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Where can I take the kids on a rainy day in Newcastle?

Rainy day at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle
NB. The Discovery Museum reopens on September 1, 2020 – to book your free tickets, see https://ticketsource.co.uk/discoverymuseum

There’s nothing like an unexpected downpour to ruin a family day out. Luckily, there is still plenty to do on a rainy day in Newcastle.

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.

Power of play

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.

Rainy day at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle
Explorers on a family day out

STEM displays

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.

Rainy day at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle

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

Rainy day at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle
What goes up … must come down!

Hands-on activities

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.

Rainy day at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle

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.

Rainy day at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle

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

Rainy day at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle
Little C gets to grips with the Swing Bridge in the Story of the Tyne gallery.

Where to eat

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!

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.  

The Discovery Museum in Newcastle

Special exhibits

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.

The Discovery Museum in Newcastle
Clowning around inside the Circus exhibit


Saffron and Cyrus is a Newcastle-based family lifestyle blog, covering diversity, self-care, days out, travel, reviews, recipes and more from our family life.
The blog is written by new mum over 40, Aranda, with input from hubby H and four-year-old Cyrus.

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