The Ultimate Bucket List for Children in Northumberland

We are super lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. Northumberland will always be home to us. It occurred to me that there is just so much to do in our region and I thought it might be nice to put a list together featuring activities in Northumberland that we think North East children should enjoy as they grow up. Let me know in the comments how many your family has ticked from our list and if there's anything you fancy trying next.

The Ultimate Northumberland Bucket List for Children - what to do in Northumberland with kids

1 - Join Roman Soldier School on Hadrian's Wall 

English Heritage normally run Roman Soldier School across their Hadrian's Wall sites in school holidays. We've signed up a couple of times and it's always lots of fun - grown-ups can get involved too! You get to dress up, learn how to march and discover what life was like for soldiers from their perspective. Read about the time we joined Roman Soldier School here. 

2 - Fly your own broomstick at Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle is where Harry Potter himself learned how to fly a broomstick and you can follow in his footsteps and take your very own lesson (most weekends and school holidays - included with admission). Lessons are fun and suitable for the whole family. Don't forget your camera! Read about our attempt at Broomstick Flying here. 

3 - Bottle feed a lamb at Whitehouse Farm

I don't actually have a picture of us bottle-feeding the lambs at Whitehouse Farm as it's quite tricky to catch the right shot with lots of kids around but visiting Whitehouse Farm is a little bit of a ritual we have every spring. We have been visiting for over 12 years now and it still remains as one of our favourite North East attractions. Read about our trip to Whitehouse Farm for Heidi's birthday last year here. 

4 - Barter old books for new at Barter Books

Barter Books is a quirky second-hand bookshop in Alnwick with roaring fires, walls lined with thousands of books and even it's own train set running around the top of the bookcases. Set in Alnwick's old station, you can trade old books for new and it's such a lovely place to spend an hour or so. You can read about our last trip to Barter Books here. 

5 - Stargaze into a truly dark sky at Kielder

Kielder is home to Europe's largest area of certified dark skies and it's the best place in England to experience a truly dark sky. We stayed at Kielder back in 2015 and were honestly blown away by just how dark it was and how many stars there were in the sky. You could hold your hand out in front of you and not even see it! That first time we experienced dark skies like this is something I'll never forget. You can read about our stay at The Calvert Trust in Kielder here. 

6 - Get stranded on Holy Island

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is cut off from the mainland twice every day and being stranded on the island is a quiet and magical experience that everyone in Northumberland must try at least once. A trip to Lindisfarne Castle and Priory is an absolute must and if you're lucky, you'll spot some seals basking in the sunshine too.

7 - Enjoy an ice cream fresh from the farm at Wheelbirks Ice Cream Parlour

Wheelbirks Ice Cream Parlour is such a cute spot in Northumberland. You can meet the dairy cows, play in the lovely children's area, say hi to some chickens, play in the play barn and of course enjoy some fantastic ice cream which is made in an array of flavours. You can read all about Sprog on the Tyne's visit to Wheelbirks here. 

8 - Play in the fountains at Alnwick Garden

Is it even summer if you don't visit Alnwick Garden and let the kids splash around in the water features? It is always so much fun and this feature pictured above is a real favourite of ours. Read all about the water fun you can have at Alnwick Garden here. 

9 - Experience life as a miner at Woodhorn

Mining is a huge part of Northumberland's Heritage and at Woodhorn you get the chance to experience what life was like as a miner. My three love walking through the mocked-up mine and walking amongst the mining banners and learning about life was like. Woodhorn is one of those places where history really is brought to life. Read about Woodhorn's new annual pass here. 

10 - Spend the afternoon building an epic den at Wallington

Wallington is a National Trust property with its very own den building zone. Children (and their grown-ups) can work together to build the ultimate place to hide. It's great for their self-confidence and sense of achievement too. Read all about our afternoon den-building at Wallington Hall here. 

11 - Go strawberry picking at Brockbushes 

Something I will always remember from my own childhood is fruit picking and I love that we get to do this with our own children at Brockbushes. You can pick your own strawberries and more here and it's something H,H and J always look forward to doing. It's a good way to encourage them to eat new fruits too.

12 - Spot seals and puffins at the Farne Islands 

Catching a boat from Seahouses (we recommend Serenity) and setting sail to the Farne Islands is an unforgettable experience. If you time your trip right, you'll get to see an abundance of seals and puffins who will swim right up to your boat. The excitement you feel in the boat as you all spot your first seals should be bottled up and sold as nothing beats it! Read about our seal-spotting trip to the Farnes here. 

13 - Get lost in the Labyrinth at Cragside

Entering the Labyrinth at Cragside is only for real adventurers. There are twists and turns aplenty and before you know it, you really are lost! It's all good fun though and if you're lucky you'll stumble upon this magical music box at the centre. Read all about our experience in the Labyrinth here. 

14 - Order an indulgent milkshake at the Doddington Milk Bar 

The Doddington Milk Bar is such a fun place for kids to visit. You'll find it just as you cross the bridge into Wooler. This 1950s diner serves epic shakes and ice creams which have to be tasted to be believed! Don't forget to say hello to Doddington the cow outside. Read about our trip to the Doddington Milk Bar here.

15 - Play Kings and Queens at Bamburgh Castle 

Bamburgh Castle is the perfect place to let your imagination run wild. From the grand state rooms to the canons pointing out to sea and castle walls and grounds that were built for sword-fighting, it's definitely a castle not to be missed. Read about our trip to Bamburgh Castle back in 2014 here. We are planning a re-visit this spring so keep your eyes peeled for that.....

16 - Walk with Wallabies at Northumberland Zoo

Who knew you could walk with Wallabies right here in Northumberland? I had no idea until a few months ago. It's included with your admission at Northumberland Country Zoo and we were lucky to see some little Wallaby babies wriggle around in their mam's pouch! So cute! Read about our day at Northumberland Country Zoo here.

17 - Walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle 

The walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle and back is 4 miles and mostly flat so perfect for school-aged children. The walk takes you along the Northumberland coast and we've been lucky enough to spot both seals and dolphins in this area before. There are coves to explore, sheep to dodge and lots of wildlife to admire - definitely a walk for your bucket list! Read all about our walk to Dunstanburgh Castle here. 

18 - Watch a Knight's Tournament at Belsay Hall

A Knight's Tournament takes place in front of Belsay Castle each summer and it's an event that should definitely be on your calendar. With lots of live action from Knights and horses, re-enactments, a Medieval village and it's very own jester, the tournament is lots of fun for the whole family. Read about our experience watching A Knight's Tournament here.

19 - Sample Children's Afternoon Tea at The Running Fox

It's a well-known fact that The Running Fox bakery sells the best cakes in Northumberland. Children can enjoy their very own afternoon tea here and it really is the best treat. Go with empty tummies though as the portions are very generous. Read about our

20 - Listen to Gruesome Medieval Stories at Warkworth Castle 

Warkworth Castle run special events throughout the summer holidays where you can listen to gruesome tales from medieval surgeons and dentists. It's really like Horrible Histories being brought to life! I can still remember the tales we listened to three years ago and I remember that H, H and J were captivated. Read more about our trip to Warkworth Castle here. 

21 - Walk with Lorikeets at Kirkley Hall Zoo

Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens now has it's very own Lorikeet enclosure where you can walk through and feed the Lorikeets yourself. We have yet to visit this new addition but have fed Lorikeets in Florida (pictured) and at Longleat and can confirm it's lots of fun!

22 - Watch a real excavation at Vindolanda 

Visiting Vindolanda is a chance to watch real excavation of a Roman site as it happens! This Roman Fort is vast and I love that you can watch history being uncovered before your very eyes. Read about our trip to Vindolanda here.

23 - Visit one of the world's biggest treehouses

Did you know that the Treehouse at Alnwick Garden is one of the biggest in the world? Children will love running across the rope bridges and dining amongst the trees by fairy light inside the magical treehouse restaurant.

24 - Join a Secret Forest School at Plessey Woods 

Footprints on the Moon run a secret forest school in the heart of Plessey Woods where children can make their own bread, craft using real tools, play in a mud kitchen, build and cook on a real fire and learn lots of new skills with friends. Getting their hands dirty is always something my three will enjoy and this is an activity that is not only fun, but useful too. Read about our afternoon spent at Forest School here.

How many have you ticked off our list? Which one are you going to try next? 

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  1. Wow reading through this really does make you realise how very lucky we are to live here! So many amazing things to do, how could anyone ever claim to be bored! There's plenty we haven't done yet!

  2. This seems like a very good Northumberland list and we have spend many years great years doing all the things you have listed. I suppose you have sort of covered it about the normal annual medievel event at Walkworth (no 20) but playing hide and seak in the keep (no better place in the world for a game of hide and seak in my opinion) followed by a lovely walk along the river and boat ride over to the hermitage (all free for EH members) is for me a must for all children and if combined with this EH special event then a perfect day out!

  3. There is a new family digital art trail exploring Stamfordham Village - free to anyone - and great for some fun and fresh air. You can download the trail at

  4. I love this list, especially the way you've taken the cool things from each place that kids would really love, like the fountain at Alnwick Gardens. We've done everything except Kirkley Hall and the forest school, though we've done a couple of others up here.

  5. Brilliant :-) We've still several of these to look forward to.

    We are also working through the National Trust free downloadable leaflet "50 things to do before you're 11 3/4" (which are perfectly relevant for teens and grown ups too)

  6. Great post. Maybe I should pinch this idea for a Bristol one 😂


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