50 things to do before you're 11 ¾ in the North East

Enjoy the great outdoors this summer and get closer to nature with our list of ultimate activities for young adventurers. Explore on two wheels, build a den, eat a picnic in the wild, make friends with a bug or go for a barefoot walk. Suitable for all seasons, you can enjoy doing our '50 things' again and again. They're simple to tick off, but guaranteed to add even more adventure to your day out.

Visitors pond-dipping in the burn at Cragside, Northumberland
cycling at wallington


The gardens and woodlands at Wallington are the perfect playground for nature explorers. Explore the estate on wheels (No.11) on the Dragon Cycle Trail and get to know the famous Nootka Cypress tree (No.1). Head along the River Walk to spot a fish (No.8) and stop off at Trout Bridge for a traditional game of pooh sticks (No.19)

A family pond dipping at Cragside


With lakes, woodlands and gardens, you can tick off plenty of your '50 Things to do before you’re 11¾' activities at Cragside. Discover what’s in a pond (No.35) explore the nooks, crannies and caves in the rock formations by Slipper Lake (No.29) or head to the adventure play area and take your shoes off for a barefoot walk (No.24). With all sorts of animals calling Cragside home, including deer, and you can discover the clues they leave behind (No.34).

A family building a den in the woods


You’ll need your map reading skills to navigate the West Woods at Gibside (No.45). Once you’re there, create your own summer retreat with den building (No.4) and go on a scavenger hunt to see what you can find among the trees (No.30) Can you make some wild art with what you’ve found? (No.18) Bring a friend to help you gather your materials (No.50)

Bug hunting

Washington Old Hall  

The nature nuttery at Washington Old Hall is crammed full of bugs, can you make friends with one? (No.31) Sometimes nature needs a helping hand. Get stuck in and make a home for wildlife (No.36) with special events during the school holidays. With sticks, leaves and plants a plenty set a nature trail for your family to follow or create your own sticky fun (No.12).

Man and little girl rockpooling at Souter Lighthouse

Souter Lighthouse and the Leas  

Join a Seashore Safari event or pick up a self-led rock pooling activity pack and see what salty sea creatures you discover in a rock pool (No.37). Marsden Bay is home to kittiwakes, fulmars, cormorants and herring gulls, so take a stroll along the cliffs to watch a bird (No.40) or spend some time at the bird hides in Whitburn Coastal Park. Make the most of the North Sea breeze and Fly a kite (No.7) Feeling brave? Take off your shoes and enjoy a bracing paddle between the tides (No.20)

Enjoying a picnic

Seaton Delaval Hall  

With plenty of wide open spaces to explore and play, it’s easy to have a ‘50 things’ adventure at Seaton Delaval Hall. Head to the paddock and eat a picnic in the wild (No.9) and see what you find with a spot of geocaching (No.45). Take time to stop and listen to the sounds of nature around you, and add your own sounds to natures band (No.25).

Create some wild art with natural materials in Knole Park, Kent.


Take inspiration from Thomas Bewick and create some of your very own wild art (No.18), or a wild crown fit for any prince or princess (No.16). Head to the wildlife garden to hunt for wild animal clues (No.34) or simply lie back and watch the clouds as they roll over the Tyne Valley countryside (No.33)

A girl rockpooling at Lindisfarne Castle

Lindisfarne Castle  

The rocky headlands around Lindisfarne Castle are great for a scramble (No.46) Filled with countless rock pools, can you catch a crab? (No.39). Home to an impressive array of seabirds you can spend some time watching the birds (No.44), or float a boat along the shore (No.32).

Hunting for bugs on Wildlife Explorer Day at Ormesby Hall, North Yorkshire

Ormesby Hall  

The grounds and woodlands at Ormesby Hall are perfect for ticking off your ‘50 things’ activities. Head into the woods and discover the creatures and critters that live there (No.31) or make the most of the rainy British weather on a welly wander (No.6). After a rainy summer there’s sure to be plenty of mud to get stuck into (No.13) or start a nature diary to keep a track of everything you can find (No.48)