AS lockdown restrictions ease, our minds are turning to family days out and enjoying a well-earned break – but you don’t have to leave the North-East to have a good time.

Gorgeous beaches, action-packed adventures, and superb places to eat and drink are all right here on your doorstep.

With uncertainty still surrounding travelling abroad, 2021 is destined to be the year of the staycation – and the Tees Valley has plenty to offer. We’ve linked up with Enjoy Tees Valley to provide you with some ideas for having a great time without having to worry about going very far…

1. Gorgeous beaches

The Northern Echo:

The Tees Valley is blessed with a spectacular coastline, with miles of golden beaches, rocky headlands, rugged cliffs, and rolling sand dunes.

Saltburn is always a firm favourite, with attractions that include the longest remaining pleasure pier on the North-East coast, an historic funicular railway, and a miniature railway ride to the Italian Gardens. All set in what was once a smugglers’ cove, it is the perfect day out.

Further north, Seaton Carew is also a popular seaside destination, with a wide, sandy beach, fun-filled arcades, and protected dunes that were made for games of hide and seek.

For those who prefer a gentler pace, the beaches at Skinningrove and Marke-by-the-Sea are more secluded. Or, if you want a combination of both worlds, you can always walk the two and a half miles from Markse to Saltburn.

But no visit to the Tees Valley coastline is complete without calling in at Redcar for a world-famous, original Lemon Top at Pacitto’s on the seafront.

With stunning views, fascinating wildlife, and so much to do, a trip to the Tees Valley coast really is a breath of fresh air after the difficulties of the past year.

If a location does seem too busy when you arrive, please think about turning around and visiting again another day to avoid overcrowding. 

To find out more, click here

2. Get adventurous!

With lockdown lifting, we reckon it’s time to let your hair down and try something new and exciting. Here are some suggestions:

The Northern Echo:

Tees Barrage, Stockton-on-Tees: We don’t do things by halves in the Tees Valley – the Tees Barrage is not only home to an Olympic standard white water rafting course, but it has the biggest artificial drop in the UK. Paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, family rafting, and power boating are all also on offer at this world-class centre.

Hartlepool Marina: Water-lovers should head to Hartlepool, where you can try paddleboarding and other water sports. Jet-skiing is also on offer, as well as powerboating including the chance to go out on a Seafari in the hope of spotting seals and dolphins.

Surfing at Saltburn: People from all over the country flock to Saltburn for its superb surfing facilities, with the North Sea breaking powerfully in the bay. And, for those wanting to give it a try, excellent tuition is on hand at the Flow Surf School and Saltburn Surf School.

Head for heights: As well as its first-class water sports, Tees Barrage features Air Trail – the biggest high ropes course in the country. Meanwhile, over at Billingham Forum, GoClimb is a cracking indoor climbing centre. Billingham Forum also has an ice skating rink and swimming pool for rainy days.

Guisborough Forest and Walkway: Located at Pinchinthorpe, the centre is the ideal starting point to venture into Guisborough Forest, extending 2.5 miles along part of the route followed by the old Guisborough Branch Railway line. Active visitors can enjoy cycle trails, walking routes, bridleways, a trim trail, and orienteering from the centre. Those less active can follow the Sculpture Trail of chainsaw carvings into the forest. And youngsters can enjoy the play area or pond dipping to build up an appetite for a picnic.

Teesside Karting: For those who enjoy life in the fast lane, Teesside Karting is home to the longest, fastest karting track in the UK, with three circuits to choose from, and a year-round programme of activities and events.

For further inspiration, click here

3. Food glorious food (and drink)

Those who love to eat out and have a drink are spoilt for choice in the Tees Valley. Here are a few recommendations:

The Northern Echo:

Summerhouse, near Darlington: The Raby Hunt is the only two Michelin star restaurant in the North-East, and one of only 20 in the entire country. Owned by one of Britain’s most innovative young chefs, James Close, the Raby Hunt is known for its highly original and visually stunning food.

Hurworth-on-Tees: In a picturesque village close to Darlington, The Bay Horse has been established in a wonderful 15th century coaching inn, combining traditional charm and modern architecture.

Middlesbrough: Head to the new Independent Quarter and try breakfast, brunch or lunch at Baker Street Kitchen, a friendly coffee bar and bistro on the corner of Baker Street and Albert Road. Nearby, in Bedford Street, The Nuthatch offers mouth-watering cocktails, while The Chairman has a range of real ales, craft ales, specialist spirits and posh pub grub.

Hartlepool Marina: Waterside eateries include Wallis and Co, a trendy bar and kitchen in a lively location, with delicious food, beers, wine and cocktails until late any night of the week. Another gem at the marina, is the Open Jar restaurant and bar, which has also opened at Seaton Carew.

Yarm: With its pretty, cobbled high street, and river running through the town, Yarm is always a popular destination, lined with great places to eat, like tapas restaurant Luna Blu, Italian-inspired Cena Trattoria, and the Fourteen Drops wine bar.

Darlington:  You’ll find everything you want in the pleasant market town of Darlington. Highlights include Stable Hearth – voted the best pizzeria by judges in the English Italian Awards – and the ultimate street food restaurant, Salt, in Grange Road. And if you like a huge range of real ales in a traditional setting, 22 Coniscliffe Road is just round the corner.

For a full taste of the Tees Valley, click here

4. Time to unwind…

It’s been a tough time for everyone so now’s the time to spoil yourself. Luxury places to relax include…

The Northern Echo:

Rockliffe Hall Spa: The award-winning spa at the five-star hotel complex, at Hurworth, near Darlington, is one of the biggest and most luxurious in the country. Its ‘5 Bubble Spa’ status in the Good Spa Guide makes it one of the most popular destinations for spa days and spa breaks.

Wynyard Hall Spa: Wynyard Hall, close to the Durham border, is an impressive venue in stunning grounds and the spa is located on the edge of a lake, offering the perfect location for tranquility, with idyllic views.

Gisborough Hall: Situated on the edge of the North York Moors, the hotel is an idyllic retreat, with skilled therapists on hand in the Revival Zone to help soothe away the stresses of everyday life.

The Spa Hotel, Saltburn: A range of heavenly treatments are available in The Amber Rooms, including facials, nail treatments, waxing, and massage. The hotel boasts panoramic views of Huntcliff and the North Sea, making it the perfect place for a spot of pampering.

For more information on these attractions, and many more across the Tees Valley, visit – you won’t be disappointed.

Please respect and protect outdoor spaces when out and about in the Tees Valley, take your litter away with you and only leave footprints behind. If an area seems busy, please consider visiting another day.

You must follow all the latest government guidance when in the Tees Valley. You can find the guidance at