Over the last few years I’ve been able to enjoy many family days out at exciting attractions across the region as I play host to my brother’s twin children Jack and Emily who often come to visit from Rochdale. I also have a gorgeous niece called Sadie who lives right here in Geordieland, giving me the perfect excuse to unleash my inner child at every opportunity.
I’ve thought long and hard about which are my favourite family days out in the North East, it’s a tough call as there are so many choose from but I’ve come up with this little list for my top five.
Stepping Back in Time at Beamish
This world famous open air museum is set within 300 acres of peaceful Durham countryside and feels nothing like a museum at all! The vintage vehicles are like real life time machines, transporting visitors from the 1820s, to the 1910s and the 1940s. There’s plans in place for a 1950’s section too which I can’t wait for.
In each area of Beamish there’s a chance to experience what life was like for people living in the North East all those years ago. Whether that be heading down the pit, working on the farm, going back to school or looking after the family at home. We especially love the vintage funfair and the steam train, a visit to the old sweet shop is always a highlight too!
Animal Fun at Whitehouse Farm
Both kids and grown ups alike love a day out at the farm and Whitehouse Farm near Morpeth is definitely a firm favourite with my family!
The cheery, welcoming staff at Whitehouse Farm make every visit feel special, Jack and Emily particularly love Magic Steve who is often there hosting magic shows, games and events.
The animals are of course the main draw though and there are lots of them to meet, feed and handle. From goats, sheep and pigs, to meerkats, reptiles and birds of prey.
It’s easy to spend the whole day at Whitehouse Farm as there are animal talks, feeding sessions and displays at regular intervals. Plus there’s a huge adventure playground, go-karts, soft play and trampolines so no chance of the kids getting bored
A Day at the Seaside
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, it is absolutely my happy place! I feel very lucky to live near one of the most unspoilt coastlines in the country.
There are so many beautiful beaches in the North East you could probably visit a different one every week for a whole year (oooh, now there’s an idea)!
From the sweeping sands of Bamburgh beach overlooked by one of Northumberland’s most iconic landmarks, Bamburgh Castle – to the family friendly Cullercoats beach in North Tyneside where you can paddle through crystal clear shallow waters to go ‘bear hunting’ in the caves. I also love Blyth beach with its cute, colourful beach huts, you can read all about my day out there in THIS POST.
A Tyne and Wear Museum Crawl
Something else that the region has in abundance is museums and there are several in Newcastle within walking distance of each other so you can easily visit a few in one day – and it won’t cost you a penny because they are all free (although donations are welcome so dig deep if you can).
I like to start at the Great North Musuem in Newcastle before working my way across to the Discovery Museum, over to the Laing Art Galley and then down to Baltic centre for Contemporary Art on the Quayside. There are plenty of others to choose from too, The Shipley in Gateshead often has fun events on and The Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is full of fascinating finds.
Soaking up the Culture in Ouseburn
Ouseburn is often referred to as the cultural quarter of Newcastle as it’s popular with creative types and music lovers thanks to a thriving live music scene and plethora of small independent businesses.
I’ll always have a soft spot for Ouseburn as I met my James at a Northern Soul night taking place at The Cluny which sits in the heart of this vibrant community – but it’s also a great place to explore for a family day out.
Just next door to the Cluny is Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books. I’ve had some lovely afternoons here with the kids. On my last visit with Sadie we were lucky enough to hear a reading of The Bear and the Piano by the author David Litchfield.
The wonderful Ouseburn Farm is just a few steps away too, we love to pop in and say hello to the pigs. Plus, just up the hill is Stepney Bank Stables which I’ve heard great things about. I hope to take the kids for a horse riding lesson there when they’re a bit older.
If you’ve experienced any of these delights or you’d like to share your thoughts on other places for a fun family day out in the North East, be sure to leave me a comment below!