With the mother-in-law flying in from Ireland at the weekend for the annual pre-Christmas visit I’ve been on the look out for some festive family days out. I’ve now found far too many things I’d like to do, so I thought I’d write a kind of Christmas wish-list:
Alnwick Garden: I would have loved to have been there for the switch on of the beautiful lights display and I’d still like to see the fountains illuminated in the dark – a real work of art that brings the gardens to life in the early evenings. There are also lots of special events including Christmas markets and children’s theatre.
There is a 5% discount if book tickets online
Enchanted Parks – The Stargazer of Saltwell: Keeping on the subject of illuminations – there are only a few tickets left for this dazzling after-dark spectacular of light and performance. There’s also the wonderful story of how it was a little lonely star-gazing girl called Estella who inspired her dad to build the magical Saltwell Towers.
Beamish: I still can’t believe I haven’t taken my kids to Beamish yet, officially the top large tourist attraction in the region, no less. Christmas seems the perfect time to sort it out: Edwardian traditions – an ice rink – tram rides – sounds a day to remember. HALF PRICE ADMISSION – every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
Listening to Mrs Claus reading stories by the fire followed by the carol singing in the hall was one of my favourite festive day trips last year. There are THREE children’s playgrounds in the extensive grounds too, (yes three) including a zip wire and a train, so you can’t really go wrong.
There’s a code for 25% off membership in November here
After spending three quarters of last year’s panto hiding from Captain Hook/ Jo Mangle in the corridor of Whitely Bay Playhouse with my three-year-old daughter, The Christmas Grump specially created for younger children sounds a much safer option.
I love getting wrapped up in the winter and heading to the beach. And at Newton-by-the-Sea you not only have a beautiful walk to Craster (voted one of the top 10 in the UK) but a pub on hand at The Ship Inn or a just up the road The Joiners’ Arms. Sign up to the Joiners Arms Newsletter and you get a £10 voucher too.
National Glass Centre, Sunderland
This is for older ones, but I like the sound of starting a Christmas tradition and blowing your own glass bauble
This grand finale to the Christmas Fayre with a wintery spectacle of fire and ice, Snow Queen, human Catherine Wheels and bonfire sounds amazing. We loved the Santa Special ride on the railway last year – in fact the mother-in-law came with us then too and as I recall was very taken with the charming Mr Claus!
Entry to Woodhorn is free, but parking is £3.50 – a bargain. And there’s even a free parking ride service. A visit to Santa’s Grotto is £7.50 a child, including present.
Santa Specials run on weekends in December
Christmas Cracker Whitehouse Farm
If I go to one grotto this year I think I’d like it to be this one. There’s so much for children here too: animal petting, trator rides, trampolines, playgrounds, soft play…. A great day out.