What's On in the North East for Children & Families | 2 & 3 September 2017

I'm really sad that the summer holidays are over :-( They seem to have passed in a flash! I'll definitely be making the most of our weekend and I'm hopeful for a trip out somewhere - I just don't know where yet! Below are a few ideas for the first weekend of September. If you'd like my weekly what's on guide delivered directly to your inbox completely free of charge, you can sign up here.

2 Sept | Flim in the Park - Mary Poppins | Queen's Hall Arts, Hexham - FREE EVENT

Watch Mary Poppins in the Abbey grounds. Pack a picnic and blanket. The film starts at 8pm. Free entry and all welcome. Find out more here

2 - 3 Sept | Wolsingham Show | Scotch Isle Park

Expect camel racing, strong man contests, birds of prey, tractor rides, artisan stalls and more at this popular country show. Find out more here

3 Sept | Bounce Blyth Litter Pick | Bounce Blyth - FREE EVENT

Meet at Bounce at 1pm and walk along the river bank where you'll volunteer to pick up rubbish. Children should be supervised and gloves are recommended. You'll be rewarded with a free play back at Bounce afterwards. Find out more here

3 Sept | Sunday film club - The Neverending Story & Flash Gordon | Whitley Bay Playhouse

These films are being shown as part of Whitley Bay film fest. You can purchase a 'double matinee' ticket for just £7.50 Find out more here

3 Sept | Wild Parks - Explore Birds & Bugs | Rising Sun Country Park - FREE EVENT

Drop in between 11 - 4 and join in with bird spotting, mini beast hunting and more. Find out more here

3 Sept | Fish & Chips Cruise | Shields Ferry

Enjoy fish and chips straight from the box as you enjoy a 2 hour cruise along the Tyne with commentary. Tickets are priced at just £10 each. Find out more here


How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)

During our trip to Swansea Bay last month I was looking for somewhere to stop off en-route. I am really not a fan of service stations and don't think a clinical and crowded environment and fast food is the best way to break up a journey. We tend to stop at a National Trust place and make use of our membership during road trips but when Penny from Parentshaped mentioned Wollaton Hall in Nottingham, I knew it was going to be the best place for us to stretch our legs. 

Wollaton Hall in Nottingham is where key scenes from The Dark Knight Rises were filmed and the hall is just 5 miles North of Gotham where Gotham City got it's name. I'd say it's must visit for any Batman fans!

The surrounding park is free to enter and it costs around £4 to park all day which is fantastic considering it's location and the facilities on offer. We parked the car and spent around 2 hours exploring the grounds. The hall is normally free to enter but unfortunately, during our visit there was a special Dinosaurs of China exhibition taking place which you had to pay for. If this had been a normal day out I would have paid but as it was just a stop off to stretch out legs, we decided to give it a miss. Trips from a Tot have visited the exhibition if you fancy reading their review here.

Wollaton Park | Play area

Wollaton Park is home to a lovely outdoor play area that is free to visit. It's right by the car park too. You can easily spend a full morning or afternoon in this area alone if you pack a picnic as there's lots to keep the kids entertained. H&H loved the zip wire. apologies for the grey photos - we visited on a very overcast day. 

Wollaton Park | Wayne Manor

Wollaton Hall is instantly recognisable from The Dark Knight Rises and we were all excited to see it in real life. The walk up to the manor from the park kind of builds the anticipation and once you're up close the detail does not disappoint. 

You can walk right around the building and we found a well around the back which we're pretty sure must be a secret entrance to the bat cave.

Wollaton Park | Deer Park & Gardens

Walking beyond the hall there are gorgeous manicured gardens and woodland for you to have a stroll through. There are seats dotted about and it's really a lovely place for a walk - I still can't believe it's free! 

There's also an orangery with an indoor seating area where families were tucking into a packed lunch under cover.

We ended our stroll around the other side of the hall where there was a courtyard that was very similar to a National Trust tea room and cafe. It looked like a nice place to stop for tea and cake or lunch. There are plenty of loos here and a small shop selling plants/local produce ect.... too. 

If you're travelling South (or North for that matter) Wollaton Hall is just a small detour from the M1 near Nottingham. It's around a 3 hour drive from Newcastle so an ideal spot to break up a longer journey. Check out our YouTube video from our visit below:


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How to visit the REAL Wayne Manor (aka Batman's House)


Newcastle Upon Tyne to South Wales | A Seven Day Itinerary & Ideas

At the beginning of the summer holidays, we planned a 7 day holiday to South Wales. Part of our trip was funded by Visit Swansea Bay, we were gifted tickets to the Doctor Who Experience and we paid for around half of the trip ourselves.

I adore Wales and really would recommend that everyone takes their children at some point. It is a long drive though and if you're travelling from North East England I would recommend planning a trip of at least 7 days. Your SatNav may trick you into thinking you can drive there within 7 hours but by the time you consider traffic and stops, it seems to take closer to 9 hours. We have actually driven home from Cardiff all in one go when the children were smaller. It is do-able but I would recommend booking a stop-off if you can as it definitely breaks the journey up. Here's how we organised our trip:

Day One - Travelling to Nottingham

We left North East England on Sunday at around 3pm. We travelled for around 3.5 hours to our first destination - Nottingham Castle Marina Premier Inn. I picked this hotel as it had free parking, was fairly close to the motorway, was within walking distance of a couple of restaurants, had a pub attached and was across the road from a large supermarket and petrol station. The hotel was super convenient for a stop-off and I'd certainly recommend. The only downside is that our rooms were fairly hot and we couldn't open our windows as we were facing a busy road so it was fairly noisy. Check out our video from Day One below:

Day Two - Wollaton Park and checking into The King's Head Pub, Gower

We started our day with a Premier Inn breakfast in the Beefeater pub next door. This was our favourite Premier Inn breakfast from the trip and the staff were so lovely. Two kids eat free per paying adult so it cost us £18 for the 5 of us. This included unlimited cooked items, pastries, cereal, fruit, juices and costa coffee. The staff asked if we wanted to take any croissants or pastries away with us as they were tidying up which was a thoughtful touch. After we'd filled our boots we headed to Wollaton Park and Hall which was around a 15 minute drive from the hotel. Parking cost £4 for the day and entry was free. This really is a fab place to stretch your legs. There's a deer park, play area for kids, cafe, beautiful walks and more. I'd definitely recommend as a stop off. You can see more in day two's video here: 

We left Wollaton Hall at around 1:30pm and continued our journey to South Wales and the King's Head pub in Gower where we were staying. We were amazed to spot wild horses on the roads as we approached our destination! We received a super warm welcome at The King's Head and were very happy with out family room. The sun was shining so we enjoyed an al fresco meal in the pub's beer garden before heading up to bed for the evening.

Day Three - The Gower Heritage Centre, Rhossili Beach & The King Arthur Pub

We started our day with a trip to The Gower Heritage Centre. This place is so sweet and we enjoyed a duck race, meeting the farm animals (the chickens are hilarious) and the kids really loved the bouncy castles and park. The centre is also home to Wales' smallest cinema where we managed to catch a random episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants. Don't visit here expecting an all singing, all dancing attraction but do expect lots of traditional family fun. You can see more in day three's video below:

The sun was shining in the afternoon and one of Swansea Bay's stunning beaches was calling our name! We decided to visit Rhossili Bay which is award winning and I can definitely see why. It's stunning! It's a LONG walk down but worth it. The beach seems never ending and it's home to a ship wreck too! There are loos, a shop, an ice cream van and a couple of pubs at the top of the cliff and you could easily spend a day here. The beach is dog-friendly too.

After our climb up to the top, we were ready for a hearty dinner so headed to The King Arthur Pub which did not disappoint. I recommend their local lamb dishes. 

Day Four - Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles and Welcome to Town

We woke up to rain on day four but decided not to cancel our plans and we visited the gorgeous coastal town of Mumbles. Mumbles is home to lots of boutiques and independent retailers and the people here are all so lovely. The bay would be perfect for rock pooling if the weather was right. We spend around 90 minutes exploring Oystermouth Castle which overlooks the town. It's inexpensive to enter and the views from the castle turretts alone are worth paying for. We mooched around the town and then enjoyed probably our best meal of the trip at Bistrot Pierre overlooking the bay. The food here is superb and they are great with kids too. You can see more in day four's video below:

We had planned to take a walk along the coast but poor Jack was still suffering from an unfortunate case of food poisoning. He'd be fine one minute but then really poorly the next. He really wanted an afternoon of chilling out so we raided the charity shops in Mumbles and bought a few games to take back to the King's Head with us. We spent a lovely afternoon playing board games before ending our day with an evening meal at Welcome to Town which is a quirky pub serving honest food. Their pizzas and ribs were SO filling! 

Day Five - Soft Play, Water Parks, Wales' Tallest Restaurant & Cardiff Bay Travelodge

This was the morning that the kids were looking forward to the most - the LC in Swansea. The LC is a large leisure centre with a water park, climbing wall, soft play, surf simulator and more. Jack had not been sick for 48 hours but I didn't think swimming would be the best idea so he enjoyed soft play while Steve took the older two swimming. They honestly had a blast and loved it. If you're staying in South Wales, definitely check the LC out. The run some fab offers too. After an action packed morning we walked along the harbour to Grape & Olive which is Wales' tallest restaurant. There was a real sense of excitement as we travelled in the lift to floor 27. The views from this restaurant are stunning and their lunch menu offers superb value. We visited during graduation week though and everyone else was dressed to the nines and we looked like we'd just been dragged through a hedge backwards after a morning of soft play and swimming and did feel out of place. Check out the views in our video from Day Five below:

It was time to say goodbye to Swansea Bay and I was surprised when our SatNav said it was going to take an hour to get to Cardiff. I thought they were closer than this! Perhaps it was the traffic though. We had booked Cardiff City South Premier Inn. Again because rooms were cheap, there is free car parking and there's a pub on site. It's also just a short walk or drive to Cardiff Bay attractions. That evening we headed to The Red Dragon Centre which was around a 3 minute drive from the hotel. Parking is free if you validate your ticket with a purchase from the centre. We booked tickets to watch Spiderman Homecoming and I was so shocked at how cheap they were - £22.50 for the 5 of us on a Thursday evening! What a deal! We enjoyed a drink in one of the eateries on-site and enjoyed a good night's sleep at our hotel that evening. 

Day Six - The Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff Bay & City Centre

We decided on another Premier Inn breakfast (they are far too convenient) before heading to The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay. We managed to grab an on-street parking spot right by the experience for £5 for the whole day. The Doctor Who Experience is sooooo good and must-visit for any Whovians out there. It does close in September though so you need to be quick if you'd like to visit. You can see more from inside (and our day) with our video from day six below: 

After the Doctor Who Experience, we walked along the bay which is a nice little walk with lots to see and do. There are loads of activities for families in the surrounding area to enjoy including your chance to Escape Reality in Cardiff, take a Dr Who walking tour or perhaps take a boat trip around the bay. We enjoyed time at the Roald Dahl Plaza where kids can enjoy the free city beach or a few fairground rides and stopped at a nearby pub for a drink before deciding what to do next.

We'd never actually visited Cardiff City Centre before so decided to walk the mile and a half to the city centre from Cardiff Bay. I have to say I was really impressed with Cardiff. We spent some time shopping and I will definitely return for another shopping trip. The kids were entertained by street performers and street art and there were lots of restaurants to try too. After an afternoon walking around the city, the kids were moaning that they were too tired to walk back so we decided to catch a bus. I was a little shocked at the price - £5.50 for us to travel 1.5 miles. To make matters worse, the driver claimed he had no change and we only had £10 so yep we ended up paying £10 to travel less than 2 miles. It would have been cheaper in a taxi I'm sure. The things you do for your kids eh!

We left Cardiff late afternoon and travelled to our final destination - Travelodge Leicester Markfield. Steve had specified a hotel that was right by the motorway which this one was. It also offered free parking. This was the cheapest of all of our accommodation and probably offered the nicest rooms if I'm honest. The staff were lovely and there were nice touches such as complimentary water at reception. I normally hate service stations but Steve and Harry were craving KFC so we ended up stopping at Hopwood Park Services just off the M42 for dinner. It was manic at 6pm on a Friday night but as far as service stations go, it was one of the better ones we've been to. The kids' meals from Harry Ramsden's were lovely and there's a play area too. Plus a KFC for Steve and Harry! We stocked up on treats from Waitrose and a bought croissants and juice for the next morning too. 

Day Seven - Our Journey Home

I didn't vlog our journey home as there wasn't much to see. One thing I love about staying in Premier Inns and Travelodges is that you don't need to check out until 12noon so we enjoyed a well-earned lie in before leaving for home. The journey between Leicester and Newcastle took around 3.5 hours and we were home mid-afternoon. When I was originally planning our itinerary, I did think about planning something on the Saturday too - maybe the Space Centre or the Media Museum near Bradford. Both are on my list! I'm really pleased I didn't though as by this point we were exhausted after a full-on week and more than ready for home. 

Phew! What a week! We really enjoyed our time exploring South Wales. There is honestly so much to do and see. I really hope I've inspired you to visit. If you've enjoyed our videos, please subscribe to our YouTube channel here. 

Virgin Atlantic Long Haul Flight - Manchester to Orlando 2017 | A Review

We travelled to Orlando International Airport from Manchester Airport in August 2017. Our party was made up of 2 adults and 3 children and we travelled in Economy with Virgin Atlantic. I always love reading flight reviews (see here for my review of Thomas Cook long haul) and thought it might be interesting to share our experience with you.  In terms of disclosure - our flights were paid for by another brand as part of a press trip to Florida but we were not asked to write this review.

Travelling to Manchester

Our flight was set to leave Manchester at 9:45am on Friday morning and we had to get there from Newcastle. Steve was working until 5:30pm on Thursday. I knew I wanted to stay overnight in Manchester on Thursday night before our flight as I'm always paranoid about delays. I did consider driving but I was worried how tired Steve would be on our return (night) flight so in the end we opted for the train. This worked really well for us as I ordered a taxi to take myself and the kids to Newcastle train station and Steve caught the bus from work and met us there. We stocked up on a train picnic from M&S and enjoyed this en-route. I found it so less stressful to travel by train! We have a friends and family railcard and I booked an open return for around £100 for the 5 of us.

We arrived in Manchester at around 9:30pm. Finding a hotel that sleeps 5 is tricky at the best of times, even more so at the airport! I'd normally stay in the Blu Radisson but they only offer rooms for 2 (well that's all they'd let me book) - if you're a couple, I'd definitely recommend. Another option would be Sky Park Secure which we enjoyed during our trip to Cuba. Again though, there were no suitable hotels and it didn't seem worth it as we did not require parking. We ended up booking 2 rooms for £49 each at the Premier Inn Picadilly. It is a couple of minutes walk from Manchester Picadilly Station and very convenient. I'd definitely recommend if you're looking for a cheap overnight stay pre-flight. The trains from Manchester Picadilly to the airport are regular and take around 10-15 minutes direct. We were up nice and early and caught the 6:55am train to the airport. It's an easy walk to Terminal 2 where we checked in no problem. I checked in online with Virgin 24 hours before our flight and our seats were automatically allocated together at no additional cost.

Manchester Airport Facilities

I did toy with booking a VIP lounge as we loved it last time but when it boiled down to it I wasn't prepared to pay for the kids when they wouldn't really benefit from it as wouldn't be drinking alcohol. So we skipped this. We bought breakfast from the first cafe in the departure lounge (the name escapes me) which was fairly cheap and with very friendly service. We then hit duty-free and tried a few perfumes. I bought Urban Decay Up All Night and a Molton Brown travel shower gel gift set. The kids bought a few overpriced snacks from WH Smith and then we found a free soft play area where they played before our flight was called.

In flight entertainment

As the kids boarded at Manchester they were handed a free back pack with an eye mask, magazine and flight socks which was quirky. We LOVED Vera which is installed in your individual TVs. You can set this to kid-only mode if you're worried about what your children are watching. Film-wise, there's loads of choice. Between us we watched The Founder (recommended), Lion, Sing, Beauty and the Beast, Boss Baby, Assasins Creed, Rogue One, Power Rangers, Guardian's of the Galaxy 2, Fantastic Beasts and more......There are TV shows and music channels too. I listened to the Game of Thrones soundtrack on the night flight back and it sent me to sleep!

You are provided with free headphones on your seat to use but I found these to be low quality and was pleased I had taken my own. Steve and Harry were sat in front of us and we loved using the group chat facility on Vera, you just invite a seat to join the conversation and chat away. The kids found this very amusing. Kind of like What's App in the sky. There are plenty of games too and I rediscovered my addiction to Bejeweled Blitz! As it's Virgin's birthday, we were offered complimentary access to their basic WiFi which enabled me to send emails and what's app messages down to earth! You can upgrade to do more for around £15. We took our own iPads but didn't need them at all. All entertainment is included with the cost of your flight. Everyone has their own USB port which you are free to use to charge your device whilst it's in use. You can't leave a device plugged in if it's not in use though (due to the risk of overheating). It wasn't very powerful and I would recommend taking a power pack with you if you think you're going to run low on battery.

The leg room was adequate. The seat in front of me had their seat reclined for the full journey home and I still had plenty of room. You are also provided with a small cushion and fleece blanket and the seats have a leather-type headrest moulded into them which makes sleeping a lot more comfortable. Our return flight was over night and this is the first time I've slept on a plane at all.

In flight meals and drinks

You need to pre-book children's meals on a flight. We did not book our flights and this option had not been added for us so we all ate the same. If I was to fly again, I'd definitely reserve a kids meal for children (especially if they are fussy). You are provided with a menu at the beginning of your flight with a few options available. On our outbound flight we enjoyed a main meal plus sandwich later on and on our return it was a main meal and then continental breakfast. Kids meals are served first, then special diets and then the regular meals. There are 16 crew members on board and service seemed a lot quicker than with Thomas Cook.

The bar is included with Virgin - even in Economy! They come around with their trolley every few hours and there is plenty of choice. From beer (Tiger or Heineken) to wine and soft drinks. You won't go thirsty! They also pop round with a few snacks (pretzels and a fab ice lolly for us) between meals. The food quality was ok but in all honesty, I preferred the food provided by Thomas Cook.

On landing the queue through immigration took around 90 minutes. It was bearable. I had prepared for it to be longer if I'm honest. The staff were lovely. Our cases had already been taken off the luggage carousel and were all stored in a corner - staff directed us to where they were. We picked up our car hire from Nationale. Very easy to find with the airport signage. This was Steve's first time driving abroad - you are straight on the road! He did great though and by the end of the trip was a pro.

Orlando airport - return flight

Most of the shops at Orlando are before you check in. We changed into fresh clothes in the loo (we'd been out and about in parks since 6:30am) and bought some goodies from the Harry Potter store. Check in was quick but getting through security was VERY slow. There were several queues all merging into one and it felt like every man for himself. The sign said expected time was 11-18 minutes but it was more like an hour. We got there though! The departure lounge doesn't have many options - one restaurant, a newsagents, a Starbucks and Burger King.  I wanted to eat before our flight (as did the kids) so we joined the Burger King queue. Again, it was very long and slow moving. A very bad system where one lady was serving everyone from one tiny counter and two people were taking payments. It took around 40 minutes! I would recommend eating before the departure lounge or waiting for your flight if possible. We boarded our flight at 7:45pm and were provided with a welcome bottle of water this time.

The flight home was much the same as our flight here - lots of entertainment, plenty of complimentary drinks and food. The breakfast was actually nice and our pain au chocolat had been warmed up which was a nice touch. We landed around 30 minutes ahead of schedule and passport control/picking up our cases was super easy and quick. We boarded the next train from the airport to Newcastle (waited 20 minutes) and snoozed all of the way home.

Overall, we were very impressed with our Virgin Flight. The staff were lovely, the complimentary drinks kept flowing and the entertainment was fantastic. I would say if you are trying to decide between Virgin and Thomas Cook it would all come down to price - both long-haul options aren't bad. I think the drinks and snacks we enjoyed plus entertainment on board was probably worth around £30 per person. If the price difference between the two airlines is massively more than this, I'd be tempted to save my money and fly Thomas Cook.

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Virgin Atlantic Long Haul Flight - Manchester to Orlando 2017 | A Review

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My Top 5 Days Out in North East England | Vintage Franglais

Today marks the final of our Top 5 guest posts. I hope you've enjoyed them! It's over to Tess from Vintage Franglais....

Vintage Franglais offer an eclectic mix of items sourced from France and Britain, some in good condition, some well-loved and some needing some care and attention and a new home!  All items offered for sale are items that I would love to keep and have in my own home, some may even come from home, or have been found in boot sales, auctions or even charity shops, rescued and offered for sale.  I don’t like to upcycle items as it can be a very personal taste, the most they get is a clean and dust!  As they are items with some history, they may show signs of wear or have minor flaws, I think this adds to their interest.
Many of my items have been photographed on site in our Grade II listed outbuildings by myself, I have aimed to show them in a natural, interesting setting.  On high days and holidays (and when not raining!) I open my Vintage in the Garden from my shed at home! Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for opening information!

You will also find me in The Vintage Emporium, where you see a small selection of items also from France and check out the other items in my Etsy shop.

“My Granny had one of those!” Some Vintage highlights around The North East

Do you love having a rummage around vintage and retro shops, excited to see what you will find! How many times have you said that you knew someone who had something like that!  
When I moved to The North East I didn’t realise how many fantastic vintage, retro and antiques shops and centres there were, as well as the various fairs held in and around the North East.  I wanted to share just one or two of my particular favourites.

The Vintage Emporium, Hexham

You can’t visit Hexham without popping to The Vintage Emporium @thevintageemporiumhexham where you will find an eclectic mix of retro and vintage goodies all contained in Wardhaughs of Hexham www.wardhaughsofhexham.co.uk.  
There are about 6 dealers here ranging from Nostalgic home wares, Retro clothing and jewelry, French Vintage and retro gramophones and tweed jackets! Not forgetting a lovely little Vintage Tea Room – Beas Teas, serving all sorts of cakes on vintage china! While there, take a look at the retro radios and light fittings too! Hexham also has an Antique Centre with antiques and vintage over 3 floors! 

Vintage at The Tower, Corbridge 

From Hexham, take a leisurely drive to Corbridge –a lovely little town with a range of independent shops and a couple of antique and vintage shops too! Take a look at Vintage at the Tower @VintageAtTheTower, just along from the church.    
You can’t miss it – Gayle and Alfred who run the shop, put some tempting vintage items outside to draw you in…..just see how much they can display to great effect and Gayles fab handmade retro lamp shades too! Have a chat with Alfred; full of fabulous stories and tales about his furniture! While in Corbridge you must also visit Re (behind the garage!) and the Antique centre next door. 

McCartneys Yard, Gateshead

Down to Gateshead and you will find McCartneys Yard www.mccartneysyard.co.uk  a wonderful place to rummage for salvage, reclaimed and vintage items - you never know what are you going to leave with! I have been known to leave with anything from Belfast sink for the garden to an old wooden box!

Recycle your Furniture, Ouseburn

Over in Ouseburn you will find Recycle your Furniture under the bridge www.recycleyourfurniture.co.uk – a great selection of retro furniture to have a browse over.

Fern Avenue Antique Centre, Jesmond

Jesmond has an interesting mix of independent shops, including Fern Avenue Antiques – a centre with a variety of antiques and collectables. www.fernavenueantiquescentre.co.uk/

Thanks you so much Tess - I really enjoyed reading this post. I can't wait to pop into some of these recommended spots! 

What's On in the North East - Summer Holiday Special | 26 August - 1 September 2017

I'm still taking my blogging break (I'll be back on Monday) so this week's what's on guide is going to take a little bit of a different format. I've asked some local North East bloggers to share their ideas for where to take the little ones this week and I'm re-sharing some of the places we've visited and enjoyed this summer. If you'd like next week's guide delivered to your inbox (for free), you can sign up to my weekly newsletter here.

Fancy a trip to Wooler? Check out our guide to where to visit with kids here

Victoria from Mummy to My Little Cheeky Monkey suggests Amble Harbour Day on 27 August. Check out Victoria's Guide to creating a summer reading challenge here.

Did you see our trip to Sagedunum? You can read all about it here

Carol from Family Makes suggests checking out local English Heritage events. There's a Knight's Tournament at Belsay Hall (26 - 29 August) and Medieval Falconry at Warkworth Castle (30 - 31  August). Check out Carol's Tips for making the most of trips to the beach here.

We think South Shields is the perfect spot for a picnic. Find out why here

Angela from Creative Calligraphy recommends 'And The Cow Jumped Into The Woods' featuring North East favourites Doddington the Cow and Arbuthnot at The Customs House, South Shields. Tickets are priced from £7.50 and the show runs from 30 August - 2 September. You can check out Angela's workshops here.

George's Great British Kitchen is the kids' favourite place to eat in Eldon Square. Read our full review here

Karen from Adventures of a Monkey Footed Mummy suggests the South Tyneside Vegetable Show on 26 August. Expect everything from perfect flowers to giant pumpkins. It's also the Great North Feast in Bents Park which is FREE and features food and drink stalls, live music and a secret forest. Check out how Karen got on at a Teapot making workshop at The Customs House here. 

Did you see our guide to a summer of fun in Whitley Bay? Check it out here

Helena from Babyfoote recommends booking a place on the last Family Quest workshop at sage (26 August). You can read Helena's review here.

Discover how kids can go free at Life Science Centre - Read our review here

Nadine from Then I Became Mum suggests a trip to Durham's Oriental Museum. Check out Nadine's guide to making edible mud here.

20 FREE and discounted days out to enjoy by bus - check them out here

Julie Kirk recommends a trip to The Start Studio UK - a community art project in Middlesbrough with drop-in days and workshops. You can find out more over on Julie's blog here

There aren't many more chances to catch Kynren - Here's why you should take the kids

Debbie from My Boys Club suggests Space Week at the Great North Museum (Tues - Thurs). Another idea is a trip to Woodhorn. You can read Debbie's review of Wonderfolk at Woodhorn here.

The Comics Exhibtion at Seven Stories is lots of fun. Check out our guest review by Amanda here

Deborah from Country Heart and Home will be taking her family to see Time Machines at Palace Green Library in Durham before the exhibit ends on 3 September. Or how about visiting All The Fun Of The Fair at the Discovery Museum? It's FREE. Deborah tells us more here. 

Play + Invent Sessions at The Discovery Museum are highly recommended. Check out my review here

Lindsay from Newcastle Family Life is taking her little ones to the Chinese State Circus at the Town Moor (ends 30 August). Check out Lindsay's epic guide to 100 free days out across the North East this summer here. 

5 child-friendly places to stop for cake in Rural Gateshead - read the full post here

Nyomi will be takng a trip to South Shields Museum and enjoying their free LEGO landmarks exhibition. Famous landmarks from around South Shields have been re-created from LEGO bricks. Fancy a last minute break? Check out Nyomi's review of Flamingo Land Holiday Resort here. 

The Astley Arms in Seaton Sluice has had a makeover - there's now a play park for kids. Read my review here
Thanks to everyone who helped me to put this post together. 
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