Ouseburn Valley - Review for families

From Seven Stories to Stepney Stables, here's our guide to an alternative family day out in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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  • What is Ouseburn Valley?

    Ouseburn Valley was once an industrial area, but over recent years it's become an urban creative hub for musicians, artists and filmmakers. While that may sound a bit too 'hipster' for some families, the area has also made leaps and bounds into becoming an ideal place for local or visiting families to enjoy a day out.

    Located just on the edge of Newcastle's vibrant city centre, Ouseburn Valley is within ten minutes walking distance or is easily accessible via public transport. The frequent Stagecoach Newcastle city centre bus services 39/40/62/63 stop right beside this trendy area. 

    The Valley is named after the River Ouseburn, a small, tributary river which flows into the famous River Tyne. With amazing city views, glimpses of Newcastle's landmark bridges and a secluded, hidden gem feel - there are dozens of reasons why the Ouseburn Valley should make it on to your family travel wishlist. Click through the slideshow to see why...

  • Seven Stories

    What is it?

    Seven Stories is the national centre of children's books, located over seven floors of a renovated Victorian warehouse. Get it? That's where their name comes from. The Sat Nav postcode is NE1 2PQ.


    ££. An adult ticket costs £7 and a child aged 4 - 16 will cost £6. Family tickets and annual passes are available. Don't forget that they're doing lots of community and charitable work for under-privileged kids when you pay in, though. 

    What's on offer

    Seven Stories is a completely unique UK attraction, as nowhere else in the country has shown such dedication to the art of children's literature. They combine exhibitions with top children's authors, inspirational illustration galleries, collection of children's writing, frequent story time sessions, dress up and craft activities in the Creation Station and one-off family events to encourage a passion for reading in today's youth. Whilst exploring, children can hold use a themed sensory explorers bag to guide them through the magical world of literature.

    You might enter through the gift shop, but with the wide range of fun and education children's books on offer, that may not be such a bad thing. There's also a family-friendly cafe. Toilets are located on Level 2, with a disabled toilet on Level 1. Baby changing facilities are available on Level 1 and in the toilets on Level 2. A pushchair storage option is located on Level 1. There is a lift operating throughout the building.


    Nearby free parking at Foundry Car Park. 

    What to watch out for

    Sensory explorer bags require a £10 cash deposit.You'll have to ring up and book one during peak or busy periods. The parking may also be busy during peak periods. You can't consume your own food or drink here, but there'll be room for a picnic on the nearby village green.

    Visit the official Seven Stories website

  • The Biscuit Factory

    What is it?

    Another old Victorian warehouse - this time converted into a two-floor art gallery. 


    It's free to enter, but if you choose to purchase a piece of art, stop by the coffee shop or dine at Newcastle's highest rated restaurant on TripAdvisor, Artisan - you may find your money quickly disappears.

    What's on offer

    A leisurely stroll through the works of many local, North-East born and based artists. Paintings, sculpture and temporary exhibitions sure to impress any art fan. There's also a gift shop and plenty of excellent family facilities, including. The Biscuit Factory gallery has ramp and lift access for wheelchair and buggy users, buggy storage at reception, a baby changing room on the ground floor and seats everywhere so you'll never tire out. The restaurant, Artisan, has a excellent family facilities including high chairs, small portions and excellent, non-judgemental service despite the restaurants high standing and 'pretentious' reputation.


    Let's face it - you might have to drag the kids around this one. Not many small children are particularly interested in art. Luckily, there's free WiFi to keep them occupied during the slightly boring bits.

    What to watch out for

    Don't be fooled by the name. Sadly, there are no biscuits here. Highchairs and buggy storage are available upon request, subject to space availability.

    Visit the official Biscuit Factory website

  • Stepney Bank Stables

    What is it?

    Stepney Bank Stables is an equestrian centre where children and their parents can enjoy horse-riding lessons. 


    ££. This entirely depends on the type and amount of lessons you wish to purchase for your child.

    What's on offer

    Has your child ever wanted to ride a horse? If they're just interesting in trying it out or you want to introduce them to something new, maybe even a potential new sport, a horse-riding lesson might be the way to go. Hacking (riding for light exercise) isn't available here, but is available at the sister stable in Team Valley, which is easily accessible by car. Under 5 lessons, Pony Club for local children and group bookings at many different levels of competence are all available here. 


    Horse-riding is a fun and unique experience if you pay for one lesson, but it can become a much loved hobby or even sport if your child enjoys it.

    What to watch out for

    You have to book lessons in advance and pay for them upon booking. For health reasons, horses cannot take the weight of someone over 13st whilst fully clothed. The height of riders is also taken into account, so shorter riders will have to adhere to lower weight restrictions. The staff at the stables ask for visitors not to be offended when they ask for your height and weight.

    Visit the official Stepney Bank Stables

  • Continue slideshow >

  • Ouseburn Farm

    What is it?

    Ouseburn Farm is a community-led project enabling those living in the Ouseburn Valley to enjoy the benefits of a running farm and environmental park, just one mile away from the bustling centre of Newcastle. The farm has been going since 1976, when it was called the Byker Farm. The SatNav post code is NE1 2PA. 


    Entrance to the farm is free, but please consider making a small donation if you should decide to visit. The farm is a charity. Donations go towards general running costs for the farm in addition to food and bedding for the animals.

    What's on offer

    Lots of adorable animals! Ouseburn Farm is home to chinchillas, chickens, bunny rabbits, sheep, cows, pigs, goats and guinea pigs - as well as a cat and a tortoise. There are fish, birds and many more lovely creatures for your child to see.

    The farm also has a timetable of events and activities for children to get involved in. Learn to care for small animals, get up close with the bigger farm animals, enjoy arts and crafts activities, explore under water with a spot of pond-dipping or let them take the lead in the nature walking trail. 


    Like the whole of Ouseburn Valley, this place really is a hidden gem. It won't often get too crowded and it's definitely a place for families to come and feel relaxed. It's just next to two of Ouseburn Valley's nicest pubs, both of which are ideal for lunch (click to the next slide and you'll see what we mean). 

    What to watch out for

    It's mostly outdoors, so pack a little brolly in your bag and make sure to wear waterproofs or warm coats if it doesn't look like a surefire sunny day. There is a great indoor area, though, so don't panic.

    Visit the official Ouseburn Farm website

  • What else is there?

    There are plenty of great places to eat in the Ouseburn Valley, most of which turn into vibrant pubs, live music venues or even clubs in the evening. The Tanners Arms pub and The Ship Inn both serve top notch pub food during the day before becoming popular pubs in the evening. The Cluny might be most famous for hosting rock concerts, but it actually has a lovely day menu and serves a cracking sunday dinner on Sunday lunchtimes. Ernest, still a hidden gem deep in the Ouseburn Valley, is a posh cafe/deli, serving delicious, unusual sandwiches and hot food to eat in or take away. All of these places to eat offer a limited menu for small appetites or do smaller, cheaper versions of adult main courses.

    Mums and dads may enjoy visiting the Star & Shadow Cinema, a volunteer-run art cinema, which often holds club nights and puts on film screenings. Right next door, there's a cheap vintage shop filled with all kinds of gems. Further into Ouseburn, you'll also find The Toffee Factory. It's now a block of creative offices, but many years ago it was home to the Maynards sweet factory and before that, the earlier history of the North East's sweet industry. It's worth popping down for a quick look at the renovations to the building. 

    Ouseburn Valley is also home to the top-rated Newcastle attraction on TripAdvisor - the Victoria Tunnel. It was built in 1842, but it's now open to the public for fantastic interactive guided tours, sharing a little bit of Newcastle's mining history. It was also an air-raid shelter during the World Wars.

    You can also check out views of Byker Bridge and over the whole valley, just a short walk along the bridge from The Tanners Arms. From the Star & Shadow Cinema, you're looking at a ten/fifteen minute wander down to Newcastle's famous quayside. So, if you want to check out Ouseburn Valley, the Quayside and the town centre's family attractions - you definitely want to book a hotel right on the quayside!

    Photo: Torunn Skrogstad

    For more insider tips, check out our MFM days out guides:

    Whitley Bay
    Hancock Museum
    Life Science Centre
    Discovery Museum
    Tanfield Railway
    Whitehouse Farm
    Beamish Museum
    Pets Corner


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