As the kids eagerly countdown the days, hours and minutes until their next half-term break from school, parents across the region wonder just how they’ll keep them entertained. After all, you want to give them a half term break to remember, but you don’t want to break the bank.
 
In this blog post, we’ve rounded up some of the best half term days out in the North East to suit all budgets. Ranging from free activities that can help while away an afternoon to entire days out they’ll still be talking about long after they return to school, pick and choose your half term activities and create a week that will entertain, amaze and delight.
 

Free & Cheap Half Term Days Out North East

 

Visit The Beach


Image by Bobmcp from Pixabay.
 
Living in the North East, you’re never far from a beautiful beach. Whether you’re heading to the golden sands of South Shields, Tynemouth, Bamburgh or any of our other coastal destinations, you’re guaranteed a great day out — and it’s completely free! Pack a picnic, take a bucket, spade and football, and you’re set for a fun, free half term day out.
 

Ouseburn Farm


If your little ones are crazy about animals, what better half term activity than a trip to Ouseburn Farm? This city centre farm is handily located in Newcastle Upon Tyne and home to pigs, sheep, cows and chickens as well as smaller animals and reptiles. Help the farm staff feed and pet the animals and make some furry friends. The farm is free to visit, although donations are gratefully appreciated to help the farm continue its work.
 
During school holidays, Ouseburn Farm is open 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 10.30am to 4.30pm on weekends. More information can be found here.
 

Saltwell Park


Saltwell Park” by barly_roy_red,, is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
 
Saltwell Park, located in the heart of Gateshead, is one of the UK’s most popular parks. Offering free parking nearby and free entry, it’s the perfect choice if you’re entertaining the kids on a budget this half term. The park’s large green spaces are ideal for ball games, while there are two play areas to be explored and a challenging maze to conquer.
 
If the weather does take a turn, head into Saltwell Towers — the Gothic mansion is now home to art exhibits and local history exhibitions.
 
Saltwell Park is open from 7am to 5pm daily. To plan your journey, visit Gateshead Council’s website.
 

Discovery Museum


Rainy days are inevitable in Britain so if it does start to rain, why not head indoors and enjoy an educational day out at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum? This three-storey museum tells the tale of Tyneside, with exhibitions that show the impact the North East’s maritime, scientific and technological advancements had on the world.
 
The museum hosts regular events too, including special exhibitions and craft sessions, and is home to Play Tyne, an interactive water play area designed for the under 7s. Access to the play area is charged at £1.50 per child.
 
Discovery Museum is open 10am-4am weekdays and 11am-4pm on weekends. The museum is closed on bank holidays. Visit the website for more information.
 

Cinema


Image by Deborah Breen Whiting from Pixabay.
 
A trip to the cinema is a great way to keep kids of all ages entertained. Keep the costs down by visiting at specific times or days. Many cinemas, including Vue and Odeon, offer reduced priced screenings early in the morning on weekends and during school holidays. Check your nearest cinema to see if they offer a similar deal — it can help you save a small fortune.
 
If you’ve taken an insurance policy out via Compare The Market, you could be eligible for Meerkat Movies, which entitles you to 2-for-1 cinema tickets on a Tuesday or Wednesday at participating cinemas.
 

Life Science Centre


Make science fun with an education trip to Newcastle’s Life Science Centre. Visitors of all ages are invited to try their hand at their own experiments and explore more about our planet. Designated zones provide plenty of entertainment for the whole family, while the planetarium and 4D motion ride are highlights for many.
 
Look out for temporary exhibitions too — check the website before you go to see what’s on.
 

Jump360 Trampoline Park


Keep the kids active even on rainy days with Newcastle’s indoor trampoline park, Jump 360. Providing plenty of fun for little ones and big kids, bounce across the huge trampolines, challenge your friends on the rotating battle beam or defeat the Geordie Ninja Warrior assault course.
 
With ball games to play, bucking broncos to ride and foam pits to jump in to, this is one activity they’re sure to tell all their friends about once they return to school.
 
The park is open 10am-8pm Monday-Saturday during the holidays, and 10am-7pm on Sundays.
 

Seven Stories


If you’re looking for an imaginative day out or need to keep young readers entertained, pay a visit to Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books. You’ll find a host of exhibitions based around some of their favourite characters and books, as well as an ever-changing events calendar.
 
From sensory experiences for young visitors to book signings and story writing classes, a visit to Seven Stories is sure to stimulate their creativity.
 
During the school holidays, Seven Stories is open 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday, and Sundays 10am-4pm.
 

££-£££ Half Term Activities North East


These half term activities in the North East may cost a little more, but they’re jam-packed with plenty of entertainment — from filling an entire day with adventure to creating unforgettable memories.
 

Alnwick Castle


 
Standing proud for over 700 years, Alnwick Castle now welcomes visitors to explore the medieval castle, discovering its history and more modern links to popular culture. Spend the day exploring the castle and its grounds, marvelling at authentic exhibitions or immersing yourself in medieval life through our regular events and workshops, including everything from jousting displays to have-a-go archery.
 
Film fanatics and younger guests will enjoy a visit to the castle for its magical connections too. Alnwick Castle features in both Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Explore the locations straight from the silver screen and test your skills with our broomstick training sessions.
 
Save 10% on our on-the-gate ticket price when you book online in advance. A family ticket for two adults and up to four children (5-16 years) costs £41.15 when you book online at least 24 hours before your visit. The castle is open 10am-5.30pm daily.
 

Beamish


Image by stuart352 from Pixabay.
 
Step back in time with a visit to historic Beamish and let the little ones see what life was like in the North East in the 1820s and 1900s. At the open-air museum, you can experience a typical 1900s lesson at the schoolhouse — complete with strict teacher — visit traditional stores like the bakery, grocery and sweet shop, or travel around on the tram.
 
There’s also a traditional bank and funfair, with the shuggy boats and other fairground rides a highlight for younger guests. Fun and educational, Beamish is an ideal choice for a half term day out in the North East.
 
Beamish is open 10am to 5pm daily, with last admissions at 4pm.
 

Football Stadium Tours


_DSC2102” by Sasha Taylor is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
 
Whether you support the magpies or the black cats, a football stadium tour is an ideal way to entertain footy fanatics this half term. Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC both offer tours of St. James’ Park and the Stadium of Light respectively. Enjoy a guided tour of the grounds and see where their favourite players get ready to play. An unforgettable day for any NUFC or SAFC fan.
 

Diggerland


…and more diggers” by Neil Turner is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
 
If you’re looking for half term activities in the North East that will cater to visitors of all ages, choose Diggerland. This unique adventure theme park lets guests get behind the wheel of diggers and dumpers across over 20 rides and attractions. Test your skills as you dig for treasure, see how many tyres you can stack or play bowling with a wrecking ball.
 
You’ll also find plenty for thrill seekers to enjoy, such as go karts, Spindizzy and Skyshuttle, as well as a Little Tikes Wheelz Play Zone for children aged 5 and under. 
 
For more information about opening dates and times, visit the Diggerland website.
 

Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens


Kune Kune pig - Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, Ponteland, Northumberland” by Glen Bowman is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
 
Based in Northumberland, inquisitive youngsters and animal lovers will enjoy a trip to Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens. The zoo is home to many animals, from lemurs and monkeys to alpacas, birds, reptiles and more.
 
A range of animal experiences are on offer too, which allow you to help feed and handle the zoo’s creatures, including meerkats and reptiles. These are priced separately to the standard entry fee.
 
Also available at the attraction is a sprawling garden and woodland area, perfect for an afternoon walk, as well as exciting play parks and picnic areas that are perfect for a bite to eat.
 
During the school holidays, the zoo is open 10am-4pm every day.
 

Go Ape! Matfen Hall


Get the adrenaline pumping with an exhilarating half term day out at Go Ape! Matfen Hall. Take to the trees as you tackle this treetop adventure course 30ft in the air. Conquer rope ladders, swoop through the trees on the Tarzan Swings or speed along zipwires. It’s the perfect day out for adults and children aged 10 and over.
 
Book your tickets online and advance and save up to 20% off the on-the-day price.
 

Silksworth Sports Complex & Ski Slope


Offering year-round access to winter sports, pay a visit to Silksworth Sports Complex and Ski Slope. The centre is home to a huge 165-metre outdoor dry ski slope, where visitors can practice their skiing and snowboarding skills, as well as two outdoor nursery slopes for younger visitors to use.
 
Snow tubing is also on offer — settle in to your doughnut-shaped inflatable and race your friends and family down the slope. Visit the website for availability and opening times.
 
Whether you’re entertaining the family on a budget or have a little more to spend, there’s plenty of family friendly half term activities in Newcastle and the North East. Why travel further afield when you have a wealth of fun and educational days out on your doorstep?