North East 'Family Explorers' invited to review days out

Family Explorers North East, a unique project helping families in the region to enjoy a wider range of cultural experiences together, will launch at Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books on Thursday 9 October at 4.30pm.

Families are invited to sign up to the project for free and receive hand-picked recommendations from 24 cultural venues across the North East every week, making choosing days out quicker and easier for busy families.

Family Explorers North East also encourages families to share reviews of their visits so other participants can see honest and unbiased recommendations from families just like them. Research found this help them feel more confident about trying somewhere new.

As well as peer reviews, Family Explorers also receive exclusive discounts, money saving tips and free tools to make exploring the North East easy, affordable and fun.

Sallyanne Flemons from Family Explorers said, “Family Explorers North East is a unique project that has the views and needs of families at its heart.

"We are so lucky in our region to have such a rich variety of culture waiting to be explored.”

All the Family Explorer venues have signed up to the National Family Arts Standards which means they are dedicated to offering a warm welcome to families and offering relevant and fun things to do throughout the year.

Family Explorers began life in 2012 as a research project with a small number of selected families. The partner venues wanted to find out how families could be encouraged to try new cultural genres. For example, could theatre-goers be persuaded to try dance? Would museum fans feel confident about seeing a live music show?

Kate Edwards, Chief Executive at Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books said, “We wanted more families to enjoy what we do and to talk about it with other families. We also wanted to hear what they liked, and what they didn’t, so we can do the best we can to give children and grown ups a great day out.”

Research found that people felt overwhelmed by the choices around places to visit and the information they trusted most was from other families recommending where to go. Family Explorers was designed to solve this by simplifying information and gathering honest family reviews that would be trusted and sharing them.

Following a pilot project with a handful of families, it was rolled out to over 200 families in 2013. The year-long research project was analysed independently by Morris Hargreaves McIntrye and Flo Culture, who found there that the project ‘…succeeded in promoting ‘Cultural Confidence’ amongst the families’.

October Half Term is the perfect time to become a Family Explorer as the region comes alive with a host of things for families to see and do. JUICE Festival, NewcastleGateshead’s Festival for Children and Young People has a packed programme of events alongside exciting events and activities in cultural venues across the North East. Half term also coincides with the National Family Arts Festival with numerous events planned for our region.

Families can sign up to Family Explorers North East at or join the Facebook Group at /familyexplorersnortheast

Media Contact

For images, quotes or interviews please contact:
Lauren Regan-Ingram, Marketing and Digital Co-ordinator
Seven Stories, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle NE1 2PQ
T: 0845 271 0777 ext. 223

Notes to Editor

Participating Venues


Arbeia Roman Fort has a very special place in the history of Hadrian’s Wall. Arbeia guarded the main sea route to Hadrian’s Wall and was a key garrison and military base for the Wall. Be a Roman soldier for the day, explore the remains and see some of Britain’s best reconstructions.


BALTIC is an international centre for contemporary art presenting an ever-changing programme of exhibitions and offers families a wide range of fun and free drop-in events. Try Busy Bs, a creative workshop for children, take a Family Quest building tour or spend some time in Quay, a fun and relaxed area for people of all ages, where you can enjoy a range of activities and creative play.


Discover the characters, nooks and crannies of old Berwick as you explore a fascinating recreation of the old town. Learn about its turbulent Middle Ages and then enjoy the stunning ceramics and artistic masterpieces from the magnificent Burrell Collection. Enjoy the temporary exhibition programme and the interactive family fun too.


Dance City is the centre for dance in the North East. We have over 65 weekly classes in over 40 different styles of dance, and specialist workshops for all age ranges. We present dance performances in our 250 seat theatre including those made especially for families, children and young people.


Discover all about life in Newcastle and Tyneside, from renowned maritime history to world-changing science and technology. There’s lots of interactive displays which makes it the perfect place to learn and our family friendly events are full of fun, crafts and more. We are also home to Tyne & Wear Archives.


Highlights of our museum include a life-size T rex dinosaur replica skeleton, a specially designed gallery for the under 5s, Romans, major displays showing the diversity of the animal kingdom, Ancient Greeks, mummies from Ancient Egypt, a life size elephant and a planetarium.


Saturday’s are family days at the Hatton, help yourself to fun art activities or borrow an Art Backpack for a tour of the gallery. The Hatton stages a highly-regarded programme of historical, modern and contemporary art exhibitions.


Explore England’s oldest purpose-built prison to discover a lawless land, wild Reivers, crime and the grisly punishments. Dress up, watch a film, hunt for skulls, try the feely boxes and get crafty making shields or rubbing brass. Or test the stocks for size if you dare!


Juice is NewcastleGateshead’s award-winning festival for children and young people. It takes place during the October half-term and features outstanding work created by, for and with children and young people as well as a family friendly programme made by regional, national and international artists. We also run a fringe festival called Juice Box. For more information, to download this years brochure and to book tickets, visit our website.


We’re home to an impressive collection of art and also run lots of fun activities for families and children of all ages throughout the year. We have something for the smallest children right through to teenagers and young adults. There is also a shop, café and dedicated under 5s area.


We are an award winning science centre with a changing programme of exhibitions and events. Highlights include the 4D Motion Ride, the North’s biggest planetarium, live theatre shows and the Curiosity Zone – 100% hands-on and designed to bring out your inner scientist. We also have a special area for under 7s.


Based on Newcastle’s quayside, Live Theatre creates and performs new plays of world class quality. For families we present family theatre, produce plays written by young writers and our annual Youth Theatre Festival in August showcases work by and for young people. We also have comedy and music events and our own real pub.


Find out how Northumbrian pipes differ from other bagpipes and browse a stunning collection of pipes from around the world. Look out for live music performances and interactive family fun. Visit the craft and tourist centre too, all housed in a beautiful medieval Chantry building.


The Theatre Royal is one of the finest and most historic theatres in the UK. We present over 380 performances to over 300,000 people each year. Performances include the biggest and brightest West End musicals, drama, dance, family friendly shows – not to mention the North’s favourite pantomime!


Northern Stage has three performance spaces which present new writing, traditional drama, physical theatre, storytelling, contemporary dance, comedy and children’s shows. Northern Stage is the largest producing theatre company in the North East of England. You will also see us on tour around the country every year with one of our large scale productions.


After a £7 million refurbishment, Preston Park Museum provides amazing days out for the whole family. Enjoy fantastic displays or step over a clock spinning backwards to emerge in our Victorian street and walled garden. Set in beautiful parkland, there are walks by the Tees and a fantastic adventure playground to enjoy.


Sage Gateshead is a great place for a family visit where you and your little ones can enjoy fun, creative and engaging family concerts and workshops. We want everyone to get involved with music. Come on in and get started – entry to the building is free!


We are a large interactive museum with full-scale reconstructions of a bath house and a section of Hadrian’s Wall, with Roman costumes to try on in the galleries. We have a 35 metre high viewing tower providing outstanding views across the World Heritage Site.


Seven Stories is Britain’s National gallery and archive that celebrates the wonderful world of children’s books. We select original artwork and manuscripts – from first scribbles to finished work – to make our exhibitions, events and learning programmes.


Relax and enjoy discovering art and design in the friendly surroundings of the Shipley Art Gallery. The Shipley Lounge provides a space for families to unwind, with seating and a play area while our regular family activities encourage our young visitors to get creative.


We’ve been at the heart of the community for over 150 years celebrating South Tyneside’s rich heritage. We bring to life stories from the past through interactive displays and exciting events and exhibitions. Say hi to our residents in Creature Corner and join us every Tuesday in school holidays for Tremendous Tuesday.


We’re a small and friendly museum where you can relive the glorious days of the steam railway. The museum is home to George Stephenson’s ‘Billy’, a forerunner of the world-famous Rocket, and many other engines from the great age of steam. With a transport themed dressing up area, and fun events and activities for all ages. Heritage train rides operate on Sundays and Bank holidays.


We show the best films in stylish and beautiful surroundings, and our varied programme ranges from brilliant films from all over the world to the best Hollywood has to offer. As the last surviving Newsreel theatre still operating as a cinema full-time in the UK, our Grade II-listed building is an important, must-see piece of heritage.


Discover 800 years of Northumberland’s history and experience an ever-changing programme of fantastic events and exciting exhibitions at our award winning Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives. Set within the QEII Country Park, Woodhorn is also the home of the Northumberland county record office, as well as Ashington’s famous Pitman Painters.