Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre

This post was published in April 2024. Please check with venues direct for the most up-to-date info as details can change over time. ALWAYS check opening hours direct before heading out. 

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre

Now that Jungle Jack's has closed in Eldon Square, it kind of feels like there is a bit of a lack of play areas in Newcastle City Centre so I thought I would put together a few ideas. 

Not all of these suggestions are traditional play areas, but they all should provide entertainment / something to do for kids. 

The Farrell Centre (FREE) 

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre  - The Farrell Centre
Credit : The Farrell Centre 

The Farrell Centre is a real hidden gem in Newcastle. Located just next to Great North Museum, it's packed with fun things to do and activities. There are free interactive exhibitions and the Urban Rooms which features a small play area, usually with crafts and books and LEGO/construction areas too. 

Plus there is a range of free play activities on selected days ranging from story play for pre-schoolers to Minecraft Club and collaborative weekend build activities. 

Find out more: https://www.farrellcentre.org.uk/whats-on/

Newcastle Cathedral (FREE) 

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre  - Newcastle Cathedral
Credit : Newcastle Cathedral 

Newcastle Cathedral is in the heart of the city and although it doesn't have a play area as such, they do provide plenty of FREE activities and opportunities for play for kids. 

The Investigation Station provides kids with a huge map that they can use to explore the Cathedral and uncover hidden treasures with brass rubbings.

There are always free crafts on offer too, at the moment it's 'Cathedral Crowns' and you can also create your own Dragon. Baby play baskets filled with sensory toys are available too - just ask a member of staff. 

In school holidays, the Cathedral sets up various play stations with opportunities to build, learn and play. All activities are drop in and free. 

🍧On site cafe

Find out more: https://newcastlecathedral.org.uk/visit/families/

The Mouse House at Great North Museum (FREE)

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre - The Mouse House Great North Museum

The Mouse House is a lovely free area for under 5s to enjoy. It's a bright room filled with activity walls which have been especially designed with little ones in mind. 

🍧On site cafe & indoor packed lunch area available 

Find out more: https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/mouse-house

Laing Art Gallery (FREE) 

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre  - Laing Art Gallery
Credit : Laing 

There is a small Circus themed playspace for under 5s in Laing Art Gallery near the cafe. Expect soft toys and books, a light table, toys and dress up. 

🍧On site cafe

Find out more: https://laingartgallery.org.uk/whats-on/under-5s-area

Play Zone at Science at Science at Life 

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre - Science at Life
Credit : Science at Life 

We have always loved the under 7s Play Zone at Science at Life - you'll find it upstairs in the centre. New areas were added at the start of 2024 and children can enjoy role playing in the outdoor marketplace, enjoy a nautical adventure aboard the play boat, dress up and crawl and climb through various obstacles. There's a soft play area too. 

There is an entry fee or you can buy membership (see website for up to date prices). Children aged 2 and under go free. 

🍧On site cafe & indoor packed lunch area available 

Find out more here: https://www.life.org.uk/whats-on/event/play-zone/

Science Maze & Under 5s Play Area at Discovery Museum (FREE)

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre  - Discovery Museum

The Science Maze at Discovery Museum includes lots of interactive fun and experiments for all ages - kids young and old can play with magnets, mirrors, light and sound.

There's also a dedicated play space just for under 5s - find it in the corner of the Science Maze and expect building blocks, toys, mirrors and sensory play. 

🍧On site cafe

Find out more: https://discoverymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/science-maze

Seven Stories (FREE)

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre - Seven Stories

Seven Stories is filled with interactive exhibitions and opportunity for play. Expect craft tables, dressing up areas, shadow puppet play, puppet theatres, mirrors, stories to read and more. 

🍧On site cafe

Find out more: https://sevenstories.org.uk/

Summer in the City (FREE)

Summer in the City takes place from July-September at various venues across the city. Expect lots of FREE activities including crafts, workshops, storytelling areas, pop-up outdoor play areas and more. 

This year's programme has yet to be announced but you can find out more here: https://www.getintonewcastle.co.uk/ne1-events/summer-in-the-city

Toddler Takeovers at Screen on the Green (FREE)

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre  - Screen on the Green

Screen on the Green is a FREE event taking place in the city centre across the summer months. They usually screen 3 films per day on a giant screen, no booking required, just turn up.

Over the past few years, specific toddler events have been organised with giant games to play and storytelling sessions.

Listings for 2024 films/what's on will be released later this year (usually June / July).

Find out more here: https://www.getintonewcastle.co.uk/ne1-events/screen-on-the-green

YuMe World 

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre  - YuMe World

YuMe World in the Gate is an indoor arcade and VR centre with lots of activities and games to keep kids of all ages entertained from racing games and hoops to shoot to simulators, racing games and air hockey. I do recommend setting a spending limit as you pay per game and it's easy to get carried away! 

Find out more: https://www.yumeworld.co.uk/


Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre - Baltic

Yes, I know BALTIC is technically on Gateshead Quays but their play area is worth including. Their learning lounge and sensory area is filled with toys, books, creative activities, bubble tubes, light tables and more.

Visit on Wednesdays with a toddler and there will be additional sensory activities and imaginative play to enjoy as part of Toddler Time (free and drop in) 

🍧On site cafe & free juice/tea/coffee/indoor packed lunch area available 

Find out more: https://baltic.art/experience-your-baltic/learning-lounge/

The Glasshouse (FREE)

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre  - The Glasshouse

Also on the Gateshead side of the Tyne but definitely worth a mention is the Glasshouse (formerly Sage). The cafe here is lovely and really child-friendly with a little play kitchen, box of toys and book corner. The cafe isn't open all of the time so do check opening hours before setting out. 

🍧On site cafe

Find out more: https://theglasshouseicm.org/your-visit/

Exhibition Park (FREE)

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre   - Exhibition Park

Exhibition Park is a fantastic playground and park right in the heart of Newcastle City Centre (just behind Great North Museum).

You can expect a water play area, enclosed playgrounds for different ages, sports courts, a lake, cafe, pub, outdoor gym equipment and more. One of my favourite spots in the city! 

🍧On site cafe

Find out more here: https://www.northeastfamilyfun.co.uk/2023/04/9-reasons-to-visit-exhibition-park-newcastle.html

Leazes Park (FREE)

Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre - Leazes Park

Leazes Park recently received £21000 through fundraising and donations to refurbish and repair their playground which hopes to reopen in time for summer. Once repaired/refurbished, there will be a playground, aeroskate and two multiplay areas including toddler swings and a zip wire. 

🍧On site cafe

Keep an eye on Urban Green's website for updates. You can read about the plans so far here. 

Easy to Reach Play Areas from Newcastle City Centre 

Obviously I can't include every play area in the North East but I've tried to mention the main ones in Newcastle/Gateshead suburbs which can be reached in 10 mins or less from the city centre. Use Rome2Rio for public transport options to the venues below. 

  • Hopscotch Cafe Gosforth (4 min drive)
  • The Playhouse at Pizza Dough Co. (5 min drive)
  • Fun Shack Benfield Road (7 min drive)
  • Owl Tree Cafe (6 min drive) 

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Drop In Play Areas in Newcastle City Centre


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