Feel Good

Free things to do in Newcastle to support your mental health

Banish the January blues with these cheap, easy and free things to do in Newcastle.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 13.01.2024


Creativity isn’t just a pastime for those who can afford it. It’s an essential part in our lives and can be a game-changer when it comes to wellbeing.

Bupa explains that having creative outlets not only helps to reduce feelings of stress and loneliness, but can also improve our mood and activate different, underused parts of our brain.

The NHS reiterates that particularly learning new skills can boost our confidence, raise our self-esteem and help us build a sense of purpose.

While we can all be creative solo, we’d encourage you to use learning as a reason to get out in 2024. As a low-cost starting point, we’d recommend looking to our city’s art galleries and museums.

And if you’re looking for specific workshops that won’t break the bank, we’ve rounded up some happening right now:

BALTIC Gateshead

Sculpture Making Workshop

Free – BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead

Inspired by BALTIC’s latest exhibition, Megan Randal leads this free sculpture making session where you’ll explore your cultural heritage as you craft.

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Lit and Phil Newcastle

NU Ideas at the Lit & Phil

Free – Lit & Phil, Newcastle 

The Lit & Phil have a stellar programme of free events, but the regular NU Ideas – which focuses on a new theme every session – is a great way to broaden your mind.

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Jesmond Library Newcastle

Start Writing

£5.84 – Jesmond Library, Newcastle

If you’ve always fancied picking up a pen, these six writing workshops delivered by writer Amanda Quinn will arm you with everything you need to get started.

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It’s perhaps the last thing you fancy doing at this time of year but getting out and about really does work wonders for our wellbeing.

Mental health charity Mind explains that spending time in nature can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, help you to relax, connect you to your community and improve your self-esteem.

What’s more, being in nature has also been found to decrease anxiety and help alleviate depression.

Here in Newcastle, we’re blessed with both an award-winning coastline and rugged, sprawling countryside a stone’s throw away. Not only that, here in the city we also have an abundance of parks that instantly catapult us into greenery. Many have free basketball and tennis courts you can use, too.

As for some other ideas to get you reconnecting with nature, check out the following:

Ouseburn Farm

Ouseburn Farm

Free – Ouseburn, Newcastle

Reconnecting with nature includes animals, who always make us feel better. And there are plenty here – shear sheep, hold chicks, feed horses and pet rabbits.

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Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene

Free – Jesmond Dene, Newcastle

The leafy wonderland that is Jesmond Dene is our favourite park in Newcastle. Here you can explore forest, river, grassy areas, historic buildings and even Pet’s Corner.

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North Tyneside

North Tyneside Coastal Walk

Free – St Mary’s Island – North Shields Fish Quay

You don’t just have to head for the country to reconnect with nature. Our coastline is magical – and there’s an easy, 5-mile route that takes it all in.

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People, by nature, are social. Social connections are important not just to our survival, but to our health, too.

When we’re socially connected and have stable, supportive relationships, we’re more likely to make healthy lifestyle choices. We also find it easier to cope when times get hard, or when we feel stressed, anxious or depressed.

And just like our schooldays, the key to making lasting friendships is to find people you vibe with. People who enjoy the same things you do and hold the same values.

So, this is your 2024 reminder to have fun. Let loose and lower your guard. You never know: your life’s most important relationship might sneak in when you least expect it.

Need a few ideas of where to start? We’ve found the following free hangouts:

Laing Gallery

Meet @ the Laing

Free – Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle

The Laing’s relaxed, monthly drop-in sessions give you the chance to meet new people and explore a different aspect of the art gallery over a cuppa.

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Prohibition Cabaret Bar

Blues Dance Class

£7.50 (first class free) – Prohibition Cabaret Bar, Newcastle 

Hoodoo Blues host a weekly, beginner blue dance class at Prohibition, where you can come alone or with a partner to learn from an expert tutor.

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Shieldfield Newcastle

Shieldfield Grows

Free – Shieldfield Art Works, Newcastle

Join this series of workshops and learn how to grow your own veg, plant trees and care for the natural world – from visiting professionals and like-minded growers.

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You don’t have to join a gym or start marathon training to get fitter.

It’s widely agreed by experts that small action, when done often, will burn more calories and help you to maintain a healthier BMI.

Using North East institution the Metro is a great example. The walk to and from stations is a healthy start; then, why not practise getting off one or two stops earlier and increase the length of your walk? Plus, whenever there are lifts or escalators – opt for stairs.

It’s all about being more active than we were yesterday. So, if that does mean upping your fitness game by starting a new class or getting back into a sport, let us start you off with a little low-investment inspo:

Full Circle Brew run club

Full Circle Run Club

Free – Full Circle Brew Co., Newcastle

Starting from their taproom every Thursday at 6pm, the Full Circle Run Club is perfect for anyone looking to link up with a friendly, non-competitive, social group.

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Museum 2 Museum cycle club

Museum 2 Museum Cycle Route

Free – Segedunum Roman Fort to Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Hop on your bike along these 5 miles of public cycleway for an easy family ride along traffic-free, flat terrain and be greeted by free museum entry at either end.

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Newcastle free sport sessions

Multi-Sport Sessions

Free – Newcastle, Newcastle

You can book free, adult multi-sport sessions at Nucastle during term-time – right now it’s badminton and indoor football, but classes change throughout the year.

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