Charlotte’s holiday homework is to keep a diary, so she’s been helping me out on the blog this week. We tried to find out some facts I never knew about Whitby, including snakes and monkey puzzle trees…
- A monastery was built in AD657 by King Oswy of Northumbria. It became one of the most important religious centres in the Anglo-Saxon world under the Abbess Hild. She ruled over both men and women in a double monastery called Streaneshalch.
- It is said that sea birds flying over the ruins of the abbey tip their wings in honour of Hilda while the presence of ammonite fossils on the shore at Whitby is explained as the remains of a plaque of snakes which Hilda turned to stone.
- Whitby Abbey was the inspiration for a famous scary book called Dracula by Bram Stoker that was written 1897. Lots of people come to Whitby at Halloween.
- Some people say there are 199 steps, some say 198 and others 200. so they say you have to try and count them for yourself!
Things we want to try next time we go back:
- Mummy would like a necklace made of Jet
Jet Shop W. Hamond says: Unlike most gemstones, Whitby Jet is actually fossilised wood, similar to our present day Monkey Puzzle or Araucaria Tree, which has been compressed over millions of years.
The colour of Whitby Jet is unique; its blackness is so intense that the expression ‘as black as jet’ has been a commonly used phrase for hundreds of years.
Queen Victoria had a necklace made of Whitby Jet
Read more about it here: Whitby Jet
- Katherine and I want to bring our buckets and spades and go down to the beach and ride on a donkey in the summer.
Other facts we found out about Whitby:
- By 1795 Whitby had become a major whaling port. The most successful year was 1814 when eight ships caught 172 whales.
- The famous explorer Captain Cook learned how to be a sailor in Whitby and his ship the HMS Endeavor that he sailed to Australia and New Zealand was built in Whitby.
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…”
My 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
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.
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.
There’s over 100 acres of woodland, meadow and riverside to explore in Plessey Woods. No signs of otters or kingfishers on this trip, but plenty of good sticks and water to poke…
I love Woodhorn, I really do. A fascinating and fun trip through mining history, banner displays, the Pitman Painters exhibition, arts and crafts and even a ride on a miniature railway to a feed ducks on a lake, it’s a great day out with the kids…. and apart from the parking it’s free! My kids love walking through the Coal Town – and never seem to tire of opening and closing the door to the outside loo (you’ll see why…) They love the noises and sounds and the interactive nature of the museum that brings it alive. And if that wasn’t enough they have touring exhibitions too like the brilliant Retronaut photographs dubbed “Victorian selfies” and the recently arrived Brick Planet lego display.
From leaping lemurs to secret doors… make sure you don’t just say hello to the animals and take a walk around the beautiful Zoological Gardens too… Think we even found the Magic Faraway Tree