The summer is fast approaching with longer, sunnier days meaning we can all make the most of being outside - where we know Covid will spread less easily.
With current Covid restrictions now allowing up to 30 people to meet and enjoy the great outdoors we’ve put together this handy guide for great family days out in the North East.
Whether it’s just you and your kids or you decide to organise a day of fun with friends and their children, the activities below provide entertainment for everyone.
Remember to check specific Covid guidance for each attraction when deciding where to go and what to do. For instance, this might be finding out whether you need to book in advance to visit a café for lunch or to check restrictions on group visitors. Always pack face coverings too for popping into a shop or other indoor venue.
Explore nature, enjoy some ancient history or simply get out to stretch your legs and get some fresh air - the North East offers some of the best outdoor experiences in the UK!
Hall Hill Farm
Hall Hill Farm in Lanchester is one of the best farms in the North East that’s ideal for the kids!
With a wide range of traditional (cows, pigs, sheep) and not so traditional (wallabies, llamas) farm animals, there’s something for every child.
Children can enjoy cuddles with rabbits and baby chicks as well as donkey rides and play time in the outdoor soft play.
Do book ahead to avoid disappointment!
Land of Oak and Iron
With miles of old waggonways to enjoy, explore the trails in the Plantation at Burnopfield, cycle the Derwent Walk from Consett and play in the river at Allensford. Connect with nature on the banks of the River Derwent at Ebchester, discover the hidden heritage of the Shotley Bridge sword makers and learn about our industrial past at Derwentcote Steel Furnace.
Find out more here https://www.thisisdurham.com/things-to-do
Water Gate Forest Park
Sometimes there’s nothing better than packing up the car (and the kids) to head to a forest for the day to enjoy nature at its best.
This forest has a number of walking trails and cycling paths that are really accessible too, making it perfect for younger and older children.
With its woodland, wetlands and wildlife, it’s a perfect day out!
For directions, visit: https://www.gateshead.gov.uk/article/4394/Watergate-Forest-Park
Based in Rowlands Gill, Gibside is a magnificent estate that’ll keep the whole family occupied for at least a few hours.
Within its 600 acres of woodland and gardens, there is so much to experience including a neo-classical chapel, restored stable block and grand ruin.
As well as amazing picnic spots there’s also a lot of family fun activity too, with Gibside having its own play area called Strawberry Castle. Dogs are welcome too - bonus!
To find out more, visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gibside/
Parklands Mini Golf
A naturally socially distant sport, why not enjoy a day of family mini golf this summer whether you’re a novice or a pro?
Open 10am-6pm 7 days a week, Parklands Mini Golf offers a great day out for all.
What’s more, no pre booking is required!
Jesmond Dene in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne offers a fabulous play park that will keep the kids entertained for hours.
Explore the dene, take a football or frisbee to play on its big field on a lovely sunny day or visit Pets Corner where the kids can see pot-bellied pigs, goats and sheep alongside rabbits and colourful birds.
Find out more here: https://www.jesmonddene.org.uk/
The Rising Sun Country Park
Free to enter, The Rising Sun is a five-minute walk from Palmersville Metro Station and is a great place to enjoy hours of fun in the sun.
There’s lots to do within the 400-acre greenery and so much wildlife to explore. There’s also a lovely little play area too that will amuse the kids while the adults enjoy a sit down on the picnic park benches with some refreshments!
The park has a wide range of events on which are great for little people so keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates on what’s taking place and when.
Situated next to the boating lake in Tynemouth, Tynemouth Park has some amazing attractions for boys and girls of all ages including toddlers too. Jungle Wipeout boasts a wide range of outdoor inflatables where the kids can enjoy a lot of bouncy fun!
Booking is not required but each session lasts an hour and starts at 10am with the last session at 5pm. There is however a 30-minute break between each session to allow for intensive cleaning of all inflatables to minimise the risk of Covid transmission.
There’s also Pirate Quest, an interactive maze and scavenger hunt to provide an hour-long experience of adventure and anticipation! Similar to Jungle Wipeout, it’s open 10am - 5pm allowing 30-minute intervals in between for cleaning.
Find out more here: https://www.tynemouthpark.com/
Arbeia Roman Fort
This roman fort is entrenched in North East history and offers a day of exploration and excitement for all of the family. The excavated remains and reconstructions of original buildings provide a fascinating picture of life during Roman Britain!
The Fort has a range of events on throughout the summer, from Roman gladiator training (which the kids will love!) to hands-on family activities such as craft and learning sessions. Remember to book in advance and follow social distancing guidelines.
Ocean Beach Pleasure Park
At Ocean Beach Pleasure Park in South Shields, there are so many outdoor family friendly rides to enjoy!
It’s free to enter and there’s lots to choose from whether that’s the Sky Diver, Dodgems, Roller Coaster or Pirate Ship!
There are family rides too for smaller children such as the Runaway Train, Pony Express, Water Balls and of course the trampolines for lots of jumping fun.
To ensure we all stay Covid safe, the park is offering a ‘tap and pay’ card service where you can buy funcard credits before you go. Visit the website for more info.
Amazing country parks
Sunderland is full of great country parks and open spaces, many you may have never explored before. They provide plenty of green environments to enjoy family games, picnics and tonnes of fun. Check them out here!
10 amazing walks
Avoid the crowds and try heading off the beaten track with this guide to the 10 best walks in Sunderland for some inspiration.
And now the nights are lighter, consider visiting later in the day for some peace and tranquility. Enjoy! Ten best walks in Sunderland