Family Life With Tweens | Days Out | Holiday Ideas

A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park

Ingram Valley in Northumberland National Park is somewhere I have fond memories of visiting as a child. We used to visit every summer and spend the day with friends and family. I loved it. It's one of those places I've been meaning to take my own children for so long but have never got around to it. I predict it has been around 20-25 years since my last visit and decided we couldn't put it off any longer. We set off on a sunny Saturday in hope of finding this spot I remember so fondly. 

A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park




Ingram Valley - Essential Info


A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park

After a quick look at google maps, we followed the A697 North towards Wooler and turned off at the road called '68' which was signposted as Ingram. We followed this road for around 8 miles (do not turn off - stay on the road) and were amused at the sheep grazing by the side of the road without a care in the world before we arrived at this car park on the left. We pulled over as there were toilets here and I realised that this was actually the place I remember. The car park is fairly small (and free) but I think people just park on the grass if it's busy. We hit lucky as there was only one other family there on the day of our visit. Apologies that I can't be more specific with directions but you just need to follow the signs for Ingram until you see the big hill pictured on your left and the car park, toilets and river on your right. You won't go wrong. If you don't fancy this specific spot, there are a couple of other places to stop along the river en-route.

A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park  - car park

We arrived prepared with our BBQ, picnic blankets, camping chairs, buckets and fishing nets. We chose a spot just by the river bed - sheep freely roam around the area so when choosing your spot, you'll need to watch out for sheep poo. The area is dog-friendly but obviously, keep them on a lead if they're likely to run off and start chasing sheep. There were no sheep in the immediate vicinity of the river but there were plenty in the surrounding areas.



A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park  - toilets



As we were setting up, the kids ran off to climb this hill. Something I remember doing as a child myself. They were practically vertical at some points!


Catching tadpoles and plodging in the River Breamish




The river in the area we set up camp is nice and safe for children to plodge in. They had lots of fun with their nets and buckets catching tadpoles, watching the fish and generally having fun. There's a deeper part and plunge pool further along at Linhope Spout where they can swim too but we're saving that for another adventure. Make sure you take towels and a change of clothes - Jack fell in twice! I expected the kids to go in bare foot but they insisted on taking their wellies. After 20 minutes of them continously filling up with water though, they decided that mum knows best and barefoot was the way forward.

A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park  - river Breamish





A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park  - fishing net





BBQ time with C Nicholsons & Son Butchers, Whitley Bay


A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park  - disposable bbq stand

First of all, can I tell you about this nifty little gadget I picked up from Amazon (affiliate link). We love BBQs when out and about but always struggle with keeping our BBQ off the ground - the last thing we want to do is scorch the grass and leave a trace. This bag is honestly genius - one of those products that I had to buy straight away. First of all, it's an insulated cool bag for you to carry your meat and then once at your destination you detach the bag, add the grill plates and it turns into a disposable BBQ stand.

A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park  - disposable bbq stand

You also get a multi-BBQ tool (tongs, corkscrew and bottle opener) in the bag and your first disposable BBQ. The disposable BBQ that was included was a bit rubbish if I'm honest and the one we bought from Sainsburys was much better but for the cost and for how well it worked, I honestly can't recommend this product enough. When we'd finished, we just poured water over the BBQ, waited for it to completely cool and then popped it in the bin.




As we were sitting in Kith & Kin enjoying a gorgeous breakfast in Whitley Bay last week,  Nicholsons & Sons sent me a message and asked if I fancied trying out their 3 packs for £10 meat pack offer in return for our honest feedback. I thought our BBQ would be the ideal time to give them a go so popped to collect our order on Friday night. Nicholsons is a proper traditional family butcher and their Park View shop has been in Whitley Bay for over 100 years. I think the 3 for £10 deal would be perfect for a BBQ lunch for 4, but as there are 5 of us, we decided to go with 4 packs.

A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park - Nicholsons Butchers BBQ packs

The staff at Nicholsons are all super helpful and the quality of the meat really speaks for itself. They have so much on offer for BBQ season and in fact have a special BBQ brochure - email info@nicholsonsbutchers.co.uk and ask for a copy of their BBQ brochure if you'd like to see the full range on offer. We opted for 10 sausages, garlic chicken kebabs and gourmet steak burgers. For £14, this worked out a lot cheaper than buying the equivalent from a supermarket and in fact, I reckon it would be even cheaper than Aldi. 


A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park - Nicholsons Butchers BBQ packs

Harry was keen to help with the BBQ and we had a few wobbly moments where our sausages nearly ended up on the grass as he flipped them but thankfully, they all survived.





All of our food was absolutely gorgeous - we simply added bread buns and cheese slices to our butcher's bundle and were all stuffed to the brim - the burgers in particular were substantial and the kids struggled to finish after their sausage and chicken feast. Steve's favourite was the gourmet steak and cheeseburger as you really could taste the quality. For me, it had to be the chicken - the garlic flavour really came through and the chicken actually tasted of chicken and obviously hadn't been pumped full of water. The kids loved the sausages (as did the nearby dogs who almost had them off our BBQ) and we all agreed that nothing beats cooking al fresco in the sunshine. We cooked throughout the day and lunch seemed to go on for hours. Waiting for the food to cook just added to the anticipation and it felt like a real treat.


A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park - Nicholsons Butchers BBQ packs


Scatch, stone skimming and ice creams



There's no phone signal (for EE - I've heard there may be for other providers) which meant we could really kick back and properly relax without worrying about checking our notifications. After our leisurely BBQ, Steve helped the kids perfect their stone skimming skills, we had a game of scatch (whilst again, avoiding the sheep poo) and an ice cream van pulled up so we couldn't resist treating ourselves (make sure you take change - ice creams are £2 each). The sun was shining and it was so lovely just sitting, watching the world go by and having a quick chat with the occasional walker who passed us by.




Poor Jack was exhausted by the end of the day.......



We spent 4-5 hours at Ingram Valley and it was honestly one of the best days out we've had in ages. It was so chilled and relaxing and lovely to see the kids embracing the outdoors and having the kind of fun that doesn't involve playing Fortnite on X Box. It was an inexpensive day out too -  the only costs involved are your petrol and whatever you buy for lunch plus money for the ice cream van. It's never too late to start a new tradition and we've decided we're going to head back at the start of every summer from now on.

There was only one other family at Ingram Valley during our visit but I have heard that it can get busy sometimes. The family next to us brought their pop-up tent which is fine for the day but there is no camping allowed overnight. When I was younger, there used to be around 15 of us spend the day there and I think it's the perfect spot for a big family BBQ or picnic.

Essential Shopping List for a Family BBQ at Ingram Valley (affiliate links)

Are you looking for more ideas for days out across North East England? Why not join 2000 other parents in our North East Days Out Facebook group. It's FREE to join and a fab place to post your own recommendations, find inspiration or ask for ideas. You can request to join here. 


Disclosure - thanks to Nicholson's Butchers for gifting us our BBQ meat packs - we were impressed and can hand on heart recommend you give them a try. We'll be popping back for me next time we're in Whitley Bay. 

Have you ever paid Ingram Valley a visit? Also - please let me know if you know of any other parks/locations we can try for our next BBQ.


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A Family BBQ at Ingram Valley, Northumberland National Park - Nicholsons Butchers BBQ packs



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4 comments

  1. I've never heard of Ingram Valley but it looks perfect and so peaceful! It's so nice to find a picnic/BBQ spot that's not swarming with other families, it's never any fun being on top of loads of other people.

    I used to love looking for tadpoles when I was a kid, this takes me back!

    SO thankful your sausages didn't end up in the grass, what would you have told the butchers!!!

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  2. What a beautiful and relaxing spot to spend a sunny day with the kids, and I can see why it bought back so many memories for you. Love the gadget from Amazon x

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  3. I remember visiting Ingram valley as a child too as my grandparents had a caravan at nearby wooler. I had totally forgot all about this place! It looks like you had a lovely day out x

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  4. perfect picnic spot! i hadn't been here till last year when I went on a evening walk to see the stars! (guess what....it rained ha ha) looks like a great place for the kids to play around

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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