13 Free Indoor Attractions to Visit in Autumn/Winter

This post shares 13 FREE indoor attractions to visit this Autumn/Winter (also ideal for a rainy day). Make sure you check opening hours with venues direct before heading along. All of these attractions require no pre-booking and you can simply drop in (some special events / activities do need to be booked). 

13 Free Indoor Attractions to Visit in Autumn/Winter

Why not make a plan to visit them all this Autumn/Winter? 

  1. Great North Museum (Newcastle)
  2. Discovery Museum (Newcastle) 
  3. Locomotion Museum Shildon (Newcastle) 
  4. Seven Stories (Ouseburn) 
  5. BALTIC (Newcastle) 
  6. Oriental Museum (Durham) 
  7. Kirkleatham Museum
  8. The Sill (Northumberland) 
  9. South Shields Museum & Gallery / The Word 
  10. The Dormon Museum (Middlesbrough) 
  11. Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens 
  12. Zen Garden at Theatre Hullabaloo 
  13. Palace Green Library 

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

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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. 

Great North Museum 

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/visit-us/getting-here - Great North Museum Roman Wall

What's on - Great North Museum has some iconic permenant exhibitions inclding Romans, Mummies and Dinosaurs amoungst others.

Find out more - https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/

Discovery Museum 

Discovery Museum Exhibition

What's on - Discovery Museum is home to some fantastic permanent galleries including an interactive science maze, Newcastle Story / Destination Tyneside which includes lots of local history and Charge! The Story of Northern England's Cavalry plus there are three FREE museum trails to try

The museum is super accessible with fantastic facilities including a cafe and indoor packed lunch areas. 

During school holidays, there is a programme of special events and craft sessions, many of which are free (or a couple of £). You can check out what's on via their website. 

Find out more - discoverymuseum.org.uk

Locomotion Shildon 

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/visit-us/getting-here - Locomotion Shildon

What's on - The main indoor hall is large and filled with dozens of locomotives and trains from all eras. You can get up close with more than 70 heritage railway vehicles. 

The museum runs regular free Little Locos craft/activity sessions for under 5s and a programme of special events in the school holidays (usually focussing on STEM activities). See their website to check what's on.  

Read our blog review here: Locomotion Blog Review 
How to get there - See here for information about public transport and parking 
Find out more - locomotion.org.uk

Seven Stories 

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/visit-us/getting-here - Seven Stories

What's on: Seven Stories host a wide range of events which can be booked separately including free author events. Some upcoming events include Spooky Storytime, Halloween afternoon tea, Julia Donaldson Spoon Puppet workshop and Christmas Storytime. 

Read our blog review here: Seven Stories Blog Review 
How to get there - See here for public transport & parking information 
Find out more - sevenstories.org.uk



What's on - There's lots of free family fun exhibits at BALTIC including Larry Achiampong Gaming Room, Comic Book Club.

How to get there - Click here for public transport and parking info
Find out more - https://baltic.art/

Oriental Museum 

What's on - Oriental Museum Durham is a fab place to visit with a range or permanent and temporary exhibitions covering a huge area from North Africa to South East Asia. They also run a huge programme of special events, mostly all free. Highlights this autumn/winter include: 

  • Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • Celebrate Rosh Hashanah
  • Free Little Dragons Group for under 5s (pre-book)
  • FREE Family Craft Activities most Saturdays and throughout school holidays. These always look great with some interesting themes 
  • Regular Twilight Opening Sessions 

How to get there - See here for public transport & parking info 

Kirkleatham Museum 

free kirkleatham museum

What's on - You can enjoy a range of exhibitions at Kirkleatham Museum including: 

  • Saxon Princess 
  • World War I
  • Steel Stories 
  • Gertrude Bell 
Visiting attractions over the next few months will be:
  • Bikes Mean Business
  • One Suitcase
  • Lemon Tops and Lobster Pots
Plus you can join in with museum treasure hunts and trail & traditional games boxes and there are special events during the school holidays. 

How to get there - See here for public transport & parking info 

The Sill : National Landscape Discovery Centre 

The Sill Sandbox

What's on - We love visiting the Sill as their exhibitions are well thought out with lots of engaging and interactive elements.

Read our blog review here : Blog review of The Sill 
How to get there - See here for public transport & parking info

South Shields Museum & Gallery / The Word 

Creature Corner at South Shields Museum
Creature Corner at South Shields Museum 

What's on - Both of these venues are within easy walking distance of each other and it makes sense to visit them both at the same time. Current Exhibits include:

  • SCRAN!
  • From a Painters Soul
  • Blue Futures
  • Powering the Future

How to get there - Both are within a short walk of South Shields Metro and Ferry Terminal. 

The Dorman Museum 

The Dorman Museum

What's on -  The Dorman Museum houses the history of Middlesbrough, it's industries and famous residents through permanent and temporary exhibitions. There are regular free events and activities during school holidays. The Current Temporary Exhibition is Brick by Brick - A LEGO® Exhibition (chargeable). 

How to get there - The museum is located next to Albert Park in Middlesbrough. There is free parking nearby and Middlesbrough Train & Bus Station are a 20 minute walk away. Use postcode TS5 6LA
Find out more - https://www.facebook.com/DormanMuseum

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens 

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

What's on - Permanent exhibitions and galleries include the Winter Gardens with Koi Carp (and dinosaurs), The Time Machine, Sunderland Pottery, Coal, Secrets of the Past, Glorious Glass, Lost Worlds, World's Alive, The Art Gallery, The Victorian Gallery, Faith & Science & Launched on Wearside. Lots to see! 

The museum often organises free activities during school holidays. Current events are Elmer and Friends, Trail of Rainbows and Unseen.

How to get there - See here for parking and public transport info

Theatre Hullabaloo 

Theatre Hullabaloo is a pioneering organisation that makes, tours & promotes theatre for young audiences. Their current production is the contemprary fairytale 'Baba Yaga' for ages 6+.

Find out more - https://www.theatrehullabaloo.org.uk/

Palace Green Library 

What's on - Palace Green Library is located next to Durham Cathedral and a really interesting place to visit with plenty to see. Permanent galleries include the Museum of Archaeology, Durham Light Infantry Collection, The Dennyson Stoddart Gallery, University Gallery, Bishop Cosin's Gallery and Barker Research Gallery. 

Palace Green organises regular special events & activities across school holidays.  

How to get there - Check here for parking and public transport info 


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