What's on during May half-term

24 May 2022

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) venues are offering activities and events to entertain, educate and inspire children and their families during the May school holiday.  Visitors can take their pick from Jubilee crafts, art schools, outdoor performances, LEGO™ building challenges and a community picnic.

Unless stated, events are drop in and free to attend. Donations are welcome.

Entry to all TWAM venues is free, except for Segedunum Roman Fort where adults over 16 pay £5.95 and concessions £3.95 (including voluntary donation). At Segedunum, children under the age of 16 always go free, as do NE28 postcode residents. 

TWAM is encouraging its visitors to use the Metro to travel to its venues, especially families looking for a good value day out. Up to three children aged 11 and under can travel for free on the Metro and the Shields Ferry with a fare-paying adult.

Arbeia South Shields Roman Fort

Boudicca: The Wheelabouts
Saturday 4 June
12pm, 1.30pm and 3pm (performances will last 30 minutes)
An interactive free event for all the family.   
Amassing her army of Celts and marking their faces with Woad, Boudicca’s chariot and horse tear off across the countryside looking for Romans to punish.
Part puppetry, part sculpture and part performance, Boudicca is an exciting gallop with silly audience participation and plenty of comic improvisation.
The Wheelabouts create bespoke performance pieces built around wheelchairs. With a wealth of outdoor arts experience as performers and makers, they feel that being a wheelchair user should not inhibit creativity or performance opportunities. Taking the traditional idea of the street Walkabout, they have adapted this into The Wheelabout. 

The Big Jubilee Lunch
Sunday 5 June
12noon - 4pm 
Visit Arbeia as it prepares to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Visitors can enjoy music provided by Westoe Brass Band, get involved in hands-on craft activities with GemArts, take part in Roman themed handling sessions with the Time Bandits and watch an interactive performance by Victor the Veteran.
A coffee cart will be on site. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own picnic. 


Discovery Museum 

Discovery Days: Jubilee Celebrations
Tuesday 31 May 
10am – 12pm and 1pm - 3pm
Visitors to Discovery Museum on 31 May, can get into the Jubilee spirit and decorate their own commemorative ceramic plate to keep, or create a string of bunting to take home. 
These family crafts are suitable for children aged 6 and over, although younger family members are also always welcome.
£1.50, with free crafts available.  No booking required, drop in. 

Build A City
Wednesday 1 June 
10am – 12pm and 1pm - 3pm
On 3 June visitors can get creative and build a LEGO™ city together, to celebrate 140 years of Newcastle upon Tyne being granted city status – it was granted on 3 June 1882.
Families can:                                               
• Build a LEGO™ city
• Design cardboard buildings and bridges                 
• Devise their own city coat of arms banner
LEGO™ is a registered trademark of the LEGO Group, who do not endorse or sponsor this event.
£1.50 per child + booking fee. Booking essential.
Adults and under 5s go free.


Great North Museum: Hancock

Frontier Voices
Daily 30 May - 1 June
11am - 3pm

Visitors can join artist Karen MacDougall and contribute to her new art installation Et in Arcadia Ego. The 'trees' in the Hadrian's Wall gallery will be transformed into Roman columns, inspired by the museum objects and the voices of those who lived on the Wall. The finished installation will be on display until the end of the summer.

Half Term - Relaxed Early Opening
Tuesday 31 May
9-10am
The Great North Museum: Hancock is offering a relaxed session especially for visitors with autism, learning disabilities or sensory and communication disorders, along with their families and carers on 31 May, 9-10am. 
Free, booking essential.


Laing Art Gallery

3-day Art Academy for 7-10 year olds
Monday 30 May - Wednesday 1 June
10am - 3pm (early drop off available from 9.30am, late pick up available until 4pm.)
Over the course of 3 days (Monday to Wednesday) children (7-10 years old) can work with a professional arts educator to experiment with a variety of materials to explore and create artwork at the Laing’s Art Academy. Young people will use the Laing's collection as inspiration and explore and develop their artistic skills and techniques, to develop a portfolio of work.

General admission £75 (plus booking fee)
General admission with Arts Award £100 (plus booking fee)

3-day Art School for 11-16 year olds
Monday 30 May - Wednesday 1 June 

10am - 3pm (early drop off available from 9.30am, late pick up available until 4pm.)
Participants in the Laing's Art School for 11-16 year olds, will work with a professional arts educator to experiment with a variety of materials and create a portfolio of paintings, illustrations and prints. 

General admission £75 (plus booking fee)
General admission with Arts Award £100 (plus booking fee)


Segedunum Roman Fort

Monday 30 May
11am-3pm 
Marvellous Mondays – Get Building!
Visitors can try their skills at building arches and making their own mini-centurial stone to take away. The craft activity is suitable for 5-12 years; younger siblings are welcome to join in. 

Technology Tom - Wonderful Water Power
Visitors can explore the science of water with Technology Tom. They will find out about Vitruvius and water powered inventions and try making their own miniature waterwheel to take away.  


The Wheelabouts - Boudicca
Sunday 5 June 
Shows at 12pm, 1.30pm & 3pm  

An interactive free event for all the family.   
Amassing her army of Celts and marking their faces with Woad, Boudicca’s chariot and horse tear off across the countryside looking for Romans to punish. 
Part puppetry, part sculpture and part performance, Boudicca is an exciting gallop with silly audience participation and plenty of comic improvisation.
The Wheelabouts create bespoke performance pieces built around wheelchairs. With a wealth of outdoor arts experience as performers and makers, they feel that being a wheelchair user should not inhibit creativity or performance opportunities. Taking the traditional idea of the street Walkabout, they have adapted this into The Wheelabout. 


The Shipley Art Gallery

Family Arts Festival: make a flag
Tuesday 31 May
10am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm

Visitors can celebrate the Jubilee by designing and decorating their own fabric flag at Shipley Art Gallery. There are plenty of patterns and colours in the artworks on display for inspiration.
£3 per participant + booking fee. Booking essential. 


Family Arts Festival: make a crown
The Shipley Art Gallery
Wednesday 1 June
10am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm

Visitors can celebrate the Jubilee by designing and decorating their own crown using card and stick-on decorations.
£3 per participant + booking fee. Booking essential. 


South Shields Museum & Art Gallery

Tremendous Tuesday: Platinum Jubilee Craft Day
Tuesday 31 May
11am-12:30pm and 1pm-3pm
Visitors can celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee by creating their own celebration pinwheel to take home and join in a royal scavenger hunt inside the Museum.


Stephenson Steam Railway

Heritage train rides
Sunday 29 May, Thursday 2, Friday 3 & Sunday 5 June

Heritage train rides will be available at Stephenson Steam Railway providing a four-mile return trip in a 1950s passenger carriage pulled by a vintage locomotive. Pre-booking advised to avoid disappointment.
Prices from £4 per person

May half-term Museum opening times
Saturday 28, Sunday 29 & Tuesday 31 May 
Thursday 2 through to Sunday 5 June
11am – 4pm 

Make & Take Thursday – Queen's Platinum Jubilee
Thursday 2 June
11am – 3pm
Visitors can make a crown, inspired by Stephenson Steam Railway’s oldest steam locomotive, Billy, to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.