One thing I’d love to do more is be a tourist in my local area and one of the best ways to do that is with a staycation. It’s so easy to overlook local tourist attractions, like museums and experiences. But with a staycation, you’re allowing yourself to indulge a little and explore the place you live in a new way!
Where to stay in Teesside
Teesside offers a range of accommodations to suit all budgets and preferences. For a luxurious stay, look no further than the Rockliffe Hall. This five-star hotel offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, features an award-winning spa and three onsite restaurants, and is home to a fantastic golf course. There’s also Gisborough Hall, Bannatyne Hotel and Crathorne Hall, if you fancy something similar.
If glamping is your thing, there are plenty of lovely sites to choose from. Kip and Nook is just outside of the area and close to the bustling town of Darlington. It’s a unique site that feels close to nature, but with home comforts. Baby Moon in Guisborough offers cosy yurts and bell tents, North Shire in Saltburn brings Hagrid’s hut and Hobbiton to life, and Whinstone View Lodges offer a touch of luxury with hot tubs. Or if you want something completely out there, Alpaca Alpaca in Yarm have a shepherd’s hut that you can stay in on their working alpaca farm!
And if you’re looking for something somewhere in between, there’s a whole host of hotels and guesthouses to choose from. Houndgate Townhouse in Darlington is a great choice if you want to be within walking distance of great shops and eateries, Middleton Cottages near Stokesley let’s you set up home in a self catering cottage, and there are several Premier Inns across the region for a comfortable, budget-friendly stay.
Things to do in Teesside
Teesside boasts a variety of attractions and activities to keep tourists and staycationers entertained. I’ve done my best to keep this section concise, but there are lots of things to include. As well as everything mentioned below, there are plenty of free things to do in Teesside and events that you can enjoy too.
Museums & castles
If you’re looking for museums, you’ll find several in Middlesbrough. The Dorman Museum is just on the edge of Albert Park, so it’s ideal for pairing up with a walk, and features exhibits on local history, art, and science. The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Stewart Park is also worth a visit, offering insights into the life and voyages of one of Britain’s most famous explorers. Outside of Middlesbrough, you can enjoy Preston Park Museum complete with a Victorian Street, Hartlepool’s National Museum of the Royal Navy, and Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar.
If you fancy exploring the outskirts of the region, there are several castles nearby, including the brilliant Raby Castle. Their Plotter’s Forest play area is a huge hit with kids, so this is a great place to visit with the family. There’s also Barnard Castle less than half an hour away from Darlington and Auckland Castle near Sedgefield.
As well as museums, Teesside is home to plenty of art galleries for soaking up some culture. MIMA is one of the largest in the area and displays local, national and international contemporary art. Middlesbrough also boasts Pineapple Black, Platform A, Saabat Gallery, Eston Arts Centre and The Auxiliary. And this is just a handful of galleries you can find all across the area, alongside Redcar Palace and Saltburn Studios.
Music and theatre
Teesside is very rich in arts and culture with incredible live entertainment venues dotted across the region. Some of the largest include Stockton ARC, Middlesbrough Town Hall, Darlington Hippodrome and the Stockton Globe. But there’s also a fantastically dazzling array of independent venues too, which host music, comedy and theatre events. Take a look at The Georgian, Saltburn Theatre, Middlesbrough Theatre, NE Volume Music Bar and KU, but there are honestly dozens of gems throughout!
Outdoor enthusiasts will love Teesside’s beautiful countryside and coastline. The North York Moors National Park is just a short drive away, offering miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as breathtaking views of the rolling hills and heather-covered moorland. Roseberry Topping is a great walk with incredible views and there are lots of parks to enjoy (including the really fun Teessaurus Park). The coast is also easily accessible, with the popular seaside towns of Saltburn, Redcar and Marske waiting to be explored.
A little different
If none of these tickle your fancy, why not try something a little different? You could go alpaca walking in the Leven Valley at Alpaca Alpaca. You could try your hand at axe throwing at Hatchet Harry’s in Middlesbrough. Why not give white water rafting a go at the renowned Tees Barrage? Or spend a day in your wellies at Newham Grange Farm? There are a few mini golf courses to try, like Putter Chaos or Holy Molies. Or get up close and personal with birds at RSPB Saltholme or Kirkleatham Owl Centre. You could get your skates on at Billingham Forum‘s ice rink or see butterflies up close at Butterfly World.
Where to eat in Teesside
This is a pretty difficult section to write as we could be here all day, so I’ll give you a few recommendations from across the area. If you want to see a big range of recommendations, take a look at my TS food and drink map.
Teesside is home to a thriving food and drink scene, with a variety of restaurants, cafes and pubs to suit all tastes. If you want to visit a hugely popular and highly rated spot, The Bay Horse in Hurworth is perfect. This gastropub is on the higher end of the pricing scale and its atmosphere makes it perfect for a romantic date. Their menus are seasonal and use the best local produce to create the highest quality dishes. Another fantastic option with similar vibes is The Peppermill Bistro in Billingham. This is a family-run bistro and everything is done with the most precision, from the creation of dishes, to the presentation, to the service. It’s one of, if not my top, favourite restaurants in the area.
If you love Asian food, you’ll love Umi in Middlesbrough. This is a modern Asian restaurant, offering a contemporary twist on traditional dishes. Umi prides itself on using only the freshest ingredients to create delicious and authentic Asian cuisine, and I can wholeheartedly recommend their teriyaki steak don. On the other side of the coin, there’s Sticky’s in Stockton, which is a hot spot for a dirty burger. It’s got a rock and roll feel, neon lights and lashings of gooey cheese.
Bars & pubs
There are so many amazing bars and pubs across Teesside that it’s hard to narrow down a handful. My favourite pub is The Twisted Lip in Middlesbrough as it’s super quirky, and The Chairman on the next street over is ideal if you want food with your pint. The Masham in Hartburn is a great watering hole that has a great local feel, The Golden Smog micropub in Stockton has a loyal following and top real ales, and The Hamilton Russell Arms is a proper country pub. There’s also Luna Blu, Nuthatch, The Twisted Peel and The Sitting Room for cocktails, and Fourteen Drops for a unique wine bar.
If you want cake and coffee in Teesside or a spot of brunch, you’re in luck! We have oodles of gorgeous cafes across the area, including Bedford Street Coffee, The Tea House, Pistachio and Cafe Etch. Out by the coast, you’ll find Craigs by the Sea, Signals and The Sitting Room, and back inland in Yarm, there’s Hobo Coffee House and Cafe Nossa, and Koselig Bakeri in Guisborough. And if you want something totally different, try Echo 3 Coffee in Darlington, especially if you love Star Wars!
Why choose Teesside for a staycation?
Teesside offers the perfect blend of relaxation, history, outdoor adventure and culture, all in one place with great transport links to help you get about. Whether you’re looking for a romantic stay, a family holiday, or a solo adventure, Teesside has something to offer everyone.
There’s a huge range of attractions, accommodations, and activities that make it the perfect destination for a staycation. From the museums and culture to its beautiful countryside and coastline, there truly is something here to suit every kind of traveller. So why not plan your next getaway to this beautiful region? Or if you’re local, spend a weekend or a few days of your holidays exploring like a tourist?