Graft & Glory - FREE Summer Holiday Activities at The Common Room

Ad - I work with the Common Room on a retainer basis. Thanks to our writer Bethanie who visited with her son in July 2023 and shared this article and photos with us. 

Graft & Glory - FREE Summer Holiday Activities at The Common Room

For the second summer in a row, I headed along to The Common Room in Newcastle with my son, to join in with their free activities for children. 

This year, the exhibition is called Graft and Glory, telling the story of what the region’s engineers invented, innovated and campaigned for to make mining safer in the North East, the rest of the country and around the world. As well as the exhibition, they have a full programme of events over the school holidays that are suitable for children of all ages. 

The Common Room is the most gorgeous building, located a two minute walk from Newcastle Central Station, making it easily accessible for a day out in Newcastle. 

FREE Connect & Explore family activity. 

I took my son along to the Connect & Explore family activity afternoon. This was on from 1pm until 3pm, however we stayed for around an hour. This was pretty relaxed and you could come and go as you pleased, as long as you had booked your tickets online, prior to the event. 

Connect & Explore is part of a three part series of family workshops running over the summer; exploring Dorothy Buchannan’s Bridge challenge and making your own moving characters.

The workshop involved making our own bridges using a set amount of materials that were then put to the test as weights were added to each bridge to see who had built the strongest one.

My son loved this competitive side, and building the structure for the bridge really tested his engineering skills. 

The members of staff running the workshop were as fantastic as ever and very enthusiastic, offering helpful tips to build a stronger bridge. 

After the bridge making, we turned our hand to making moving characters using levers and mechanisms. It was a very relaxed atmosphere in the room even though every table was full. The kids were all having a great time and everyone was fully engaged in the task at hand. 

When we left the room where the workshops were held, we then explored the Graft & Glory exhibition and admired the Lego replica of The Common Room building, complete with Lego people inside! 

While all the events are FREE, you do need to book online first and these spaces can fill fast so best be quick. You can book via The Common Room website. 

Summer Programme of events.

As well as the Connect & Explore workshops (remaining dates August 15th and 18th at 10am), there is a programme of different workshops suitable for children and their families. 

Here are the other bookable events at The Common Room this summer: 

  • Relaxed Lego sessions suitable for neurodivergent children - August 1st, 4th, 22nd and 25th at 9am. Book now. 

  • Making Models - August 1st, 4th, 22nd and 25th at 10am. Book now.

  • Do it the Safety Way Live Science show - August 8th, 11th, 29th and 1st September at 11am. We did this last year and the kids loved it! Book now. 

  • Scribble Bots (make your own robot) - August 8th, 11th, 29th and 1st September at 1pm. Book now. 

If these events have sold out, do keep checking for cancellations/returns as often tickets do become available nearer the time. 

5|Quarter Cafe Bar. 

Inside The Common Room, you will find the 5|Quarter cafe bar, which is open Thursday - Saturday from 10am until late. Although we weren’t able to visit this time due to their staff shortages, we did go last year and looking at the menu it seems the same. 

Food is well priced and from memory very tasty. The kids had clean plates last time we visited so it must have been good! 

The kids menu includes chicken goujons, fish fingers, pizza and vegan nuggets. All served with fries and a choice of peas or beans for just £5/£5.50. 

Overall, a fantastic way to fill in an hour or two in Town, especially on a rainy day. We are already looking forward to visiting again when we are down that end of Newcastle. 

Make a Day of it with other STEM Activities in Newcastle

These events are all within a short walk of The Common Room: 


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