11 Things to Do by the Coast on a Rainy Day
Don’t let the sea mist dampen your day. Head indoors, or a little inland to keep everyone happy
Travel back in time to Anglo-Saxon Britain at Jarrow Hall where you can explore the life of the Venerable Bede, meet friendly farm animals, and browse the treasure trove of Anglo-Saxon artefacts here. Shelter from bad weather in the house which is home to their independent coffee shop, Hive Coffee Company – the perfect place to refuel.
Church Bank, Jarrow NE32 3DY
0191 424 1585 jarrowhall.com
Ford & Etal
Home to the Joicey family for more than 100 years, this working estate (just a few miles inland from Holy Island and Bamburgh) has heritage attractions, tempting places to eat, drink and shop and even accommodation – plenty to keep you busy in bad weather. Ride a steam train or explore the Victorian schoolroom with walls covered in huge Pre-Raphaelite paintings. There are plenty of events scheduled throughout summer too, so check out their website to plan your next visit.
Cornhill-on-Tweed TD12 4JT
Venture into Britain’s most haunted historic castle. Just 20 minutes from the coast, it’s the perfect family day out. Marvel at the weapons in the armoury, beware of the painting of the haunting witch (who curses those who steal from Chillingham) in the Still Room and admire the Elizabethan chamber. But the bravest of the bunch might want to explore the Torture Chamber or join the evening ghost tours, which are always entertaining.
Chillingham, Alnwick NE66 5NJ
Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery
Head back in time and discover 10,000 years of history in one visit at Bailiffgate Museum. Their permanent collection of artefacts, documents, photographs and audio-visual content (across two floors) mean you can spend the whole day here, and the gallery on the third floor hosts ever-changing exhibitions. Their summer exhibition Beside the Seaside promises plenty of family fun – take part in the mouse hunt, become a museum detective, take photographs or see a puppet show.
14 Bailiffgate, Alnwick NE66 1LX
01665 605847 bailiffgatemuseum.co.uk
Alnwick Castle & The Alnwick Garden
With more than 950 years of history to discover at the second-largest inhabited castle in the UK, any muggle would enjoy a day exploring here. But a Potterhead will want to visit because Alnwick Castle starred as the magical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and 2002’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Green-fingered fans can head to The Alnwick Garden and wander the 12 acres, home to the famous 120 water jets of the Grand Cascade and the stunning Rose and Ornamental gardens. Mini diggers are on hand, there’s daily summer street theatre and adventure golf too.
Alnwick NE66 1NQ
Berwick Museum and Art Gallery
Learn all about the history of Berwick as you walk through the recreated old town here. Once you’ve learned everything you need to know about the Middle Ages, enjoy the masterpieces from the magnificent Berwick Burrell Collection. There’s also artwork by L.S Lowry which you won’t want to miss. Meanwhile, throughout summer, you’ll want to see the beautiful paper cut artwork by artist Bethan Maddocks as part of Of the Sea and Of the Sky: A Northumberland Menagerie. Read more about that exhibition at livingnorth.com.
The Clock Block, Ravensdowne Barracks,
Berwick TD15 1DG
01670 624455 museumsnorthumberland.org.uk
On Longsands beachfront, step into this underwater oasis and meet sealife from both our local shores and tropical seas. Tynemouth Aquarium have also created a seal hospital, taking in seal pups who have been left injured to nurse them back to health. Learn about sealife at the regular talks and feeds, discover everything from seahorses to stonefish and piranhas, and don’t miss the sensational seal show.
Grand Parade, Tynemouth NE30 4JF
0191 258 1031
Heugh Battery Museum
At the only First World War battlefield in the UK, the Heugh Battery Museum commemorates the Bombardment of the Hartlepools in December 1914. You can learn about the role of the Battery during the Second World War too. Browse the collection of military artefacts and artillery pieces, then refuel at Poppy Tea Rooms (where four-legged friends are welcome). Keep an eye on their website for ongoing events at the museum.
Moor Terrace, Headland, Hartlepool TS24 0PS
01429 270746 heughbattery.co.uk
National Glass Centre
Sunderland’s glass heritage is renowned across Britain and this is where you can discover how glass arrived in Britain and how it’s made – you can even have a go yourself. Saint Benedict Biscop first brought glass-making to Sunderland, and Britain, back in the 7th Century AD and the resident glass-makers and blowers here are keeping the tradition alive. Don’t miss the exhibitions on site, where you can see the finest examples of glass and ceramic work.
Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL
0191 515 5555
From fashion and beauty, to gifts and food, all your favourite stores are at Royal Quays – so shop ‘til you drop. But that’s not all. Let the little ones learn in the Acorn & Oak Play Café (a role play-based café designed to help children develop through imaginative play) or burn off some steam in Inflata Nation – an inflatable park with 20,000 square feet of exciting inflatable activities, as well as gaming tech.
Coble Dene, North Shields NE29 6DW
0191 296 3743
The Word, overlooking the River Tyne (which you can look out across via the telescopes on level two), is the National Centre for the Written Word, and a great place to spark creativity. Their digital media wall has six large tablets with 11 colouring and drawing activities for children to experiment with, and the gaming zone is sure to keep them busy. The Word Library has an impressive 70,000 (and counting) books to browse too.
45 Market Place, South Shields NE33 1JF
0191 427 1818 theworduk.org