12 best family days out in the North East: Cheap things to do with your kids

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  • Welcome to our family days out in the North East section! Here we’ve listed our top 12 favourite things to do with the family in the area…

    With so much to do with the kids, we know it can be difficult to find the best family days out in the North East. From becoming Indiana Jones to operating your own digger, we think this list will keep your kids happy for days to come! And even better, it’s all budget friendly.

    These are the best family days out in the North East

    1. Hadrians Wall and Fort, Hexham

    Open July 4. 

    family days out in the North East

    imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

    This amazing historical site is an absolute must! With stunning views and natural wilderness, explore the wall that separated England from the Scots in the Roman’s time. Visit the fort for a real insight into Roman military life and the archaeological remains that have been found. If you want to get your kids out in the fresh air, this is the perfect day out for all the family.

    Best for: The whole family – including the family pet!

    Ages: 4+

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    2. The Forbidden Corner, Coverham

    Opens July 4.

    family days out in the North East

    Forbiddencorner/Facebook

    This unique day trip will make your children feel like a real-life Indiana Jones or Lara Croft! With a labyrinth of tunnels, chambers and surprises, there’s no guarantee that you will ever escape! At every turn there are decisions to make and tricks to avoid. Winner of the Tripadvisor 2015 Certificate of Excellence, you may need to hone your survival skills before your venture out.

    Best for: A sunny day

    Ages: 5+

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    3. Bolton Castle, Leyburn

    Reopening July 11. 

    This might just be the most exciting castle we’ve ever come across. Not only does it offer a beautiful castle steeped in history, and equally stunning gardens, but you can watch the daily birds of prey display, try your hand at archery, feed the wild boar and dress up in medieval costumes. Your children will leave feeling as though they just travelled back in time to 600 years ago. This is one of the family days out in the North East that will really let you in on the region’s fascinating history.

    Best for: History lovers

    Ages: 4+

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    4. Diggerland, Durham

    Opening July 11. 

    Diggerland is a theme park where children can ride, drive and operate full size construction machinery. Think it sounds a little like a health and safety nightmare? Don’t worry, everything’s child-friendly and super fun! Try out the digger rides, including excavating with a 6 tonne digger! There are also play areas, sandpits and fun spaces for smaller kids. For all those ‘Bob the Builder’ fans, this will be a theme park trip like no other.

    Best for: Fun!

    Ages: To ride the diggers, children need to reach the height requirement.

    5. North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Pickering

    Opening August 1. 

    family days out in the North East

    Escape the hustle and bustle of the city as you climb aboard this wonderful heritage steam train. Travel through the breathtaking Yorkshire countryside and hop off at Grosmont, better known to Harry Potter fans as Hogsmeade. Take a trip to Whitby, or check out the special events and themed journeys. A relaxing day for all the family, take a picnic and hop off the train to enjoy the countryside.

    Best for: The whole family
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    6. Big Sheep and Little Cow Farm, Bedale

    Temporarily closed until further notice. 

    Unlike most farms, this unique attraction allows visitors to hold and feed the animals. A real hands-on experience, your kids will relish the opportunity to bottle feed a lamb, calf or piglet. Make sure to time your visit to ensure they haven’t grown up too much! Once you’re done with the animals there’s a great play barn, tractor rides and go-karts. This will be one of your little ones favourite family days out in the North East – they’ll love getting to meet all the cute creatures.

    Best for: Hands-on experience

    Ages: 4+

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    7. York Dungeon, York

    Temporarily closed until further notice.

    family days out in the North East

    Credit: YorkDungeon/Facebook

    Scare your kids silly by taking them to this interactive, spine chilling dungeon which will make for one of the most spooky family days out in the North East for sure. Witness some of York’s most gruesome history come to life such as the plague and Guy Fawkes. Travel through time and learn all about the darkest secrets York has to offer. This is not a day trip to be taken lightly, but for those old enough, it’s a really exciting attraction, as long as you come out in one piece!

    Best for: The fearless

    Ages: 8+ (at parent or guardian’s discretion)

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    8. LaserZone, Castleford

    Temporarily closed until further notice.

    family days out in the North East
    What better way to get the kids off the screens, than by allowing them to shoot each other? (Laser only!) A derelict spacecraft has landed, surrounded by smoke, lights and enemies. Explore the multi-level arena and shoot your opponents to score points. This active day out is bound to keep the kids entertained for hours!

    Best for: Rainy days

    Ages: 6+

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    9. Noah’s Ark Family Centre, Thornaby

    Temporarily closed.

    A great place for the whole family as kids can run wild and parents can even join in the fun too. All weather conditions are catered for thanks to the indoor and outdoor play structures that allow families to engage in active and exploratory play. There’s even a Family Activity Area which offers construction play, role play, mess play and a reading corner! Kids of all ages will love the 3 level adventure play structure, which is designed to amuse kids up to the age of 12 with trampolines, spiral slides and a ball pool.

    Best for: Children under 12

    Ages: 3+

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    10. Seven Stories, Newcastle Upon Tyne

    Temporarily closed.

    family days out in the North East

    7Stories/Facebook

    Perfect for younger kids, this amazing charity brings stories to life. Under 4’s can enjoy the Story Station, with sensory boxes and other interactive items to act out the story. Explore the Nursery Rhyme Room and discover old and new stories and learn how they are put together. This great day out will introduce your kids to the wonderful world of reading and show them just how magical it can be.

    Best for: Under 8s

    Ages: 3+

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    11. BBC Newcastle Tour, Newcastle

    Temporarily closed for 2020. 

    family days out in the North East

    Bbctours/Facebook

    Take your kids on a tour of the BBC studios to give them an idea of just how the images are broadcast to their TV. Tours show how a radio show is produced, just how a presenter knows what to say and even gives you the chance to try your hand at one of their ‘Horrible Histories: Gory Games’. As a special treat, fans of the show Tracy Beaker can dress up and enter the ‘Dumping Ground’ set.

    Best for: Over 5s
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    12. Hartlepools Maritime Experience, Hartlepool

    Temporarily closed.

    Bringing to life the time of Nelson, Napoleon and the Battle of Trafalgar, The National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool is a superb re-creation of an 18th century seaport. Travel back in time to experience how it was aboard a real British naval frigate, explore the authentic quayside with its period shops and houses and discover the Children’s Maritime Adventure Centre, including a large wooden play-ship!

    Best for: The whole family!

    Ages: 6+

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    Do you know of any great things to do in the North East of England with the family? List any hidden gems you know about on our Facebook page and we might even feature them in our round-up!