Play Hard

Rainy day activities in the North East

We all have to accept that rain sometimes stops play. But in our culture-rich region, there are loads of ways to keep kids (and grown-ups) entertained, even during a spell of the wet stuff

Written by High Life North
Published 31.10.2019

By Helen Bowman

We’ve chosen a handful of our favourite rainy-day destinations to share with you. Whether you’re looking for entertainment, culture, history or education, there’s something for everyone across a wide range of locations in the North East.

Hexham Old Gaol

Head for the Tyne Valley and visit Hexham Old Gaol. Telling the story of what prison life was like in the 1300s, you can learn about the Border Reivers, take brass rubbings and follow a skull trail around the museum.

Budget: From £4 but children under 16 go free.


Life Science Centre

Stay in the heart of Newcastle at the Life Science Centre. A hub of fascination, learning and science, there are shows, rides and workshops for children of all ages. Enjoy a snack or meal in one of the cafes or take a picnic and enjoy the Centre all day.

Budget: From £7.50. Family tickets and annual passes available. 

Bowes Museum

The beautiful Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle provides a whole world of history, style, arts and crafts – a fantastic day out for adults and children alike. An on-site cafe provides a range of lunch options made from locally-sourced ingredients, as well as coffee and homemade cakes.

Budget: From £5. Family and group passes available.

Woodhorn Museum

Fancy heading up into Northumberland? The Woodhorn Museum provides a glimpse into the history of the county’s mining history. With several special events and exhibitions taking place between now and Christmas, there’s something for every age. This also has a cafe on-site and is near to the QE2 lake which has a restaurant. 

Budget: From £6 but children under 16 go free.


If free destinations are your priority, there’s no shortage of those either. The Discovery Museum offers experiments, workshops and water play, while the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts provides the opportunity to browse both interactive and static art exhibitions. How about the National Glass Centre in Sunderland? Watch incredible glass blowing demonstrations – you might even get the chance to have a go yourself.Don’t fancy venturing out in the rain? Why not stick the oven on and whip up a batch of easy chocolate chip muffins with the kids. Then shut out the storm, snuggle up with a blanket and enjoy a family film.

Discovery Museum

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BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts

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National Glass Centre

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

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