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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Why South Shields is the perfect location for a group get together or picnic this summer


You might not realise this but there are over 500 bloggers in the North East! The community spirit is fantastic and a lot of us are now the best of friends. I run North East Bloggers and PRs with Mrs MonkeyFeet - it's a Facebook group where we post blogging opportunities, ask questions, share best practice and support each other. If you are reading this and live in the North East and work in marketing/PR or are a blogger/vlogger, feel free to request to join the group here. 

Why South Shields is the perfect location for a group get together or picnic this summer

Every year we organise a North East blogger picnic which is a lovely chance for us to get together without any pressures of attending a blogger event and to bring our kids and families along too. In 2015 we all popped down to Jesmond Dene and 2016 saw us bloggers descend on Saltwell Park in Gateshead. I like to try and vary the locations every year so this summer, we decided that South Shields would be our venue of choice and if I'm honest, I think it was our best picnic yet! South Shields really is a fab location for group get togethers and in fact we spotted a couple of other large groups during our day out so we're definitely not the only ones who think this. 

First of all, parking is just £4 all day in the main car park joined onto Ocean Beach Pleasure Park. We always park here and have always managed to find a space, even on hot summer days when it's busier than normal. This is a premium car park so I imagine others are actually cheaper. There are also regular buses and South Shields has it's own Metro Station too so it's fab for non-drivers. Oh you can even get the Shields ferry across from North Shields too. There aren't many places in the North East that are so well-served by public transport. 

Where to enjoy a group picnic in South Shields


We decided to set up camp on the large grassed area behind the two play parks in North Marine Park. This was an ideal spot for those of us with older kids and they could run off and play in the parks whilst us grown-ups sat and relaxed in the sun. North Marine Park has lots of very good facilities including public loos, a cafe and ice cream stall, lots of grass, two play parks, a boating lake and a mini train that travels around the park. It's a fab place for families and the folk of South Shields are very lucky indeed. 

Why South Shields is the perfect location for a group get together or picnic this summer


 You can take your own chairs and gazebos and even organise your own entertainment too (although obviously check licensing laws - generally if a performance takes place during the day time and is for less than 500 people, a license will not be required). There were quite a few children in the group so we organised a traditional puppet show via Pip's Puppets. Puppet shows can be organised from just over £80 and if there's a group of you, you can split the cost which makes it very inexpensive. The kids loved it and Jack especially loved being selected as a volunteer to catch the witch. 

Why South Shields is the perfect location for a group get together or picnic this summer


Ocean Beach Pleasure Park for Groups


The more tickets you buy at Ocean Beach, the bigger the saving you will make. You can buy 75 ride tickets for £22.50 (using a special voucher - see here for details). Ocean Beach provided us with a special deal in advance and I simply collected our tickets from the ticket box office and evenly distributed the tickets during our picnic. It was hassle free and super easy to organise. The smaller children's rides use up either 3/4 tickets and I think 25-50 tickets per family is the perfect amount of tickets to use during a group visit. Sprog on the Tyne has shared the best rides for toddlers here and Here Come the Hoopers recommend the Walter for those who enjoy a bit of a thrill. 

Why South Shields is the perfect location for a group get together or picnic this summer
Credit | Sprog on the Tyne

My three love the Dodgems and fun houses and had lots of fun using up their tickets. Ocean Beach is fab for groups as it's not massive like theme parks are so it's really easy to go off and do your own thing or enjoy rides with friends and organise a meeting point later in the day. 

Why South Shields is the perfect location for a group get together or picnic this summer


Traditional Seaside Fun at South Shields


Of course you can't visit South Shields without a little trip to the beach. Big groups can find a spot to set up camp whilst the kids make sandcastles. If you'd like to push the boat out, you can book a table at Colmans Seafood Temple where cod, chips, peas, bread and butter and a pot of tea will set you back an eye-watering £17.20 plus service. Or you save yourself some cash by sticking with your picnic and treating yourself to a fabulous ice cream from Scoop and Bean instead. There are over 36 flavours to choose from and you can pick up a fresh coffee from Tynemouth Coffee Co. too. How good does Katie Jane Online's Ice Cream look! 

Why South Shields is the perfect location for a group get together or picnic this summer
Credit | Katie Jane Online

Laserforce - A perfect game for groups 


Credit | Here Come the Hoopers

You will find Laserforce inside Quasar Amusements in Ocean Beach Pleasure Park. The experience is aimed at children and grown-ups aged 6+ and up to 20 people can play at once. It's very reasonably priced compared to similar attractions with games being priced from just £2.50 per person for students (find out more about pricing here). Our group of 11 decided on 2 games and as we visited during peak hours, this would have cost us £8 per person including membership which considering how much fun we had, I think is a pretty good deal. 

Credit | The Life Bath

You would never normally find myself putting myself forward for this sort of experience but you know, I didn't want to be a party pooper and did it for the kids. When our host casually mentioned that Darth Vadar was in there I almost chickened out. I am so pleased I didn't though as it was SO much fun! 

Credit | The Life Bath

Our first game was kind of like an orientation. We found out where the targets were and it was every man for himself. You wear special vests which become a target for other players to shoot you and score points. The room is filled with hiding places, bridges and bunkers and you really feel as if you're in the secret service or something. Our second game was slightly more competitive as we were divided into two teams and had to work together to try and score the most points.Yeah for Team Green who were the overall winners. I really expected to hate Laserforce but I can honestly say it's the best family fun the whole family have enjoyed together in a long time. Everyone from Jack aged 6 to Steve (aged almost 36) had a ball. We enjoyed it so much that we've decided to make it an annual bloggers trip.

We loved our big day out in South Shields and would definitely recommend it if you're loooking for a place to get together with friends and families this summer. Huge thanks to Nomipalony, Here Come the Hoopers, My Boys Club, New Girl in Toon, The Life Bath, Katie Meehan, Katie Jane Online, Monkey Feet Blog, Big Stevie Cool and Sprog on the Tyne for coming along and making it a day to remember and to Ocean Beach for helping with the organisation and providing us with so much fun. You can see more from our day in my video from the weekend below: 







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6 comments

  1. It really was the perfect location and an excellent day! laser quest was the surprise hit for us- We all loved it. Now where will we go to next year?

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  2. I agree! This was definitely my favourite picnic location so far, I'm going to be campaigning to return every year! Thanks so much for organising!

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  3. Looks like you had a great day. I'm from South Shields, but I haven't been home for 7 years and I'm feeling all sad and nostalgic reading this! It's fab that you have a good network of bloggers in NE, I wish we still lived there!

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  4. We loved the day too! Thanks for organising.

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  5. South Shields is one of our favourite places. It's a great destination for meeting up with friends for play dates. We have a dog so the summer months with the beach restrictions aren't so great for dog walks but excellent when we're just going out with the kids x

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  6. It looks like it was a great day, gutted we missed it as I do love a day out at South Shields xx

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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