I remember visiting the Tall Ships as a child when they visited Newcastle Quayside. It was a real sense of occasion and something that really sticks in my mind today, so when I found out the Tall Ships would be visiting Blyth which is just a few miles from my home, I couldn't wait to re-live these memories.
The maritime celebration is now in it's 60th year. 30 impressive ships would be visiting the port of Blyth and there was to be a full weekend of celebrations. I headed over with Chloe on a sunny Saturday evening. We decided to travel via public transport and have to say there were no queues or problems - everything ran very smoothly.
We walked along Blyth Quayside admiring the ships and taking in the festival atmosphere. There were bands playing, street performers entertaining the crowds, fairground rides and lots of festival food stalls including two of my favourites, Fat Hippo and Zapatista. I love how the festival involved lots of local suppliers like this.
Ridley Park was a hive of activity with lots of local pop up stalls and activities for kids. You could easily spend a good few hours here.
I decided not to take the kids with me as I don't like taking them to busy places when it's just me. I live in fear of losing one of them. We will hopefully pop down on Monday though to watch the ships leave. I had been invited to watch the ships from a private suite by the Commissioners Quay where we had access to a complimentary bar (lucky us). Complimentary drinks and solo parenting definitely do not mix and to be honest it was lovely to let my hair down for a few hours - after 5 weeks of being at home with the kids, I was more than ready for a bit of adult conversation.
The Commissioners Quay Inn is a brand new inn that stands right on the Blyth Quayside. Some of the rooms (like ours) feature large balconies and the views of the harbour, quayside and coast are pretty spectacular. The inn offers 40 en-suite bedrooms, homemade food, drinks and a very warm welcome. I loved the simple but classic decor which felt modern yet homely. There is free wifi and free on site parking too and I can't wait to return with the kids after our next trip to Ridley park.
Our host Jackie really looked after us. We started with the most delicious afternoon tea and a couple of glasses of wine whilst we got to know the other guests. I always love the chance to chat to new people and it was a pleasure to share our suite with Chloe, Claire from Impact PR, a very brave soldier who survived an attack in Afghanistan and his wife plus two lifeguards from Blyth beach. Such a diverse group of people and it was lovely to share stories over a few glasses of Prosecco.
The views from our balcony were wonderful and obviously Chloe and I couldn't resist taking a few snaps.
The saying time flies when you're having fun couldn't be more true - before we knew it, 3 hours had passed. It was a HUGE privilege to be invited up to the Commissioner Quay's rooftop alongside the official event photographers in time to watch the 9pm fireworks. Just WOW! It is times like this that I am so grateful for blogging. What an experience.
The fireworks were just outstanding and genuinely took my breath away. It was really special being able to share the experience with friends old and new. After 20 minutes of fireworks we headed back down to our suite for bacon butties and another glass of Prosecco. The perfect way to end our evening.
A huge thank you to the Commissioner's Quay for inviting us along to share this unique experience. All of the staff we encountered from the marketing team to the bar staff, door staff and even handymen were all genuine, friendly people who really made us feel welcome. The Commissioner's Quay Inn is somewhere I would recommend to anyone visiting the North East - it is super handy for business travellers, wedding guests or just as a base to use for exploring the gorgeous Northumbrian Coastline.
The Tall Ships Regatta is a HUGE event and I think it was extremely well organised. It a real a privilege to have such a massive FREE event for us to enjoy on our doorstep. What a fantastic weekend for Blyth, Northumberland and the North East. It was lovely to see us shine.
There is still time to catch the Tall Ships before they leave Blyth and race towards Sweden. Pop down for around 12:45pm on Monday to watch their farewell parade. Check the Tall Ships website for parking/public transport/park and ride details.