15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler

Thanks to our writer Bethanie for this post which was based on information checked in January 2023. Always check with venues direct for the most up to date information. 


15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler



When you have a baby or a toddler, it always helps to get out of the house and do something doesn’t it? Whether it is a local baby group or giving them a new experience, it takes you away from the mountain of laundry and gives you both a change of scene.


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Whilst all the classes and groups are great, sometimes you may be looking at what free day out you and your toddler can enjoy.


Whether you are feeling the pinch or simply want to save your money for those BIG adventures, here is a roundup of free days out with a toddler or baby, across the northeast, that will still create those joyful memories as you spend time together. 

Before we jump in, here are some other posts you may enjoy. Make sure you pop back to read these too: 


15 FREE Days Out with a Toddler / Baby



 

Free toddler sessions at Locomotion.

15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Locomotion Shildon



Head along to Locomotion in Shildon (use postcode DL4 2RE) for a free trip out. There is car parking on site as well as a brand-new play park which looks brilliant fun. 


You can just pop along and enjoy the museum at any time (it's pushchair friendy) or enjoy their special sessions for younger children (Little Locos) which take place every month for children aged 5 and under. 


Little Locos is the perfect place for you and your little ones to play and learn together, with themed sessions and include object exploration, hands-on activities, crafts and stories.


Little Locos sessions are free but booking is required, either in advance or on the day. Tickets are released one month in advance.


Read my blog guide to visiting Locomotion Shildon here (please note, the playground has since been upgraded).


Visit the website to find out more and to book your place. https://www.locomotion.org.uk/


 

Visit Seven Stories, Newcastle. 

15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Seven Stories


Seven Stories is a brilliant trip out and a great way to nurture a love of reading with your little one. Entry to Seven Stories is free and there are (can you guess?) seven floors to explore, with a book shop and café, exhibitions and workshops. 


On a Monday and Thursday you can drop in with your baby at 3pm, for a baby book social which is free to attend. Term time only. 

You can read my full guide to visiting Seven Stories here. 


There is a lot happening at Seven Stories with a lot of paid for workshops as well as the free ones. 


I recommend taking a look at their website ahead of your visit to see what is on. https://www.sevenstories.org.uk



Theatre Hullabaloo, Darlington.



15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Theatre Hullabaloo



As well as being a magical space for children to explore, the Theatre Hullabaloo offers free programmes for babies, toddlers and their grown ups. There is also a café with comfy chairs and a library, which serves a menu of hot and cold food and drinks. 



Check out their FREE Sensory Play area which changes at the seasons (currently 'The Undiscovered Island' based on a relaxing coral garden). 




Let’s Play – Theatre Hullabaloo have just launched a new weekly play programme to support younger children and their families who missed out on activities during the pandemic. The programme is funded through social prescribing and is free for families to take part in.




They also offer a range of free theatre experiences for children aged 0 – 4 years, so take a look at their website to find one that suits you. Spaces need to be booked in advance. 

https://www.theatrehullabaloo.org.uk/shows/




Pop into your local library. 


Have you been into your local library recently? The highlight of my kids week was when we had to visit to return their read library books.



They love to flick through new picture books and sit in the big chair to read them out loud. Libraries are very welcoming for children and usually have lovely bright pictures on the walls and comfy cushions to squash on.  




You can go on the Gov website to enter your postcode and find your nearest library. https://www.gov.uk/search-library-catalogue




Libraries often run reading challenges as well throughout the year, offer free storytelling/rhymetime sessions for little ones (for example check out these free rhymetime sessions at Whitley Bay Library) and of course they are free to join. 


 

Spend the day at South Shields. 

15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - The Word South Shields
The Word South Shields


You can plan a whole day out at South Shields with a range of fun and free activities to enjoy with your baby or toddler. 

The Word South Shields



Read my blog guide to visiting South Shields here. 


Visit The Word – The National Centre of the written word. They run free early years groups that you can attend with your little one. There is also a café on site and is located in the heart of South Shields. Postcode: NE33 1JF 


Website: https://theworduk.org



While you are in South Shields you can visit the beach, run around the large playgrounds and parks or visit the South Shields museum which is free entry and is spread over two floors and includes a small reptile/insect house too. You will also find a café here and events running throughout the year. 


https://southshieldsmuseum.org.uk/




Visit the Great North Museum & exhibition park.

15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Exhibition Park
Exhibition Park 



Situated in Newcastle City Centre, the Great North Museum makes for a fantastic free day out. Toddlers will especially love seeing all the animals and dinosaurs.


There is the Mouse House which is a purpose-built space for young children and their families to explore.  Designed to excite curiosity and encourage young children to explore, the Mouse House gallery is full of surprises introducing the museum’s diverse collections.

15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - THe Mouse House




Choose an activity from the walls of the Mouse House to help you explore the rest of the museum. There are also free Mouse House activities that take you through the museum. 


https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk


After visiting the Great North Museum, why not walk along to exhibition park where there is plenty of green space to run around and even enjoy a picnic? There is a playpark here also and a café should you need some refreshments. A great place to meet up with friends with pushchairs. Don't miss the FREE mini train rides on the first Sunday of every month from April.



Barter books, Alnwick. 


If you are in Northumberland, your little ones will love a visit to Barter Books in Alnwick. Set in an old railway station, this second-hand bookshop has a wonderful children’s section with a range of books from baby board books up to young teens. 


15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Barter Books



Children love to look out for the model trains that run along a track above the book stands and the café is worth a visit for the shortbread biscuits and bacon sandwiches. In the summer months they also serve ice cream from the kiosk attached to the main building. 



Parking is free. Read our blog guide to visiting Barter Books here. 


Eshott airfield, Northumberland

15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Eschott Airfield



Eshott airfield is worth a visit if you have a plane loving toddler. Situated just off the A1 between the Northumberland Country Zoo and Felton, Eshott Airfield is a used airfield that has a number of small planes landing and taking off each day.

There is a cafe here with a viewing platform and seating both inside and outdoors. Say hello to the friendly alpacas as well. 


If you are lucky, on the day of your visit you may be able to sit in one of the planes and have a tour of the airfield. This depends on staffing numbers on the day. 


Note: the airfield café is closed over the winter and reopens in the spring. The best place to see updates and events is on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/eshottaerodrome

Read our blog guide to visiting Eshott Airfield here. 


 

Discovery museum, Newcastle. 


15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Discovery Museum



Another fantastic museum in Newcastle City Centre which is free to visit. The Discovery Museum is just up the road from Central Station so easily reached by train, Metro and a short walk from Haymarket if travelling in by bus. There is also a car park right outside the museum. 

The Discovery Museum is space where you can explore three floors of galleries and interactive exhibitions telling the story of Newcastle and the surrounding area.

They often hold toddler events which are bookable and come with a small cost, however the museum is a great space for a toddler to explore with plenty of exciting things to look at and “have a go”. 

Plan your visit: https://discoverymuseum.org.uk/plan-your-visit/planning-your-visit



Visit The Baltic, Gateshead.


The Baltic is a brilliant place to bring your toddler and even has a sensory room that is free to visit. Between Wednesday - Sunday, 10am - 6pm drop in with your little ones and rest with light-up orbs and cubes, large soft shapes, matting and a sofa to relax on.

15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - BALTIC Gateshead



There is a packed lunch area within The Baltic, in the Front Room, so you can bring your sandwiches from home and they offer free squash. Such a thoughtful thing for visitors with young children.  


Visit the website to plan your visit and to check out the toddler activities that run throughout the year: https://baltic.art/



Spend some time at the Dorman museum, Middlesborough. 


15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Dorman Museum


The Dorman Museum offers permanent display galleries, sharing the town’s history. The museum is open from 10am to 4pm from Tuesday to Sunday, and is closed on Mondays. Museum admission is free.



They currently have an exciting exhibition called Ancient Egyptians: secrets of the afterlife. Pop into the Egypt play area and test your puzzle-solving skills and explore the galleries all for free.


They recommend following their Facebook page for the most up to date information on what events they have on: https://www.facebook.com/DormanMuseum



Visit PaddlePod Killingworth Soft Play.



More than just a swimming pool offering baby and toddler classes, PaddlePod in Killingworth is also has a welcoming play area for children aged 0-5 years old.

This play area is located upstairs in the cafe and is the perfect place to come with babies, toddlers and pre-school children and FREE to use with any purchase from the cafe. 


15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Paddlepod Killingworth


Read our blog guide to Paddlepod Soft Play here. 



PS - Did you know that the FREE SMAland 45 minute creche (for ages 3-10) has reopened at IKEA? Find out more here. 



Community Farm, Ouseburn. 

15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Ouseburn Farm



Visit the Ouseburn Farm, (you could tie this in with your visit to Seven Stories which is just around the corner). The farm is free to visit and relies on charitable donations. 

With a range of animals both big and small that you and your toddler can pet and help feed, this is a great way to introduce children to nature. There is also a well-stocked garden and orchard to explore too. 



Plan your visit: https://www.ouseburnfarm.org.uk/thefarm


Read our guides to visiting other FREE Community Farms below: 


Jesmond Dene Pets Corner 

Bill Quay Farm 




Teesaurus Park, Middlesborough.

15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Teesaurus Park




A MUST for your dinosaur lovely toddler. This free exhibition takes you on a trail hunting for the iron sculptures of dinosaurs. Perhaps your toddler will be able to tell you the names of some of them?

I know my son certainly knew a lot more than I did! 


The park has a large hill facing towards the river, which is a perfect picnic spot.

Teessaurus Park also has its own small car park and has become something of a nature reserve and the route of the Teesdale Way also passes through this space.

There are loads of gorgeous walks you can do in this area as well that are suitable for pushchairs. 


Read our blog guide to visiting here. 



Hauxley Nature Reserve. 


I know a nature reserve may not scream “toddler friendly” to you, but this is such a lovely location and there are plenty of toddler friendly walks you can enjoy.

15 FREE Days Out with a Baby or Toddler - Hauxley Nature Reserve




It is a free trip out and there is even a small play area and a newly built café.


The views from the big windows in the café are gorgeous and you can bring along your binoculars for a bit of bird spotting. Perhaps you have a bird book at home that they could bring to tick off what they see?



Just up the road from Druridge Bay Country Park, you could tie in a visit to the playpark there too and make a day out of it. 


To find the nature reserve use the postcode: NE65 0JR and visit their website to help plan your visit (please note there is a small charge for parking).

Read our blog guide to visiting here. 


You can now start to plan lots of wonderful trips out with your baby or toddler and save money along the way. Hopefully this post of free days out with a toddler has been helpful and I would love to know if you try them out. 


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15 FREE Days Out for a Baby or Toddler in North East England

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