Scran! & A Trip on the Shields Ferry

This is an advert for August 2023 and is based on a visit in August 2023. Any shares or edits beyond this date have not been asked or paid for. Please check with venues direct for the most up to date information. 

Scran! A history of Food & Drink in South Tyneside is a new exhibition at South Shields Museum & Gallery which runs until 25 January 2025 and is FREE to visit during normal museum opening hours. No booking is required - just pop in.

Scran! at South Shields Museum & Art Gallery - Need to Know 

  • Scran! is a FREE exhibition in South Shields Museum & Art Gallery (also free to visit) 

  • No need to book - just drop in during normal museum opening hours (note, the museum is usually closed on Sundays) until 25 January 2025

  • I would recommend most to older children/young people/adults although all are welcome and little ones will still enjoy looking at all of the colourful displays. The exhibition does not have any interactive elements and is more traditional in style. I'd say it's a brilliant day out to bring parents / grandparents along to 

  • Learn more about some of the region's iconic eateries including Colmans, Dicksons, Greggs and Minchellas & co. 

  • Take a look at some traditional Be-Ro books and their recipes 

  • Discover stories from local business owners and customers - from corner shops and ration books to traditional family recipes and food banks 

  • The rest of the museum is worth a visit with a FREE Creature Corner (there are Tarantualas and Snakes), Changing Faces, Treasures and Tales of South Tyneside 

  • There's a lovely Victorian Tearoom inside the museum 

  • The museum offers FREE drop in crafts every Tuesday in the school holidays from 11am - 3pm. They have been inspired by the Scran! exhibition and including making and decorating biscuit pendants. 

  • The museum and exhibition are accessible throughout, there is a lift and you can borrow a wheelchair. There are accessible toilets and baby change facilites 

  • South Shields Museum & Art Gallery is located on Ocean Road in the heart of South Shields Town Centre. It's a short walk from both the Shields Ferry Terminal and South Shields Metro Station. Up to three kids aged 11 and under travel for free with a fare paying adult on both the Metro and the Ferry. An adult single fare is currently £1.45 when using a Pop PAYG Card

Scran! is a real must-visit exhibition for foodies and shares stories from some of the region's most iconic eateries. 

Here are some of the exhibition highlights for me: 


I really enjoyed reading about the history of Colmans and how the family moved to North Shields from Italy but really weren't keen on the pungent fishy smell of the fish quay so hot footed it over to South Shields where ironically, they opened a fish business. And the rest they say is history. 

Minchellas & Co. 

Ice cream is big business in South Tyneside and the exhibition invites visitors to suggest a new ice cream flavour and add it to the giant cone. I have to say, I think we should leave it to the experts after reading through these.

Cheese and Tomato Sandwich flavour ice cream??? Chicken Nugget ice cream??? Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding ice cream?? Erm no thanks. I think I'll stick with my favourite cherry flavour. 


It was really interesting to learn more about Dicksons and how they've evolved and grown over the years. Can you believe their South Shields factory still produces over 1.4 million tubs of pease pudding each year!? 

Local Corner Shops 

The exhibition is sprinkled with quotes from local food business owners and customers and I enjoyed reading about how corner shops used to operate with food being given on tick to families who were known to the owner. I can also picture the excitement of the 'Danish Bacon Man' making his delivery to the corner shops. By the sounds of things, he was very popular! 

Wrights Biscuits 

In the 1930s (and beyond), Wrights Biscuits were a major employer in South Shields and their factory supplied biscuits, cakes and groceries across the whole of the UK. I must admit, I didn't know too much about them but it was nice to learn more about what was once a major local company and the biscuit box designs are very nostagic. 


Greggs is obviously one of the North East's most successful food businesses and my teens enjoyed reading about how they had evolved over the years. We also learned that Greggs opened their 2000th store in South Shields (at the transport hub) and we spotted that very store on our way home. 

Traditional Family Recipes 

As well as celebrating food and drink businesses in South Tyneside, Scran! also recognises diversity and the various cultures in the region and showcases some traditional family recipes which are shared in homes across South Tyneside.

Steve made note of this Lamb Curry recipe by Abdullah, Syeed and Rasheed who are originally from Yemon and have lived in South Shields since 2015. They prepare this dish to enjoy as a feast at sunset during Ramadan. We're going to try it this weekend so if the authors happen to read this -  thanks for sharing it with us. 

Be-Ro Books 

I actually had no idea that Be-Ro was founded on the Tyne quays. Plain flour was mostly used in the 1920s and to try and make self raising flour more popular, Be-Ro hosted local exhibitions where they'd sell freshly baked scones, cakes and pastries for a shilling. They were so popular that the public demanded to know the recipes so they could make them at home. 

So in another marketing ploy (which I reckon turned out quite well for them), the company distributed FREE Be-Ro recipe books at their exhibitions and door-to-door and Be-Ro went on to be the best known flour in the North (and still is I think!) 

It was so nice flicking through these Be-Ro books and looking at the recipes. I especially like the hand annotations and notes about the best recipes. It really reminds me of days spent baking with my grandma.

Lots of us have copies of the Be-Ro book that have been handed down to us or perhaps we've bought our own copy. I'd still recommend popping in and flicking through these copies for a real trip down memory lane. 

This exhibition is fairly small but we thoroughly enjoyed walking around and soaking up the history of food in our region. We left feeling really proud of South Tyneside and the North East - we have a lot to shout about I think and some very tasty food indeed. 

Now I want to bake some Melting Moment Biscuits (my favourite Be-Ro recipe) and Steve has a hankering for a Ham & Pease Pudding Stottie (Greggs if you're reading this - bring them back!). 

The Rest of the Museum........ 

South Shields Museum & Art Gallery is a lovely museum to visit with fairly varied exhibitions spread out over multiple floors (there is a lift). 

The 'Treasures' exhibition shares unique pieces from South Tyneside and beyond, including the famous Lion who you can't miss as he greets you when you first enter the museum. 

Tales of South Tyneside is a real trip down memory lane and we always enjoy the tradtional seaside memorabilia. 

There is a small Creature Corner which is home to real insects, snakes and tarantulas. All completely free to visit. 

Plus an Art Gallery and Changing Faces and there are FREE drop in crafts every Tuesday during school holidays from 11am-3pm.

Don't miss the Victorian Pantry Tearoom for a proper cake and cup of tea too.  

If you have time, I recommend adding a visit to Arbeia Roman Fort to your day out. It's just 1/2 mile from the museum and FREE to visit (do check opening times). It gives a different perspective to life in Roman Times than other sites which are located on Hadrian's Wall and there's some brilliant reconstructions to walk through. 

Read my guide to visiting Arbeia Roman Fort here: Visiting Arbeia Roman Fort 

Arbeia Roman Fort 

Travelling to South Shields by Ferry  

This FREE interactive Google map shares the locations / addresses of everywhere mentioned in this post including the Ferry Terminals : FREE Google Map 

We enjoyed a trip to South Shields Museum as part of a wider day out using Tyne & Wear Metro which you can read about here. After spending the morning in Newcastle, we caught the Metro to North Shields and walked along the Fish Quay where we stopped for fish and chips. Scran before visiting Scran! 

These ones are from the Waterfront and I'd recommend if you're after traditional fish and chips with speedy service at a good price. If we'd had more time to stay in South Shields, I'm pretty sure we would have visited Colmans in honour of the exhibition - we love it there! Next time. 

Catching the Shields Ferry across the Tyne is like an adventure in itself I think. There is seating inside or you can sit out on deck if the weather allows. It's a canny little trip and the staff are always super friendly. 

The ferry takes 7 minutes to cross the Tyne and is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. You can bring your bike or dog on board too. 

It's just a short walk from North Shields Metro Station down to the Ferry Terminal but it is downhill. If you'd prefer, you can catch the 19 bus for free (with any valid ferry ticket which you can also buy on the bus) from North Shields Metro Station or Town Centre to the terminal. 

Generally, a ferry departs every 30 minutes from both sides. You can check timetables here. 

Check online for up to date times rather than relying on this image please

As you board the ferry, you pay your fare to a member of staff in a little kiosk at the entrance. Kind of similar to boarding a bus. 

There are a number of different fares - if you're unsure, ask staff and they will help you out and let you know the best option. The ferry does not accept cash payments.  

A single fare is £2.30 if paid by bankcard/contactless or £1.45 if using the balance on your Pop PAYG Card. If you're making more than one journey in a day, a day ticket may work out better value for you (£3.70 for unlimited trips across one day). 

You cannot use your Pop PAYG Card on Google Pay to pay for ferry trips - they use a slightly different system. 

Up to three children aged 11 and under travel for free with a fare paying adult when travelling on both Metro and the Shields Ferry - just mention the kids are 11 or under when paying your fare. 

Trips on the Shields Ferry are included in a standard 'All Zones' Metro Day Ticket. 

Like I said, quite a few options! If you're unsure, just ask staff as you board and they'll point you in the right direction. 

It may only be short and sweet but I've always been a fan of the Shields Ferry - it makes you feel like a tourist I think and sitting back and enjoying the scenery as you sail along the Tyne is a really nice way to travel. Jack is sometimes prone to seasickness but has never suffered taking this trip. It's never really been a choppy crossing for us. 

A lovely free day out to try with the family, especially if you like local history, boat trips and food!


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