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With the school summer holidays almost upon us and with coronavirus restrictions due to ease further – you might want to make the most of your summer break.

But with so much going on in the Tees Valley, and so many fantastic attractions and days out, where do you start?

We’ve put together an essential list of things to do, places to visit and what to see so you can have fun with the whole family over the next few weeks!

Fantastic Festivals

Darlington’s Hullaballoo in the Park is already under way, featuring live children’s theatre, messy play, storytelling, dance, trails and much more in a mix of free and paid-for events. It’s running until 25 July at the town’s South Park.

There’s a whole host of activities taking place as part of Middlesbrough’s Mela this year, but on 8 August, Albert Park will play host to its family fun day, with a jam-packed programme including street food from around the world, live music, dance workshops, a circus tent and a funfair.

And just before the kids go back to school, on 28 and 29 August, Hartlepool Waterfront Festival is being reborn with its boldest programme yet. Details are still to come, but it promises to be a lively event packed with music and culture, both in person and online.

Learn About Our Rich History

Just because school’s out doesn’t mean you have to stop learning, and there’s lots of fun to be had while doing so!

Try Stockton’s Preston Park Museum and Grounds and explore the history of the Hall and the two families that made it what it is today. Learn about how the River Tees defined our region and take a stroll down the Victorian street with its Sweet Shop, Blacksmiths and Printers.

Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar is a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibitions, with displays covering local and social history and maritime and industrial heritage. What’s more, during the summer it will play host to a number of outdoor theatre productions including The Great Gatsby (18 July), Mr Stink (21 July), The Wind in the Willows (15 August) and The Two Fridas (22 August).

If you can’t wait until the Waterfront festival to get your naval fix, visit the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool. Journey to an authentic 18th century seaport and its waterside setting and discover how tradesmen like tailors, printers and instrument makers earned a wage. You can’t miss the HMS Trincomalee whilst you’re there, the oldest warship still afloat in Europe.

Go further afield and join Captain Cook, one of the world’s greatest navigators and mariners at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Middlesbrough’s Stewart Park. Learn about the man himself, his voyages and discover natural history specimens and cultural artefacts from the places he visited such as Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

Not got sea legs? You can find out how our region shaped the modern railway at Darlington’s Head of Steam Museum and find out how the 1825 Stockton and Darlington railway shaped the railways across the world. Its current exhibition, the Alternative Limb Project, is a unique art installation based on the history of artificial limb making by the railways.

From 31 July to 6 August, many of these museums – along with others – are taking part in Togetherfest which celebrates our local museums with a programme of activities for all ages. For more information, visit the TogetherFest website.

Get Your Adrenaline Pumping

If your little ones want to let off some steam, there’s a wealth of things to get your adrenaline pumping in the Tees Valley.

Saltburn in Redcar & Cleveland is considered to be one of the best surfing hotspots in the whole UK. If the sun is shining, head down to Saltburn Surf School or Flow Surf School to give it a go yourself – then end the day with a famous lemon top. Tees Barrage in Stockton offers a whole host of white water activities, from canoeing and kayaking to paddleboarding and even raft building!

Alongside Tees Barrage is Air Trail high ropes adventure course, the UK’s biggest. Plus, there’s also Air Tykes, a smaller version for mini explorers in your family. A trip to GoClimb at Billingham Forum is also a must if your little ones like adventure and is also a great rainy day alternative!

Make the Most of the Outdoors

It’s been a bit of a washout summer so far, but brighter weather is forecast and as people are encouraged to meet outdoors where they can, why not take on one of our fantastic walking and cycling routes with friends or family?

There’s plenty to choose from right across the Tees Valley, from easy rides perfect for younger kids to more challenging routes for active teenagers. To find out more, check out our Walking and Cycling page.

Want something a bit more low-energy? There are a wealth of fantastic parks and woods to explore. Summerhill Country Park in Hartlepool is both a local nature reserve and Outdoor Activity centre, with great sculptures dotted around its 100 acres. Saltburn Valley Gardens includes a miniature railway to bring people up from the sea to the gardens, a Woodland Centre and tea rooms. A multimillion-pound refurbishment programme has completely transformed Middlesbrough’s Albert Park, with a teenage play area, boating lake, roller skating rink and sports facilities so there’s something for everyone. Darlington’s South Park is a grade 2 registered historic park which plays host to a wide range of events throughout the year and Stockton’s Ropner Park has been recently restored to its Victorian splendour.

Find more things to do this summer by exploring the website www.enjoyteesvalley.com and don’t forget to let us know what you get up on social media using #EnjoyTeesValley.

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