If you ever happen to be passing by Chester I can recommend a detour to the wonderful Cheshire Workshops.
Just a short drive into the countryside from Chester it’s a crafter’s paradise for kids and adults alike – plus they serve up some mean cakes too.
It all started with a local villager who became a candle maker, hand-carving candles to sell at the local market. Now they are the North West’s leading candle makers and the Candle Factory, Craft Workshop and Visitor Centre attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year.
There are a number of different activity packages you can buy on arrival depending on how creative you want to be – a bit over excited and thinking this might be the only time we ever visited – we went for one that included a triple twist candle, decorating a candle holder, model painting and filling a sand bottle.
The candle making was fantastic – even though my children were four and six, they had no problem following the instructions and were mesmerized dipping the wick into the different coloured wax and watching it get bigger and bigger. I loved it too and even dad, not usually one for crafting had a go,
To top it all off, the workshops also has a lovely cafe, where we had scones and cakes and we were able to enjoy a cup of coffee while the children had a run around in the outdoor play area, that looks out across the open fields.
Looking for a spot to have our picnic we then drove just a little further to The Ice Cream Farm at Cheshire Farm. Here we found picnic areas, a fantastic playground and one of the biggest ice cream parlours I have ever seen…. and all free (apart from the ice cream).
It was under redevelopment when we called in – but now as well as award-winning ice cream and playground has Europe’s largest indoor sand and water play area, animals, an indoor soft play barn, adventure golf and a magical garden…
I just wish we lived closer, but hopefully will be back soon!
Cragside is so vast, we are always finding new areas of the estate to explore. Spotted this good place for a breather before we got lost in the Labyrinth… enjoy the surprise if you find the middle!
An amazing day at The Centre for Life. My daughters six and four absolutely loved the new Experiment Zone. Having not studied science for almost three decades, the thought of how I was going to be able to help them “extract DNA” left me a little nervous! But the instructions were so clear and easy to follow, that literally a four-year-old could do it.
There are a wide range of experiments to choose from and we’ll definitely be back to try out another. Inspiring stuff.
There is so much to do, that you really could spend a whole day inside. We love the Little Bear film in the planetarium about the constellations. The play area upstairs can keep them entertained for an hour alone, and they never seem to get sick of the activities in the explorer zone.
My children are a little young to appreciate the Game On exhibition, but the range on show is fantastic, a real journey through gaming history. Spotting the Speak and Spell and Donkey Kong did however make me feel on the old side!
There is a cafe and restaurant, but also a picnic area too, which I think is great so you are welcome to bring your own food too.
A top quality place for a family day out time and time again.
Northumberland has so many natural playgrounds. We headed to Shaftoe crags for a family bouldering session.
Great for parents to have a play as well as the kids for a change!
Despite being only a short drive from Newcastle, there is something about the crags of Northumberland that makes me feel I have ventured into another world or far into the past. And the children enjoyed hearing how the rocks have their own names such as Devil’s Punchbowl and Piper’s Chair.
From Belsay on the A696, head for Bolam Lake. Go past the lake car park on the right to a crossroads, turn left along an unmetalled road past a row of cottages. Park by the wall on the moor just over the cattle grid.
To the crags:
Follow the wall up the hill until you go through the gate, then turn left and follow the path along the wall that takes you down in amongst the rocks.
I definitely had camera envy and these pictures really don’t do justice to the amazing trip we had to the Farne Islands.
A natural playground, this easy walk round Bolam Lake has trees to climb, swans to feed and lots of places for hide & seek.
Free parking & a cafe.