From fairy tale princesses and a life-sized polar bear puppet to Christmas ghost stories and reindeer, there’s ‘snow’ much to enjoy at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums venues this festive season, whatever your age. Book your tickets for events online at www.twmuseums.org.uk/christmas
Discovery Museum, Newcastle
Discovery Museum has a busy winter programme in support of the new must-see exhibition Fenwick Unwrapped. The exhibition (Saturday 7 November – Sunday 10 January) recalls the history of the Christmas window at the much-loved department store, as well as the toys of yesteryear. Entry is free. Pre-bookable ‘relaxed sessions’ for visitors with an autism spectrum condition are available on Saturday 28 November and Monday 21 December.
Sunday 22 November will see Bjorn the Polar Bear and his keeper Ursula astonish children in the Great Hall. Bjorn is a giant animatronic puppet but you might just believe you’re at the North Pole in the company of a real polar bear. Tickets are £2.50 per person plus online booking fee.
Special matinee film screenings of three Christmas favourites will provide a perfect distraction from the hustle and bustle outside. The Santa Clause will be shown on Thursday 3 December, Arthur Christmas on Thursday 17 December and The Polar Express on 21, 23and 24 December. Tickets cost £3 per person plus online booking fee.
Princes and princesses from the world of fairy tales visit the Great Hall on Sunday 13 andSaturday 19 December for Once Upon a Christmas Time, an interactive family extravaganza. There’ll be storytelling, games, music and a visit from Santa himself, who’ll deliver a present to every boy and girl. Tickets are £20 per child plus online booking fee.
Ghost Stories for Christmas is a theatre show which summons the restless spirits and malevolent ghouls of classic Victorian literature. The production, suitable for ages 12 and above, comes to Discovery Museum on Wednesday 16 December. Tickets are £10 per person plus online booking fee.
Santa Claus will be at Discovery on Monday 21 December so you can have your photograph taken and get those last-minute present requests in. Tickets cost £2.50 per child plus online booking fee. A limited number of tickets will be available first-come-first-served on the day.
Put on your Christmas jumper and have a good old boogie at our Family Christmas Disco on Tuesday 22 December. Expect all the hits and plenty of activities for little ones. Tickets are £5 per child (aged 3–16) and £1 per adult plus online booking fee.
Stephenson Railway Museum, North Tyneside
All aboard at Stephenson Railway Museum for the popular Santa Specials heritage train rides. Santa will visit each carriage bearing gifts and plenty of good cheer and there’ll be entertainment too. Extra dates have been added after last year’s success, with trains running on 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21and 22 December. Tickets are £13 per person plus online booking fee.
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle
Magic at the Museum on Saturday 5 December will see the Great North Museum: Hancock’s collections come to life with a Yuletide twist. Meet human statues of a Greek Goddess, Roman Soldier and Egyptian Pharaoh before heading up to the exhibition space to experience our special interactive Christmas story. There’ll also be festive performances from Newcastle University’s Wind Band, three lovely reindeer on the front lawn for you to say hello to and much more. Entry is free.
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle
Ink & Drink on Thursday 3 December promises a festive evening of craft and culture for adults at the Laing Art Gallery. Take an exhibition tour with curator Amy Barker, make Arts & Crafts inspired prints with a professional printmaker, construct your own Christmas decorations and enjoy a free mince pie on arrival. Tickets cost £10 per person plus online booking fee.
Ghost Stories for Christmas – the spine-chilling theatre show inspired by supernatural Victorian literature – comes to the Laing on Thursday 10 December. Tickets are £10 per person plus online booking fee.
South Shields Museum
Step out of the cold and into the warmth of South Shields Museum on 4 December for Festive Friday. In this special late opening, enjoy creepy crawly handing sessions and make a Christmas lantern ready for the town parade later in the evening. Entry is free but animal handling sessions are £2 per child. Please pick up tickets in advance from the museum shop.
Saint Nick will be making special trips to South Shields each Saturday leading up to Christmas (5, 12and 19 December) for our Santa at Jingle Bell Square event. He’s very much looking forward to meeting lots of children and hearing about how good they’ve been this year. A ‘relaxed session’ will take place early on Saturday 12 December for children with special educational needs, an autism spectrum condition or a disability. Tickets are £5 per child plus online booking fee.
Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields
Adults and older children (aged 12 and above) can enjoy a Candlelit Tour of Arbeia Roman Fort on Saturday 12 December. As dusk settles and darkness falls, hear tales of Arbeia’s past. You’ll receive light refreshments at the end of the tour but wrap up warm, nonetheless. Tickets are £5 per person plus online booking fee.
Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend
Festive Food at the Fort does exactly what it says on the tin. Enjoy a three-course Christmas meal and a glass of bucks fizz at Segedunum (available on 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 December). No booking is necessary, with prices at £9.50 for adults and £5 for under 16s.
For full listings and to make bookings, visit www.twmuseums.org.uk/christmas