30+ FREE & Fun Walking Trails for Kids across North East England


Walking with kids is always easier with an incentive or something for them to do along the way so today I thought I would share 30+ free and fun walking trails across North East England. They all involve sculptures to find / a route to follow with things to find and are completely free. 

30+ FREE & Fun Walking Trails for Kids across North East England


A huge thanks to my Facebook followers who helped me to put this list together. I am sorry that I could not include every trail - some of them seemed to have barely any information available online. You can see the full list of Facebook recommendations here though.

Please note, local restrictions may mean that some / part of these trails are closed or unavailable at this time. Please check details with venues direct before setting off to avoid disappointment and stick with local Government Guidelines. 

There are some idea for seasonal trails at the bottom of this page. 

30+ FREE & Fun Walking Trails for Kids across North East England 


  1. Hardwick Park Virtual Dinosaur Trail
  2. Wharton Park Virtual Dinosaur Trail 
  3. Thornley Woodland Centre Wooden Sculpture Trail 
  4. Derwent Waterside Park Nature Trail 
  5. Kielder Forest Gruffalo Sculpture Trail
  6. Hamsterley Forest Gruffalo Sculpture Trail 
  7. Plessey Woods Sculpture Trail 
  8. Discover Brightwater Wildlife Warriors Trail 
  9. Durham City Art Trail 
  10. Barnard Castle Blue Plaque Trail 
  11. East Cramlington Nature Reserve Nature Trail 
  12. Discovery Museum Climate Change Trail 
  13. Discovery Museum Discover Her Story Trail 
  14. Chopwell Woods Sculpture Trail 
  15. Painted Rock Treasure Trail in Blanchland 
  16. Hartlepool Headland Story Trail 
  17. Watergate Park Cafe Trail
  18. Northumberland Park, North Shields (Various Trails)
  19. Woodland Area at Northumberlandia 
  20. Richardson Dees Park (Various Trails) 
  21. Sunderland Sculpture Trail
  22. Sunderland Riverside Heritage Trail
  23. Teessaurus Park Dinosaur Sculpture Trail 
  24. Low Burnhall Woodland Trust Trail 

  25. Ford & Etal Scarecrow Trail (Halloween only)
  26. Christmas in Sunderland Trail (19 November 2020 - 3 January 2021) 
  27. Cullercoats Community Advent Trail (1 - 30 December 2020)
  28. The Snowman and The Snowdog Sculpture Trail (14 November 2020 - 31 January 2021)
  29. InDurham Fire and Ice Sculpture Trail (annual event over February Half Term. I am unsure if the event will go ahead in 2021)

  30. Geocaching 
  31. Pokemon Go 
  32. Harry Potter : Wizards Unite 


30+ FREE & Fun Walking Trails for Kids across North East England 


Hardwick Park Virtual Dinosaur Trail




You can download the Love Exploring App for free and use it to find hidden dinosaurs around Hardwick Park in Durham. There is lots to enjoy including playgrounds, toilets and a cafe too. Find out more and read our full blog review here. 


Wharton Park Virtual Dinosaur Trail 

Similar to Hardwick Park above, you can use the free Love Exploring App to complete another dinosaur safari at Wharton Park in Durham. Wharton Park has lots to enjoy including play areas, toilets and a cafe too.  Find out more here. 

Derwent Park Country Park Wooden Sculpture Trail 




Park at Thornley Woodland Centre in Gateshead and follow the signs for the Derwent Park Country Park Wooden Sculpture Trail. There is a cafe and toilets too. Find out more and read our full blog review here. 

Derwent Waterside Park Nature Trail 




Derwent Waterside Park is home to a free nature trail around part of the nature reserve. There is an adventure playground, cafe and toilets too. Find out more and read our full blog review here. 

Kielder Forest Gruffalo Sculpture Trail



There are various permanent Gruffalo & Friends Sculptures in the woodland area surrounding Kielder Castle which can be discovered as part of a circular trail. There are usually additional associated trails which add a little extra and change each year too (previous years include Shaun the Sheep / Zog) . Check out our photos when we completed the trail a few years ago here. 

Hamsterley Forest Gruffalo Sculpture Trail 




Like Kielder, Hamsterley Forest is home to various Gruffalo & Friends Sculptures in the forest which can be followed as part of a trail. There are regular additional trails and activities too - check out our photos from the Gruffalo Child Trail a few years ago here.  The forest is home to lots of play areas and equipment, a cafe and there are toilets in the car park. 

Plessey Woods Sculpture Trail 




There is a fun and free art / sculpture trail around Plessey Woods. Find lots of sculptures hidden in the woods including Ogre swamps, troll doors and even drum kits. Find out more over on our full blog review of Plessey Woods here. 

Discover Brightwater Wildlife Warriors Trail 


Discover Brightwater has put together a free Wildlife Warriors Trail with various wildlife plaques to spot across the region. There are fun associated activities and competitions too. Find out more and read our full review over on my Wildlife Warriors Blog Review here. 

Durham City Art Trail 


There is a free Art Trail around Durham City where you can enjoy various sculptures, hidden gems, architecture and points of interest. Find out more here. 

Barnard Castle Blue Plaque Trail 


Find 22 Blue Plaques across Barnard Castle and learn more about the region and its heritage. Find out more about the trail and plaque locations here. 

East Cramlington Nature Reserve Nature Trail 




There is a small free Nature Trail with 12 animal plaques to find around Cramlington Nature Reserve. This area is brilliant for spotting red squirrels. Find out more and read our full blog review here. 

Discovery Museum Climate Change Trail 

The Discovery Museum in Newcastle City Centre is free to visit (when restrictions allow) and you can now download and follow a special climate change trail around the galleries. Find out more here. 

Discovery Museum Discover Her Story Trail 


This trail across the museum will explore the lives of 25 pioneering women in North Tyneside. Find out more here. 

Chopwell Woods Sculpture Trail 

A sculpture trail with various routes runs through Chopwell Woods. You can find a sleepy owl sculpture, pitmens seat, oak leaf sculpture and more. Find out more here. 

Painted Rock Treasure Trail in Blanchland 





One of my blog readers has set up a painted rock trail around Blanchland village. 

Hartlepool Headland Story Trail 

The Headland Story Trail follows 18 different information boards which each share a piece of heritage or history from the region. Find out more here. 

Watergate Park Cafe Trail

You can collect free nature trails from Watergate Cafe and enjoy around the lake. Find out more here. 

Northumberland Park Trails 

There are various trails around Northumberland Park in North Shields including a Sculpture Trail, North Shields Town Trail and Orienteering Trails. Find out more and download maps here. 

Northumberlandia 




Northumberlandia is home to a small trail in the woodland area before you reach the main land sculpture. Find out more in my blog review here. 

Richardson Dees Park Trails 

There are various trails around Richardson Dees Park in Wallsend including a Forgotten Orchard Plant Hunter Trail and three Orienteering Trails. Download the trail maps and find out more here. 

Sunderland Sculpture Trail 


A Sculpture Trail runs through Sunderland as part of the wider C2C trail. The trail brings together Sunderland's past, present and future. Find out more here

Sunderland Riverside Heritage Trail

The Sunderland Heritage Trail is a free walking trail which can be enjoyed alongside a free app to discover more about the history of the region and some of Sunderland's fantastic characters. Find out more here

Teessaurrus Park 

Teessaurrus Park in Middlesbrough is a must for dinosaur fans. There are over 10 dinosaur sculptures to find and it should take around 15-30 minutes to find them all so great for little legs. The sculptures have been given a little makeover / fresh lick of paint this year too. Find out more here. 

Low Burnhall Woodland Trust Trail 



There are various trails to enjoy in this picturesque spot of woodland including a willow sculpture of a miner and sculptures in the woods carved by Jason Turpin-Thompson. There is also a permanent orienteering course with 30 controls set across the site. Find out more here.  Use postcodDH1 3TX. Thanks to Paul from Poplar Tree Garden Centre for the photo.

Free Seasonal Trails across North East England


The following trails are seasonal:  

Ford & Etal Scarecrow Trail 

This popular trail runs across Ford & Etal throughout October Half Term. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for details. 

Christmas in Sunderland Trail 

The Christmas in Sunderland Trail runs from 19 November 2020 - 3 January 2021.  Hot on the heels of the popular Halloween Monster Trail, this trail is a mix of illuminated festive displays and augmented reality accessed via an app. Find out more here

Cullercoats Community Advent Trail 




The Cullercoats Community Advent Trail runs from 1 - 30 December 2020. This trail features a 'living' advent calendar through resident window and garden displays. Find out more here. 

The Snowman and The Snowdog Sculpture Trail 




The Snowman and The Snowdog Trail runs across North Tyneside from 14 November 2020 - 31 January 2021. There are 20 sculptures to find in total. You can pick up a free trail map from NT Customer Service Centres or download the associated app for 99p and raise money for St Oswalds. Find out more in my full blog feature here. 

InDurham Fire and Ice Sculpture Trail

This annual event takes place in Durham City across February Half Term. It is brilliant with various ice sculptures to find and a changing theme each year. I am unsure if it will go ahead in 2021 but fingers crossed. You can read more and see photos from previous years here. 


Other Ways to Enjoy the Great Outdoors 


Geocaching 

Geocaching is a popular way to enjoy the great outdoors wherever you are - there are 100s if not 1000s of 'caches' to find across the North East. It is free to get started. Find out more here. 

Pokemon Go 

Download the free Pokemon Go app and catch/ play / compete / team up as you are out and about. 

Harry Potter : Wizards Unite 

Similar to Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a free-to-download app/game where you are invited to join the wizarding world as you explore the great outdoors. 

Other posts you may enjoy: 

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Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Remember face coverings are required for indoor attractions / shops for those aged 11+ (usual exemptions apply)  

Check for local lockdowns / travel restrictions before visiting anywhere. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 


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30+ FREE & Fun Walking Trails for Kids across North East England

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