FREE Family Science, Tech, Foodie, Arts, Craft & Heritage Events + Festivals during February Half-Term

Half-term is approaching so here is a handy list of many of the FREE events and family activities taking place during the school holidays to keep your children entertained in North East England.

Taking place in locations right across the region including Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Durham & Teesside I have categorised them as either Science, Tech, Foodie, Arts & Craft, Heritage and Festivals free family events and activities, to make it easier to search through. 

Simply take your pick from the 40+ free events listed below ... 


As ever some details may change so please do check with event organisers - contact deatils are included as a link.


Bones: Skeleton Secrets of the Animal World

Every day during half-term
Great North Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne
The skeleton secrets of the animal world will be revealed when 2017's must-see family-friendly exhibition opens on Saturday 4 Feb. The animal world is full of questions and bones can help us find the answers. The Great North Museum is putting its enormous collection of animal skeletons on display. From itty-bitty bats to whopping whales, bones are the hidden keys to how animals move, survive and evolve over time. Join the journey through land, air and ocean and marvel at real bones, teeth and fossils from over 100 creatures.

Teddy Bear Hospital

18 February 2017 - 11am - 4pm
Discovery Museum
The Teddy Bear Hospital Newcastle is hosting it’s 4th annual Funday with a range of fun activities for all the family. Meet the mascot, dress up in scrubs, complete a skeleton jigsaw and take your teddy to the doctors. Visit a variety of different stations and see if you can collect a the sticker from each stop including: Healthy eating and exercise; Dental hygiene; First aid and Emergencies; Doctor Consultation; Teddy X-Ray; Safety around medicine; Senses and our bodies

Teddy Bear Hospital is a volunteer society from Newcastle University that aims to reduce anxiety in children around healthcare professionals whilst teaching them about healthy living through fun, interactive games. The event is free but donation are welcome towards The Great North Children’s Hospital

Go Stargazing at Hamsterley Forest

21, 22 OR 23 February 2017 from 7pm
Hamsterley Forest, County Durham
The dark skies above Hamsterley Forest make for a great place to stargaze. The Milky Way is clearly visible arching across the skies and thousands of more stars can be seen compared to our towns and cities. Learn how to find your way around the night sky and how to locate fascinating objects including those our eyes alone cannot see — you are welcome to bring binoculars or a telescope! Hot drinks will be available for a small fee and the event itself is free or charge. A car parking ticket will be required.

To see the stars depends on the weather, therefore this event will be short-notice and run from 7pm on a “first clear night” basis. Click for more information or to register your interest in attending this event and to receive a notification when the exact date is known (1 or 2 days before). 

NHSN: What do owls eat?

Thursday 23 February - 10:30am - 12:30pm
Great North Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne
Have a go at dissecting an owl pellet and see if you can work out what it has been eating. Learn about animal bones and owls. Suitable for supervised children 6+.

Rainforest Family Day

Friday February 24 - 11am – 12.30pm & 1.30pm – 3pm (drop in)
Sunderland Museum & Winter Garden, Sunderland
Make a rainforest layers hat decorated with jungle plants and animals. Explore real rainforest seeds and fruits and make a tropical pin badge. A whole series of amazing dinosaur models are waiting to be discovered with Jurassic Gardens open at Sunderland Museum & Winter Garden until Saturday, September 30, 2017

Know Your Birds Workshop

Sunday 26 February 2017 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Souter Lighthouse, South Tyneside
Meet the local Coastal Conservation Group and Souter's ranger to learn your finches from your thrushes. Age 7+. Subject to weather conditions. Wrap up warm and meet in the car park.



Coder Dojo

Saturday 18 February 11 am – 1pm - Centre for Life, Newcastle
Saturday 25 February 10-12 - Campus North, Newcastle
Under 17s can learn Scratch, HTML, Python, Javascript or just anything they need at these free sessions. CoderDojo is about learning together, supporting each other and sharing knowledge. Mentors are on hand to help and challenge you. Parents have to be present but they will also learn something no doubt. If you have your own laptop take it along.

Stop Motion

Monday 20 February 10.30am - Blaydon Library
Wednesday 22 February 10.30am - Leam Lane Library
Aimed at those 7yrs and over here you’ll have the opportunity to use tablets to make your very own stop motion movie. 

Calling all Padawans

Tuesday 21 February - 10am - 12 noon
Blaydon Library
Complete the Jedi Challenge, create a hologram & take part in lots of Star Wars themed activities. 

Minecraft Mayhem

Thursday 23 February 10.30-11.30am - Felling Library
Create characters from your favourite books or join worlds with your friends Just remember no TNT! Ghasts, creepers and endermen beware! Bring your tablet or phone and join in minecrafting activities at our Minecraft Club. Bring your own tablet or use one of theirs - limited numbers available. Suitable for children of all ages. 

Arts & Crafts

Family Quest & Busy B’s

18 & 19
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
Family Quest - Every Saturday between 11.30-12.30 you can spend some creative time with the BALTIC Crew to find out more about contemporary art in an informal and imaginative way. Families can take mini tours, play games and enjoy fun creative activities all linked to current exhibitions.
On Saturday and |sunday afternoons join the Busy B's team between 2pm and 4pm and get creative with these drop-in sessions with activities for young artists inspired by our exhibitions. 

Half Term Arts & Crafts

Sat 18 Feb - Sun 26 Feb
Sage Gateshead
Come and join us on the Concourse for some crafty fun this February half term to keep little fingers busy!

Half-term fun at Ouseburn Farm

Monday 20 - Friday 24 February 10am - Farmers Club
Monday 20, Wednesday 22, Friday 24 February - Arts & Crafts
Tuesday 21 & Thursday 23 February - Mucking about in the Garden
Ouseburn Farm, Newcastle
More Info:

Garden Craft Club

Tuesday 21 Feb 11-2.30
Carnegie Building, Newcastle, NE4 8XS
Come and learn how to create beautiful garden decoration from recycled material.
More info:

Cog Creations and Steampunk Automata

Tuesday 21 February, drop in between 11 am – 3pm
Discovery Museum
Drop-in craft session, make your own steampunk creation! Create your own paper automaton creation or craft your own keyring or steampunk wearables using cogs, metals, bolts, screws, cotton and wool. Paper crafts – free with a £2 charge for metal crafts.
This event is part of Play + Invent, Discovery Museum's new family programme for budding inventors, designers and makers! For more information visit:

Amazing Art Family Day

Wednesday February 22 - 11am – 3pm (drop in)
Sunderland Museum & Winter Garden, Sunderland
Explore brilliant art in the Museum on the art safari, get creative with our art challenges and discover more about artists working in Sunderland today.

Messy Art Day

Thursday February 23 - 12pm – 2pm (drop in)
Monkwearmouth Station Museum, Sunderland
Make a messy art creation in the Platform Gallery.

Squishy Spaces

Wednesday 22 - Sunday 26 February - 11.00-16.00 Drop-in
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
Families with children under 13 are invited to this free drop-in to explore structures from the inside out, all things oozy, bendy and crumbly. Experiment with balloons, bubbles and foam - dress for mess. This family activity is inspired by the work of Holly Hendry.

On Tuesday 21 February there will be AUTISM FRIENDLY SQUISHY SPACES at 11.00, 13.00, 14.00 & 15.00 - booking is essential

Imagination Wednesday: Junk Modelling

Wednesday 22 February - 11am - 3pm
Stephenson Museum, North Tyneside
Children will enjoy putting their creativity to the test to build their own junk model of a train, car, plane or whatever transport they choose.

Foodie Focus

It’s Playtime at Intu Metrocentre

Exhibition Square
When: 20 Feb - 26 Feb
Join in the free fun throughout the school half term holidays between Monday 20 until Sunday 26 February in Exhibition Square, as there’ll be a tasty week whipping up filled with fun cooking activities for all your little chefs. There will be loads of foodie arts and crafts, including biscuit decorating, comedy chef demonstrations and taste tasting with the Metrognomes. Bring your little ones imagination to life in our play kitchen area while you take a moment to relax in the picnic area.
Half Term activities
Monday 20 Feb – Thursday 23 Feb: Taste testing with the Metrognomes
Monday 20 Feb – Friday 24 Feb: Comedy chef demonstrations, take home your recipe card to try and recreate Sherbert’s fun treats
Friday 24 Feb – Sunday 26 Feb: Biscuit decorating
Saturday 25 Feb – Sunday 26 Feb: Bouncing chefs and retailer sampling

It’s Playtime at Intu Eldon Square

Monday 20 Feb – Wednesday  22 Feb
intu Eldon Square, Newcastle
Join in the free fun throughout the school holidays, with a tasty week filled with fun cooking activities for all your little chefs. From crazy concoctions that go fizz to colourful creations that amaze, Professor Sproutorium and his cooky assistant Doctor Brussels invite you along to discover lots of foodie fun in their crazy laboratory.

Monday 20 February – 11am to 4pm - Muffin Lab
Welcome to the Muffin Lab – a laboratory where any flavour goes! Whether you want to play it safe with the well-loved flavours or mix it up with a little bit of everything (including slime!), we’ve got the ingredients to make some out of this world muffin concoctions!

Tuesday 21 February – 11am to 4pm - Volcano cookies
Create your very own 3D volcano from fondant icing ready to add to your cookie. Add a dash of popping candy to the volcanos for that explosive effect!

Wednesday 22 February – 11am to 4pm - Doctor Brussels Worm Farms
Doctor Brussels is a creepy crawly fanatic and is bringing his love of bugs to the kitchen! Make your very own mini worm farm using special ingredients including chocolate brownies, green grass icing and a harvest of bright coloured fondant. There’ll also be gummy worms and icing bugs to complete the farm too!

Each day there will be a Super Science Station where children can learn about different types of foods through ‘Learn and Do’ activities.

Time Kitchen - Is there really such a thing as traditional British food?

Wednesday 22 February 11am - 2pm
Discovery Museum
When did fish and chips become our favourite dish? Why do we love a curry?
Food is something we all need. It brings people together. What we eat reflects the world we live in. But what about its history? Is there really such a thing as traditional British food?
Join members of the Time Kitchen at Discovery Museum who will be offering a free taster menu of historical recipes and asking the question – When (and where) does your food come from?

Super Heroes

Super Heroes at Dalton Park

Monday 20th – Friday 24th February
Dalton Park, Durham
No need to hunt around for fantastic things to do this half term. Just ‘leg’ it to Dalton Park where you’ll find a whole line up of amazing half term activity for the whole family to enjoy. The whole week celebrates the new Batman Lego film where our hero Batman fights to save Gotham City from a hostile take-over led by arch-villain the Joker. Free events include:
Monday 20th – Friday 24th February: FREE hunt around the centre. Pick up an entry form from Customer Services and return for a special prize
• Tuesday 21st and Thursday 23rd February 11am – 3pm: FREE Superhero mask making workshop in Cineworld foyer (no need to book in advance just drop in)*

Middlesbrough Superhero Craft Sessions

Monday February 20 - 10:30am until 11:30am - Grove Hill Community Hub
Monday February 20 - 02:00pm until 03:00pm - Thorntree Community Hub
Tuesday February 21 - 10:30am until 11:30am - Hemlington Community Hub and Library
Thursday February 23 - 02:00pm until 03:00pm - Easterside Community Hub

Celebrate the release of the Lego Batman movie with a free superhero craft session. Booking not required.


Open Days at Cragend Grange

Every day during half term - call in for free
Visit Lord Armstrong of Cragside's farm Cragend with it's Grade II* listed Silo and historic Weighbridge. There are two turbines on site and plenty of other interesting historic facts about Victorian life to see. Cragend Farm sits quietly on the edge of the famous Cragside Estate, Rothbury, near Alnwick and Bamburgh, in Northumberland. This 16th-century farm was re-modelled and transformed by Northumbrian Industrialist Lord William Armstrong of Cragside in 1880’s with stone from the Cragend Quarry to use water-powered hydraulic engineering. It has a unique history thanks to this great innovators vision for engineering and science. 
More info:

Winter Toy Fair

18 & 19 February 10am – 4pm
Locomotion - The National Railway Museum at Shildon, County Durham
A collection of traders will be at Locomotion selling model railways, railwayana and collectables. And discover over 70 heritage rail vehicles from the National Collection at the same time.

History Mysteries Children’s Trail

Tuesday 21 February – Saturday 25 10am – 4pm
St Mary’s Heritage Centre, Gateshead

Children of all ages can pop into St Mary’s over the half term and unravel the truth from the fiction about this building’s fascinating past. Plus the ever popular Victorian toys will be on display for you to play with.

Victorian Family Day

Tuesday February 21 - 12pm – 2pm (drop in)
Monkwearmouth Station Museum, Sunderland
Dress as a Victorian child and explore the Station to find out about life in the past. Try different themed activities including washday, going to school and playing with Victorian toys. Make a toy rocking horse to take home.

Let's play Engine Driver and Guard 

Friday 24 February, 11am - 3pm
Stephenson Museum, North Tyneside
Do you know or have a small budding train enthusiast at home? Capture their imagination by letting them create their own engine driver cap and guard flags at our museum. 


Durham – Fire & Ice

24 & 25 February
Durham City Centre
Head to Durham for fire breathing, ice sculpture trails, street entertainment and live demonstrations, culminating in a spectacular grand finale full of thrills and adventure. Experience myths and legends taking over Durham City! 
Read our full preview here ...

Mini Mela

Friday 24 February 2017 11am – 3pm
Caedmon Hall, Gateshead Central Library
GemArts Mini Mela returns this February half term with an event packed full of family fun, with free workshops, performances, henna artists, face painting and lots of other exciting arts and crafts to take part in. Join in workshops featuring African, 
Chinese, Indian, Mexican and other visual arts from around the world, dance and drumming activities, learn something new and take home your very own creations.

GemArts’ friends will also be there, sharing information on the great work and services delivered across Gateshead, not to mention a few stalls selling gifts and treats.

If you have a free event and would like it included in our regular monthly feature please email me at

Let us know which events you go to. Hope you have fun.

Deb x