Where can I take my toddler on a rainy day in Newcastle?

There’s nothing like an unexpected downpour to ruin a family day out during Bank Holiday weekend. Luckily, there is still plenty to do in Newcastle when it rains.

The Discovery Museum in Newcastle is, for us, a really fun way to spend a rainy day and learn something new at the same time. It’s also free admission, meaning everyone can experience these incredible educational resources.

The museum is made up of multiple floors featuring different exhibits focusing on maritime, scientific and technological artefacts. What’s great is that they are all centred around the power of play and everything carries an explanatory notice, so you can explain things (you don’t know) to the kids.

With so many different sections and themes, there is a lot to absorb so I would suggest making your first trip a full-day family outing. Our pint-sized partner in crime managed to keep busy for a very long time.

He was immediately drawn to the Turbinia as soon as we arrived. Charles Parsons’ 34-metre, steam-powered ship was once the fastest in the world and an iconic part of the history of Tyneside. It’s a must-see if you’re visiting the region.

Our little family

One of little C’s favourite areas (and H’s, being an engineer) is the Science Maze with multi-sensory, hands-on areas for toddlers, pre-schoolers and older children.

There are a host of interactive STEM displays at Discovery which bring science and engineering to life. There are balls that can be dropped through holes, shot through air pressure chutes and plunked down a wall which Little C loved.

He really enjoyed cranking things up, building with blocks, using pulleys, magnets, learning about gravity and even electromagnetic induction.

What goes up … must come down!

The museum offers an inspirational approach to learning which encourages children to develop at their own pace with hands-on activities. It also promotes creativity, confidence, problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration.

It’s also a treasure house of amazing artefacts spanning Newcastle and Tyneside’s history. On the ground floor, the Newcastle Story takes you on a journey through the city from the Roman times to the early millennium.

The first floor delves further into Tyneside’s industrial and maritime past with Working Lives, Tyneside Challenge and Story of the Tyne.

Little C gets to grips with the Swing Bridge in the Story of the Tyne gallery.

The second floor is home to the Turbinia Cafe where we indulged in coffee and cake overlooking Turbinia and Story of the Tyne gallery. The menu also includes soup, sandwiches, ice-cream, cakes, fresh fruit and slushies!

One observation: the seating area is expansive, with highchairs and plenty of space for buggies too. We spent £11 on two large lattes, a smoothie, a piece of apple cake, bottle of Coke and a bag of crisps.

Also on the second floor is Destination Tyneside, the UK’s only permanent dedicated gallery telling the story of migration of those who have made Tyneside their home.  

Special exhibits and shows pass through the Discovery Museum on a regular basis. We caught the Circus! Show of Shows exhibit which little C really enjoyed. It’s on until June 2, 2019. We hope to be back for the LEGO show on May 11th.

Clowning around inside the Circus exhibit


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