The latest stories, straight to your inbox

The latest stories, straight to your inbox

Be inspired every day with Living North

Subscribe today and get every issue delivered direct to your door
Subscribe Now
Be inspired every day with Living North
Free Ways to Fill Your Days This Half Term Clockwise from left: Creswell Beach | Sheffield Botanical Garden | York Cat Trail | Great North Museum
February 2024
Reading time 4 Minutes

No need to feel the pinch this February, we have you covered

With the February half term upon us, we've rounded up the best ways to fill your days with the kids - and they're all completely free!
Cresswell Beach Cresswell Beach

Beside the seaside…

All along the North East and Yorkshire coastline there are outstanding spots of natural beauty which are free to enjoy with the family and a perfect way to blow the cobwebs off. Cresswell Beach in Northumberland is a lovely, quiet spot for a walk with the family (and any four-legged friends). Less busy than the popular Druridge Bay to the north, the gently sloping beach has extensive sand dunes and some rocky areas at low tide – perfect for rockpooling. At night, it is a great location for some amateur stargazing too. Boggle Hole in Yorkshire is just south of Robin Hood’s Bay and is another great choice for a quiet day at the beach with a mixture of flat rock and sand as well as stunning views of the nearby cliffs. If sand really isn’t your thing but the sea is, we recommend St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay. At low tide, you can walk over to the island and explore the history of the place. Keep your eyes peeled for the seals that like to rest on the rocks below and make sure you explore the rockpools around the causeway. At Flamborough Head, home to the largest seabird colony in Britain, it might be a bit early for some migrating birds but you will still be able to see plenty of wildlife including seals bobbing about below.

Museum mischief…

From Saturday 17th until Sunday 25th February, the Great North Museum in Newcastle is hosting a range of free events to keep the kids entertained. Particular highlights include the Hidden Worlds of Nature on Tuesday 20th from 10am–2pm where families can create papier-mâché gem models and meet some of the museum’s fantastic skeletons with the Natural Sciences team. On Thursday 22nd, you can get stuck in and make your very own Roman altar and visit the museum’s resident mummy. In York, The National Railway Museum is hosting free events for half term until Sunday 25th February. Have fun with bubble geometry as the kids learn all about shapes and angles, or visit the iconic Flying Scotsman, one of the most famous trains in the world. Tickets need to be booked in advance but are completely free.

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
The Hepworth Wakefield
National Railway Museum

Aysgarth Falls | Northumberlandia Aysgarth Falls | Northumberlandia

Wonderful wildlife…

Running until 1st June, head to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens for a free wildlife spotters activity sheet which includes puzzles and challenges centred around the natural world. Why not do your own wildlife spotting? Staveley Nature Reserve, just north of Knaresborough, is a great wetland environment with plenty of opportunity to spot the local birds at the bird hides throughout the reserve. Keep your eyes peeled for the Highland cattle that graze the land, and it is not unheard of to see otters, roe deer and, if you’re very quiet, water shrews too. The impressive natural sculpture and country park at Northumberlandia is also a great place to check out the local wildlife. The ponds have been known to attract birds including the little grebe, herons, the tufted duck and the great crested newt. Besides the wildlife, walk to the top of the sculpture and enjoy uninterrupted views of the surrounding area.

Arty clarty…

At the Baltic Centre For Contemporary Art in Gateshead, they are hosting a Cereal Disco and Doodle event from 21st–25th February, running from 9.30am–11am each day. Join the team in the Front Room for free cereal, fruit and juice as well as great tunes and the chance to have some fun sketching. Free tea and coffee continues throughout the day so make sure you grab a cup to take away as you explore the rest of the gallery. Are you a Wakefield district resident? If so, The Hepworth Wakefield is free to visit and until Sunday 18th February you and your family can enjoy workshops and activities to keep everyone entertained including the Space, Rhythm and Print workshop, where you can make your own print to take home.

Woodland walks…

With so much beautiful green space across the North East and Yorkshire, it would be a shame not to explore it this half term. In the Yorkshire Dales National Park, we recommend paying a visit to the stunning Aysgarth Falls, which can be reached from a starting point at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Car Park. The three-stepped waterfalls have attracted a number of famous visitors over the centuries including Wordsworth and Turner, and were also used in filming for Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Just north of Leeds, you can explore the trail through Meanwood Valley, a seven-mile route that can be explored in sections or all together. Further north, Humford Woods in Northumberland is a wonderful place for a woodland walk, with easy inclines and stepping stones across a shallow section of the River Blyth. If you don’t want to travel out into the country for some greenery, Sheffield Botanical Gardens are free to explore and have more than 18 different areas of wonderfully-curated plant life to wander through.

Spofforth Castle Spofforth Castle

Perfect pastime…

Head to York for their fun and free Cat Trail. Originally these cat statues were placed on buildings in the city to frighten away vermin like rats and mice, and were thought to ward off evil spirits and be a sign of good luck. Although they’re no longer needed for their original purpose, the charming statues remain dotted throughout the city. Wrap up warm and keep your eyes peeled for some feisty felines. We recommend starting the trail in the Shambles with the handy guide to help you along with clues for each cat.

History buff…

Although lots of historical sites require tickets, there are plenty that are completely free to explore. There are points across the region where you can see the ruined remains of Hadrian’s Wall and Walltown Crags at Greenhead is a great choice. Follow the ancient trail as it snakes through the stunning countryside and see how those who built the wall coped with working in the rugged landscape. Spofforth Castle near Harrogate is the ruined remains of a once great manor house and was the historic seat of the Percy family until the 14th century. Construction was started on the site in the 11th century by William de Percy who was a favourite of William the Conqueror. The impressive ruins of Easby Abbey can be found by the River Swale in North Yorkshire. Founded in 1152, you can still explore the refectory, gatehouse and the parish church which is still in use.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Please read our Cookie policy.