A FREE Day Out at Baltic

*This post is based on a visit in January 2024. Exhibitions do change over time and information can change too. It's important you check details with venues direct before visiting for the most up-to-date info. 


A FREE Day Out at Baltic



I am personally passionate about trying to encourage everyone to enjoy our region's art galleries and really hope this post encourages more people to visit. Baltic is a fantastic FREE day out. Open to all.

You don't need to have any in depth knowledge about art or stay silent when you visit here. Art is subjective - think whatever you like (it's ok to even not like some pieces). There are also little info panels next to each piece that share more info if you do wish to learn more about the artist's intention. 

Quick Overview 

  • Open Wed-Sun from 10am-6pm. Just drop in

  • Free entry, donations welcome 

  • Pick up a free guide from the welcome desk on arrival 

  • Fun and child-friendly exhibitions with hands on activities and sensory activities. Current exhibitions include cacti and plants, herbal tea tasting, giant Cheetahs, touch books and a meditation on the Tyne area. 

  • Super fun glass lifts 

  • Child friendly areas including a FREE sensory room, activity books, crafts and toddler Wednesdays 

  • Accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs with lifts, baby change and changing places available
     
  • On-site cafe on the ground floor (SIX reopens 14 Feb 2024) 

  • On-site free tea, coffee, juice, WiFi, indoor packed lunch space and reading corner/toys and games in Front Room - free for all to use 

  • All welcome to view exhibitions at your leisure - they're child friendly so don't worry about taking kids in 

  • They have their own car park on site, it's £3.50 for 2 hours pay at the machine on exit 

  • Easily accessed on foot from Newcastle Quayside 

  • Assistance dogs only

  • Spectacular views across the River Tyne from indoor and outdoor viewing areas 


Getting to Baltic 






If we drive, we tend to park in Baltic's car park. It's easy to get to and right next to the building so convenient. You are given a ticket at the barrier when you drive in and use this to pay at the machine on before you exit. We paid £3.50 for 2 hours on our last visit. Blue badge parking is free.

If this car park is full, there are other well-signposted car parks along Gateshead Quays. I've never struggled to get a spot. 

Sometimes we like to combine a visit with Ouseburn/Newcastle Quayside and in this instance, we would park at Spiller's Car Park next to the Cycle Hub on the other side of the Tyne and walk along the Quayside then over the Millennium Bridge. Use postcode NE6 1AP for this one. Again, we never really have any problems getting parked here and it's only 60p an hour (free on a Sunday). 

There isn't a bus stop directly outside of Baltic but the Voltra 53 and Voltra 54 buses stop outside the Glasshouse which is a short walk away. Alternatively, Gateshead Metro Interchange (for buses and Metro) is a 20 minute walk away. 

It's not a bad walk from Haymarket/ Newcastle City Centre either - it should take around 30 minutes to walk there from Haymarket but there are plenty of cafes / shops along the route if you fancy a browse along the way. 

Find out more including car park directions here: How to get to Baltic 

Access at Baltic 


Baltic aims to be accessible to all and I'd say they do a pretty good job including lots of info on their website. You can download a detailed access guide here. 

Key points: 

  • Wheelchair and pushchair accessible 
  • Wheelchair hire available 
  • Accessible toilets (on every level except level 5), adult changing facilities, baby change 
  • Tri-wheel walkers and walking stick stools available 
  • Large print guides available 
  • Braille, audiotape, alternative language and many other formats available as guides 
  • Staff with deafness awareness training and hearing loop system at the welcome desk, front room & shop
  • I noticed seating on all levels 

Stairs & Lifts 

There are fantastic glass lifts to all floors at Baltic - they offer brilliant views of the Tyne and bridges as you whizz up and down. 

If you can, I definitely recommend taking the stairs for part of the way too as they're actually a work of art in themself! Look down and it goes on forever. 





Events at Baltic 

Please check the 'What's On' section of the Baltic website to see what's coming up. New events are added regularly. 

Here's a look at some upcoming event highlights: 
  • FREE Monthly Maggie's drop theraputic art event for those affected by cancer 
  • 4 Feb - FREE Swap & Share Book Event 

  • 21-25 Feb (Half Term) FREE 5 Days of Nature with FREE Cereal Discos and Nature Activities across the week 

  • FREE Drop In Walk & Wonder Toddler Time every Wednesday 
  • FREE Drop In Toddler Imaginative Play every Wednesday 
  • FREE Quayside Tour every Thursday 

  • FREE Drop In Make & Meet Artist Led Workshops every Saturday & Sunday
    (ideal for ages 5-12)
  • FREE Daily Exhibition Spotlight Tours (11:30am/1:30pm/3:30pm)
  • FREE ArtMix Workshops for young people aged 13-19 years (sign up) 

  • 23 March - FREE Persian New Year Celebrations 

Ground Floor 


Here you'll find: 
  • Baltic Shop
  • Exhibition: Electrik Sheep 
  • Baltic Kitchen (cafe) 
  • Project Art Works (until 25 Feb 2024)




Project Art Works 



This was our starting point and really interesting. It showcases art by neurodivergent artists in contemporary art. We caught a glimpse of some of the artists at work in a workshop next door. I really enjoyed how bright and colourful this room was. 


Baltic Kitchen (Cafe) 



The cafe is fairly small and it was busy on the day of our visit. There is a small selection of snacks available but I wouldn't say the menu was huge. Personally, I prefer the cafe at the Glasshouse next door. 


Elektrik Sheep


This pop up shop / gallery was originally based in Pink Lane and showcases Street Art with a North East twist. All of the art in this gallery is available to purchase and there is a 'own art' scheme available. 



Baltic Shop 



This is one of my all time favourite gift shops - the kind of place I could spend a small fortune. I literally want to buy everything on their shelves everytime I visit. Expect merch based around current exhibitions, art supplies, local art and gifts, quirky gift ideas, pocket money items, pin badges, homeward, books, prints and more. 

Mezzanine 


Here you'll find:
  • Baltic Front Room 




This is a fantastic free multi-use community space with stunning panoramic views of the Tyne. Pop in and help yourself to complimentary tea, coffee, juice and fruit, bring your laptop and login to the free WiFi to catch up on emails or pick up a book / game to read and enjoy some time to yourself. 

The space is a dedicated Warm Space and additional community activities take place in this room including book swaps, toddler time, sewing groups and crafts. 

I highly recommend joining the Baltic Front Room Facebook group where they post what's on. 

There are steps up this room from the welcome desk but step free access is available from the external door. 













Level One 


Here you'll find:
  • Event Space (usually closed unless there is a special event running) 

Level Two 


Here you'll find: 
  • Exhibition: Ayo Akinbade (unto 14 April 2024)
  • Learning Lounge 
  • Sensory Room 
  • Baltic Library 


Exhibition: Ayo Akinbade - Show Me The World Mister 


I do have to be honest and say this exhibition is probably not suited to younger children. It's two films that you sit on a bench and watch. I think it would be much better suited to older children/teens/adults (although of course, all are welcome). 

The first film shares the first Guiness Brewery built outside of Ireland (near Lagos) and follows the rhythm of the working day. 

The second film considers the artist's own relationship with Nigeria.

Find out more about this exhibition here: https://baltic.art/whats-on/vk-ayo-akingbadeshow-me-the-world-mister/




Learning Lounge, Baltic Library & Sensory Room 


This is a wonderful space with a water refill unit and buggy store. It leads into the learning lounge which is a fabulous space with comfortable seating and craft tables where you can take some time to create your own masterpiece. 




There's also a FREE sensory room which is lovely and includes projections, light up orbs, fibre optics, light table, light cubes, comfy sofas, a bubble tube and more - just pop in. 

I've shared a video tour here: Baltic Sensory Room Video Tour 

I visited on a weekday and it was empty but do expect this area to be busier at weekends and during school holidays. 















The rest of this room was filled with toys for little ones. I visited on a Wednesday during Toddler Wednesdays so *think* these additional toys may only appear on a Wednesday - let me know if you know! 





The Baltic Library is also located on this level. It's an informal reference library and research space with over 13,000 books on contemporary art. There are three iMacs in the library which are free to use, free WiFi and a photocopier/printer (donations welcome). 

It's a perfect spot to study/research and open to all. 



Level Three 


Here you'll find: 
  • Exhibition: Stepping Softly on the Earth (until 14 April)

This is the Northumbria University Gallery and this current exhibition is research-based and aims to bring together the work of 20 artists from around the world. 

I love that when you first enter the exhibition there is a welcoming table with floor cushions and colouring/activity booklets themed around the exhibition for all to enjoy. 



The main theme of the exhibition is to consider human's relationship with land, sea and territory from different perspectives. Lots of food for thought! 





'Water Temple, River Tyne' was my favourite piece in this exhibition. It's a quiet space where you can meditate if you wish. It's based on the sound of water and it's very soothing! The rocks and water have been temporarily borrowed from the River Tyne which helps to connect the audience to the local landscape. 












Level Four 


Here you'll find: 
  • Exhibition: Michael Rakowitz (until 26 May 2024) 
  • Outdoor Viewing Platform 

Exhibition: Michael Rakowitz 


As someone who loves to garden / growing things, this exhibition really was a firm favourite for me and I'd urge anyone interested in plants and holistic therapy to pop along and enjoy. 

'The Waiting Gardens of the North' is an exhibition designed to grow and develop across it's run so do visit more than once and admire plants at their various life stages. 

The basis of this exhibition is a relief panel depicting the Assyrian Gardens which are believed to pre-date the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The exhibition recreates this panel on a grand scale.  





It's beautiful and our local Dilston Physic Garden has some input too with information about how plants can be used in health and healing. 




The exhibition is a sensory experience and you can smell the various herbs and spices. 




There is a seating area to the rear of the museum with lots of books around gardening. Honestly I could spend a good few hours here just sitting and having a browse. 



I sadly didn't have infinite time though so opted to flick through 'The Gardens of the British Working Class' which was really interesting - especially the drawings of the cottage gardens of the Miners' cottages in Bedlington with the colliery in the background. I'd love a veg patch like that! 



At 12noon (every day I think) there is a tea tasting session where you can learn more about memory tea and the science behind it. I had a try and it was really nice. 



I absolutely loved this space and will be back before the exhibition ends in May. 




Outdoor Viewing Platform 

The outdoor viewing platform looks directly out onto the Tyne and you can usually see the famous Kittiwakes nesting on the ledge here too. 




Level Five 


Here you'll find: 
  • Viewing Box 
First of all, this level offers a birds eye view of the exhibition on Level Four. It's nice to see it from a different perspective. 

We got chatting with the visitor guide here who pointed out the beehives on the roof here. Apparantly these bees live in perfect conditions and have access to everything they need to create the very best honey within a few miles radius.

You can buy the honey they make in the shop downstairs (we did just this and it's delicious) and I love that everything including putting it in jars and making the label is done in-house. Hows that for a carbon footprint? 


There is an indoor viewing area here with chairs and tables and beautiful views of the Tyne and bridges through the windows. 





Level Six


Here you'll find: 
  • SIX Restaurant (re-opens 14 Feb 24) 


SIX is a stunning restaurant on the rooftop - currently closed until 14 Feb 2024 for refurbishment but one to check out in the future. We've enjoyed a few special meals here over the years. 

Find out more about visiting Baltic: 

Where To Visit Nearby 


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A FREE Day Out at Baltic Newcastle



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1 comment

  1. When we were in Newcastle over the summer we went for a walk around the Quayside and ended up in the Baltic. I didn't know it was free until we were walking towards it.
    The Michael Rakowitz exhibition was there when we went and I thought it was amazing. It is such a great place to visit. x

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