50+ Free Days Out Across North East England

You don't need to spend a fortune, or indeed anything at all to enjoy a fantastic day out. This post will share a list of more than 50 places you can enjoy a free day out across North East England - that's practically one day out per week for a full year. 

The criteria to make this list is that the attraction must offer free admission as standard. Parking and travel costs are excluded from this. Many places do rely on donations and if you can, donations will always be welcome. 

I have split the lists into indoor and outdoor days out which will hopefully help during our ever-changing British weather.

Please always double check information with venues direct before heading out, especially opening hours. Some of the places mentioned on the list are open seasonally and some are currently closed for the winter / due to current circumstances. 

Looking for free days out by public transport? This post featuring 10 FREE days out close to a Metro Station is for you. 

Indoor Free Days Out 

Discovery Museum (Newcastle)

The Discovery Museum is a science and local history museum. Expect a science maze, three floors of galleries showcasing Tyneside's history, a Red Arrows Flight Simulator (small charge) and refular free crafts. There is a cafe and indoor picnic tables too. Very convenient for Newcastle Central Station and easy to reach by train, bus, metro or car. Read our full guide to visiting here. 


Find BALTIC on NewcastleGateshead Quayside just over the Millennium Bridge. It is a Contemporary Art Gallery with ever changing exhibitions which are often hands-on/interactive and always thought-provoking.

Facilities for children are fantastic with an indoor picnic area, free tea/coffee/juice and free toddler / children's activities at various times across the week (see their website for info). BALTIC is easy to get to by bus, car or on foot from the city centre. Read my guide to visiting here. 

Laing Art Gallery (Newcastle) 

The Laing Art Gallery is in the centre of Newcastle, not far from the main shopping area around Northumberland Street. The gallery hosts regular changing historical and contemporary exhibitions and is also home to a small play area for under 5s. Super easy to get to via bus, Metro or car. 

Great North Museum (Newcastle) 

Great North Museum is a museum of Natural History and Ancient Civilisations with permanent exhibitions, a planetarium and a large temporary exhibition space.

The Museum is home to a popular 'Mouse House' area for under 5s and hosts regular free events across school holidays. Super easy to get to by bus, Metro and car. Read my visitors guide here

Locomotion (Shildon) 

Locomotion in Shildon has the highlights of the National Collections of Railway Vehicles. Shildon is the worlds first Railway Town making it the perfect place to explore local railway history. Read our guide to visiting Locomotion Shildon here. 

Stephenson Railway Museum  (North Shields)

George and Robert Stephenson are North East icons pioneering Locomotives in North Tyneside. The Stephenson Railway Musem in North Tyneside displays some facinating vehicles including George Stephens 'Billy' a fore-runner to the World Famous Rocket. Read our guide to the Stephenson Railway Museum here. 

Chain Bridge Honey Farm is a family business in Berwick, the visitors centre was opened in the 90's to teach the pubic about bees and honey. There is information on Bee behavious and Beehive products ( such as honey, wax and propolis) as well as an observation hive so you can see the bees in actions. 

Shipley Art Gallery  (Gateshead) 

The Shipley Art Gallery has almost 800 pieces on display inclduding paintings, works on paper and ceramics. It also has Decorative Art and Contemparary Crafts.

There are five gallery spaces housing temporary exhibitions throughout the year as well as talks from artists and curators.  

The Dorman Museum  (Middlesbrough) 

The Dorman Museum has a range of permenant displays for all ages from space to the history of Middlesborough. The Museum also the largest collection of Linthorpe Art Pottery and designs from renowned British designer Christopher Dresser.

Durham Cathedral  (Durham) 

Durham Cathedral is an icon of the North East appearing in films like Snow White and the Huntsman, Harry Potter and Avengers: Endgame. You can tour the Catherdral, visit the museum and participate in a service. The Cathedral also host live music events and the famous Durham Miners Gala.  

Oriental Museum (Durham) 

The Oriental Museum is part of Durham University and houses collectons from North Africa to South East Asia. The Museum works with University departments ranging from Archiology and Classics to Modern Languages. As well as displaying The Northumberlnd Collection of Antiquities from Egypt, A Collections of Chinese Ceramics and a significant collections of Jades and Hardstones.

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens  (Sunderland) 

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens tells the story of Sunderland, it's people, industries, art exhibitions and tropical winter gardens.

A collections of pieces dating from 1843 including Wallace the Stuffed Lion which came to the museum over 135 years ago. The garden has over 2000 plants as well as a school of Koi Carp.

Seven Stories (Ouseburn)

Seven Stories are located in the old victorian mill building in Ouseburn. They have a growing collection of works from influential artists from the last 100 years of childrens literature.

They also have a program of exhibitions to discover the 'stories behind the stories'. You can find out more in our post here.

South Shields Museum & Gallery  (South Shields)

South Shields Museum celebrates the heritage of South Tyneside and it's people. Built in 1860 as the towns first free public library which then became a museum in 1876.

The Museum tells the story of South Shields' social, industrial and martime history of over 4000 years. You can read more here

National Glass Centre  (Sunderland) 

Discover how glass arrived in Britain and how Sunderland has a rich glass making history.

Learn about St Benedict Biscop the Anglo-Saxon Abbot who brought glass making to Sunderland in the 7th Century AD and how 1300 years later Sunderlands factory such as Pyrex and Hartyley Woods produced some of the finest glass in the world.  

Kirkleatham Museum (Redcar)

Kirkleatham Museum is a museum of local heritage for the borough of Redcar and Cleaveland. Housed in the 1709 Queen Anne building that started out as a free school for boys.

The museum feature a range of exhibitions and displays covering local industial, maritime and social history. There are also beautiful grounds to explore and a small woodland trail. The museum is also featured in this post.

Barter Books  (Alnwick) 

Barter Books is one of Britains largest second hand book stores. In a restored train station you can spend hours here looking for the perfect book and trade in any books your finished with.

There is also the Station Buffet serving food, coffee, tea and cookies. There is also a childrens corner with kids books and toys to keep the little one entertained. You can read more here

Grace Darling Museum (Bamburgh) 

Tynemouth Lifeboat Station (Tynemouth) 

Newbiggin Maritime Museum (Newbiggin) 

Lit & Phil  (Newcastle) 

The Common Room  (Newcastle) P

Hatton Art Gallery (Newcastle) 

Lady Waterford Hall (Ford & Etal) PB (15 things to do...)

Smaland Soft Play  (IKEA Gateshead) 

The Late Shows - 13 & 14 May (NewcastleGateshead) P

Zen Garden at Theatre Hullabaloo - 31 Jan - 1 May 2022 (Darlington) 

Outdoor Free Days Out 

Obviously there are lots of free country parks / walks available around the NE and this list doesn't include them all. I have tried to only include places you could spend more than an hour.

Try our 'Visit 12 North East Lighthouses in One Day Challenge

Eshott Airfield 

6 of the Best FREE Adventure Playgrounds 

Zog Trail (Hamsterley, Kielder and Guisborough)

50 FREE Days Out Across North East England

New Website Features 

I'm really excited to share some new FREE features which have been added to my website recently. To access them, click the share button / heart in the bottom corner of this post. 

  • A Search Box - Quickly and easily search for posts using this button 

  • Save Posts - Click the heart to save a post to come back to at any time. To find your saved posts, simply click the heart again and select 'my bookmarks' and you can quickly find them all in one place

  • Share Post - Easily share posts with friends and family at the click of a button 

To access all of these features, you do need to 'sign up' to my website which is quick and easy to do the first time you click the button. You should stay signed in once you have signed up. There will also be a prompt to sign up to my new monthly newsletter which will focus on key ideas for this to do in the upcoming school holidays. I really hope you sign up and make the most of these features. 

Fire & Ice Durham - 25 + 26 February 2022

Love Exploring App / Trail at Various NE Locations including Hirst Park, Carlisle Park, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Wharton Park, Hardwick Park & Stockton on Tees. Lots of FREE trails and VR games to play during walks with themes around dinosaurs, space, wildlife and more. 

The Lowry Trail  (Berwick) 

Rising Sun Country Park (North Tyneside) 

Herrington Country Park & Penshaw Monument (Sunderland)

Seaglass Hunting at Seaham (Durham) 

Minotaur Maze, Salmon Centre, Kielder Castle & Walks  (Kielder) 

Arbeia Roman Fort  (South Shields) 

Druridge Bay Country Park
 (Northumberland Coast) 

Northumberlandia (Cramlington) 

Ingram Valley (Northumberland National Park) 

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge (Hexham) 

Plessey Woods (Morpeth) 

Hardwick Park (Durham) 

Richardson Dees Park (Wallsend) 

Wynyard Woodland Park 
 (Stockton on Tees) 

Ouseburn Farm 

Pets Corner Jesmond Dene (Jesmond) 

North & South Marine Parks (South Shields) 

Carlisle Park & Steppy Stones  (Morpeth) 

Angel of the North & Saltwell Park (Gateshead) 

Splash Parks (Ridley Park / Chester le Street / Hirst Park ) 

Preston Park Adventure Playground (Stockton on Tees) 

Hylton Castle (Sunderland) 

Cramlington Giant Spoon  (Cramlington) 

Seal Spotting / Rock Pooling at St Mary's Island (North Tyneside)

Please note, there is an admission fee to enter the lighthouse building but you can walk around the permimeter/ access the wildlife huts free of charge. Please act appropriately around the wildlife and take notice of the visitor signs.

Rainton Meadows  (Houghton-le-Spring) 

Holy Island  (Northumberland) 
Check tide times before visiting. 

Hadrian's Wall - Temple of Mithras, Walltown Crags and Sycamore Gap  (Northumberland) 

Other Ways to Enjoy a FREE Day Out 

Heritage Open Days - 9-18 September 2022 

National Lottery Free Days Out 


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