What's On Feb Half-Term - Free family events in North East England

Last day at school for the boys and its February half-term already. I don't know about you but it doesn't seem two minutes since the boys went back to school after the Christmas holidays. 

So to help us all make the pennies go further and help us to pass the time frugally, next week during half-term, we've compiled a list of lots of free family events and activities taking place and don't forget to check out our A-Z free family days out right across the North East too.

What's On Feb Half-Term 

- Free family events in North East England

Mesmerising Medusa
Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 February Drop in between 1pm & 3pm
Palace Green Library, Durham City

Medusa is a terrifying snake-haired woman that Dante encounters on his journey.   Make your own scary snake!

Slime Making
Saturday 10 February 12noon - 3pm
Craft Fair, St Patricks Church, Consett 

Ambassadors of Science will be there to teach you how to make slime. Learn all about Polymers and Chemistry (basic slime making)!

intu-galactic half-term adventure
Intu Metrocentre, Gateshead
Monday 12 February until Friday 16 February

Blast your family off on an intu-galactic adventure this half term. Visit Exhibition Square, outside Primark, from Monday 12 February until Friday 16 February for five days of space-themed fun with bouncing astronauts, an indoor planetarium and the Metrognomes. Go on a journey through space and see the night sky in the centre’s mobile planetarium. The cosmos planetarium is a state of the art, fully digital, 360° immersive multi-media theatre experience. The 6-metre mobile planetarium can accommodate up to 40 children or 25 adults.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Tremendous Tuesday
Tuesday 13 February 11am -3pm
South Shields Museum & Art Gallery

Join in fun family crafts and activities inspired by the displays and exhibition in the museum.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Half Term at the Hancock
Tuesday 13 February – Saturday 17 February
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

  • Tuesday 13 February - Meet the Minibeasts - Animal Handling
11am - 3pm - Meet some exotic insects and creatures with Guy Tansley of bugnstuff.
  • Wednesday 14 February - Foam Print a Leaf
11am - 2pm - Use styrofoam to make a print of your favourite leaf.
  • Thursday 15 February - Relaxed Autism Friendly session - Meet the Minibeasts
10-11am - Enjoy a quieter animal handling session.
  • Thursday 15 February Meet the Minibeasts - Animal Handling
11am - 3pm - Guy Tansley's back with another chance to meet his exotic animals.
  • Friday 16 February - Peculiar Pangolin Parade!
11am - 3pm - Make a hat and join the Pangolin Parade!
  • Saturday 17 February - World Pangolin Day
10.30am - 3pm - Join us for story time and another chance to make a Pangolin hat.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Souter Sports Day
Monday 12 – Wednesday 14 February 11am – 3pm
Souter Lighthouse, South Tyneside

Free Have a go at outdoor games and mini-sports activities for all the family including archery, badminton, orienteering, rounders, tennis and volleyball. We'll be on hand to help you try something new and improve your skills. outdoor games and sports activities for all ages. Suitable for children of all ages. Must be accompanied by an adult. Dogs on leads are welcome. Meet in the Foghorn Field and wear comfy clothes and suitable shoes e.g. trainers.

Port 300 at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
Wednesday 14 & Friday 16 February

  • Port 300: Build a Bridge Day
Wednesday February 14 - 11am -12.30pm and 1.30pm-3pm (drop-in)
Join 'Technology Tom' for a bridge-building extravaganza! Science and tech expert Tom Mulholland will help you make a giant model bridge and a mini bridge to take home, plus view maritime collections from the Tyne & Wear Archives on special display at the event. The activity is free but donations are welcome. Find out more about Tom on his website http://www.technologytom.com/

  • Port 300: Big Draw Day
Friday, February 16 - 11am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3pm (drop-in)
Join in at the Port 300 exhibition for a day of giant drawing and fun trails! Draw ships, lighthouses, heroes and villains - all materials will be provided. The activity is free but donations are welcome.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Wednesday 14 February 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
The Word, South Shields

Come along to a Lego® bridge building drop-in event where between 10am-4pm, Richard Carter (Bricks McGee) will take up the challenge of building the longest-spanning bridge between two points with the Lego® parts provided. This will be great fun for both adults and children and you can have a go together in teams of up to 5. The Lego® bricks will be provided and Richard will be on hand to help. Please note: there is space for up to 10 groups at a time so there may be a waiting time.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Wacky Wednesday Valentine Crafts
Wednesday February 14 10:00am until 03:00pm
Parkway Shopping Centre, Coulby Newham

Free Valentine crafts at Parkway Shopping Centre this half term! Work with Creation Station to make heart plaques and trinket boxes.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Make & Take Thursday
Thursday, February 15 Free Drop in between 11am - 3pm
Stephenson Railway Museum

Bring your youngsters down to the museum for our hands-on craft activities. Today we are exploring painting and printing techniques to build a giant freight train. There are also freight and shunting demonstrations throughout the day in the Museum yard. Passenger trains hauled by a steam engine are set to depart at 11.30am, 12.30pm & 3pm. Activities are free, but there is a small charge for train rides.

Fire and Ice
Friday 16 & Saturday 17 February
Various Locations across Durham City

With ice sculptures and flaming beacons bringing your favourite literary characters to life, you can become part of the story too, with live demos, interactive sculptures and a stunning grand finale spectacular. Follow the magical fire and ice trail around Durham’s historic city and enjoy beautiful hand-carved ice sculptures and flame beacons. Trail incorporates the UNESCO inscribed Castle and Cathedral, riverside walks and picturesque shopping streets. The year Fire & Ice InDurham sees sculptures inspired by literary characters. A spectacular finale event will take place in Durham Market Place on Friday and Saturday. Each will be a mesmerising 30min multimedia show featuring music, fire, dancing waters, lighting and projection the show.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Chinese New Year
Friday 16, Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 February
Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham

The Chinese New Year is one of the world's most prominent and celebrated festivals in the world. Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival in modern China, or simply the Lunar New Year, which celebrates the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Following the start of the Year of the Dog on Friday 16 February, there are free family events to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Durham, Sunderland and Newcastle. 

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Friday 16 February - 12 noon
intu Eldon Square, Newcastle

Starting at Grey’s Monument entrance and proceeding to St Andrew’s Way, outside New Look.

One of the highlights of Chinese New Year is the spectacular Lion Dance, which intu Eldon Square is welcoming into the shopping centre for a Chinese New Year’s Day performance to launch The Year of the Dog at 12 noon on Friday 16 February.

The lively and exciting Lion Dance, which Chinese tradition claims brings good luck and scares away evil spirits for the year ahead, will be performed by members of Edmund Ng’s Choi Lee Fut Kung Fu Dragon and Lion team.

Saturday 17 February
Sunderland Museum & Wintergardens - 11 am – 3 pm

Celebrate the Year of the Dog with Lion dances, Chinese arts and crafts, family trails, music and selling stalls. The event is free but there will be a small charge for some activities.

Saturday 17 February
Various locations across city centre - From 12 noon

To drive away bad luck and bring a fresh start, the traditional Chinese Lion will dance its way through the city centre, and scatter lucky lettuce leaves. The dance of the Chinese lion is a tradition in Durham City Centre each Chinese New Year. The lion will perform an energetic routine before eating the lucky lettuce, chewing it and spitting it out to a chosen recipient. Follow the Chinese lion from the Market Place, around the Prince Bishops Shopping Centre to Elvet Bridge, Framwellgate Bridge and finishing at Walkergate.

Saturday 17 February - 11am - 3pm
Chinese New Year Grainger Market

Celebrate the year of the Dog in the Grainger Market. Try Chinese calligraphy, paper cutting, engraving, origami as well as watching martial arts demonstrations outside Dumpling and Bun in Alley 2.

Sunday 18 February
Various locations across city centre then Stowell Street

After a successful crowdfunding campaign by the Chinese Festivity Group, this year’s celebrations will be on a bigger scale than ever before. The city will be alive with colour and celebration as people flock to Chinatown on Stowell Street but this year a parade will start in the heart of the city centre for the first time. Expect a vibrant parade including dragon, lion and unicorn dances. In addition to floats and various performances like drumming by a female troupe, Chinese folk dances and children's dragon dance, colourful flags and banners will be displayed. The proposed route is from The Monument/Old Eldon Square to Chinatown (Stowell Street).

Beautiful Boats
Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 February 1pm – 3pm drop in
Palace Green Library, Durham City

Make your own boat to travel across the river Styx, a swampy river that Dante had to cross on his travels. 

You can also enjoy these free exhibitions and regular events that are running throughout half-term ...

Shiver Me Timbers
10:00am to 4:00pm every day until 18 February
The Word, South Shields

Batten down the hatches and hoist up The Jolly Roger - Shiver Me Timbers - Pirates on Page, Stage and Screen has anchored at The Word. Sponsored by Port of Tyne, this immersive exhibition is something the whole family will enjoy. It not only celebrates pirates and their iconic seafaring adventures but transports budding crewmates back into the golden age of piracy. It features English novelist Daniel Defoe, author of the Robinson Crusoe, 20th-century fictional books picked up by Hollywood, including Sea Hawk and Captain Blood, and famous stage-plays including Pirates of Penzance and Peter Pan.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Jurassic Gardens
Throughout February
Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

Hidden amongst the lush vegetation of the indoor garden a whole series of amazing dinosaur models are waiting to be discovered. See a baby T Rex as it hatches from its giant egg, watch a stegosaurus and a triceratops grazing on the greenery and spot some pteranodons flying over-head. Hunt down a velociraptor before it finds you, and try not to disturb the sleepy crocodile as it lurks by the pool.

The collection now also includes an impressive 3-metre high utahraptor, a baby Camarasaurus and a huge pterodactyl with a 2-metre wingspan.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Bones: Skeleton Secrets of the Animal World
South Shields Museum & Art Gallery
Throughout February

If you missed this exhibition at the Great North Museum: Hancock's popular exhibition, selected highlights will be on show in South Shields until 21 April. Come face to face with the skeletons of animals from sea, land and air and marvel at real bones, teeth and fossils. Showcasing almost a hundred different animal bones, this exhibition features complete animal skeletons from a cat, fox and pangolin to fossil fish, the pelvis of a now–extinct Dodo and the skulls of predators like lions and the jaws of sharks.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Family Quest
BALTIC, Newcastle
Every Saturday 11.30am

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.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Meet & Make
BALTIC, Newcastle
Every Sunday 2pm - 4pm

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.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Glass Blowing Demonstrations
National Glass Centre, Sunderland
Daily throughout February

This amazing daily glass blowing, lathe and flameworking demonstrations are free and run throughout the day. Experience the heat of our 1000 degree furnace and watch our expert glass making team craft stunning pieces before your eyes. You can even book a place to create your own glass object if you fancy a having a go!
11.00 - Flameworking demos
12:00 - Glassblowing in the Hot Glass Studio
13:00 - Glass Lathe demos scheduled daily (excluding Tuesdays)
13.30 - Glassblowing in our Hot Glass Studio
15:00 - Glassblowing in our Hot Glass Studio
15:45 - Flameworking demos

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Park Runs
Various locations across
North East England

Park Runs are free, weekly, running events that take place around the world in pleasant parkland surroundings. They are open to everyone and easy to take part in, encouraging people of all running ability to take part; from those taking their first steps in running to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience.
  • Every Saturday a 5km Park Run is held at Gibside at 9am
  • Every Saturday a 5km Park Run is held at Blackhill & Consett Park at 9am
  • Every Saturday a 5km Park Run is held at Tyne Riverside Country Park in Prudhoe at 9am, where the route goes around the Spetchells, an area of chalk grassland
  • Every Sunday a 2km & 5km Great Run Local is held at Gibside between 9.15am – 10.15am
  • Every Sunday there is a 5k and 2k timed course along Souter's scenic route from Souter Lighthouse between 9:15am to 11:00am
Children of all ages welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Between Worlds: Folklore and Fairy Tales from Northern Britain
Until February 25
Palace Green Library, Durham City

Close your eyes and picture a fairy. You might see a pretty little thing with wings, eager to make all your wishes come true. This is the version of fairies that we know today, but there also exists a much older, very different idea of a fairy, that might not look and act how you expect.

This new temporary exhibition takes its inspiration from medieval romance, ballads, and collections of folklore compiled between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, which tell of encounters with otherworldly creatures and journeys into mysterious worlds. It presents a forgotten type of fairy tale, very different to those that we are familiar with in today’s popular culture.

If you are visiting as a family, ask at reception for your free Fairy Investigator Pack to help you explore the exhibition.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

Whatever you do during half-term I hope you have fun.

Deb x

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