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Things to do in Newcastle

Catch some waves on a deserted beach

If you enjoy surfing on crowd-free beaches, head to the nearby sands of Tynemouth and Longsands. Admittedly, the North Sea may be frigidly cold, but what it lacks in temperature it makes up with in decent sized rollers. Tynemouth Surf Co (tel: +41 191 258 2496; www.tynemouthsurf.co.uk) offer lessons and equipment hire, including hats and gloves.

Engage in military action - for fun

Ever wanted to test your military mettle without the actualities of war? Then Turboventure (tel: +44 191 232 5872; www.turboventures.co.uk) is the place for you. Activities range from target practice using air rifles (traditionalists may prefer a crossbow) and woodland stakeouts with a paintball gun to handling a six-wheel drive whilst blindfolded. There's also tank driving. Yes: tank driving.

Enjoy a watery adventure on the River Tyne

The River Tyne is an iconic part of Newcastle's identity and what better way to get up close than paddling along the navigation. Newburn Activity Centre (tel: +44 191 264 0014) will help you get afloat with their range of vessels including canoes and kayaks, whilst land-lovers can rent bicycles to explore Tyne Riverside Country Park.

Swing through the treetops

For a family day out, strap yourself in and swing through the canopies of the Beamish Wild High Ropes (tel: +44 1207 233 733; www.beamishwild.co.uk). Over two hours, adventurers can tackle zip wires, bridges and adrenaline-inducing jumps in trees surrounding Beamish Hall, a 12-century country house, 20 minutes drive from Newcastle. Children must be over 10 years old.

Walk to the edge of an empire

Hike the Hadrian's Wall trail to follow in the footsteps of history. Begin at Wallsend and Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum (tel: +44 191 278 4217; www.segedunumromanfort.org.uk) and walk west along the edge of the old Roman Empire. Heddon-on-the-Wall is best for day-trippers, whilst hiking enthusiasts with more endeavour can reach Bowness-on-Solway in about eight days.