Half term offers

29 Oct

Some good entrance fee offers here:

Kirkley Hall Zoo


Whitehouse Farm


Centre for Life


WWT Washington Wetland Centre


Family lunch at Ridley Arms, Stannington

29 Oct


I rarely get the courage to mix kids and a pub lunch, given that my children seem unable to sit still at a table without food in front of them for more than about 60 seconds. But I was glad I did today when we kicked off the half term with a visit to the Ridley Arms in Stannington.

Much larger than it seems on the outside, it’s vast inside and geared up for the arrival of young families, with stacks of crayons and colouring pictures all ready to go.


I was impressed with the quality of the children’s meals – mine choosing a pizza and popcorn chicken followed by an adult-sized slab of delicious sticky toffee pudding that I stared at longingly, all for £5.95.

The other half won the prize for best choice of meal with his belly pork washed down with a pint of Alnwick Amber Ale. I’m not usually one for snapping plates of food, but I thought this dish was worth it as it did look lovely.

My goats cheese and pesto brushetta from the lunch special menu and a half of a Tyneside Blonde was also delicious.

Just off the A1, The Ridley Arms is a handy spot for a post/pre walk lunch. This time we’d been to Plesssey Woods first,  but it’s also just a few minutes drive to Northumberlandia.

Look out for the horses in the field by the car park too before you go.


Ridley Arms

Plessey Woods














Autumn leaf catching and tree climbing in Plessey Woods

25 Oct


There are 100 acres of woodland, meadow and riverside to explore at Plessey Woods, but somehow I never seem to get beyond the first few hundred metres.

Cartwheel practice, leaf catching, stick throwing and tree climbing were to blame this time, as well as a clamber round the playpark.

The girls loved exploring the little wooded hideaways around the picnic tables, great for giving them that sense of freedom to explore, whilst never actually being out of sight.

The paths are mostly pushchair friendly and with a cafe, playpark and toilet block all within yards of the car park, it’s handy for littleones.



Swan Lake

6 Oct

wpid-img_20141006_114255.jpgOne of my favourite spots for an Autumn walk is Bolam Lake. Despite having being dragged out in all weathers since they were tiny bundles in a Baby Bjorn, the usual response to my enthusiastic – “wow isn’t it a beautiful autumn day, let’s go for a walk,” is something like “eeuuuurrgghghhh…”

But Bolam Lake and Country Park is great : not too far to drive, a nice flat circular walk, swans to feed, trees to climb,places to hide and picnic spots a plenty.

As well as fungi spotting, leaf collecting and picking a few last remaining brambles, the girls had a great time feeding the swans and have now renamed Bolam ‘Swan Lake’ as once we reached for the bread, we soon found ourselves fending off 17 in total.

wpid-img_20141006_114240.jpgThe paths are suitable for buggies, although they can be very muddy and there are toilets and a small cafe at the visitor centre.



For more information and special events visit  http://www.northumberlandlife.org/bolamlakecountrypark/Events.asp#4510

A walk at Cragside

29 Jul




There always seems to be something new to discover at Cragside. After our last visit to the lake area this time me headed to the house and formal gardens.

10 places in the North East to visit #fathersday

14 Jun

2007-01-04 0181. This not the combination you hear of everyday but the Vintage Transport and Real Ale Festival @tanfieldrailway sounds a day out that is going to hard to beat  – the chance to be a driver for a fiver too?




IMG_20140523_1130202. If you weren’t at the 150th Miners’ Picnic today, head to Woodhorn Museum, near Ashington tomorrow and mix mining heritage with coming face to face with the daddy of all dinosaurs the T-Rex himself and a train ride too




IMG_20140607_1120113.  Uncivilised… like humans only different? Find out about the Wild Man of @belsayhall, have a lovely walk through the beautiful gardens and quarry and climb a castle …




druridge24. Any excuse to visit Druridge Bay….






Holy Island

Holy Island

5.  I had magical happy memories of visiting Holy Island as a child and my first return visit with my family didn’t disappoint





wpid-IMG_20130929_173555.JPG6. A cycle around The Rising Sun Country Park – who’d have thought all this was just behind the Asda?





wpid-IMG_20130918_182341.JPG7. Treat yourselves to breakfast/brunch or lunch on the beach at Tynemouth#





DSCF00238. Cycling at Kielder Water





wpid-wp-1396891671233.jpeg9. There’s something “other worldly” about Cragside, near Rothbury – visit Lord Armstrong’s famous home – the first to be lit by hydroelectricty, learn about Sir Jospeh Swan and the lightbulb, ramble through the craggy woodland and have a cheeky zip wire in the playground




wall10. Get in touch with your inner Roman geek and take a walk on Hadrian’s Wall or visit Vindolanda








Scooters, slides and fine feathered friends at Saltwell Park

9 Jun

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