What's On for Kids across North East England : May Half Term 2021

This post is currently being updated. Please check back soon. 

Attractions regularly change their opening hours, admission fees, booking policies and offerings. I try to keep this post as updated as I can but it is important that you check updated details with the venue direct before setting off. Many attractions will require pre-booking. 

Many attractions will still be closed or partially closed this year but they have still been included as this post is used every year/school holiday - please double check which areas will be open before booking/visiting to avoid disappointment. Please follow Government guidelines. 

I have previously worked with many of the attractions mentioned in this post but nobody has paid to specifically feature in this post. 


Most of these will require booking (check individual links for details) and I imagine will be popular, I would advise booking early to avoid disappointment. 

29 May - 6 June - The Dragon Trail at Hardwick Park (no pre-booking)

29 May - 6 June - Kids Fun Zone at Brocksbushes (pre-book)

29 May - 6 June - Teddy Bear's Picnic Trail at Raby Castle (pre-book)

5 & 6 June - Summer Seasonal Market at Raby Castle  (pre-book a car parking pass)

Sports & Holiday Camps / Activity Days 

Rainy Day Ideas / Indoor Family Days Out

  • Tynemouth Aquarium Find out more here

  • Locomotion Museum Shildon - Find out more here
    Locomotion Shildon is a fantastic FREE museum with train displays, model railways, train rides (small charge) and a fantastic train-themed playground. It is accessible, can be reached by car or public transport and has an indoor picnic area which is always a bonus. Read our full guide to visiting here. 

  • Bowes Museum - Find out more here
    The Bowes Museum is a large museum in Barnard Castle with a wide range of exhibitions. Check out their website to see what's on at the moment. 

  • Head of Steam Museum Darlington - Find out more here
    The Head of Steam Museum is a small but perfectly formed train museum with hands on exhibitions for kids. It is accessible and can be reached by public transport or car (see their website for information). You can see photos from Head of Steam & find out more in this blog post (we visited as part of a Wildlife Warriors Trail). 

  • Angry Birds Golf / Clip n Climb / Namco at the Metrocentre - Find out more here
    The Metrocentre is always a good shout on a rainy day. As well as shopping / going out for a meal, you can enjoy Angry Birds Golf, Clip n Climb or bowling/amusements/soft play at Namco. Read our full review of Angry Birds Golf here. The Metrocentre is easy to reach by car or public transport. 

  • Soft Play 
    Soft Play is always a good rainy day option and they could definitely do with our support this year. Our favourite is The Fun Shack. 

  • Segedunum Museum & Roman Fort -  Find out more here
    We love visiting Segedunum - it is somewhere which is very easy to visit via public transport (it's across the road from Wallsend Metro and Bus Station). The viewing tower offers magnificent views of the fort and Tyne, there is a small playground and gardens, cafes and various Roman displays and hands-on activities. 

    From the end of May, there is a new escape room style outdoor adventure game with characters in costume to try too (book online in advance). 

    Segedunum is a good museum to visit alongside Richardson Dees Park which is fantastic and just a short walk away. 

  • Sunderland Winter Gardens - Find out more here 

  • Roman Army Museum - Find out more here
    The Roman Army Museum is on Hadrian's Wall and managed by Vindolanda Trust - you can buy a discounted/combined ticket to both if you'd like to make a day of it. The museum is all indoors so ideal for visiting when the weather isn't so great. It features galleries explaining life as a Roman Soldier, a Roman School and more. If you are looking for somewhere to eat nearby, try Twice Brewed Inn or The Sill (the Sill is also worth popping into, it is free and mostly indoors). 

    The Roman Army Museum has free dedicated parking and you can access by the AD122 bus. 

  • Amusement Arcades 
    This is a brilliant fall-back idea if you need to get out of the house, they usually require no pre-booking. We like Whitley Bay arcades as they are our closest. 

  • Climbing Walls 
    A fab activity for tweens and teens, there are a few clip n climbs in the North East plus various independent climbing centres. Most will be busy during school hols and I would recommend booking in advance. 

  • Flight Simulator & VR Gaming - Find out more here 
    This centre in Brunswick Village offers a range of VR gaming experiences, 4D racing and flight simulators. The minimum age for most experiences is 8+ but please double check on booking. A fab rainy day option for tweens and teens. 

  • Trampoline Parks 
    Another popular choice for rainy days (again, they do get booked up in advance in school holidays so try and book early if you can). Our favourite is AirBox Bounce in Cramlington. 

  • Ten Pin Bowling 
    Ten Pin Bowling is a good rainy day option - we like Concordia Cramlington, Gutterball (opposite Royal Quays) and Lane7 in Newcastle. I recommend booking as far in advance as you can. 

  • Shipley Art Gallery - Find out more here
    An art gallery sharing various exhibitions. Check out their website to find out what's on now. 

  • Bailiffgate Museum & Barter Books - Find out more about Bailiffgate Museum here and and more about Barter Books here
    These two attractions are both indoors and less than a 5 minute walk from each other so ideal to combine. 

    Bailiffgate is an award winning museum which mostly shares the history of Alnwick and the surrounding areas. There are two floors of permanent exhibitions to enjoy and the top floor is a gallery which changes throughout the year. 

    Barter Books is the most wonderful second hand book shop with a mini train which runs above the bookshelves, a nice children's section and a brilliant tearoom (part of an old train station) and ice cream kiosk. 

    Alnwick is easy to reach by car or public transport. Dogs are welcome in Barter Books. 
  • Swimming 
    Another classic rainy day option! Our favourite pools are Concordia in Cramlington, PaddlePod Shiremoor, Waves Whitley Bay and South Shields. I always think WaterWorld Prudhoe looks fun too. 

  • Butterfly World & Preston Park Museum, Stockton-on-Tees - Find out more about Butterfly World here and Preston Park Museum here. 

    Butterfly World and Preston Park Museum share the same site so it is easy to visit both on the same day. Indoor options include Butterfly World, Preston Park Museum, the cafe by the playground, the Victorian Tearooms and Old Fashioned Sweet Shop. Preston Park has a large free car park and is accessible by public transport. 

  • Whitley Bay Ice Rink - Find out more here
    Whitley Bay Ice Rink is open for lessons and skating. It's easy to reach via public transport / car too. 

  • Hatchet Harry's, Newcastle -  Find out more here
    Hatchet Harry's in an indoor axe throwing centre just behind the Centre for Life. It is suitable for over 8s and you can book family sessions. We loved our visit a few years ago and would recommend. Things can get competitive though! Hatchet Harry's is accessible by public transport (Central Station is the closest) or car. 

  • Baltic, Newcastle -  Find out more here 
    Baltic is a large, contemporary art gallery on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside. It is free to visit and always worth a look. My kids always enjoyed the speedy lifts and the viewing platform which offers fab views of the Quayside. You can combine with a visit to the Sage next door too. Both have lots of space and child-friendly cafes with lush views. 

  • Seven Stories, Ouseburn -  Find out more here The museum/gallery are currently closed. 

  • Discovery Museum, Newcastle -  Find out more here
    The Discovery Museum is running some fab events over half term (some need to be pre-booked so please check their website for information) and you can visit their galleries and exhibitions which are perfect for a rainy day. I like to combine with a trip to the Great North Museum and Exhibition Park for a brilliant free day out in Newcastle. The museum is easy to reach by public transport, Newcastle Train Station is just a short walk away. 

  • Great North Museum, Newcastle -  Find out more here
    A trip to the Great North Museum is a brilliant free option. At the moment you can view their permanent exhibitions including a replica T Rex, model of Hadrian's Wall and their popular Ancient Egypt exhibition alongside 'Other Worlds : The Art of Atomhawk' which is available until the beginning of September. This design studio is based in Gateshead and contributed to films and video games such as Guardians of the Galaxy & Minecraft. The museum is easy to reach by public transport with Haymarket Metro and Bus Station being just a short walk away. 

  • Climb St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay -  Find out more here
    It is free to visit the island but at the moment, you do need to book to visit and climb the lighthouse. Please check crossing times before visiting. The Facebook linked above will have the most up to date information. 

  • Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle Find out more here

    You do not need to book to visit the free areas of Laing (the free exhibitions, cafe and shop) so this is a fab option if it's raining and you fancy a trip out but have nothing booked. The Laing Art Gallery is in Newcastle City Centre and easy to reach by public transport. 

  • The Gate - Find out more here.
            I highly rate The Gate as a brilliant rainy day option, especially with tweens and teens. There is                loads going on including:
Plus, you have a few food and drink options and Mr Mulligan's Golf is next door. The Gate is easy to reach by public transport (bus/train/metro to Newcastle City Centre) or car. 
  • Mr Mulligans Crazy Golf Find out more here
    Mr Mulligans is a popular themed indoor golf course next to the Gate in Newcastle. They are due to reopen on 17 May and bookings are now being taken. Mr Mulligans is easy to reach by public transport (train/bus/metro to Newcastle City Centre) or car. 

  • National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool - Find out more here
    I have personally not visited this museum but I have heard lots of good reviews and might be worth a visit if like us, you've not been and fancy something new. 

  • Newbiggin Maritime Centre - Find out more here
    Newbiggin Maritime Centre is small but shares life in the historic fishing village. There is a lovely cafe and it is right by the sea too. They have lots of fab info on their website re: access and the museum is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Newbiggin bus terminal is a 2 minute walk from the centre. 

  • Quasar Amusements South Shields - Find out more here
    We love playing Laserforce here - an indoor multi level laser tag arena which is fab for young and old. South Shields is easy to reach by public transport and car, you can combine with The Word / South Shields Museum / the arcades / Dunes Soft Play & Bowling on a rainy day. 

  • Oriental Museum Durham - Find out more here
    This museum is devoted to the archaeology, art and cultures of North Africa and Asia. 

Foodie Treats & Afternoon Tea 

Walks, Parks & Picnics

Outdoor Days Out 

  • Spend the day at Ford & Etal, a fab day out with a mini railway, heavy horse farm, flour mill, tearooms and more - Find out more here

  • Air Trail Tees Valley, a brilliant outdoor climbing challenge  & zip wires for kids & grown ups - Find out more here
  • Spend the day in Warkworth, a lovely village with a castle, beach, riverside walks and pizza shack - Find out more here
  • Visit Raby Castle & Grounds, somewhere you can spend a full day with a castle, walled gardens, deer park, woodland playground, tearoom and more - Find out more here 
  • Whitehouse Farm, one of our favourite farms with loads to do inside and out including lots of animals to pet and feed and some brilliant indoor and outdoor play areas  - Find out more here

  • Arbeia Roman Fort, step into the world of Romans in South Shields - Find out more here
  • Ocean Beach, a popular outdoor funfair in South Shields with no booking required, just turn up  - Find out more here 
  • Visit Ouseburn  - Find out more here 
  • Visit Jesmond Dene  - Find out more here 

Theatre & Cinema 

  • Jam Jar Cinema are showing Peter Rabbit 2 and Cruella over half term - Find out more here

  • 29 May - 6 June: Jack & the Beanstalk Socially Distanced Panto at Tyne Theatre - Find out more here 

National Trust 

Gibside  - Find out more here 

Seaton Delaval Hall  - Find out more here 

Wallington  - Find out more here 

Souter Lighthouse - Find out more here 

Lindisfarne Castle   - Find out more here 

Dunstanburgh Castle  - Find out more here 

English Heritage 

Warkworth Castle  - Find out more here 

Belsay Castle, Hall & Grounds  - Find out more here 

Tynemouth Priory  - Find out more here 

Lindisfarne Priory - Find out more here 

Hadrian's Wall  - Find out more here 

Dunstanburgh Castle  - Find out more here 

Day Trips 

Stay-at-home ideas 


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