10+ of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby

I love going out for walks with the family. It's always nice to get some fresh air into your lungs, it's good for your health and walking provides the opportunity to chat with each other and re-connect with the great outdoors.

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby



Sometimes the rest of my family does need a little persuading though, and the promise of a hot chocolate in a cafe and a play park will normally do it. Today I am sharing my 10 favourite walks to take with the family that all have a cafe and a play area nearby. Be sure to share your favourites in the comments too.

1 - Rising Sun Country Park 

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby - Rising Sun Country Park

The Rising Sun Country Park is probably the walk we take the most. It has featured on my blog 4-5 times over the years and I love it as it's so diverse. There are various walking routes to follow which are clearly signposted. You can choose to walk in the woods, visit a community farm, walk around a pond and look through bird hides or even climb up a huge pit heap. Parking is free and there's a lovely cafe at the visitor centre with beautiful views. There is a natural woodland play park is next to the cafe and a smaller area for toddlers too. Read more about Rising Sun Country Park in my blog post review here. 

2 - Plessey Woods

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby - Plessey Woods

Plessey Woods is just up the road from us and I'm guilty of not visiting often enough. There's a special art trail running through the woodland which my kids love - look out for the trolls, swamp and fairy doors. The walk can be hilly in parts and does get muddy in the wet weather but don't let that put you off. You can choose to walk along the river, across meadows and through woodland. There's a play park and visitor centre/cafe at the entrance near the car park. Read more about Plessey Woods in my blog post review here.


3 - Kielder Forest 

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby - Kielder Forest

Kielder Water is a bit of a drive (I think it's 17 miles from the nearest town) but it's somewhere that is most definitely worth it. During our last trip, we didn't spot another person in the forest and it felt as if we had the place to ourselves. Kielder is a place you can truly escape (especially as there's no phone signal). The free Highway Rat Trail is great fun for the family and there are a couple of little play parks spread about the site (as well as a Minotaur maze). The main Visitor Centre near the car park serves drinks and snacks too. Read more about Kielder Forest in my blog post review here. 

4 - Carlisle Park, Morpeth  

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby - Carlisle Park Morpeth

Carlisle Park in Morpeth is probably best known for its fantastic play areas and giant outdoor paddling pool but it's actually a lovely spot for a family walk too. There are formal gardens with aviaries or you can walk along the river or through the woods too. There's no cafe on-site (although there are usually food vans in the park) but it's a 2-minute walk into Morpeth town centre where you'll be spoilt for choice for places to grab a drink or a bite to eat. We really like the Corbridge Larder or Cafe Des Amis.

5 - Druridge Bay Country Park 

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby - Druridge Bay Country park

A brand new play park has just opened at Druridge Bay Country Park and it looks fab! The walk around Ladyburn Lake is perfect for toddlers (just over a mile in length) and the cafe in the visitor centre serves lovely hot chocolates. The beach is at the end of the walk too (and in my opinion, it's one of the best in Northumberland). Read more about Druridge Bay Country Park in my blog post review here. 


6 - Derwent Waterside Park

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby - Derwent Waterside Park

We visited Derwent Reservoir for the first time this summer (in the pouring rain) and were really impressed. There's a lovely adventure play area with lots to keep kids of all ages occupied, a football pitch and small visitor centre with cafe where you can also pick up a free trail to complete around the reservoir. It's such a fab day out for families. Read more about Derwent Reservoir in my blog post review here. 


7 - Thornley Woodlands 

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby - Thornley Woodlands

Thornley Woodlands Centre is just down the road from Gibside but should not be overlooked by it's bigger sister. The visitor centre and cafe is fab for kids with toys to play, fact sheets to read and crafts to enjoy. There is a variety of woodland walks to enjoy - we like the sculpture trail but there are longer walks available too. There isn't a formal play area here but there are natural play environments around the walk and toys inside of the visitor centre. Read more about Thornley Woodland Centre in my blog post review here.

8 - South Beach Blyth to Seaton Sluice 

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby - South Beach Blyth

If you're looking for a coastal walk that's perfect for kids, Blyth Beach to Seaton Sluice and back is ideal. There's not one but three play parks to choose from (two at Blyth Beach and one at Seaton Sluice) and you can enjoy a nice drink and ice cream at Cicarrellis Ice Cream Parlour at Blyth Beach. Read more about South Beach Blyth in my blog post review here. 
  • Postcode: NE24 3PL (free parking) 

9 - Jesmond Dene 

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby - Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene has always been a favourite amongst families looking for a walk and it's another place that has the best of everything. As well as a visitor centre and cafe, there's also Pets Corner (which is free to visit) a nice little play area, plenty of green space and picnic tables plus woodland walks to enjoy. There's also a Thomas Train during peak times. Read more about Jesmond Dene in my blog post review here. 


10 - Hamsterley Forest 

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby - Hamsterley Forest

Hamsterley Forest in Durham is home to fabulous woodland walks with natural adventure play equipment throughout the trail and a big adventure play area on-site too. There's also a free Highway Rat Trail to enjoy and a cafe at the visitor centre near the car park. Read more about Hamsterley Forest in my blog post review here. 

11 - Consett Heritage Trail 

Credit - DY Family Photography / Cafe at Inn at the Park


Credit : Cafe at Inn on the Park



Consett Heritage Trail is a 6km route (you can walk the full length which should take around 3 hours or just part of the route). The trail begins just a short walk from Allensford Car Park (follow the heritage trail signs) and walks along the River Derwent can be enjoyed. 

Allensford is home to Cafe at Inn on the Park which is a gorgeous little cafe serving a wide range of delicious food, Kelly's milkshakes, desserts and treats to sit in (outdoor tables available) or takeaway including picnics and afternoon tea. The cafe overlooks Allensford Play Park where picnic benches are also available. 



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Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area. leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed since this post was published. 
 








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10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play area nearby



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3 comments

  1. Such a useful post for Autumn, thank you! Being married to Simon is a little bit like having kids, he's also very reluctant to go out walking unless there's cake or hot chocolate involved! Definitely stashing this up for future reference!

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  2. Some good walks on that list, one or two I've never visited yet, thanks for the info and if I had to add one more it would be Cragside but lots of National trusts around

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