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Little Scientists at The Centre for Life

28 Jul

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.


Half-term wish list

12 Feb

With a teacher training day tomorrow, it’s feeling like half term already…. be great to hear what everyone’s got planned. Here’s a few things on my wish-list:

wpid-img_20150118_142315.jpgThe new Brick Planet exhibition at Woodhorn plus a whizz round the wonderful (free) museum and a ride on the mini railway. Woodhorn Museum




wpid-img_20150215_151850.jpgAfternoon tea at The Running Fox at Felton and a walk by the river. Heard great things about this place! Running Fox




IMG_20140607_154322My kids love exploring Belsay Hall and walking through the quarry to the castle. Belsay Hall





Laing Art GalleryFree inspiration and one of my favourite cafes. My four year old loves walking round choosing her favourite paintings. There’s a children’s room too. Laing Art Gallery


wpid-img_20141031_214925.jpgKirkley Hall Zoological GardensWhilst I love seeing the leaping Lemurs, don’t forget about the vast gardens too, beautiful to walk through. Kirkley Hall





Plessey WoodsFree muddy fun galore. Plessey Woods





Beamish: About time I took my kids to see the North’s number one visitor attraction and Francis Street where their great-gran was born Beamish


druridge Walk on the beach and shell collecting at Cresswell and a hot chocolate in The Drift Cafe


A few Festive things to do this weekend (with the mother-in-law)

25 Nov

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


Wallington Hall

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


Northern Stage

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.


Newton-by-the Sea

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.

Free child with an adult voucher


Family walks

7 Apr

Want to escape the school holiday rabble? Some of my favourite free places to walk with kids. Where do you like to go?

Rising Sun Country Park

Rising Sun Country Park

Rising Sun Country Park








Bolam Lake








Saltwell Park








Alnwick and Barter Books








Bamburgh Beach












Park on The Wynding and walk along the beach


Plessey Woods

Tea with the Tiger at Seven Stories

11 Oct


A trip to Seven Stories the National Centre for Children’s Books has never failed to impress me. The quality and detail of the exhibitions lets you step inside and then have a good old rummage round inside the stories. And the return of Judith Kerr’s A Tiger Came to Tea is just brilliant. Although my 3 year old froze in her tracks when she first peeped round the corner, she was soon sitting at the table serving him slices of cake. It also reminded me how wonderful the Mog tales are. I love the idea of cats dreaming of being butterflies. Combined with Story Time in the attic, dressing up and crafts we all had a great time and will be heading back soon.

Cycling and brambling in Rising Sun Country Park

29 Sep








the stag

Who would have thought all this was just behind the Asda?

Eating cakes the size of your head on a windy day at the beach

18 Sep



A pre “first day at school” super treat at Crusoe’s at Tynemouth beach. Yum.

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