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Low cost days out in the North East

Low Cost Days Out

Low cost days out, child friendly places to explore in the North East.

School summer holidays can be hard on parents finances, especially this year so we have compiled a few of our favourite local or further afield low cost family days out in the North East, great ideas for less than £15 entry per family.

Danby Lodge National Park Centre
Danby Lodge National Park Centre. Credit Dependable Productions

1. Take a big breath of fresh air and soak up the sweeping views at Danby Lodge Vistors Centre in the heart of the beautiful North York Moors National Park.  Set in an idyllic spot on the banks of the River Esk, near Danby. Adventure playground, woodland walks, climbing cave, the beautiful Inspired by … gallery, picnic area, cafe, trails to follow & more. Entry to the Centre is free, low cost days out , lots for families to enjoy inside & outdoors

2. Enjoy a family-friendly day out and explore history on your doorstep at Durham Cathedral. Free family friendly activities during the school holidays. Download the free family-friendly trails developed by local people to help you explore the woodlands and riverbanks surrounding Durham Cathedral.

3. Take a look around the Oriental Museum in Durham – weekly children’s activities & seasonal family events. Free entry

4. Have a day out at Preston Park Museum & grounds near Stockton (header photo). Fabulous adventure play area, including an impressive tree top climbing net and a dedicated area for toddlers, woodland walks, skate park and small guage railway in the grounds. Weekly activities for children at the museum plus seasonal and school holiday events. The park is free and a family ticket for the museum for 2 adults + 3 children is only £15 and valid for unlimited visits for one year from date of issue. 25% discount will be offered for Stockton Borough Council residents (proof of address required)

5.  Visit the Imagination Playground at The Hullabaloo in Darlington. A free interactive play installation for children & families plus a lovely family friendly cafe. Lots of very affordable events for children.

Head of Steam Darlington Railway Museum
Head of Steam, Darlington Railway Museum

6. For more low cost days out, step back in time to Victorian Darlington at Head of Steam, Darlington Railway Museum Follow the history of Darlington and the growth of the Railways in the town that became known as the Birthplace of the Railways. Explore an original 1840’s railway station where time has stood still for over one hundred and fifty years. Weekly activities for children plus seasonal and school holiday events. A group membership is only £15 for unlimited visits per year for 2 Adults and up to 4 children.

7. Lots of Tyne and Wear Museums to discover, full details at

  • Arbeia Roman Fort South Shields 
  • Discovery Museum Newcastle
  • Great North Museum: Hancock Newcastle
  • Hatton Gallery Newcastle
  • Laing Art Gallery Newcastle
  • Segedunum Roman Fort Wallsend
  • Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead
  • Stephenson Steam Railway North Shields
  • South Shields Museum and Art Gallery
High Force Adventure Trail
High Force Adventure Trail

8.  Follow the NEW Adventure Trail at High Force Waterfall in Teesdale, find the beautifully carved animal sculptures along your way, climb on a giant’s chair & see a living bug hotel! .Families can pick up a complimentary activity sheet upon arrival which encourages children to engage their senses on this magical woodland adventure – listening to the sounds all around them and witnessing the delights of nature in this landmark location. A small entrance fee of £2.50 for adults (16+) and £1 for children (5-15) is required to access High Force Waterfall. Under 5s are free

low cost days out
Tees Barrage

9. Stroll or cycle by the River Tees in Stockton & explore the paths at the Tees Barrage. Take a picnic and watch the action on the white water course and daring people climbing the nearby Air Trail high ropes course. There is plenty of wildlife to spot in and around the river; from swans and cormorants to salmon and the entertaining seals that can often be seen bobbing up and down in the river. Walks around Tees Barrage take you through a mixture of woodland areas, river banks and grass land to give you the maximum wildlife experience and are a hit with families looking to enjoy refreshing low cost days out in the great outdoors.

10. Look around MIMA Middlesborough and enjoy the fountains in Centre Square. Free entry

11. Have a picnic at Penshaw Monument near Sunderland

12. Take a trip to the Dorman Museum in Middlesbrough(free entry) why not make a day of it and & have a picnic in the next door Albert Park

Roseberry Topping
Roseberry Topping

13. Climb Roseberry Topping near Guisborough & enjoy the beautiful views over North Yorkshire & the North East. This unique hill is an iconic landmark for the people of Teesside. The short but steep walk from the public car park in Newton-Under-Roseberry can be completed by anyone with a basic level of fitness in around half an hour and when you finally reach the top the spectacular views make you feel like you are standing on the roof of the world.

14. Trains, Planes, and Boats around the Toon! Take a Metro journey around Newcastle – stop off at the airport to see the planes, Central Station to see the big trains, and take the ferry over the Tyne at South Shields (all for the price of a day ticket!)

15. Seven Stories National Centre for Children’s Books, Newcastle is now FREE to visit!

16. Discover Kirkleatham Museum & Grounds, Redcar – Free entry

low cost days out
NT Ormesby Hall

17. Explore NT Ormesby Hall, Gardens & Parkland, a green oasis & hidden gem in the heart of Teesside. Lots for families to explore and enjoy including a mianture world of model railways. Lots regular school holiday activities for children plus seasonal events. Only £9 entry for 1 adult and 2 children or £15 for a family ticket.

18. Cycle along the Castle Eden Walkway & enjoy the fantastic playground at Wynyard Woodland Park, Thorpe Thewles

19. Go pond dipping & meet the wicker animals and even a dragon at Hardwick Park & Lake, Sedgefield

20. Get some sea air and walk stretches of the beautiful Durham Coastal Path

21. Visit the wildlife at RSPB Saltholme – Adults £4, children £2 – first child entry is free

22. Take a bike to burn off energy at Summerhill Country Park, Hartlepool with its cycle paths, BMX track, playground & climbing boulders. Summerhill Country Park

23. Stroll along the pier and beach at Saltburn, watch the surfers & have a ride in a historic cliff lift!

low cost days out
Adventure Play area at Dalby Forest

24. Go down to the woods at Dalby Forest or Guisborough Forest and keep the young ones entertained for hours following the Superworm family trail! Superworm activity trail packs are £3.50 from the visitors centre. Lots of choice of cycling, walking & accesible trails to follow, play areas to enjoy including a fabulous adventure playground, visitors centre & Gruffalo family orienteering course (£1.50 for a guide sheet) at Dalby. Pay for parking and trail guides as needed, the playgrounds & forest are free to enjoy. Additional paid activities including cycle hire & Go Ape are available at Dalby.

25. Walk the riverside & paths around Richmond, calling in at Richmond Station for an Archer’s ice cream of course!

26. Visit Wharton Park in Durham City, enjoy the playground and gardens, then watch the trains coming over the bridge into Durham station!

low cost days out
Teddy Bears Picnic at the Botanic Garden, Durham

27. Visit the Botanic Garden in Durham and become lost in the natural beauty of the site. Explore the many different natural areas, with new plant-life and hidden artworks around every corner, step into another world in the tropical or cactus glass houses, there really is something for all ages to enjoy. Several self-guided activities and trails for children of a range of ages. All the activity sheets are available at the Visitor Centre. Children’s school holiday activities such as storytelling and minibeast events. Seasonal family events including the famous Easter Duck Hunt and the Summer Teddy Bear’s Picnic! Adults £4, children 5-16 £1.50, under 5s free.

28. Meet the domesticated animals in the pet’s corner & enjoy the lovely woodland walks and play area at Stewart Park, Middlesbrough. Why not  make a day of it and also visit the nearby Captain Cook Birthplace Museum  An Explorer Pass (Family Ticket) for the museum is £10 (2 Adults & 3 Children) brilliant for low cost days out

29. Explore Riverside Park, Chester le Street river side walk, splash pad and gardens

30. See the trains at Locomotion, Shildon – Free entry and fabulous for low cost days out

Low cost days out
Roker Beach, Sunderland

31. Whatever the weather, exploring the coastline at Roker and Seaburn makes great low cost days out. Sunderland’s beautiful beaches have been family favourites for years and are the perfect place to to let the kids run off some excess energy and relax with a picnic. The wide open promenade and restored Roker Pier are perfect for a stroll in the sea air too.

32. Picnic and pond exploration at Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve

Low cost days out
Glass Blowing at the National Glass Centre

33. Watch a glass blowing demonstration at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland then explore the riverside trail along the banks of the River Wear, great for low cost days out.  Discover how glass arrived in Britain, how it’s made and why Sunderland has such a rich glass making heritage. Family crafts programme with lots to do for all ages, such as glass painting, glass sandcasting, glass fusing and ceramic crafts. Admission to the National Glass Centre is FREE for everyone. Keep an eye out for family activities around school holiday times.

34. Visit The Angel of the North

35. Have a day out on Newcastle Quayside and explore the Baltic, Sage and Millennium Bridge.

Low cost days out
Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

36. Explore Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens followed by a wander around Mowbray Park . With a collection dating back to 1846, Sunderland’s fascinating history is explored across four floors of the museum with spaces dedicated to shipbuilding, coal mining, glass making and pottery, as well as many other aspects of the city’s past. Entry to the museum is free.

37. Walk in the footsteps of the Romans along a stretch of Hadrian’s Wall

38. Explore South Park, Darlington see the parrots, gardens, pond and play areas

low cost days out
South Park, Darlington

All details correct at time of publication, however please do check opening times & latest prices before setting off!

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