Our Rainy-Day Guide to the North East and Yorkshire Coast
When the sea mist hits – we’ve got you covered
Berwick Museum & Art Gallery
Learn all about the history of Berwick as you walk through the recreated old town here. Meet some of its fascinating characters and find out about the old ways of life (including the Mayor’s power to sentence people to death!), see how the sea shaped local industries, be transported back to the turbulent Middle Ages, or discover the most important art collection in public ownership in Northumberland.
Berwick Museum & Art Gallery
The Clock Block, Ravensdowne Barracks, Berwick TD15 1DG
The National Centre for the Written Word is a state-of-the-art cultural venue, crammed with exciting experiences, activities and facilities to help people of all ages engage with and enjoy writing – from a digital media wall and FabLab, to an immersive storytelling experience and interactive touch-tables. Home to 70,000 books, The Word is hosting summer reading challenges and events, for the kids and for the whole family.
45 Market Place, South Shields NE33 1JF
0191 427 1818
Most visitors to Northumberland will know of the grim and bloody history of this Border county, but seldom will they receive so vivid an impression of its reality as at Preston Pele Tower. Built from 1392–1399, when warfare between England and Scotland was endemic, some rooms have been furnished as they might have been in the 14th century, and there are fascinating displays and information about the life of the Border reivers.
Preston, Chathill NE67 5DH
Built around 1785, Jarrow Hall House and the adjacent Bede Monastery Museum tells the story of Bede – author, scholar, linguist and translator, who was widely regarded as the ‘father of English history’. Complemented by a number of replica timber-framed buildings on site (based on structures excavated within Anglo-Saxon Northumbria), the Anglo-Saxon farm and village here is also home to the closest possible examples of the farm animals that would have been present 1,300 years ago. If the weather clears up, you can explore their medieval physic garden too.
Church Bank, Jarrow NE32 3DY
0191 424 1585
Each year, Bamburgh Castle captivates thousands of visitors from across the globe with its incredible history, dramatic views and treasure-trove collection of unique pieces that tell the story of Bamburgh’s many reincarnations over the centuries, from Anglo Saxon Royal palace to the ‘perfect castle’ as envisioned by Victorian inventor and industrialist the First Lord Armstrong. Dogs are welcome too.
Bamburgh, NE69 7DF
Arbeia South Shields Roman Fort
Discover what life was like in Roman Britain in this meticulous reconstruction of the fort that defended the coast and the sea route to Hadrian’s Wall. Archaeologists have been excavating at Arbeia since the 1870s and the museum is now home to an impressive collection including coins, jewellery and swords. Bring your four-legged friends along as it’s dog-friendly too.
Baring Street, South Shields NE33 2BB
0191 277 1410
National Glass Centre
Sunderland is rich in glass-making heritage – so the National Glass Centre offers an extraordinary day out full of creativity and culture. See how glass is blown first hand with the help of the centre’s 1,000 degree furnace during fascinating glass-blowing demonstrations, where you’ll see the expert team crafting stunning pieces before your eyes. As well as getting creative, there are many exhibits here – with the centre boasting interchanging glass-works seasonally throughout the year.
Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL
0191 515 5555
This visitor attraction devoted to the North East’s mining history plays host to more than 80 original artworks by The Pitmen Painters – whose story inspired Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall. That’s not all to see here, with the museum currently exhibiting The Dark Town Miners’ Social Club until the end of October, as well as daily tours and talks to experience during the summer.
Queen Elizabeth II Country Park, Ashington NE63 9YF
Jam Jar Cinema
Jam Jar Cinema was named for the historic practice of getting discounted rates when you handed a jam jar in at the box office. This cosy community cinema is a far cry from the multiplexes you’ll find in the centre of any city, but it still shows all the latest releases – meaning you’ll be sure to please everybody while enjoying a little bit of coastal culture, with a homely bar area for before or after your film.
18–24 Park Avenue, Whitley Bay NE26 1DG
One of Britain’s most iconic castles, Alnwick Castle has served as a military outpost, a teaching college, a refuge for evacuees, a film set (not least for the Harry Potter franchise) and as a family home. You’ll want to take your time delving deep into the secrets hidden within the ancient walls of this ever-evolving castle.
Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1NQ
Step inside this 13th century stronghold and you can lay claim to having visited Britain’s most haunted castle. Famed for the battles that have raged in and around its walls, this medieval fort is just 30 minutes from the seaside and is steeped in history – the galleries that you see today were added in the Tudor era (for the visit of King James VI of Scotland while en route to his English coronation), its magnificent gardens were landscaped by Capability Brown in the 18th century, and their Torture Chamber and Ghost Tours are sure to spook as the sea mist closes in.
Chillingham, Alnwick NE66 5NJ
Sunderland Museum And Winter Gardens
With a collection dating back to 1846, there are plenty of surprises to be found here – including the world’s largest collection of Sunderland-made pottery and a series of projects, workshops and exploration events throughout the summer. In celebration of their 20th birthday, the Winter Gardens are hosting a Birthday Trail this summer, providing clues throughout the hunt for 20 great ways to protect our planet.
Burdon Road, Sunderland SR1 1PP
0191 561 2323
Bram Stoker’s Dracula Experience
This eerily-gripping show offers a unique tour through Bram Stoker’s famous story – taking you back to 1885, when a Russian schooner ran aground in Whitby Harbour. Mysteriously, all the crew were already dead, and a huge black dog (known to be one of the many forms a vampire could take) was seen running up the steps towards Whitby Abbey...
9 Marine Parade, Whitby YO21 3PR
Robin Hood’s Bay Museum
Once a coroner’s room and mortuary, before being turned into a Reading Room for the people of Robin Hood’s Bay in 1900, the village’s museum displayed its first temporary exhibition in 1980 and, since then, has amassed a fascinating collection of items of local interest. Well worth a visit on a rainy day.
Fisherhead, Robin Hood’s Bay YO22 4TQ
This independent Victorian museum is full of amazing treasures. Explore stunning collections of local fossils, natural history, model ships, carved jet, toys, costumes and social history – with standout artefacts from the famous whaling family, the Scoresbys, as well as intrepid explorer Captain Cook.
Pannett Park, Whitby YO21 1RE
Scarborough Art Gallery
Scarborough Art Gallery houses a permanent collection of fine art, which has grown through gifts, bequests and purchases since its beginnings in 1947 – reflecting the vibrant and diverse cultural heritage of the local community. Be sure not to miss the work of Frederic Lord Leighton and Frank Brangwyn, alongside prints and drawings by many other notable British artists.
The Crescent, Scarborough YO11 2PW
Originally a single-storey cobble building in the 16th century, this farmhouse now has a country kitchen with an inglenook fireplace, a parlour, bedroom, dairy and washhouse (all with Victorian furnishings), and three additional rooms used for temporary exhibitions. The adjacent Whitedale building traces the history of the Hull-to-Hornsea Railway, there’s a Victorian schoolroom to explore in Swallow Cottage, and the large garden is flanked by traditional workshops.
11–17 Newbegin, Hornsea HU18 1AB
Burton Constable Hall
Overflowing with history, enjoy a tour around Burton Constable Hall and be transported back in time – admiring the smorgasbord of hidden treasures along the way. Meander through the grand rooms filled with fine art and furniture, discover the new exhibition – Drink, Dance and Decadence – and uncover fascinating characters from the Constable family over the past 500 years.
Skirlaugh, Hull HU11 4LN
Perched high on a cliff, it’s easy to see how the haunting remains of Whitby Abbey inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula. Modern visitors can now sink their teeth into years of history and stunning sea views – once you’ve managed the 199 steps ups from the harbour. Follow in the footsteps of artists, writers and religious leaders to explore the gothic ruins, and visit the museum to find out more about how the abbey inspired them.
Whitby YO22 4JT
Captain Cook Birthplace Museum
Did you know that the famous Captain Cook was born locally? Well, he was – in Marton, to be exact. His birthplace opened as a museum in 1978, on the 250th anniversary of his birth, and contains a number of items connected to the explorer and his seafaring adventures. The museum will reopen this July to keep the kids entertained during the summer holidays.
Stewart Park, Marton, Middlesbrough TS7 8AT
One of the oldest purpose-built museums still in use in the UK, it’s filled with fossils found on Yorkshire’s coast as well as objects from Star Carr and the skeleton and coffin of a Bronze Age man. This 19th century, Grade-II listed museum is a real treasure trove to explore.
Vernon Road, Scarborough YO11 2PS
The Italian Gardens
One of the most-loved and most beautiful features of the South Cliff Gardens, the Italian Gardens were created in the early 20th century by Scarborough landscape designer Harry W Smith. The work took more than 40 years to complete and today they feature formal planting, seating and a fishpond overseen by the Roman god, Mercury.
Esplanade, Scarborough YO11 2UZ
Sitting proudly on the prominent headland between the town’s North and South Bays, Scarborough Castle offers panoramic views from its battlement platforms. Its iconic 12th-century great tower is the centrepiece of a royal castle, which was begun by Henry II, and you can walk around the ruin learning more about the castle’s vital role in the middle ages and the civil war.
Scarborough YO11 1HY
Ravenscar WW2 Radar Station
This historic coastal defence station, situated on a cliff edge just south of Ravenscar village, was constructed in 1941 alongside several barrack blocks. Explore the remains of the four buildings – a transmitter/receiver block, fuel store, engine house and a communications hut, once used as a radar station, and take in the commanding sea views.
Ravenscar YO13 0EU
0344 249 1895
Hull and East Riding Museum
Enter the world of an Iron Age village, medieval mosaics and Saxon invaders at Hull and East Riding Museum. The museum explores more than 235 million years of history, and it’s full of fun, education and a unique look into the majestic mammoths that once roamed our land. In the Roman galleries, discover objects from ritual and daily life in Roman Britain, with replica villages taking you back in time.
36 High Street, Hull HU1 1NQ
The Streetlife Museum of Transport exhibits more than 200 years of transport history, with five informative galleries giving you a glimpse of Hull in years gone by. With reconstructed bustling streets, period shops and city walls, experience the preserved 1940s streets of Hull brick-by-brick. Climb aboard a 1930s tram or enjoy the pleasures of an old-fashioned carriage ride, with the museum also offering free admission for all.
High Street, Hull HU1 1PS
Sewerby Hall and Gardens
With gorgeous gardens and spectacular views over Bridlington, Sewerby Hall and Gardens offers something for everyone. The Grade I-listed building has a long history and is home to several impressive pieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as other significant collections. There’s a Clock Tower Cafe adjacent to the house, and flocks of penguins and other creatures to meet at Sewerby Hall’s very own zoo.
Sewerby, Bridlington YO15 1ED