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Entertaining Families South of the River Tyne

The North East of England is awash with attractions and experiences to suit all ages.  While Newcastle often grabs most of the headlines for entertainment and fun, there’s more to the region than one city. Head South of the Tyne and you’ll find a fantastic mix of culture, history and playtime for families to enjoy.

National Glass Centre

Opened to recognise the glass-making heritage of Sunderland, the National Glass Centre is a key attraction for families in the local area.  The steel and glass building is a uniquely modern construction and is home to several galleries.  The more daring of visitors are able to walk on the glass roof and be educated on the process of glass-making through the ages.

The centre has a large cultural and artistic focus and features regularly changing exhibitions.  A number of artists are also resident within the centre, creating new pieces for display and sale.  You can purchase pieces during your visit as well as witness hot glass-making workshops designed to showcase the unique process of creating artwork and more everyday items for visitors.

Raby Castle

A 14th century castle with a long and interesting history, Raby Castle is one of the most well-preserved buildings of the era in Northern England.  Built originally by the Nevill family, the castle was conceived originally as a fortress.  It is now a hugely popular visitor attraction with acres of parkland to explore, a deer park and a soon to open adventure playground.  The castle itself can be viewed internally with a range of art, textiles and furniture on display from the 17th – 20th century.

For families looking for more adventure from their day out, the Plotters Forest is a bespoke Children’s play area in the grounds of Raby Castle.  The forest playground will feature 3-storey forts, high-level walkways, towers and tunnels and will even house special stargazing decks.  The play area is due to open in Spring 2022 and will also be home to a café, shop and additional toddler play area.

HMS Trincomalee

Take a trip back to the 18th century at this historic museum set on the waterfront in Hartlepool.  The National Museum of the Royal Navy is a key visitor attraction in Hartlepool.  The centre helps to spread the word about the naval heritage of this town as well as educate visitors what life was actually like on board a warship in the times of Lord Nelson and Napoleon.

The museum is focused on re-creating the sights and style of an 18th century seaport.  The central attraction is the HMS Trincomalee, a frigate built in 1817 which has the title of Britain’s oldest warship still afloat today in the centre of the National Museum.  Classed as a floating exhibit, guests can see for themselves what life was like aboard a classic ship of war alongside period houses and exhibits on a busy historical quay.  There is also the museum of Hartlepool, introducing visitors to the history of the local area and even a description of the famous legend about the Hartlepool Monkey.

Durham Cathedral

One of the most magnificent sights in the whole of England, Durham Cathedral is a Norman-era cathedral designated a UNESCO world heritage site.   As the seat of the Bishop of Durham it is a fully working church and holds regular services throughout the day.  It’s majestic architecture and position in the centre of Durham makes it a must-see when visiting the cobbled streets of Durham.

The scale of the cathedral means it has often been featured across TV and radio.  Perhaps most notably it was used in the Harry Potter films and the interior space was also used in the film Elizabeth, featuring Cate Blanchett.  Period feature films aside, for superhero fans it is also a key part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and was the indoor location of Asgard from the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame.

Looking to make the move south of the Tyne and grab yourself a new home in Gateshead? With so many attractions to enjoy in the region it’s easy to see why.

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