Things to Do in Middlesbrough: Historic Docks, Modern Art Scenes, And the Green Spaces in Between

9 months ago   •   12 min read

By More Yorkshire
Table of contents

Things To Do In Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough, a bustling town in North Yorkshire, England, offers an array of entertaining activities and attractions for visitors and locals alike. From historical landmarks to family-friendly venues, there truly is something for everyone in this vibrant destination.

In the heart of Middlesbrough, you can explore iconic sites like the Tees Transporter Bridge, an engineering marvel connecting Middlesbrough with Port Clarence.

For those looking to immerse themselves in nature, the numerous National Parks in the surrounding area provide the perfect backdrop for an adventurous day out.

If you are travelling with your family, Middlesbrough won't disappoint. With a range of indoor and outdoor attractions such as trampoline parks, soft play centres, and wildlife parks, you are sure to find an activity that suits your preferences and keeps everyone engaged.

Historical Landmarks

Transporter Bridge

Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough

When visiting Middlesbrough, one of the must-see historical landmarks is the iconic Transporter Bridge.

This impressive structure has played a crucial role in the town's history, serving as a vital transport link across the River Tees.

As you make your way to the bridge, be sure to experience the glass lift that provides a unique view of the surrounding area. It's also worth checking for special events, such as the fascinating Titanic exhibition.

Middlesbrough Little Theatre

Inside the Middlesbrough Little Theatre
Image Source: TripAdvisor

Another landmark worth exploring is the Middlesbrough Little Theatre, a prominent local venue where you can immerse yourself in the arts.

With a rich history and diverse programming, this quaint theatre offers an array of plays, ballets, and performances by tribute musicians.

Middlesbrough Little Theatre gives you a chance to soak in the town's vibrant performing arts scene while appreciating its heritage.

Dock Clock Tower

The hydraulic Dock Clock Tower with the Transporter Bridge in the background

Make sure to visit the Dock Clock Tower, one of the town's most striking points of interest.

This historic structure serves as a testament to Middlesbrough's industrial past, having once played an essential role in the bustling docklands.

As you explore the tower and its surroundings, you'll gain a greater understanding of the history that has helped shape the town you see today.


Museums

If your list of things to do in Middlesbrough needs a sprinkle of insight and history? You have a nice selection of museums to explore.

Here, we discuss three popular options: the Dorman Museum, Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. Each establishment offers unique exhibits and insightful experiences tailored to different interests.

Dorman Museum

Dorman Museum from the outside on a sunny day
Image Source: Wikimedia

The Dorman Museum houses an impressive collection, covering Middlesbrough's pre-industrial past and extending to far-reaching regions of the world. When you explore the eight permanent galleries, you'll find a fascinating range of artefacts, stories, and ideas. Here are some of the exhibits you can expect to see:

  • Social & Natural History: Delve into the development of Middlesbrough and marvel at the artefacts reflecting its history.
  • Geology & Biology: Discover an extensive range of fossils and intriguing biological specimens from around the globe.
  • Timeline: Follow a comprehensive chronological journey detailing significant events in Middlesbrough's past, allowing you to contextualise its transformation.

Captain Cook Birthplace Museum

The front door of Captain Cook Birthplace museum
Image Source: Wikimedia

Step into the history of the famous explorer Captain James Cook at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum. This speciality museum offers a variety of exhibits dedicated to Captain Cook's life, voyages, and discoveries. Some highlights include:

  • Interactive Exhibits: Engage in fun activities and interactive displays that bring the story of Captain Cook to life.
  • Art & Artefacts: View artwork and objects collected during his voyages, allowing you to appreciate Cook's legacy and impact on history.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

The bottle sculpture outside the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)
Image Source: wearemiddlesbrough.com

For art enthusiasts, the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) is an essential visit. MIMA showcases contemporary art and focuses on societal issues through its thought-provoking exhibitions. When you visit MIMA, you can expect:

  • Local and International Talent: Appreciate the work of both established and emerging artists from Middlesbrough and around the world.
  • Events and Workshops: Participate in various creative events and workshops that aim to foster discussion and engagement within the community.

By exploring the museums in Middlesbrough, you'll gain valuable insights into its history and cultural diversity. Whether you're interested in art, local history, or the life of a famous explorer, these institutions offer enriching experiences for all visitors.


Recreational Parks

Stewart Park

Green trees and a small bridge over a large pond in Stewart Park, Middlesbrough

Stewart Park is a fantastic place for you to spend your time outdoors in Middlesbrough.

This Green Flag award-winning park covers over 120 acres and offers a variety of activities for you and your family. With vast open fields and beautiful ponds, you can enjoy watching ducks and geese swimming about. The park also features a picturesque woodland area, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic under the trees.

For children, there's a fantastic play area with adventurous playground equipment for them to explore and enjoy.

If you're seeking some exercise, the well-maintained lawns are a perfect place for a game of frisbee or football. If you happen to visit during the Middlesbrough Mela, you'll experience a vibrant festival atmosphere with music, food, and entertainment.

Parking your car is made easy with the available car park on-site, so you can quickly access all the park's amenities.

Local Park

Green trees and an open field in Middlesbrough

Your local park in Middlesbrough offers several recreational activities that cater to a wide range of interests. You might find a roller skating park, where you can have fun while improving your balance and coordination skills. The local park is the perfect place to unwind, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy a leisurely walk by fountains and serene ponds.

Don't forget to grab a few friends and have a picnic, there are plenty of lawns to lay down your picnic blanket and immerse yourself in nature. Look out for the trees around the ponds that provide ideal opportunities for pond dipping with children, teaching them about the local wildlife.

Whether it's spending time on the playground, feeding the ducks, or simply relaxing on a bench, your local park in Middlesbrough provides an accessible and enjoyable outdoor experience for you and your family.


Attractions and Activities

Teesaurus Park

A dinosaur sculpture in Teesaurus Park, Middlesbrough
Image Source: tbiwwc.com

Teesaurus Park is a unique outdoor attraction in Middlesbrough, where you can enjoy a leisurely walk and explore the fascinating sculptures of life-sized steel dinosaurs. This park offers an interesting learning experience and a great day out for families.

While you're exploring the park, you might also come across other points of interest such as the nearby River Tees and the iconic Transporter Bridge. Don't forget to capture some memorable photos with the steel dinosaurs, as they make for a truly unique backdrop.

Newham Grange Farm

Entrance sign to Newham Grange Farm

Newham Grange Farm is a popular destination for families and animal lovers alike, offering a chance to interact with a wide range of domesticated farm animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, and more. Located in Coulby Newham, it provides a fun-filled day out with plenty of hands-on activities for children, including an outdoor play area and a colourful maze.

In addition to these attractions, Middlesbrough also has various experiences that cater to different interests. If you enjoy climbing, there are dedicated indoor climbing centres where you can hone your skills or even try it out for the first time.

For those keen on immersing themselves in the local culture, you can take walking tours that showcase Middlesbrough's rich history and architecture. A visit to the Tees Transporter Bridge, the Cleveland Way, and the nearby embankment area are also worth your time.

You're not short on entertainment options either, as Middlesbrough boasts several cinemas, such as the Cinemas Trafalgar Square, and theatres offering a variety of films and live stage performances. If you're a sports enthusiast, make sure to catch a game or a concert at the prominent local stadium.

Finally, if you're interested in wildlife, a guided seal watching tour along the coastline is an intriguing experience. You'll witness the native seals in their natural habitat while learning about their behaviours and habitats.

Throughout Middlesbrough, you'll find ample attractions and activities to keep you engaged and entertained. Make the most of your time by exploring the diverse offerings this vibrant city has in store.


Catering and Eating Out

When you're in Middlesbrough, you won't be disappointed with the variety of culinary options available. From cafés to tea rooms and street food, there is something for every palate.

For a casual coffee catch-up or a quick snack, head to a local café where you'll find a vast selection of beverages and light bites. Be it a fancy latte or a classic English tea, these cafés will welcome you with a warm atmosphere, perfect for unwinding with friends or getting some work done.

If you prefer a more traditional afternoon tea experience, make your way to Dressers Tea Room. Often regarded as a hidden gem, Dressers offers up a delightful assortment of sandwiches, scones, cakes and other sweet treats, accompanied by a wide range of hot and cold beverages. It's an excellent spot to enjoy a quintessential British tea experience, or even celebrate a special occasion.

Don't worry if you have mobility issues; many establishments in Middlesbrough are accessible and accommodating to their guests. Just be sure to call ahead and check the facilities when making plans or reservations.

When planning a private event, choosing a caterer can feel daunting. However, there are several great private party caterers in Middlesbrough that offer a range of menus, ensuring your event is tailored to your liking. A popular choice for caterers in Middlesbrough is The Little Fizz and Nibble Co., known for their versatility and delicious offerings.

In the mood for something more exotic? Middlesbrough is also home to unique dining experiences such as the Rio Brazilian Steakhouse and Turtle Bay, offering a range of steak and Caribbean street food options respectively.

So, it's safe to say that regardless of your dining preferences and dietary requirements, Middlesbrough will not disappoint. Enjoy your meal, and don't forget to treat yourself to a dessert or two!


Events and Exhibitions

In Middlesbrough, there is no shortage of events and exhibitions to attend, providing opportunities to explore the arts, experience cultural festivities, and enhance your business skills. The town has something to offer for everyone, no matter the age or background.

Art enthusiasts should definitely visit the Brick by Brick Exhibition, where you can enjoy striking artworks created using the famous LEGO® bricks. This exhibition runs from 15th September to 10th December 2023, showcasing the talent of local artists.

Business workshops are regularly organised in Middlesbrough, allowing you to enhance your entrepreneurial skills. Keep an eye on Middlesbrough Council's events page to stay updated on upcoming workshops and other business-related events.

Middlesbrough's creative calendar is marked by events such as the Middlesbrough town centre festival, offering a variety of exhibitions, talks, workshops, and performances. This key event brings together various aspects of the arts, from music and comedy to theatre, giving you a chance to experience Middlesbrough's vibrant cultural scene.

For those looking to improve their mental health and physical abilities, ConfiDance offers weekly adult dance classes in LCM Studios on Marton Road, beginning on 12th September 2023. These classes uniquely combine mental health and dance, making it an enjoyable and enriching experience.

In summary, Middlesbrough is a dynamic town with a plethora of events and exhibitions catering to a wide range of interests. Be sure to explore the offerings and immerse yourself in the local arts, business, and wellness opportunities available in the area.


Facilities and Services

When visiting Middlesbrough, you'll find various facilities and services to cater to your needs. Whether you're looking for a place to park your car or need a bite to eat, you'll have several options available.

In most areas around Middlesbrough, there are ample parking spaces available. Many attractions and shopping centres provide car parks, making it convenient for you to explore the town without worrying about your vehicle. Should you be driving a Skoda with a satnav, rest assured that it will guide you to the nearest parking space.

While visiting, you may wish to take advantage of the town's many cafes to stop for a refreshment. From cosy coffee shops to family-friendly eateries, there's something to suit all tastes and preferences. Don't hesitate to refuel with a delicious meal or enjoy a warm cup of coffee in one of these welcoming establishments.

If you're spending the day in Middlesbrough with your children, you'll find various facilities to cater to their needs. Many parks and attractions have dedicated play areas and activities to entertain kids of all ages. For your convenience, toilets and baby-changing facilities are readily available in most public spaces.

Dog owners are equally welcomed in Middlesbrough, with many parks permitting dogs on leads. You'll find dog bins located throughout the town, ensuring that your furry friend can enjoy the outdoors with you, while keeping the area clean and pleasant for other visitors.

For those who prefer to explore the outdoors, visitor centres often offer essential services such as binoculars for birdwatching and maps for navigating the area. These venues may be operated by organisations such as the National Trust, ensuring a high level of quality and that conservation efforts are maintained.

Lastly, don't forget to make use of the many walkways available for both pedestrians and cyclists. Middlesbrough prides itself on being a walkable town, with accessible paths connecting different attractions and locations.

Enjoy your visit knowing that Middlesbrough offers an array of facilities and services to cater to your every need.


Trip Advisor Reviews

When planning things to do in Middlesbrough, it's wise to check out what other travellers have experienced. On Tripadvisor, you can find a wealth of information through reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity rankings. This platform allows you to filter your search based on your preferences, making it easier to find the perfect activities to match your interests and budget.

Incorporating exclusive Tripadvisor data, many users have praised the variety of enjoyable activities available in Middlesbrough, from outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and fun games. It's worth exploring the top-rated attractions to ensure you're making the most of your time in this delightful North Yorkshire town.

Many travellers have found the walking tours to be an excellent way to explore the area, especially as the informative guides offer insights into the history and culture of Middlesbrough. Prices can vary, so it's a good idea to compare different options and read user reviews to find the right fit for you.

For the more adventurous, Middlesbrough offers an exciting Zombie Scavengers Game that has received positive feedback from participants. It's an experience that allows you to interact with fellow travellers while exploring the town's landmarks and hidden gems.

Of course, Tripadvisor also caters to those looking for more relaxed activities. The nature and parks category shows highly rated attractions, with vibrant photos showcasing the serene beauty this charming town offers.

For potential bookings, be aware that some activities are more likely to sell out than others. Pay close attention to the options marked as "likely to sell out" when browsing through your search results, as this will help you avoid disappointment.

Finally, remember that each Tripadvisor review goes through an automated tracking system, ensuring a high quality of genuine feedback. By reading these reviews, you can gain a better understanding of what to expect from specific attractions and activities during your trip to Middlesbrough.


Accessibility

In Middlesbrough, you'll find that many attractions and facilities are designed to be accessible for those with mobility issues. The town is committed to providing an inclusive experience for all visitors.

One of the key aspects of accessibility in Middlesbrough is the availability of Changing Places Toilets. These specialist toilets offer a safe and dignified space for individuals with disabilities who cannot use standard or wheelchair accessible toilets. There are ten Changing Places Toilets situated in various locations across the town, ensuring that you can comfortably access the facilities you need.

When it comes to wheelchair-friendly attractions, there are many options for you to consider. Places such as the Dorman Museum and Ormesby Hall are popular destinations offering wheelchair access, allowing you to enjoy their exhibits and grounds without worry.

For those interested in sports and physical activities, the Middlesbrough Sports Village is a wheelchair-friendly facility with a range of options. In addition, Tees Barrage International White Water Centre in Stockton-on-Tees is another accessible location for exciting activities in the area.

National Trust properties, known for their beautiful architecture and scenic surroundings, are a must-visit when exploring Middlesbrough. Many National Trust sites, like Ormesby Hall, prioritise accessibility and offer detailed information on their websites to help you plan your visit.

In conclusion, Middlesbrough is committed to welcoming visitors with mobility issues by providing accessible facilities and attractions. With a variety of wheelchair-friendly venues and the availability of Changing Places Toilets, you can be confident in exploring the town and enjoying its many offerings.

Spread the word

Keep reading