Throwback to the 80s and 90s - My childhood memories of days out in North East England

Today I'm taking a trip down memory lane and remembering some of the days out I enjoyed as a child growing up in North East England back in the 80s and 90s. Let me know if any of these were places you loved as a child too.

First school trip 

I vividly remember our first school trip in reception. I would only have been around 4/5 years old at the time. Back then we didn't even have such a thing as a school uniform. We all climbed aboard a coach and headed to Marlish farm which seemed to take an age to get to. The reason I remember this trip is because it was the first time I saw a real-life pig AND we watched a lamb being born and I was fascinated. These days, Marlish Farm isn't a farm park or place you can take the kids for a day out (at least I don't think it is) but sometimes if you're somewhere fancy you might spot Marlish Farm water for sale and I often wonder if it's the same business. Does anyone know?

I also remember visiting the Hancock Museum in Primary School and being amazed and being able to see a real mummy. I had 50p to spend in the gift shop and was able to buy a precious stone and a rubber! My three still love visiting the very same mummy. Wonder if my grandchildren will too?

Memorable school trip 

My most memorable school trip was to the Farne Islands. This trip was when we were in High School and I often wonder if it was Serenity we sailed on? We actually landed on one of the islands and spent the whole time being attacked and dive-bombed by the birds that live there. Who thought this was a good idea with a group of teenagers I will never know? Girls were screaming and hiding for cover and some of the boys had bought water pistols from the gift shop at Seahouses and decided to start shooting at the birds! Not good. Needless to say, our year group was banned from any future trips to the Farnes....... Harry has taken this trip with his class recently and I'm pleased to report he was a lot better behaved.

Family Days Out 

Family days out in the summer always revolved around a big picnic somewhere every Sunday. We were often joined by neighbours, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents and loved the freedom of spending hours in a park, running around a field or plodging in streams and catching tadpoles. Some of our favourite spots were Plankey Mill, Ingram Valley and Hexham Park. Sadly, I've only visited these places a handful of times with my own children - there seems to be a much bigger focus on commercialised days out these days which is kind of a shame I guess. I'm definitely going to re-visit some of my old childhood haunts this summer so watch this space for reviews and pictures. I hope they're as good as I remember.

Not a family day out but something I always remember as a child is our organised street bus trips. I grew up on a fairly rough council estate in Cramlington and despite it not having the best reputation, it was such a close-knit community and something I really miss about where we live now. It was the kind of place where the whole street would play rounders outside, we'd have pool parties and invite the neighbours and the highlight of our whole summer was when we'd organise a big bus trip for our whole street to visit Flamingoland (another place I've never taken my children as it's just too expensive for a family if 5 these days). Happy days!

The Teenage Years 

Moving onto the teenage years and I loved living in a time where you could travel pretty much anywhere in the North East for 50p with your teen card. It's mad to think that we didn't have mobile phones back then and we used to go all over! We'd head to Newcastle every Saturday and browse the clothes and candles at Internationale, then it was onto HMW to buy that week's latest single and finally The Body Shop before heading the Food Court for lunch. Oh how Newcastle has changed now! 

If we were feeling particularly flush or it was somebody's birthday we'd catch the bus from Newcastle to the Metrocentre and spend our days hanging around Metroland. I *really* miss this place and really wish I could have taken my own kids and explain what it was like.

Our beach of choice in the summer was always Cullercoats. Our parents would drop us off in the morning and then collect us at around 6pm. Our days were spent checking out boys from behind our sunglasses and generally just trying to act super cool. I often wonder if my own children will spend their summer like this or if times have changed now and it's not the done thing anymore????

Wet n Wild was another place we'd love to hang out (I can't ever bring myself to set foot in the place now) and we'd spend days tying to impress each other going down the Kamikaze or the 'Black Hole'. I always remember feeling super grown up sitting in the jacuzzis and thinking 'this is the life'. I can't think of anything worse now! If Wet n Wild was a little out of our budget, we'd head to Waves in Whitley Bay instead. It used to be the best local pool to us and we'd walk to the amusements after or visit Spanish City and of course buy some chips too. I don't think there was such a thing as kids meals at Fish and Chip shops back then? We always used to buy half a bag for around 40p. 

If you grew up in the North East I'd love to hear where you remember spending your childhood. Did you visit the same places I did? 

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Throwback to the 80s and 90s - My childhood memories of days out in North East England



  1. As a child I lived near Middlesbrough but we still used to visit the Metrocentre. My mother would go shopping and my dad would take my brother & I to Metroland. I loved that place. The rollercoaster was the best. hehehe

  2. I visited Marlish farm as a child too, I remember feeding the lambs bottles whilst sitting on hay bales in a barn. I never visited the Farne islands in high school, I think I went horse ridding in Otterburn for week instead. I loved Metroland! The last time I visited I think I went with a group of people from high school, so much fun! xx

  3. I AM SO JEALOUS!!!!!!! I obviously can't be sad about growing up in Norfolk because it was a beautiful area to be a kid in, but I'd love to know what the North East was like in the 80s, it makes me sad that I never got to see Metroland or the Quayside before its redevelopment!

  4. We went to Marlish Farm on a school trip too. Our favourite day out as kids was Saltwell Park with the real aeroplane parked on the field that you could play inside, the best bit was sliding down the emergency chute at the end. They had goats and rabbits back then as well as the birds they have now.

  5. I can remember visiting marlish farm to, also did a castle visit in middle school where we had to dress up and when they emptied the waste (accordingly from the toilet) you shouted something like garde low???? I remember it being cold and wet and damp……any ideas where it is?

  6. What about the Garden Festival?? I went on a school trip there and can't find anyone else who remembers it! It was a temporary event/place. I'm pretty sure I'm not making it up 🤣

    1. Yes if was Gateshead Flower Festival! My grandma took me. I always remember the big wheel x

  7. Aydon Castle


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