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Top 5 free things to do this summer

The summer holidays are in focus and whether you’ve got a packed calendar or just like to make it up as you go along (we hear you), we’re offering a little help to get the summer break off to a good start with our top 5 free things to do in Middlesbrough.

We’ve included mostly free events and activities and a few that come in under £10.

Middlesbrough Mela

Middlesbrough Mela is now in it’s 33rd year and is (quite rightly) renowned across the North East and beyond for its ability to bring together communities through an incredible celebration of culture, identity and diversity.

And also, it’s jam-packed with family-friendly fun.

Taking place across two days on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 August, the popular event in Albert Park attracts around 50,000 visitors every summer.

The weekend bonanza is set to be hosted by BBC Asian Network’s Bobby Friction and headline performances come from Bambi Bains and Sukshinder Shinda. Popular duo Metz ‘n’ Trix, Gubi Sandhu and Sazia Judge are also part of the music line-up and live Qawaali band, The Khan Brothers, will be performing as headliners on Saturday evening along with some surprise special guests.

As many visitors will know, one of the first things that greets you when you enter the Mela is the incredible aroma of South Asian street food. Expect dishes from across the continent and bite-sized treats such as Jalebi – a must try for those with a sweet tooth.

But the magic of Mela is about more than the music and food alone – there’s plenty of activities that all ages can get involved with.

Funfair rides, an impressive climbing wall, giant street puppets and family-friendly theatre shows are all on the list this year.

There’s also creative activities including puppetry classes and pottery making and even a curious time travel experience with Middlesbrough Museums. The popular Market Bazaar will be offering beautiful fabrics and materials as well as trinkets and toys.

For the youngest visitors, a ‘baby pit-stop’ is available over both days for baby changing and feeding needs.

Entry across both days is free and entertainment starts from 12noon, tickets are not required for either day. Keep up to date with Mela news at

Street performers at Mela

Street performers at Mela


We all know the benefits of getting out in the fresh air and clocking up those all-important steps.

Middlesbrough, and its immediate surrounding area, certainly isn’t short of breath-taking views and adventurous days out that don’t cost a penny.

Seven of the town’s parks and green spaces all have the Green Flag Award.

Stewart Park, Thorntree Park, Albert Park, Fairy Dell, Hemlington Lake, Linthorpe Cemetery and Pallister Park have accessible walking routes and all offer something different to discover.

Most are home to local wildlife too. Why not visit each one in July and August and see how many species of birds you can spot?

Flatts Lane Country Park

Although officially sitting in a neighbouring authority, Flatts Lane Country Park is very much a popular spot for families and individuals looking for a low-budget day out in Middlesbrough.

Its location between Ormesby and Normanby makes it perfect to explore without using a lot of mileage. You can also access on foot from Normanby, Eston, Ormesby, Spencerbeck and Nunthorpe.

It’s free to enter and the car park is also free and open 24/7.

Once inside, the park offers an impressive 70 acres to explore and includes an array of child and dog-friendly walking routes, a play area, trim trail, sculpture trails, arboretum, pond platforms and more. There’s also a cafe that provides tasty treats. Horse riders and cyclists are welcome to use the marked designated bridleways.

You can find out more including opening times, here.

Dino Day at Dorman Museum

It’s roarsome, it’s awesome and it’s back!

Taking place Saturday 26 August, 10.30am – 3.30pm, the Dorman Museum is this year’s host of the ever-popular event that’s perfect for little tots obsessed with all things dino.

See the museum’s authentic fossil collections and get up close with the wandering baby Dorman Dino and there’s a chance to meet Pete – the famous T Rex!

Entry to the event is free along with the activities above.

(Small charges apply for face painting, the craft workshop and to meet Pete the T Rex).

Dino Day 2022

Dino Day 2022

Meet the kid’s TV characters

The stars of kid’s TV are heading to Middlesbrough!

On Fridays throughout August, Captain Cook Square and Cleveland Centre will be welcoming some very special guests for a series of free performances.

Cocomelon’s JJ, Bluey, Paw Patrol’s Chase and a family of Jurassic Dinosaurs will be visiting the shopping centres.

The characters will be performing live shows throughout the day between 11am – 3pm and specific timings will be published nearer the time. Keep your eyes peeled on Captain Cook’s Facebook page for updates.

Captain Cook Square:

  • Friday 4 August –  Meet Chase from Paw Patrol
  • Friday 11  August – See the dinosaurs
  • Friday 18 August – Meet Bluey

Cleveland Centre:

  • Friday 25 August – Meet JJ from Cocomelon

For more things to do this summer in Middlesbrough, check out our What’s On section and don’t forget to take a look at our Facebook and Instagram pages to see which restaurants and pubs are offering discounts on kids meals during the holidays.

We are words: Anne-Marie O’Donnell