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Friday, 3 March 2017

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | A North East Day Out for the Whole Family


*This is a colllaborative post

WWT Washington Wetland Centre is somewhere that has been on our radar for the past few years after reading fab reviews from Babyfoote and Nomipalony. It has always been in my head that it was such a long drive from our home in Northumberland however after hearing about the North East Puddle Jumping Championships that were happening over February Half Term, I decided it would be worth the journey. In reality, it was just off the A1 and not far at all and our driving time was just under 40 minutes.

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family

I will start this review by letting you know that I am going to rave about the place. It is SUCH a good day out for all ages. We spotted toddlers having a fabulous time meeting the ducks and various animals, families with older children engaged in learning, couples taking a stroll through the grounds and pensioners with their binoculars hiding in the various bird hides. If you're looking for a family day out for all ages, WWT Washington Wetland Centre will deliver. The paths are accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs and there's a cafe, a good play park and plenty of picnic tables too.

If you'd like to get a real flavour for what WWT Washington can offer, take a look at our video from our visit below:


First of all, I will say we were very lucky with the weather. We were due to visit on Thursday but Storm Doris had hit so changed to Friday. It was worth the wait -  just look at those blue skies!

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - visitor centre and grounds

The kids were given a free trail to complete which was challenging enough for Harry and kept his interest around the whole site. He was especially happy when rewared with a Freddo bar for his effort. All three children were very happy to spot lots of birds and we learned all about them through various signs. The two cranes were my favourite.

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - free trail

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - cranes

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - walks

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - duck pond

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | Otter Feeding & Talk


There are two feeding times for the otters scheduled throughout the day (you will find out the times on arrival) and I would highly recommend taking the time to attend. We learned so much about otters, their habitats and life and really fell a bit in love with these creatures. They are happy, playful and full of character. Jack loved them so much that he declared he is going to build an otter sanctuary in his house when he's a grown up! Their keeper is lovely too with a good sense of humour and he was very patient with the children in the audience and answering all of our questions. 

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - otter keeper feed and talk

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - otter feeding

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - otter feeding

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - otter playing

The scenery around WWT Washington is just stunning - if you have a camera I'd recommend taking it along. The bird enclosures are beautiful and there are longer walks around the site's perimeter through woodland and by the river that are gorgeous. You can spot Penshaw monument in the distance too.

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - waterfall and snowdrops in animal enclosure

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - waterfall

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - swan

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - views of Penshaw monument

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - climbing on trees

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - wildfowl

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - reflection in water from bird hide

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | Bird Spotting


I definitely wouldn't list 'bird spotting' as one of our hobbies but you can't help but get involved at WWT Washington. There are various bird hides dotted about and it was lush to see our kids dash inside, take a seat and sit quietly *for ages* whilst they used the spotters guides to identify the birds in front of them. You can hire binoculars from reception which is something we'll definitely be doing on our next visit.

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - bird hide spotter's book

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - bird spotting from bird hide

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - life cycles sign

Just a word about the paths, the paths around the main part of the site and enclosures are perfect but as we visited the day after a storm, they did get a little muddy as we ventured into the wooded areas. My advice would be to wear wellies or waterproof walking boots if we've had any rain (or you could just stick to the main paths).

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - muddy woodland and wellies

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | Play Area, Picnic Tables, Cafe & Water Play 


We visted on a bright but chilly day in February and I had to physically tear my children away from the play park. It is kind of like an obstacle course and they all loved it. Jack actually cried when we had to leave! There are picnic tables nearby and I think it's going to be a fabulous place to take a picnic in the warmer months. There's equipment for younger children too but it would be a bit odd for me to photograph that when my children weren't using it. 

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - rope bridge in park

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - natural play area

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - slide in park

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - play park

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - net in park

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - stepping stones in park

There's a small water play area too involving handles, dams, plugs and switches. My three worked together to help the water flow - it was nice to see them working together as a team! 

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - water play area

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - water play

 WWT Washington Wetland Centre | North East Puddle Jumping Championships


Over February Half Term, WWT Washington hold puddle jumping championships. This was very well organised with every child being given a number then allowed to practice in the practice pools. When their number was called out, they had the chance to do one epic jump and would be scored out of 100.

The atmosphere was fantastic with everyone cheering, Dusty Duck posing for photographs and everyone who took part was given a sticker. It really was fun to watch. 

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - puddle jumping

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - puddle jumping

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - puddle jumping badge

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - dusty duck

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | Events 2017

I would recommend visiting WWT Washington on any day, but if you'd like even better value for money, check out their special events page. Highlights over Easter include:

We enjoyed a very good value lunch at the centre - 4 hot meals (including a homemade pie for Steve) and a kid's packed lunch box for Heidi plus 5 drinks for £32 which I think was very good value. There's also an indoor information centre/craft area/small play area should the weather take a real turn for the worse! We found all of the staff to be lovely and nothing is too much trouble for anyone.

Of course we exited through the gift shop. There are a range of kid's toys available from 25p - £2 plus more expensive souvenirs/gifts/ Jack loves his new pet toad!

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family - toad from gift shop

WWT Washington Wetland Centre | Prices, Opening Hours and Information

  • You can save 10% by booking your tickets online. As a guide, adults are priced from £8.51, children £4.29 & concessions from £6.49. Carers and under 4's are free and family tickets are priced from £23.09. Annual membership is also available
  • WWT Washington is open every day apart from Christmas Day. The centre opens at 9:30am and closes at 4:30pm in winter and 5:30pm in summer (from April)
  • Car parking is plentiful and free
  • Directions and public transport information is available here

Don't forget, you can see more from our day by watching our YouTube video below:


Let me know if you're planning a visit to WWT Washington this year.

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WWT Washington Wetland Centre | An Accessible North East Day Out for the Whole Family





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2 comments

  1. So the next time I'm asking for places to take the kids remind me of WWT. The Herrington country park next to penshaw monument looks good too! It's all about Washington!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely will - it is such a fab place. I can't wait to return in the summer with a picnic x

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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