Top 10 things to do in the Tees Valley during the summer holidays

Inspiration | Published on: 28th July 2022

The Tees Valley is home to exciting events, family friendly attractions, and plenty of activities, so being bored is not an option. 

Here are ten things you can get up to during the six weeks holidays, including free fun in Teesside, days out in Darlington, heritage in Hartlepool and more! 

1. Scale all four levels of Air Trail 

Want to feel on top of the world? Located at Tees Barrage in Stockton, Air Trail is the UK’s biggest sky trail high ropes adventure course – a great day out for daring kids!  

There’s more than 38 unique challenges set across four levels of rope bridges, tight ropes, cargo nets and swinging stepping stones, all floating above the River Tees. Walk the plank or whizz over the water with two full size zip rails. 

Tickets are from £12.50 per person with family tickets (one adult, three children/two adults, two children) costing £45

2. Set sail for adventure at National Museum of the Royal Navy 

Start the school holidays with a bang with the museum’s live cannon and musket shootings, before experiencing life like a pirate with the Horrible Histories Exhibition then climb aboard the HMS Trincomalee, the oldest war ship still afloat in the UK.  

Kids can find their sea legs without ever leaving the dock thanks to its playground, with lookout posts, slides, decks, hammocks and swings, while you take in the Georgian Quayside.  

Family tickets start at £17 for one adult and up to three children but, if you visit once and keep your ticket, you can visit again free as many times as you want for the following 12 months. 

3. Head to the beach 

If the sun is shining, then a trip to the seaside is a must, and we have plenty of coastline to choose from. 

At the charming Saltburn-by-the-Sea, you can take a ride on the Saltburn Cliff Tramway, catch some waves with the help of Flow Surf School, or eat fresh fish and chips on Saltburn Pier – the most northerly surviving British pier.  

Retreat to Redcar Beach to visit the world’s oldest lifeboat for free at Zetland Lifeboat Museum, try your luck in arcades along the seafront, or grab a Tees Valley delicacy – the lemon top ice cream from Pacittos 

Seaton Carew is another seaside location well worth a visit.  Relax in the colourful beach huts, feast on delicious food from Napoli Woodfired Pizza, or get involved in family activities throughout the summer! 

4. All aboard Saltburn Miniature Railway  

If you’ve had your fill of fish and chips and surfing, this is another great activity in Saltburn. The 15in gauge railway gives you a opportunity to go on a real locomotive journey through Saltburn. The route takes in the seafront, Valley Gardens, Italian Gardens, Tea Lawn and Woodland Centre.  

Have a picnic at Cat Nab before jumping aboard for single or return journeys to Forest Halt, where you can explore the woodland area or make a stop at Valley Gardens Tea Rooms.  

5. Make your way to Mish Mash 

On Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 August Mish Mash family music festival will return to Darlington market square!  

The world music event has something for everyone, with gypsy folk, flamenco and afrobeat bands hitting the stage, alongside world food vendors and interactive workshops – and best of all, it’s free. Find out more about Mish Mash Festival here. 

6. Meet the animals at Newham Grange 

Make your way to Newham Grange Farm to meet all kinds of cute farm animals, where you’ll even get the chance to feed or pet them!  

The whole family can get involved in the Teddy bear and farm friend’s picnic on 7 and 8 August, where you can enjoy plenty of activities, or watch your favourite film in Newham Grange Farm from 15 until 17 August with their Moovies at the Farm events.  

7. Picnic with bears at Preston Park 

If you go down to Preston Park Museum on 14 August, you’re sure of a big surprise… a teddy bears’ picnic! Grab your picnic basket and favourite teddy for a day of crafts, storytelling, and fun. 

Arts and crafts and an interactive Elmer and Friends Exhibition are also on the agenda throughout the summer and, as ever, you can take a step back through time exploring the museum’s Victorian street, lined with a sweet shop, toy shop, blacksmith and police station. 

8. Have a mega Mela at Albert Park  

The North East’s biggest multicultural festival, Middlesbrough Mela, will take over Albert Park on 13 and 14 August, bringing incredible food, a market bazaar, arts and crafts, street performers, sports, games, musicians plus much more! This incredible event is free and you can find out more here 

If you visit outside of the Mela festival, kick back on a swan boat, you and the family can get your skates on in the park’s roller rink, and kids can let their creative side out at crafts sessions on 2, 19 and 16 August.  

9. Head to The Hullabaloo  

Did you know the Tees Valley is home to the only dedicated children’s theatre north of London?  

The Hullabaloo in Darlington is made up of interactive areas that light up, make noise and tell stories which to keep the kids entertained for free. Children can develop their theatre skills with the Create a Hullabaloo workshop, and take in the Interactive ‘Wow! Said the Owl’ Exhibition, based on the award-winning book by Tim Hopgood.   

10. Explore Guisborough Forest  

If walking or cycling is more your family’s style, wind your way around towering trees in Guisborough Forest. 

As well as getting close to nature, there are two play areas, a sculpture trail and the new Look Trail and Scavenger Hunt, to discover, all running through the school holidays. The exciting Look Trail will put your children to work on brainteasing puzzles and creative activities for free! 

To make getting around even easier and more affordable, there’s also free children’s travel on any Go North East, Arriva, or Stagecoach service until the end of the summer! From Saturday 23 July until Sunday 4 September, up to three children aged 11 or under can travel for free, all day, every day when accompanied by an adult aged 18 or over with a valid ticket or pass. to find out more.  

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