Centre for Life

Things to do in Newcastle | Centre for Life

The Centre For Life is a science village like no other. Right in the heart of the city centre, it’s renowned for its groundbreaking work - in fact, they cloned the first human embryo here. Alongside its state-of-the-art research facilities is the award-winning Life Science Centre - a visitor attraction where touching the exhibits is not just allowed, but positively encouraged! Besides all the interesting-looking buttons to press, you’ll also get to see presentations from the real scientists who work at the Centre For Life, and they’re guaranteed to bring the exhibitions to life.

Fully interactive, the whole family will find plenty of interesting activities to get their hands on. Put on a white coat and make up some interesting potions in the Experiment Zone; discover what makes you tick in the Brain Zone or take a 4D Motion Ride - the only one in the North-East. There’s also a state-of-the-art planetarium and a live science theatre with lively presenters and lots of audience participation. And while you’re soaking up the science, why not see what else the city has to offer by booking into one of our Newcastle hotels? There’s a Premier Inn near the Centre For Life and it’s right in the middle of all the action - great if you were planning to visit some of the city’s top attractions.

The Centre for Life

The Centre for Life


What to see

Budding scientists young and old will love taking part in all the experiments on offer at the Centre For Life’s visitor-facing Life Science Centre. In fact, the programme of exhibitions, events and workshops change so regularly that there’s always something new to see. No wonder it attracts 250,000 visitors a year! One of the Life Science Centre’s most popular features is this multi-sensory experience. You’ll put on 3D glasses and sit in rollercoaster-style seats which move in time to the action on screen. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll be blasted with smells, wind and flashes of light to really heighten all your senses. For safety reasons you have to be at least 1.2 metres in height to ride.

Time to find out what’s really going on inside that head of yours. The Brain Zone is full of fun activities and experiments, designed to blow your mind and help you uncover what makes you tick. Among the fascinating exhibits is the disappearing hand trick, designed to fool your brain into believing your arm has vanished, even though you know it’s not possible!

At the Curiosity Zone you’ll learn to think like a real scientist, and have a lot of fun in the process. Play around with magnets, motion and building toys to create chain reactions and even music. These thought-provoking experiments are all designed to harness your natural curiosity. And when you’ve finished tinkering, you get to compare your results with other people.

White coats and pipettes at the ready. In the Experiment Zone you’ll start to feel like a ‘proper’ scientist working in a lab. Using professional tools and equipment, you can carry out practical experiments and you’ll get to meet working scientists. There are ongoing research projects you can help with, and you’ll either work alone or get one of the Centre’s friendly Science Explainers to help.

Sit back and relax at one of the Centre’s live shows. Family-friendly and with plenty of audience participation, each performance has its own theme, from dinosaurs and the weather to aerodynamics and chain reactions. There are various shows on during the day aimed to inspire visitors of all ages. Look out for special themed events in school holidays and at weekends, too.

Take your (very comfy) seat in this state-of-the-art planetarium to learn more about the solar system. Using stunning high definition images, you’ll feel like you’re zooming through space, landing on planets as you go. Showing a mix of traditional shows and animated films, there are also special ‘Live Skies’ events where you can find out what’s happening in space right now.


Plan your visit

Coming to the Centre For Life? Here’s all the info you need to make sure your visit goes smoothly.

You’ll find the Centre For Life at Times Square, Newcastle NE1 4EP and the phone number is 0191 243 8200. It’s open every day apart from 25th and 26th December and 1st January. Opening hours are from 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and Sundays from 11am to 6pm. Plan to spend about three to four hours on your visit if you wanted to see all the shows and exhibitions available. If you’re here on a weekday during term time, you’ll find it’s a lot less busy with school visits if you come after 2pm.

While you’ll pay extra for the ice rink (open November to February), everything inside the Life Science Centre is included in your admission price, even the shows, planetarium and 4D Motion Ride. Kids aged four and under can enter for free. If you plan on gliding around the rink, there are combo tickets available that let you make big savings on both activities. Check the Centre For Life’s website for details.

If you’re here with a budding scientist aged seven or under, head to the Young Explorers' Zone where kids can play in a shop, cafe, kitchen and recycling centre - there’s also a small soft play where they can let off some steam. There are baby change facilities on all floors and lockers you can hire for £1. All cafés are pushchair friendly and you’ll find free bottle and food warming facilities, and freshly made children’s meals.

The Centre For Life has an Equality Standard Gold Award, so expect superb facilities that are accessible to all. There’s blue badge parking on site (call 0191 243 8260 to book). Then, once inside, there’s level access throughout. Disabled toilet facilities are available on all floors and there are wheelchair spaces in the planetarium and Science Theatre. Wheelchairs can be hired for free (but with a returnable deposit). Guide dogs are welcome and all printed materials are available in large print.


Eating and drinking

​The Life Science Centre at the Centre For Life has two lively cafés, but there’s also a packed lunch area where you can eat your own sarnies - great if you’re watching the pennies. However, if you didn’t bring anything with you, there’s nothing stopping you from popping out to sample one of the city centre’s culinary delights and heading back to the museum in the afternoon - your ticket is valid for the whole day.

You don’t have to pay to enter the Centre to use The Times Square Café, it’s also accessible directly from Times Square. Open seven days a week, there are soups, sandwiches and cakes to eat, as well as hot drinks on offer. If the weather’s fine, sit outside and soak up the sun with your lunch, watching the passers by on Times Square.

With its long, cafeteria style tables, the Life Café is the Centre’s dedicated cafe. It’s here you’ll find larger meals and hot lunch options, such as jacket potatoes, casseroles and cottage pies - all reasonably priced, too. Children are well-catered for, with pick n mix style lunch boxes and kids meals from turkey dinosaurs to pizza.

Nearby
If you’re visiting the Life Science Centre with the family, the Botanist is a treat you shouldn’t miss. Although its grown-up menu and delicious cocktails may not make it your first choice, rest assured it’s a very family-friendly lunch option, with plenty of room for buggies and lots of high chairs. It’s a 15-minute stroll through the city centre, but once you get there are lovely views, tasty cocktails and beautifully presented kids’ meals, where the sauce is served in cute wheelbarrows and there’s a little salad in a mini watering can - a great way of getting them to try some lettuce!

The voyage of discovery needn’t end the minute you leave the Life Science Centre if you opt to have lunch at Gusto on the Quayside! As part of the children’s menu, kids get the chance to make their own pizza out of a choice of three toppings, which they take to the chef to put in the pizza ovens. But while children are very much welcome, there’s plenty for grown ups to enjoy, with taste sensations like Peking duck pizza, creamy oven-baked gnocchi and delicate haddock and potato fishcake. Look out for drinks promotions like two for one cocktails, too.


Near to the Centre for Life

With its fantastic location right in the centre of town, the Centre For Life is well-placed for exploring more of Newcastle’s fantastic attractions. Take the Discovery Museum, for example. Not only is just a two-minute walk away, it’s also free to enter. Highlights for the kids include the Play Tyne water feature and the Science Maze, but the whole family will be impressed with Turbinia - the 34-metre steam powered ship that greets you the minute you step through the doors.

It’s also free to browse around Grainger Market, and there are plenty of benches scattered around so you can relax while you take in the sights, smells and sounds of this bustling local market. While you’re in the area, taking a walk over the Millennium Bridge to the Quayside is a must. Even if you don’t stop for a drink, you can still soak up the atmosphere and admire the stunning riverside views.


Getting to the Centre for Life

Right in the heart of the city centre, the Centre For Life is easy to find by bus, car or train.

Car

If you were thinking of driving, head to the Times Square car park - put NE4 7AD into your sat nav.
It’s easy to find, look out for signs for Centre for Life or Times Square car park.

Bus

Plenty of local buses stop just next to Central Station. If you’re travelling by bus, you may be liable for a discount on entrance prices - just show your ticket to reception to see if you can claim one.

Train and Metro

You’ll find the Centre for Life science village in Times Square, just a two minute walk from Newcastle Central train and Metro station. Turn left as you leave the station and you can’t miss it.


Looking for a hotel in Newcastle?

We have a huge range of fantastic hotels in the North East for the business and leisure traveller. If you're on business, check into our airport hotels. We also have a range of hotels ideally located for a weekend break away. Plus, there are hotels near Newcastle University and a collection of budget hotels for the price conscious  Whichever part of Newcastle you’re planning to visit, you’ll find a selection of comfortable Premier Inn hotels nearby.