I often find myself googling ‘free things to do in’ whatever place I’m visiting so I thought I’d start a series of blog posts featuring free things to do in various parts of the country. I’m starting today with free things to do in Middlesbrough.
I feel like Middlesbrough gets a bit of a bad deal when it comes to people’s opinions of what it’s like to live there.
Yes, it’s an industrial town and yes, people who live in Middlesbrough are often referred to as Smoggies and yes, it’s more often than not somewhere near the top of any ‘worst place to live’ lists but there’s a lot more to it than you’re often shown in the press.
I don’t live in Middlesbrough myself but it’s not a million miles away from where I do live and I’ve spent many a day out there with the kids, taking advantage of some of the things the town has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s undesirable areas and there are places I wouldn’t personally want to visit but I’m pretty sure that’s the case wherever you go in the country.
So, if you ever find yourself in Middlesbrough, look past the industrial skylines and ignore any of the negative press you’ve heard about the town and take advantage of what the town does have to offer.
And you know what? There’s plenty of things to do there that won’t cost you a penny which is even better!
Five free things to do in Middlesbrough
1. MiMA – Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
MiMA opened in central Middlesbrough back in 2007 and when the kids were younger, we used to head there pretty much every school holiday. I used to really enjoy wandering around the ever-changing exhibits and the kids used to enjoy the family activities and special events that take place throughout the year, especially when the kids are off school. It’s free entry into the museum and the activities are generally free too so it’s well worth a visit – especially on a rainy day!
There’s also the Bottle of Notes just outside which is a pretty instagrammable sculpture. 😉
2. Stewart Park
Stewart Park has always been our go-to park, even though it’s a drive away. There’s a great playpark, masses of open space, woodland walks, a mini orienteering course, a lake with swans and plenty of nature and wildlife to spot. There’s plenty of free parking there and as the cottage where Captain James Cook was born was situated within the park, you can even pop into the museum on-site if you fancy it (although there is a charge for this).
There’s a monthly farmers market that we enjoy visiting and last year it was the site of Radio One’s big weekend which both of my two were lucky enough to get tickets for and absolutely loved.
3. The Dorman Museum / Albert Park
First of all, apologies for the poor photo of Miss Frugal modelling shoes above – this is the only one I can find of us at the Dorman museum without a full-on search of all my hard drives. We’ve been here so many times over the years and although it’s not my favourite museum in the area, it’s a good one that keeps the kids engaged as they wander around and has lots of information about the area’s history.
It’s quite interactive with lots of exhibits that the kids can get involved in – such as the costumes and shoes that they can try on and model.
And right on the museum’s doorstep is Albert Park which again, isn’t our favourite park in the area (unless we’re conker picking that is) but when you combine it with the museum then you’ve got a good few hours of free fun.
4. Temenos / Riverside Stadium
The Temenos structure cost £2.7million to make so it’s absolutely something you should be visiting if you visit the area. 😉
There’s not a whole lot to see if I’m honest but it stands right next to the Riverside Stadium on the banks of the River Tees so you could combine a quick visit to Temenos with a wander around the stadium where you can see statues of some of the greats, the Boro Brick wall and even the gates from the original home of the Boro – Ayresome Park.
If you do go, don’t miss the touching tribute wall to one of Boro’s greatest ever fans, local radio commentator Alistair Brownlee, whose passion for the team was infectious. I used to go to the Boro matches with my brother when I was growing up and they’re some of my best memories of him so I do get a bit emotional when it comes to this particular time in Boro’s history. When he died, I kept all of his Boro shirts and now Master Frugal has taken possession of them.
If you are going to visit to the stadium and have a look at the Alistair Brownlee quote on the wall, then have a watch of this video first, the part where he says the quote on the wall is at 4:25 seconds.
Also, while you’re in that area, have a look at the Transporter Bridge
5. Roseberry Topping
Just outside of Middlesbrough is the iconic local landmark of Roseberry Topping!
Its distinctive shape dominates the skyline for miles around and the relatively easy climb (by easy, I mean if you’re young, fit and used to climbing big hills :-)) gives you amazing views of the North Yorkshire countryside. There’s also a beautiful bluebell field at the bottom that you shouldn’t miss in the Spring!
So, that was five free things to do in Middlesbrough! Watch out for more posts in this series – I’ve asked some blogger friends to help me so I can share as many free things to do across the country with you.
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