Whether you’re new to the Northeast of England, looking for ways to fill time on a staycation, or consider yourself a veteran resident keen to try some new and exciting activities, Newcastle and Gateshead both have lots of attractions and experiences for all ages and members of the family to enjoy.
But let’s be honest for a minute – taking the whole family on multiple days out can become expensive, especially when you factor in snacks and food, and the inevitable visit to the gift shop before heading home.
That’s why, in light of the rising cost of living and the demand for cheaper (and free) things to do on staycations and during summer weekends, we’ve pulled together this list of free days out that all the family can enjoy.
Before we dive into the assortment of free attractions and experiences available in the region, the first item on the list is one which should be on the list of every resident and visitor to the area – heading to the coast for a beach walk. Tynemouth, Whitley Bay, and Cullercoats are just a short driver away from the centre of Newcastle and present the perfect opportunity to spend time enjoying one of nature’s greatest gifts – the ocean.
While a day on the beach is exciting all on its own, if you want to look into some of the other attractions around these areas then check out our previous blog post which highlights the best of what these coastal areas have to offer.
Located between Jesmond Vale and South Gosforth, Jesmond Dene is somewhat of a nature haven which has become one of Newcastle’s most popular haunts for wildlife lovers and families alike – who flock to the approximately 3km of space and head out to spot red squirrels, kingfishers, and evidence of the areas industrial past.
There is a visitor centre on site and a café for those who want to revel in the facilities, or you can take your own picnic and enjoy a day out among nature.
Laing Art Gallery
The Laing Art Gallery is located in Newcastle city centre and offers free access to every visitor – though some of the exhibitions come at an extra cost. The free exhibits that you can enjoy in the gallery include the Northern Spirit collection, 100 Years of Collecting, New Perspectives, and Newcastle in Watercolours. All of these exhibits focus on creating and sharing art which offers visitors a chance to see their surroundings through new eyes and in new lights – and if you prefer to see one of the paid exhibitions, then tickets can be purchased at the venue.
The Sage Gateshead
An iconic music centre for the North of England, The Sage is home to some spectacular performances – a select few of which are completely free to attend. And even if there isn’t an event you’re interested in, the history and architecture of the building makes it an interesting one to visit for music and culture lovers.
Access and entry to Ouseburn Farm is completely free – giving guests of all ages and all walks of life a chance to meet and interact with the animals and the many community events which are held in and around the farm on a regular basis. Placements offer a way for people to immerse themselves in the farming culture and support the charity – with more information available from the farm on request.
Also known as the Great North Museum, this popular destination is free to visit and boasts a wide selection of exhibits and experiences – from the history of medicine to the creation of Hadrian’s Wall, skeletons and creatures from nature, and so much more. You can also pay for a number of exhibits such as the Planetarium if you wish, however you can certainly fill a day in Newcastle with free activities at the Hancock museum.
Last but not least, the Discovery Museum is a walk-in experience which combines local Newcastle history with tales from the seas – uniting Newcastle with the scientific and technological advances of Britain as a whole. If you want to get kids interested in local history, then this immersive destination offers a unique and exciting space for them to learn.