As you read this, you will no doubt be surrounded by piles of presents and chocolates, racking your brains for the different ways to serve leftover turkey. We hope you all had a very merry Christmas and whether you’re enjoying a well-earned rest with your feet up in front of yet another Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special and just one more mince pie or have decided to hit the sales… here are some great ways to entertain visiting relatives, restless children and avoid cabin fever between Christmas and New Year.

Blow away the cobwebs

Whether you fancy slipping out for a quiet walk or rallying the whole tribe to stretch their legs between Christmas films and computer gaming then you are spoilt for choice with coast and countryside on the doorstep. Blow off some steam with a stroll around Derwent Walk Country Park to spot the elusive Red Kites.

You can stop off at nearby Gibside (National Trust holders get in free) to explore their famous landscaped gardens or play in their brilliant play area complete with wooden castles, sand and water areas. Last entry to Gibside in winter is 3.30pm.

If you’re feeling like getting completely out of the city – head to English Heritage Housesteads Roman Fort for a walk and some history… walking along the majestic Hadrian’s Wall is free and if you are an English Heritage member then acess to the museum is also free. Housesteads is closed Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Hitting the sales

You will know doubt find yourselves out for a spot of sale shopping between Christmas and New Year. There are shops galore at intu Metrocentre who also have a brilliant free panto for the kids (and big kids). Showings every day until Mon 2 January (expect Boxing Day and New Year's Day).

Fenwick Newcastle's sale started very early for you keen shoppers at 9am.

Fun with the kids

BALTIC invite you to get creative in their Winter Woodland and keep the festivities rolling with crafts, elves and Christmassy sing-alongs (Sat 29 & Sun 30 December). Life Science Centre promise to put the 'wonder' into winter wonderland with science-themed festive fun! Take a spin on the ice, investigate fake snow and hop aboard the Polar Express Journey to the North Pole on their 4D motion ride.  

Sage Gateshead are having BIG Family Festive Fun and you're all invited! Join them on Friday 28 December for a lot of merry music making. Book your tickets in advance.

Annual Passes for Christmas?

Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books will have its usual array of spectacular story times and drop in activities as well as your last chance to see their creative exhibitions. (Seven Stories is closed 24 - 27 December, and their full open times can be found here). 

Beamish Museum have a charming week of Twelfth Night celebrations including your chance to make your own Twelfth Night mask or candle as well as storytelling in the Old House.  Activities will be running from Thu 27 – Sun 6 January (closed New Year's Day).

Relive the best films

If you're itching for a change of scenery and had enough of sitting on your own sofa munching on snacks, put your coat on over your "loungewear" and head to Tyneside Cinema to settle into a comfy seat there instead. Tyneside will be screening some of the best films from 2018 just for you between 26 December - 2 January.

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