Sunday Lunch and a Play in the Snow at Beamish Hall

15 Dec

I must be getting soft in my old age, but with the chilly icy weather I didn’t quite fancy taking the usual picnic on our trip to Beamish Museum at the weekend and so took the executive decision to book a table for a hearty Sunday Lunch.

I had heard good things about Beamish Hall and booked us a table for 6 at The Stables that promised a winning combination of log fires and real ales. But I wasn’t expecting to be quite so, well, lovely.


Driving up through the snowy grounds the Hall itself looked picture perfect and The Stables a warming winter wonderland.

The Stables is a bar, restaurant and micro-brewery is at the back of Best Western Beamish Hall, in the converted 18th century stable block.

It was a bit too frosty for the outdoor courtyard… but I bet that it is fantastic on a milder day or evening.


The inside was really welcoming, had a great atmosphere and lots of space – which is always a relief to me, as I still get slightly anxious about expecting my two young’uns to sit still for any prolonged period of time.

There was some tasty ales on tap. Continuing the Beamish theme I sampled Old Miner Tommy.

We didn’t try a starter – going straight for the Sunday Roast and its giant Yorkshires. We all really enjoyed the meal – with particular praise being heaped on the tasty spread of veg.


The menu was wide-ranging, with a good selection of kids options too.

The beautiful grounds meant we could also work off our meal with a snowball fight in the snow…


Definitely a place I would like to return.

For more information visit The Stables at Beamish Hall



A Snowy Trip to Beamish

15 Dec

wp-1450026393246.jpg Our toes may be numb but what a lovely day we had in the snow at Beamish. While I think the unexpected snowfall and the trip to the traditional sweetshop may have been pretty influential – according to my daughter this was “the best time I’ve had while I’ve been six…”

wp-1450026413441.jpgMy gran was born in one of the Francis Street terraces, which were moved to the Beamish “Pit Village” from Hetton-le-Hole. Sadly my daughters didn’t get chance to visit with her, as she passed away last year. But we thought her birthday, this weekend, would be a nice way to keep her memory alive.


And it did just that as, as soon as you step out through the entrance at Beamish, you enter into times past, wandering in and out of homes, shops and community buildings, all wonderfully recreated and helping my children to imagine what life was like for their great gran when she was a young child too.


The site is vast and the kids loved the trams to take you from place to place.










It was a bit breezy on the open top mind!













This was our first trip, but thanks to the ticket lasting a year it was nice to feel you didn’t have to cram everything into one day to get your money’s worth.


Armed with my guidebook I have already started swatting up on my history and the remarkable collections on display all ready for our return visit.



A family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children costs £48.50. If we go four times in a year that works out as £3 each a visit, which I think is pretty good value for money.


To find out more and plan your trip visit Beamish


Family Days Out Offers This Week

13 Nov

Family Pass to Kirkley Hall Zoo

Blue Reef Aquarium – Kids Go Free

Washington Wetland Centre – buy one get one free on admission

Whitehouse Farm: two for one entry

National Trust 3 months free membership discount with code NT15066M1

Soft Play offer at The Splat Centre Whitley Bay

South lakes Safari Park

Cakes and Candle Stick Making

30 Sep

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wpid-img_20150503_192415.jpgIf 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.

wpid-img_20150503_114954.jpgThe 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,




wpid-img_20150512_124250.jpgWhile they hung to dry we went upstairs to get on with the other activities – it was like a spell had been cast – a room full of children all sitting quietly working away in concentration!




wpid-img_20150512_124349.jpgTo 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 and the Labyrinth

30 Sep

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!















Cragside House & Gardens

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.

Family bouldering at Shaftoe

18 Jul





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.

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