United by seven bridges, Newcastle is a diverse and extremely vibrant visitor destination. With so many different areas – each offering new sights, sounds and experiences – you’ll be amazed at how much is on offer. Whatever your family’s tastes, these fun things to do in Newcastle will ensure you make plenty of memories!
World-class culture, award-winning dining, inspiring heritage, fantastic shopping and acclaimed architecture are connected here, as nowhere else, by the infamous Geordie spirit.
Family-Friendly Things to Do in Newcastle
Angel of the North
One of the most well-known aspect of Newcastle and its twinned city Gateshead is artist Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North. This must-see is believed to be the largest angel sculpture in the world.
Installed in 1998, the Angel of the North is made from 200 tonnes of steel, can withstand winds of up to 100mph, and stands 20m high – that’s taller than four double decker buses and with a wingspan as big as a jumbo jet!
This awe-inspiring piece of public art is visited by 150,000 people a year and is one of the most famous sculptures in the UK. Whilst in Newcastle, this unforgettable piece of public art is worth the visit and one your family are sure to remember.
This special place is a not-for-profit charity based right in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne. Bring your family to visit their award-winning, environmentally-friendly building, and spend time with and feed an array of pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, lizards, tortoises or frolic in the meadows, ponds and woodlands.
The environmental and heritage centre is set up to let youngsters learn about environmental issues relevant to their lives, and also teaches them about life in the Ouseburn Valley in days gone by.
You don’t need to worry about the rain spoiling your fun over at the Blue Reef Aquarium. This underwater adventure takes you on a journey from local waters to the more exotic over 40 different displays, where you can marvel at the amazing aquatic life including tropical sharks octopus, seahorses, giant crabs and piranhas.
Gaze in wonder at the black tip reef shark and watch colourful fish swim above your head as you walk through the ocean tunnel. Over on the native sandy sea beds see native sharks, rays and dog fish circle around one another, or check out the amazing otters! Spot the reef fish that speed around the coral and watch out for the claws of the crabs, lobsters and shrimps!
Jesmond Dene Park
Jesmond Dene Park is an oasis of calm by this busy city, and an excellent place to spend the day with the kids. Visit pet’s corner, have a lovely walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery. There are lots of little trails off the beaten track for your Junior explorers!
You will love this narrow wooded valley that follows the river Ouseburn between South Gosforth and Jesmond Vale. There is a spectacular mix of native and exotic trees, and the Dene is home to a lot of wildlife, notably the Kingfisher, the Red Squirrel and many woodland birds.
Near the entrance of Jesmond Dene, just off the Coast Road is Millfield House. This part of the Dene has a large picnic area and a ‘Pet’s Corner’. Enjoy lots of mature trees and bushes, a family-friendly walk along by the small river that runs through, plenty of opportunity for bike riding and dog walking as well as grassed areas for family picnics and a well-deserved rest.
The Discovery Centre
Discover all about life in Newcastle and Tyneside at the Discovery Museum. Not just a clever name, you will discover Newcastle’s rich history – from the area’s renowned maritime past, world-changing science and technology inventions, right through to fashion through the eras and military history.
One of the favourite exhibits – Turbinia – stands proudly at the entrance to the Museum. Invented on Tyneside, it is the first ship to be powered by a steam turbine. The 35m vessel was once the fastest ship in the world and her history is brought to life in the Turbinia Story display.
Reap the benefits of the free entry as this museum is bursting with interactive displays, which makes it the perfect place for your family to learn and have fun.
The Great North Museum
If you are looking for a great place to while away the hours (and all for FREE to boot) you should be sure to check out the Great North Museum where you can explore 350 million years of evolution, complete with a life-size dinosaur skeleton!
This is a wonderful cultural space with loads to see and do for all the family, thanks to an eclectic mix that includes Helen Sharman’s astronaut suit, artefacts from Greek mythology, Egyptian Mummies, pieces from Hadrian’s Wall, dinosaurs, crystals from around the world, and a stellar planetarium.
If that wasn’t enough to tempt, then make sure you check out the Living Planet display, which gives you the chance to investigate and study hundreds of fascinating creatures using a mixture of hands on displays and interactive touch screens. There are live animal tanks, which are always a big hit with younger children, as well as a virtual aquarium, full-sized models of an elephant and a great white shark too!
Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books
With seven floors of exhibitions, storytelling and learning spaces, Seven Stories is the perfect place to let your imagination run wild. With unique exhibitions showcasing children’s favourite authors and stories, a visit here will be a real page turner.
This museum and bookstore is the home to some of the most cherished pieces of UK children’s literature. You’ll find the original artwork of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, a draft of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse and notes from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series.
Seven Stories is accessible for all ages and is a real hit with the parents and grandparents too. You will love seeing titles from your childhood, and when you’re finished you can pass the great memories those books have given you onto your own children. A day out filled with memories and a chance to make new ones they can treasure forever.
Spy Mission Treasure Trail
Take the story of Newcastle into your own hands with a Spy Mission Trail from Treasure Trails, a guidebook that takes you on a self-guided tour of Newcastle, cracking clues along the way.
Over a 2 mile route and 22 clues, you’ll need eagle eyes and serious problem-solving skills. Begin the trail at the north end of the iconic Millennium Bridge and, if you’re lucky, see it being tilted! From here you’ll cross several lesser-known bridges and discover hidden historic sites, all the while keeping an eye out for leads on signs, plaques and buildings across the city.
This family-friendly trail can be done at your own pace, with a free mobile service if you get stuck on a clue… if you think you’ve completed the mission, correct answers are entered into a monthly draw to win £100!
St James’ Park
Located in the heart of the city, St James’ Park is an iconic Newcastle attraction and home to Newcastle United since 1892.
Football fans will enjoy the Classic Tour, which captures the rich history of this magnificent stadium. From the Executive Boxes to the changing rooms, you can get a real insight into Newcastle United’s heritage. Enjoy a Magpie’s view of St James’ Park and beyond, from one the stadium’s highest vantage points. See where the manager delivers his post-match views and player interviews are filmed and beamed all around the world. Experience a walk down the tunnel or sit in your favourite player’s seat in the Home Dressing Room.
Life Science Centre
A dry and lifeless museum experience is a thing of the past, and a trip to the Life Science Centre will see your children live out their aspirations as the next inventor, researcher or scientist!
The Life Science Centre offers a combination of hands-on and display exhibits which have been designed to educate, whilst having some fun in the process. There are also several opportunities to speak with industry experts, from game designers to real life scientists, allowing visitors to get a better understanding of the exhibition.
Newcastle Climbing Centre
If the weather is threatening to spoil your fun and you need somewhere to let off some steam, then why not climb on up to Newcastle Climbing Centre? Situated in the former church of St Mark’s, this spectacular listed building now provides a truly unique climbing environment.
With a gigantic inside height of 15m and over 1,200sqm of climbing walls for roped climbing, lead wall and all kinds of bouldering, whatever your experience there is something for every ability. Children aged 5 and upwards may climb at the Centre under the supervision of a registered adult climber. If you are aged between 7 and 14 years you may join their Junior Rock Club under the supervision of friendly, qualified staff. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
Parklands Mini Golf
Tee off for a family activity that will have you all swinging happy. Parklands Golf Club is set on the grounds of the beautiful High Gosforth Park, and offers a wide range of golfing facilities which caters for golfers of any age and ability.
There is a 28-bay driving range, an 18-hole golf course and an 18-hole mini-golf course. The 18-hole mini golf is suitable for anyone aged from 3 to 103 and offers your family the opportunity to try a challenging course within a fun environment. The course is made of Astroturf, so it’s open all year round and floodlit too so you can play late into the evening on sunnier days. Clubs and balls are provided, as are scorecards to give your game a competitive edge if your family likes a little “friendly” competition!
Upon first inspection this may look like any old tunnel, but the Victoria Tunnel holds a story underneath the city. This masterpiece of Victorian engineering showcases a great slice of history with some ghouls thrown in for good measure!
First used as a waggon-way in the 19th century to transport coal under the city, the tunnel was converted into a shelter for the Newcastle community in 1939 to protect from air raids in World War II. At the Victoria Tunnel, you can re-live these moments in history, see how the tunnel was used and re-live the moments many people shared in this tunnel during the air raids.
There are two tour lengths offered – 1 hr 15 minutes and 2 hours – and during your tour, as well as learning about the Tunnel, you’ll also find out which Newcastle landmarks you are walking beneath, including the unique chance to walk underneath Hadrian’s Roman Wall. Suitable for children over seven years of age.
A Trip to the Seaside
If the weather’s good, why not take a trip to the beach? Fortunately in Newcastle getting there isn’t an issue thanks to the Metro, which can take you from the city centre to the coast in less than 30 minutes.
Newcastle is also close to some of the best beaches in the country. North Tyneside’s Beaches – at Whitley Bay, Long Sands Tynemouth, and King Edward’s Bay – have all been awarded prestigious Blue Flag status. So grab those buckets and spades and make a day of it for seaside adventures and memories of sandcastles, ice creams, paddling, and wave jumping.