word

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - Books at The Word

The Word is the National Centre for the Written Word and completely free to visit. Located by the ferry port next to the Customs House, it is a nice indoor place to spend 30 minutes - 1 hour with kids.

They have ever-changing interactive exhibitions including Investigating Detectives which begins on 28 March and runs until 3 Jan 2021. This exhibition focuses on famous detectives through the years from Sherlock to Inspector Gadget.

You will also find lots of books to read, interactive games, a cafe, gift shop, drawing areas, Fab Lab, a full programme of events and lovely views across the mouth of the Tyne. Find out more here.

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - The Word

5 - South Shields Museum & Gallery 

South Shields Museum & Gallery is right in the heart of the town centre and just a short walk from The Word and the Metro Station.

Entry is FREE and you can expect a range of exhibitions spread across a few floors. Permanent exhibitions include Creature Corner (with real animals) and Tales from South Tyneside which shares how the region has changed over the years.

Look out for the new Sheila from Shields exhibition which opens on 2 May 2020 and shares the life and art of local illustrator Sheila Graber (and her cat). Find out more here. 

15+ Things To Do In South Shields - Lion at South Shields Museum l

6 - The Customs House

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - sunset at South Shields

We have a bit of a soft spot for the Customs House - a lush venue with a wide variety of performances, theatre and film to enjoy. Parking is free and if you visit in the evening, you might catch a gorgeous sunset.

The Customs House panto is not to be missed! Find out more here. 

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - Panto at Customs House

7  - Curry on Ocean Road

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - curry on Ocean Road

South Shields is probably best known for the place to visit for a cracking curry. I do not have any personal recommendations but Cafe India, Spice Garden & Delhi 6 are all highly rated on Tripadvisor.

8 - Visit Arbeia Roman Fort

Arbeia Roman Fort is open from April - September and free to visit. They often run free crafts and displays in the school holidays as well as popular Roman Fayres.

Arbeia guarded the main sea route to Hadrian's Wall from the River Tyne and has a diverse history with a few tales to tell - 600 troops lived here. Arbeia is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the finest full-scale Roman reconstruction in the country. Find out more here. 

9 - Catch the Ferry to North Shields

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - ferry

Nexus runs a ferry which crosses the Tyne from North to South Shields and back again every 30 minutes. A ride on the ferry is almost like an attraction itself. 

Adults can travel from £1.80 (or as part of certain day tickets) and kids ride for free over weekends and Bank Holidays in 2020 when travelling with an adult (t&cs apply). Find out more here. 

10 - The Marine Park Train

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - marine park train

A mini-train runs around South Marine Park. It first opened in 1972 and is loved by many. Fares are only £1.50 per person and under 3s ride free. Find out more here. 

11 - Ice Cream

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - ice cream from scoop and bean

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to ice cream in South Shields with Scoop & Bean or Minnchellas both being popular choices. Personally, I love Scoop and Bean and we always treat ourselves with a cone/tub to enjoy when walking along the seafront. 

12 - Fish & Chips 

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - colmans fish and chips

Likewise, there are loads of spots to grab fish and chips. For us (and many), it has to be Colmans or Colmans Seafood Temple for the best of the best. 

13 - Skate Park

South Shields is home to an outdoor skate park right by the seafront just outside of Ocean Beach Pleasure Beach. Perfect to bring your scooter or skateboard along to. There is also an indoor skate park just along the road in Jarrow.

14 - Marine Park Playground 

Marine Park is one of our favourite places in Shields - there is the more formal gardens of North Marine Park and the more child-friendly South Marine Park. Expect lots of space to run around, two playgrounds (for various age ranges), a boating lake with Swan Padalos to hire, a mini train, ice cream kiosk, cafe and more.

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - south marine park playground

15 - Swimming at Haven Point

Haven Point pops us regularly as one of the best places to take kids swimming in the North East. There are multiple pools, slides, water spray, bubble spas and water play areas. Prices are reasonable too (kids are just £1.20). Find out more here. 

16 - Events at Bents Park

Bents Park is home to lots of events across the year ranging from live music events to drive-in movies and food festivals. Check out the South Tyneside events guide to see what's coming up. Find out more here. 

17 - Visit the Beach

15+ Things To Do In South Shields  - the beach

The beach at South Shields is long, sandy and a lush place for a walk or to build sandcastles. There are brilliant views of Tynemouth Priory too. 

How to Get to South Shields: 

*All of the attractions in this post are within walking distance of South Shields Metro Station, Bus Station and Ferry Point.

* We usually park in any of the car parks along the sea front - parking is pretty pricey at £5 for a full day but the location is convenient (use postcode NE33 3NB for the Sand Dancer Car Park on the seafront). The Word Car Park and Customs House Car Park offer free parking (restrictions apply).

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15+ Things To Do In South Shields


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