What's On Free for Families in the North East - October

So it’s October. Nearly Christmas! But not quite and still half term to enjoy which this year spans two weeks across October and early November in the North East. Whichever half-term week your children have off school there are plenty of free family fun events and activities to enjoy an don’t forget our A-Z of free family days out across North East England for you and your family to enjoy day trips out together.

What's on Free for Families in North East England - October



A Fun Palace is free to enter and part of an ongoing campaign for cultural democracy, which has an annual weekend of action every October, that promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture.

The weekend of action uses the combination of arts, craft, science, tech, digital, heritage and sports activities, led by local people for local people, sharing their own passions and skills, as a catalyst for community-led transformation, with active participation for all ages. In the North East this weekend you find the following Fun Palaces…


James Place Street, Ouseburn, Newcastle
Saturday 6 & Sunday 7 October
The Cumberland Arms Fun Palace this year brings together the community, schools, art and science, beer and bread …

Sunday 7th 11-2pm
The Science of Fermentation (In Beer, Bread & Meat)
As part of this year's Fun Palaces, we bring you the Science of beer and bread with Rufus Clarke Baking and Northern Alchemy Brewery. You will make your own bread with Rufus and take away to bake. Afterwards, we will be joined in the back bar by Meat Salt Smoke and will have a tasting session with beer, bread and charcuterie…
FREE BUT MUST BOOK PLACES - email info@thecumberlandarms.co.uk

Sunday 7th 1-5pm
Ever wondered how music effects our brains? Well we thought we would try an experiment with Art and Music. Join us for on Sunday 7th 1-5pm as we turn the venue into our Art Disco. Each wall will have its own genre of music. We will have classical, Hip Hop, Pop and rock. Each music genre will play for an hour and then we will see what results we come up with. This is a family event so bring everyone along and see what the music makes you to draw.

Sage Gateshead Fun Palace

”Who are ya?” A young persons investigation into the Gateshead identity!
Saturday 6 October - 11am - 3pm
Sage Gateshead 

Between 11am-1pm various activities will be happening on the Concourse and surrounding Quayside to investigate the question. Between 2-3pm findings will be celebrated in an hour-long arts installation in Sage Two. 


Saturday 6 October – 10am  - 3pm
The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, South Shields

Come along to The Word and join our up-cycling monster making craft session. Use coding to turn your monster into a scribble bot



Saturday 6 October – 2.30pm – 7.00pm
Our Fun Palace this year is for Young People in Care who have rustled up the theme and ideas for the day! Our theme is Space, and we’ll have activities ranging from Science Experiments to CGI and Green Screen to Arts and Crafts as we look at Art, Crafts, Digital Technology, and Science for the day!


Saturday 6 October and Sunday 7 October – 11am – 4.00pm
Welcome to Jabberer’s Fun Palace happening in Darlington this October, as part of the Jabberwocky Market pop-up theatre events. Join us to get involved in the Quest for the Perfect Shirt, join the conversation about Room for More and bring your little ones and grandparents to see Ragtime Rewind at BIG Little Gigs, amongst loads of other FREE activities popping up around our town centre venues (Darlington Covered Market, Polam Hall School & Quaker Meeting House). For full details please see the website www.jabberwockymarket.org.uk


Sunday 6 October
eDay is packed full of activities for you to explore, create and engage with makers, take part in workshops and hands on activities. Our programme already includes: Makers and tinkering robotics, Minecraft, Microbit Quadcopter racing and that’s just for starters


Every Saturday from 6 - 20 October 2.30pm – 4pm
The Word, South Shields
A new, free chess drop-in whether you want to hone your skills, develop your strategy or simply learn a new game then this is the club for you!


Every Sunday from 7 - 21 October 10.30am – 11.30am
The Word, South Shields
Learn how to programme your own interactive stories, games and animation using Scratch with Code Club at The Word. Come along to our drop-in sessions for children of all abilities, whether you are a beginner or have experience of creating projects. All are welcome!
The sessions take place at the children’s library on the second floor of The Word. Sessions are free but booking is essential due to the number of computers available. Suitable for ages 9+.

Hardwick Park: Welly Walk

From 13 - 28 October 10am – 4pm
Hardwick Park, Sedgefield, County Durham
Test out the crunchy, splashy and squelchy route around the park - and don't forget your wellies.

Blackhill and Consett Park: Wild about the Park

Monday 22 October 10am – 12noon & 1pm – 3pm

Palace Green Library: Celebrate Science

Tuesday 23 – Thursday 25 October
Palace Green Library, Durham
Amazing experiments, hands-on activities and inventions. Enjoy three fun packed and fascinating days of FREE events. Everyone welcome.

Blackhill and Consett Park: Pumpkin in the Park

Thursday 25 October 11.30am, 1pm & 2.30pm
Blackhill, Consett, County Durham
Free family pumpkin-carving sessions plus pumpkin-themed tips to reduce food waste and promote composting.  Booking essential.

October Half Term Fun at intu Metrocentre

Friday 19 - 31 October

intu Metrocentre have a spook-tacular Halloween planned! for you with weekends filled with fang-tastic, free-ky activities for your little monsters.

Wizarding Family Fun | Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October
Calling all witches and wizards... join us for some spellbinding activities this October half term. Including wand making, broomstick training and a potion making class. We'll be joined by Harry Potter and Dumbledore lookalikes - why not try on their magical hat and see which house you belong in!

The Big Trick or Treat | Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October
After such a massive response last year, we're beinging The Big Trick Or Treat back! We know lots of things can prevent you from taking your little monsters out on Halloween, so we've made it easy. Grab one of our pumpkin buckets and enjoy sweet treats in a safe (and warm) environment.

Join us on the Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October for a weekend of fun and free trick or treating. Come dressed for the occasion, take a Spooktacular trip around our centre with your little monsters. 
Collect a free pumpkin bucket from our customer services desk in the Lower Blue Mall and visit any intu Metrocentre store that has a pumpkin in the window to find all the develish delights!

Please note, buckets will be issued on a first come, first serve basis so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Tremendous Tuesday October half term

Tuesday 23 October 11am – 3pm
Stephenson Museum, North Tyneside
Teddy bears were one of the most popular toys in the early 1900s. The German toymaker Richard Steiff made the finest bears in the world but when war broke out, German teddies became unthinkable. British toymakers rushed to make patriotic British bears instead.

Come along to our workshop to either make your own little felt bear or kit out your favourite teddy in something you have made. Materials provided-just bring your bear.

 Discovery Days: Circus at Discovery Museum

Tuesday 23, Thursday 25, Tuesday 30 October & Thursday 1 November
Take part in Discovery Museum's circus family activities to celebrate the launch of their new exhibition Circus! Show of Shows where you can celebrate 250 years of circus in Great Britain through rare memorabilia and original props at this new exhibition. Decorate a key ring and make a flying acrobat. How fast can you make it move? Part of their October Half Term activities - Some activities may have a small charge.

Hidden Treasures Digital Art Trail

Throughout October
Village Green, Stamfordham
Hidden Treasures is an interactive digital art trail in Stamfordham village that invites families to discover hidden boxes using a downloadable trail. It works a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure story and a bit like geocaching, with a different experience every time, depending on what you choose on your journey.

Two colourful characters - Rainbow Unicorn (who likes cake) and Gumball the Goat (who loves to dig) – can be spotted by families along the trail using an interactive app developed by artist Nikki Pugh.

Each box contains artwork created by children from Albemarle Barracks and Stamfordham Primary developed in workshops with artist Sheryl Jenkins in response to themes about army life including jobs, hobbies and interests, friendship, housing and moving on.

For more information and to download the trail, visit www.hiddentreasuresnorth.org. (It's recommended you download the trail to your smartphone/tablet before setting off as mobile reception in Stamfordham can be limited). Hidden Treasures takes approximately 1hr 30mins to complete.

Half Term at Great North Museum

Saturday 27 October
Animal Yoga (for young children and their families)
10.30-11am or 11.30am - 12 noon - 
Sing, move and stretch your body while learning about animals.

Toddle Truck Tours (for toddlers and their families)
1-3pm - Little ones - take a tour of the galleries with one of our toddle trucks.

Tuesday 30 October
What do you want to be when you grow up?
11am - 3pm - Children aged 7-14 can investigate different jobs at this interactive day.

Wednesday 31 October
Marvel at our Mysterious World
11am - 3pm - 
Meet the archaeology team and see some grisly items from the collection.

Thursday 1 November
Creature Feature - Animal Handling (Relaxed Session)
10-11am - 
Enjoy a quieter animal handling session. Advance booking required.

Creature Feature - Animal Handling
11am - 3pm - 
Meet the minibeasts with local animal expert Guy Tansley.

Saturday 3 November
Scribbles and Sketches - Witches' Brew Special
11am - 3pm - 
Get creative and draw what you'd put into the witches' cauldron.

 Storytelling & Drawing Half Term Workshop

Tuesday 30 October 1pm – 3pm
The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle
Join Swagbag Stories for an afternoon of creative story-telling at The Biscuit Factory. Hear stories written by our headline artist, illustrator and author Catherine Rayner, as well as the groups, own original stories, all told with imagination and creative flair. Illustrators will also be offering some hands-on drawing activities inspired by Catherine's stories. Whether you are young in age or young at heart - come along and enjoy a story!

Enjoy October,

Deb x

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