Frightwater valley with under 5's

We visited lightwater valley in the summer and absolutely loved it. You can read all about that visit here. We were delighted to be asked back and see what frightwater valley had to offer! I immediately started watching all of the promotional material for frightwater valley and it looked amazing! My 7 year old was blown away by this youtube video. My 4 year old wasn't so keen though and I was a little apprehensive about taking her for fear that it may be too scary. In the end we decided to just go for it and we could always leave early if it was all too much for her.

Frightwater valley proved to be very toddler friendly. The first thing I liked was that there were NO QUEUES for rides. We were able to ride our favourite rides over and over again - my 2 year old was even able to go on his first roller coaster (the caterpillar) with me sitting next to him. It was quite surreal seeing everybody dressed up on the rides.

As you can see from the photos, we were really blessed with the weather and it was a lovely mild day.

We enjoyed watching a horror magic show which was on every hour or so. We saw a man have his head chopped off! 

Our children's favourite part of the day was the UV puppet show which takes place in the indoor theatre. It had our kids in stitches and had everyone clapping and dancing along at the end. It only lasted 20 minutes or so and was the perfect length to keep littles ones entertained without getting bored. (Unfortunately no photography allowed in this show).

We decided we were brave enough to take on the walk through the fairground graveyard.

It looked super scary and we had to dodge many live (and realistic) actors. Our kids loved it though and we had a laugh together because we were braver than some of the teenagers who were too scared to give it a go! The actor's were fantastic and stayed in character the whole time.

I was really impressed with how much lightwater valley had went to town with the decorations. The park had been transformed for the occasion!

Some of the rides had a Halloween makeover too!

There were some special Halloween options for food and snacks too. Toffee apples were on sale for only £1!! We couldn't resist the smell wafting from the pancake stall and decided to try the Halloween special.

It had the thumbs up from the kids although it was very messy to eat and we really could have done with a sharper knife.

A trip to lightwater valley would not be complete without a visit to their fantastic
Birds of prey centre - they have lots of birds on display and the keepers are lovely and friendly and will answer any of your questions.

We also couldn't escape visiting te angry birds zone as it is a big favourite of ours.

Should you wish to really make the most of your day, there was even more going on including face painting, a huge stage with Halloween dancers and live music, a live action horror maze, trick or treat doors and lots of interaction with actors around the park. It was also nice to see the park all lit up at night (park closes at 6:30pm during this event)

Our verdict on frightwater valley with under 5's is that it was fantastic value for money. You get all the usual rides and attractions (but with no queues) plus a whole load of extra's thrown in AND later opening. It wasn't too scary at all for our children and a lot of the attractions were actually geared towards them. 

Frightwater valley continues until 2nd November from 10am-6:30pm. Tickets are £19.50 each if booked online (£4 if you're under 1 metre).

Disclaimer:- we were given complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All views are our own.


Pumpkin carving is not my forte!

When I was younger, pumpkins weren't readily available in the shops and we had to use turnips! How my dad managed to scoop out and carve a raw turnip I will never know! I'm sure I remember him using a drill once to make holes for the string! 

Thankfully, Pumpkins are readily available now and are a lot easier to scoop out so our generation has it a lot easier. However I still struggle to make them look good!

Scooping and carving is easy enough but how do people make such intricate designs? Look at these amazing examples from my facebook feed yesterday.

My children prefer to cover their pumpkin in pen.........:-/

Oh dear! What a mess! 

I would love to see your pumpkin photos and if yours is intricately designed - how do you manage it?!


Alnwick castle in Autumn

We are so lucky to live in Northumberland. People travel thousands of miles to visit us. Our castle's are a huge attraction. We have already visited Bamburgh and Warkworth castle this year and loved them both. Alnwick castle is the castle we have visited the most and is probably the most famous due to it's Harry Potter connections. We haven't visited for a few years though, in fact the last time we paid a visit was Spring 2009 when Heidi was just a few weeks old. Cringe at the hideous family selfie!

So when we were invited along this year we couldn't wait to see what they had to offer.

The day of our visit was crisp, clear and typically Autumnal. Our boys enjoyed collecting what we later discovered to be hazelnuts on the long but picturesque walk from the carpark to the castle (£3.50 charge for all day parking - have some change to pay the attendant at hand before you leave). The walk is quite lengthy with toddlers but because you pass the treehouse, some friendly ducks and various stalls along the way it doesn't seem too bad.

The walk leading up to the castle provides some spectacular views.

Although there are some cobbles we found the castle to be very buggy friendly.

The state rooms were closed for winter on the day of our visit and the car park attendant informed us that entrance would be half price because of this. Bargain!

Our first stop of the day was the Knight's Quest area where we were told all the action is. We reserved our space on the 11:30am broomstick training course and decided to take on the Dragon's Quest challenge.

The dragon's quest is a new addition to the castle since our last visit. Children are advised to enter with an adult as it can be quite scary in places. Expect to encounter skeleton's, mirror mazes and giant dragon's! My children survived but I don't think my daughter would have tried it a second time. You can watch a short video of the quest here.

So, after the Dragon's Quest we went in search of something a little tamer and decided to dress up as medieval knights and princesses. There is a huge selection of costumes to choose from and staff on hand to help choose an outfit and ensure the area is kept tidy! 

Heidi decided to be transformed into a princess. I love how there is a huge mirror you are encouraged to admire yourself in once your makeover is complete.

Harry decided to become a dragon!

We also had a mini knight in our group. Super cute.

Wearing our costumes we ventured around the courtyard and tried our hand at some of the traditional activities on offer including:-

Sword training

Putting Grandma in the stocks and throwing rats at her!

Traditional courtyard games

And watching an Alchemist.

As you can see there was lots and lots going on and loads of fun to be had.

Before broomstick training we decided to take a stroll around the castle grounds. They are very safe and a great place to let you toddler run about. We had lots of fun pretending to fire cannons at our enemies by the river.

The views are simply breathtaking and I really look forward to returning one day without my children and take the time to take some proper photographs.

We bumped into a fire breathing dragon on our travels. He was friendly though and even let us give him a little stroke.

Broomstick training was all my 7 year old had been talking about the whole time we were walking around the castle. He was very keen to get started. Our lesson started at 11:30am and was inclusive of everybody no matter how big or small. The staff who provided the lesson were really entertaining and we learned how to mount, manouver and whooooosh on our very own broomstick. The 20 minute lesson was great fun and there were lots of giggles. 

We had certainly earned our lunch after our super busy morning. We had planned to eat in the courtyard cafe however the queue was out of the door so we decided to walk to the sandwich shop at the entrance of Alnwick garden. We quickly found a seat here however service was very slow and children's meals were £4.50 for a sandwich, juice, fruit and mini cheddars so a little on the pricey side. In future we will definitely choose to eat either at a non-peak time or take a picnic as there are plenty of picnic spot's around the castle to enjoy.

So, our verdict on Alnwick castle was we LOVED it! It was really toddler and child friendly and there is always lots going on. It was absolutely stunning as well. We could have easily spent all day here. You can visit the woodland walk and treehouse free of charge too. If you buy your ticket in 2013 it will be valid for 12 months. Check website for up to date information.

Disclaimer:- we received complimentary entry to Alnwick castle for the purpose of this review. All views are our own.


Nando's Silverlink preview evening

Our family LOVES nandos. We love everything about it! Everytime we visit the metro centre we have to visit so you can imagine our excitement when we found out a brand new branch at the Silverlink was opening and it is just 5 minute from our house. We were even more excited when we were invited to attend a special preview evening tonight ahead of the official opening on Wednesday 30th October.

I am guessing most people have been to nando's and what I like is you get the same experience at every branch - you know the score and Silverlink is no different.

The atmosphere had the usual quirky nando's style and is light and airy with high ceilings. It was quite noisy, but this just adds to the vibe of the place.

We ordered our favourite starter of red pepper dip with pittas - everyone in our family loves this!

The children were given activity packs which included finger puppets, nando's temporary tattoos and a card to design your own flag. The kids were happy with these.

There was a little wait for our mains but I will definitely let them off for this - it was explained this night happen as it was their first night of service. Every table in the restaurant was taken and it took about 30 minutes for our mains to arrive. It could have been a lot worse!

Our food was worth the wait and up to the normal nandos standard. Children can dine from the Nandino's menu which includes a main (you can add mild marinades), 2 sides (corn on cob a firm favourite) and either a chilly billy lolly or unlimited frozen yoghurt for £5.25. You can add cordial for £1.50 or organic milk for £1.

We were very well looked after during our visit. What really sets nandos apart for me is how the staff seem to generally care that you are happy and having a nice time.

Nando's Silverlink is sure to be very popular with locals, especially as they offer a takeaway service - I know where I'll be heading after work on a Saturday night now! They also offer 20% emergency service discount, armed forces discount and a very popular loyalty scheme where you can exchange chilli points for free food! 

Disclaimer:- we were invited to enjoy a complimentary meal during a pre-opening evening. We were not asked to write this blog post in return. All views are my own.

© North East Family Fun | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig