Planning a well-deserved stay away with the kids? There are loads of things to do in Newcastle, whether you’ve got a budding scientist or an aspiring detective in the family! What makes the city especially good for little legs is that it’s compact and easy to get around on foot or by Metro.
Plant yourselves right in the middle of it all at our Newcastle aparthotel and use this guide to get some inspiration for your trip.
LIFE SCIENCE CENTRE
The Life Science Centre is a must for budding young scientists. You could easily spend a whole day here, it’s absolutely huge and packed to the rafters with scientific fun for all ages. Shh – just don’t tell the kids that they’re actually learning!
The brain zone will boggle your minds with optical illusions and lots of interactive activities to try. Our favourite exhibit is one that dares you to drink from a water fountain which looks like a toilet (eek!). In the experiment zone kids can don a little lab coat, get to grips with a pipette and have a go at some experiments.
There are exhibitions that change throughout the year (we caught the We are Aliens), the north’s biggest planetarium, live demonstrations, a new 7 Digistar Technology - Explore the Solar System, from the valleys of Mars to the deep oceans of Jupiter’s moon, Europa. You. Have. To. Go.
Where: Life Science Centre, Times Square, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4EP
BALTIC CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
Family-friendly isn’t the first word that springs to mind when you think of contemporary art but the Baltic goes against the grain. Think colourful and tactile exhibitions and artworks, which will capture imaginations, in big, open gallery spaces.
Head to the viewing box to get an eyeful of the city from the sky and for an epic game of eye spy. Pick up an explorer pack from the welcome desk and get hands-on at one of the regular family events. Stop by Baltic’s Learning Lounge, an informal learning space where your little learner learns and plays. The best bit? You don’t have to book a slot, just drop-in for free anytime Wed-Sun 10am-6pm or simply enjoy whizzing up and down the building in the glass lifts.
And the best news? Entry is completely free so there’s no need to sweat about your budget! The cafe is also well thought out for families, with kids’ lunch options, enough space for prams and highchairs to borrow.
Where: S Shore Rd, Gateshead NE8 3BA
MOG ON THE TYNE
This quirky cat cafe on a side street just off Bigg Market, is the place to take young David Attenborough wannabes. Get ready to make lots of furry new friends in this cosy, little place – all of the cats have been rescued and each have their own unique personality that you’re bound to fall in love with. We adored FINCH for being super playful and his liking towards human food is absolutely cute. He is not daft so you better have an eye on your food before Finch eats it all!
Make yourself comfy with hot chocolate, marshmallows and cream and homemade cakes (but expect a cat to climb onto your knee!), while the kids play with the kitties. Or channel your inner child and get involved as the cats scale scratching towers, pad along rope ladders and dive through tunnels chasing their toys. It’s the best £6 you’ll ever spend!
Be sure to book in advance as Mog on the Tyne is very popular and check their website for guidance around young children before you go.
Where: 24 Pudding Chare, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1UE
Once you’ve snapped a family selfie with the tank outside, head into the Discovery Museum and wrap your eyes around a 34 metre long, steam powered ship named Turbinia. It was built in Wallsend on Tyne and was the fastest ship in the world at the time. Be warned it’ll be hard to tear mini transport enthusiasts away but there’s plenty more to explore!
Beginning in Roman Newcastle, travel through time and find out all about the history of the city. The Science Maze is a major highlight with lots of opportunities to get hands-on. It’s split into four zones themed around light, communication, electricity, magnetism and force. There’s a little soft play area too, to entertain tiny tots while the bigger kids get stuck in.
The children can have a blast at a free family event – Wonky Olympics at Discovery Museum that is super fun for kids and adults – a comedic act that’ll get you moving. Expect to have a crack at assault courses and get fit, while smiling.
You’ll be glad to know that the entry to the museum is completely free.
Where: Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4JA
You just can’t leave Newcastle without paying a visit to Seven Stories! It’s a place where young imaginations can run wild and it’s not just for book lovers. Draw, make, paint and write your way through all seven floors of this vibrant building.
As you might have guessed, this place is all about celebrating children’s literature. Grab a sensory backpack to make the most of your visit, stop by the studio to get creative or dive into one of the many ever-changing exhibitions or you can even settle in with a coffee and a good book in their independent bookshop and cafe on Level 3.
Discover the UK’s best loved book reading sessions 6 days a week from 10am-5pm. Or you can bring your sweetest tiny tot to early years sessions at Seven Stories throughout the week.
Join your story catcher to enjoy one of the kids’ favourite books brought to life in the unique Seven Stories style. There are special events throughout the year too so be sure to check out what’s on before you go.
Where: 30 Lime St, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2PQ
THE NEWCASTLE SPY MISSION TREASURE TRAIL
If you’re keen to get out in the fresh air then the Newcastle Spy Mission Treasure Trail is the thing to do. There’ll be no more moaning about going for a walk when your little spies are immersed in their detective work – it’s a win-win situation!
This two miles, self-guided trail will lead you along the quayside and past some of Newcastle’s hidden historic sites. Get ready with your best clue solving skills – there are 22 to crack along the way. Extra clues are just a text away if you’re getting stuck and if you get it all right you’ll be entered into a draw to win some real treasure.
It’s suitable for anyone over six but, even if you’ve got younger children, the route is pushchair friendly. Just download the booklet from the Treasure Trail site and you’re ready to go.
Where: Newcastle city centre.