The Top 10 Free and Cheap Half Term Family Activities in the North East
With the cost of what seems like everything going up, we've all had to look for ways to cut back on spending, but that doesn't need to come at the expense of spending time as a family
Bring the whole family along for an adventure at Durham Cathedral this half term. Children can get crafty and learn how to make new things with craft activities centred around re-using and recycling materials to make something fun. You can also follow the Bede the Bear trail around the cathedral, curl up with a book in the reading nook, explore the areas once used as Harry Potter Filming Locations and see Tunnel of Light in the cloisters.
Durham DH1 3EH
0191 338 7178
Free for Welly Dogs, £1.50 for Valentine’s Trail
The Welly Dogs are returning to Saltholme for February half-term and this time, they are bringing friends with them. Can you find them all, and spot the odd ones out? While you’re looking you can also help Harry Otter find the perfect valentine gift on his Valentine’s Trail. Just pick up your trail sheet at reception, and then when you’re done make your very own Valentine’s card for someone special.
Seaton Carew Road, Stockton, TS2 1TU
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Ponteland Leisure Centre
Open every day, just check swim timetable
From £2.50 ages four to 17 years, free for under fours
Burn off some energy at Ponteland Leisure Centre. With a 25-metre main pool for lane swimming, as well as an aquasplash zone and learner pool, there is something for families of all ages. If that wasn’t enough, you can also let the kids run wild in the rainforest themed softplay, or reach new heights at the Clip ‘n’ Climb climbing wall, before finally refuelling in the HIVE Café.
Callerton Lane, Ponteland NE20 9EG
Free entry and paid-for events
This half term, Seven Stories presents Putrid Pasts. Expect plenty of gory stories to keep the whole family entertained across their Half-Term Histories week! From Crafts in Clay where you can create your own tealight holder with Latin letters and Anglo-Saxon runes, to an Egyptian Workshop where you’ll design your own canopic jar to store the insides of a Pharaoh, as well as A Time-Travelling History experience, there is so much to get involved with.
30 Lime Street, Newcastle NE1 2PQ
0300 330 1095
Open every day
£4 for the activity pack
Get ready to head out with Zog on his latest forest adventure at Kielder Forest this half term. With colourful panels, fun activity pack and an amazing new augmented reality app to guide you, follow the trail to find out how your little dragons can help care for the forest, others and themselves. When you get to the end don’t forget to do the crayon rubbing to complete your certificate and take a selfie with Zog.
Forest Drive, Kielder NE48 1ER
0345 155 0236
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Children £5.40, Under fives free, Family £23.40
Join characters from the past for historical hijinks and hands-on shenanigans at Warkworth Castle this half term. Discover the reigns of the five young kings of Medieval and Tudor England. How successful do you think they were? Could you do any better? You’ll also have the chance to get involved in a sword fight at word school and take a trip to the armour tent to find out which weapon each king used.
Castle Terrace, Warkworth NE65 0UJ
0370 333 1181
Washington Wetland Centre
Children £6, Under fours free, Family £27.95
Mud is a miracle. Bugs and mini-beasts live in it. Birds and insects make their homes from it. And at Washington Wetland Centre’s all new Mudfest this half term, you’ll discover the magic of mud and just how much fun it can be. Be prepared to get messy and discover that there’s more to mud than meets the eye, on a family day out you’ll remember long after you’ve washed off your wellies.
Pattinson, Washington NE38 8LE
0191 416 5454
Free to enter, £3 per trail download
Northumberlandia is a unique piece of public art set in a 46-acre community park and, with free public access and four miles of footpaths on and around the landform, it is a great way to get some fresh air as a family. To make even more of a day of it, this February half term you can get the family-friendly, downloadable trail that will help you explore the site and find out some interesting facts about the location and wildlife that lives there along the way.
Fisher Lane, Cramlington NE23 8AU
0191 284 6884
St. Mary’s Lighthouse
Open everyday, just check causeway times
Children £2, Family £9
Reached between the tides via a short causeway, St. Mary’s has all the fascination of a miniature, part-time island. Climb the 137 steps to the top of the lighthouse for the most spectacular views of the North East coast, or explore the surrounding nature reserve which contains an area of rockpools, clifftop grassland, a beach and a newly created wetland habitats. If you’re lucky, seals are often spotted surrounding the lighthouse too!
St. Mary’s Island, Whitley Bay NE26 4RS
0191 643 4777
Jesmond Dene and Pet’s Corner
Open every day
Jesmond Dene is the jewel in the crown of Newcastle’s parks and green spaces. Packed full of historic and natural features, there’s plenty of space to run around in the park. The selection of animals and birds in this corner of Jesmond Dene will keep the family entertained for hours. Next door you’ll find the Visitor Centre which includes a gift shop, café, classroom and toilets. Plus, there’s usually a handy ice cream van parked up to perk everyone up when needed.
Red Walk, Jesmond Dene NE7 7BQ
0191 814 4574