Free Family Fun in North East England in November

It may be November now and we’re starting to get used dark evenings and chilly mornings but that doesn’t stop the family getting out and having some great days out together. Bonfire night may have gone but we’ve found plenty more free events and activities offering plenty of family fun this month.

There are plenty of free Christmas Markets to visit this year and also lots of Christmas Light Switch-On’s too. And don’t forget our A-Z Free family days out too across the North East – many of these places are open all year.

Free Family Fun in North East England in November

Free Family Fun in North East England in November

Children's Knitting Group

Every Wednesday 4.30pm – 5.30pm
The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, in South Shields
Go along and join this friendly children's knitting group, run by friendly volunteers and is suitable for boys and girls of all ages. Children under 8 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.


Every Saturday 11.30am
BALTIC Centre For Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays
Spend some creative time with 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 our current exhibitions. For children aged 13 and under with their families, free.

Every Sunday 14.00-16.00
Gateshead Quayside
BALTIC offers a free weekly drop-in activity with an artist, inspired by BALTIC’s current exhibitions. Every Sunday join us to try a new activity. You and your family could be constructing giant sculptures, animating objects, drawing with light or making moves to music. Recommended for ages 0-13.

Pioneers of Pop

Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm Exhibition runs until January 2018
The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle
The Hatton Gallery has played a unique role in the development of British Art, with its history intimately entwined with some of the most influential artists of the 20th century. The exhibition Pioneers of Pop revolves around the numerous artists and writers, activities, projects and ideas which had at their centre artist Richard Hamilton, during his time teaching at Newcastle University (1953-1966).
Pioneers of Pop includes around 100 works by some of the leading British artists associated with both Pop and abstract art - Eduardo Paolozzi, David Hockney, Richard Smith, Ian Stephenson, R.B Kitaj, Joe Tilson and, of course, Hamilton himself. The exhibition will include works created in a wide range of media, including paintings, prints, collages, magazines and photographs – from lenders across the UK, such as Tate, V&A, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Abbot Hall, Pallant House, and Arts Council England.

The Full Moon Market

Tuesday 7 November 4pm-9pm
Durham Market Place
The Full Moon Market is back in Durham bringing the best street food producers the North East has to offer to its open air market!  Adding to the atmosphere, there is live music throughout each event. Expect a dozen chefs to be offering food inspired by cultures around the world – including Thai, Mexican, Indian, Italian and more. Open to all to come along and try whatever takes their fancy.  Cuisines available will include Mexican, Asian, Middle Eastern, oysters, pizzas, burgers and more.  There will also be sweet treats and drinks.

Lumiere Durham 2017

Thursday 16 – Sunday 19 November, from 4-30pm
Various locations across Durham City
The UK's largest light festival returns to Durham for the fifth time in 16 - 19 November.
Created by Artichoke, one of the UK's leading arts producer, the world's most innovative artists and light designers are brought together in a breath-taking and spectacular programme of artworks across four dazzling winter nights. Residents and visitors alike will enjoy a sense of celebration as they explore the new nocturnal landscape of the city. Familiar and forgotten features and spaces will be given new life as they become the subject or background for beautiful illuminations and projections. Tickets are required for the busiest times of the festival for the city centre or peninsula area only, between 4.30pm and 7.30pm. However many of the installations are outside of this area.

Vintage/Collectables & Bric-a-brac Market

Saturday 18 November 9am - 5.30pm
Grainger Market, Newcastle
The Grainger Market is set in the heart of the city centre of Newcastle and hosts a wide range of specialist goods in its original setting. Built in 1835, the Grade I listed building houses traditional market stalls and on on the third Saturday of every month is the Vintage/Collectables & Bric-a-brac Market.

Northern Children’s Book Festival Gala Day 2017

Saturday 18 November
The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, in South Shields
Meet your favourite authors and illustrators as the Gala Day has something for everyone aged 4 – 13. There will be free, fun, interactive family sessions with award winning authors, illustrators and story tellers, including Vivian French, Ian Whybrow, The 2 Steves, Korky Paul, Nick Sharratt, Paul Cookson, Jonny Duddle, Piers Torday, Steve Webb & Chris Mould, Dan Smith, Adam Bushnell & Liz Million and Kate Fox.

You can meet our authors and illustrators in our free family sessions be part of the panel game Tell Me a Story join the free drop in storytelling and craft sessions provided by the regional library services explore The Word, from tracking ships on the river Tyne or watching 3D printing in FabLab to discovering everything you need to know about pirates!

Tickets for author and illustrator sessions are free but must be booked in advance. There are a few tickets left see but drop in storytelling and crafts are free. There will be a nominal charge for artist workshops and performance led storytelling in Storyworld.

Tim Peake's Spacecraft 

From Wednesday 22 November Monday – Sunday 10am-4pm until 18 Jan
Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon, County Durham
Tim Peake's historic capsule lands at Locomotion, along with a space-age virtual reality experience narrated by the astronaut himself. On 18 June 2016, Major Tim Peake returned to Earth in the Soyuz TMA-19M descent module after six months on board the International Space Station, where he conducted experiments, walked in space and even ran a marathon. The Science Museum Group and Samsung have joined forces to bring this historic piece of engineering to Locomotion, Shildon, from 22 November.

For a small fee those aged 13+ can also retrace Tim’s 400km journey back to Earth from the ISS in Space Descent VR, an out-of-this-world virtual reality experience narrated by Tim Peake himself. Use Samsung Gear VR to enjoy a 360⁰ look inside the Soyuz capsule and experience the thrill of being an astronaut.

Craft Saturdays

Saturday 25 November 11am – 3pm
South Shields Museum & Art Gallery
Angel Ann will be there to share her love of crafts. Local crafter Angel Anne shares her love and passion for crafts with visitors at South Shields Museum as she hosts talks, craft activities and the opportunity to buy some of her creations. Angel Anne will be continuing her successful Saturday craft days throughout 2016, so whether you're thinking of improving your craft skills, wanting to make presents or you are after some ideas for simple crafts for the home, Anne is happy to part with her knowledge. Free entry, making your own craft will carry a charge.

Don't forget there are plenty of free Christmas Markets to visit this year and also lots of Christmas Light Switch-On’s too. And of course our A-Z Free family days out too across the North East – many of these places are open all year.

What are your plans for November?

Deb x

All events are subject to change and the weather. Please check all details with event organisers.