50+ Family Walks & Trails to try across North East England

My posts featuring family walks and trails are some of my most popular and they are the posts that are shared the most often across the year.

50+ Family Walks & Trails to try across North East England


I thought it would be handy to round them all up in one post. If you are ever looking for this post, just look for the walks and trails category in the drop-down category list at the top of this blog.



Let me know if there are any other walks or trails we should try and add to the list.



50+ Family Walks & Trails to try across North East England  - Hamsterley Forest
Hamsterley Forest





50+ Family Walks & Trails to try across North East England  - Rothbury Riverside Walk
Rothbury Riverside Walk 




50+ Family Walks & Trails to try across North East England  - Plessey Woods
Plessey Woods



50+ Family Walks & Trails to try across North East England  - Ladyburn Lake
Ladyburn Lake




50+ Family Walks & Trails to try across North East England  - Fontburn Reservoir
Fontburn Reservoir 




50+ Family Walks & Trails to try across North East England - Rising Sun Country Park
Rising Sun Country Park




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For more days out ideas, click here to join our North East Days Out Facebook Group. Feel free to share your own photos and recommendations in the group too or ask any questions about advice for days out.


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50+ Family Walks & Trails to try across North East England



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A Monthly Bucket List for North East Families

This post will share some of the best events for families taking place across North East England this year. Time to grab your diary and get planning! If there is a must-visit annual event I have missed from the list, please let me know.

A Monthly Bucket List for North East Families



Click on the blue links to learn more about each event and always double-check details with event organiser before setting off as events can change.
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Bird-friendly Reindeer Food Recipe

These recipes have been adapted from the RSPB website. They recommend NOT using glitter as it is damaging to wildlife.

Bird-friendly Reindeer Food Recipe



These snacks can be made at home using store-cupboard ingredients, are a brilliant Christmas activity to get the kids involved with and can be safely enjoyed by all of the wildlife in your garden - not just reindeer.
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Gutterball Royal Quays Review

Ad -  We were invited along to press night. Prices correct December 2019. 

As a former North Tyneside resident, Star Bowl at Royal Quays used to be a regular haunt of ours. We LOVED it when it first opened but have to say, it did go downhill over the years and right before it closed I am sure they never turned the heating on to save money as it was always freezing and put us off going!

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The Best Santa Experiences in North East England


Over the past 13 years, we have visited many, many Santas. In our house, we believe that you only meet the real Father Christmas once and you never know when that will be. All of the others are just helpers.

The Best Santa Experiences in North East England


While I do believe that we shouldn't put too much pressure on ourselves to book the best Santa or feel like we have to, it is still a question that comes up time and time again so I thought I would share my thoughts on who I think is the best.
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Christmas & Santa at Cragside Review

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Christmas & Santa at Cragside Review

We visited Cragside over my birthday weekend in December and had such a lovely day. Cragside is open daily throughout December and I honestly think a visit is going to be an annual tradition for us now.

It is one of those days out where there is something for everyone and it isn't all just about the kids. There are beautiful decorations to admire, choirs to listen to, roaring fires, beautiful winter walks to enjoy, delicious food, gifts to buy and if you are lucky, a visit to see the main man himself too. 
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The Mill House Birtley Menu & Review

Ad - We were invited along to their pre-opening launch 

The Mill House in Birtley has re-opened! Their new owners are the team behind The Woodsman's Arms which features as one of our best Sunday Lunches in the North East so we were very much looking forward to taking a peek inside.

The Mill House Birtley Menu & Review
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Watch A Christmas Carol in a Castle this Christmas

AD - We have press tickets

A Christmas Carol is perhaps my favourite Christmas tale. It never gets old and over the years we have watched it in various forms from the Muppet version on DVD to a modern interpretation at Northern Stage last year and the new Disney remake in the cinema a few years ago. 


Watch A Christmas Carol in a Castle this Christmas


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A Viking Christmas Review & Top Tips

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A Viking Christmas in Northumberland

A Viking Christmas is a brand new festive show for Northumberland showing at Queen's Hall Arts, Hexham from 13 December - 28 December 2019. Over 2500 tickets have been sold already and tickets are available from just £10.

Use code ‘NEFF10’ to access £10 tickets to any performance - click here to buy tickets
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How to Plan a Slower December



October - December is my busiest work period. It also happens to be the busiest time of year for parents and with three kids, my diary is packed out with events I need to keep track of - No Uniform Days, Movie Nights, Christmas performances, Church services, Christmas Parties, Panto Trips, Christmas Lunches, Shoebox Appeals, Early Finishes, Late Finishes, Book Fairs.......My head is spinning!

How to Plan a Slower December


Steve works 9am-7pm and as I work from home, I am naturally the default parent too so the meal planning, food shopping, pet care, cleaning, gift planning, budgeting, buying & wrapping tends to lie with me too. It is rather stressful!
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20 Christmas Eve Events for Kids in North East England


20 Christmas Eve Events for Kids in North East England

I love hearing about Christmas Eve traditions. We love to stay at home, eat loads of food and drink plenty of fizz whilst watching Christmas TV but I know lots of you like to plan a special outing so I thought I would put together a little guide to a few Christmas Eve events taking place this year. 
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Ramside Hall & Spa - Offers & Events

Disclosure - I sometimes work with Ramside Hall. This post has not been paid for. 

How to Save Money at Ramside Hall

Ramside Hall is my favourite luxury hotel in North East England. For me, it ticks all of the boxes. Two beautiful restaurants with fantastic food, luxury bedrooms, a cracking events programme throughout the year and of course, the best spa in the North East. The addition of the new luxury treehouses early next year is just going to be the icing on the cake for me.

Luxury can mean expensive though so today I am bringing you some of the best deals and ways to make your money go further when you treat yourself or a loved one. Some of the deals mentioned are only available for Black Friday so if you see something you fancy, book sooner rather than later. 


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10 Reasons to Visit Liverpool in December

Disclosure - I have recently worked with Visit Liverpool but this post has not been commissioned/paid for.


Hot on the heels of my Comprehensive Guide to visiting Liverpool's Christmas Markets (which you should read if you are looking for an in-depth guide to visiting Liverpool over Christmas), I decided to put together a shorter guide for those looking for a more concise overview of what to do in this wonderful city over the festive period.

If you like this post, also check out 10 Reasons to Visit York in December and 10 Reasons to Visit Edinburgh in December. 
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Christmas Days Out for Teens in North East England




A few people have asked for ideas for Christmas days out ideas for teens so I thought I would put a little post together. Don't forget to check out my guide to what's on for kids and guide to Christmas markets too. 
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Kielder Winter Wonderland Review & Tips


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Kielder Winter Wonderland Review & Tips

Kielder Winter Wonderland features in our Guide to What's On in North East England for Kids this Christmas and I am so pleased that we were finally able to visit this weekend. This post will feature all you need to know about Kielder Winter Wonderland. It is a pretty long post & there is lots to take in but I hope I have answered your questions and provided an idea of what to expect.
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Christmas & Santa at Whitehouse Farm - A Review

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Christmas & Santa at Whitehouse Farm - A Review

We visited Whitehouse Farm in November 2019 on a very rainy Saturday. 90% of the Christmas activities are indoors at Whitehouse Farm and their Winter Wonderland Weekends do not need to be booked in advance.  This makes them the perfect option for a spur of the moment festive day out with friends are family.

There are so many bugs going around at the moment so it is good to have Whitehouse Farm in your back pocket for those days when you wake up and know that a festive day out can be on the cards.
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Marvel Universe LIVE! Reviews & Tips

This is an advertisement feature and contains affiliate links.
Marvel Universe LIVE! Reviews & Tips

Marvel Universe LIVE! visits Newcastle Utilita Arena from 21-24 November 2019. Expect stunts, special effects, pyrotechnics, 3D effects, motorcycles & live action from Guardians of the Galaxy and 20 Marvel Super Heroes and Villains.

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FREE Entry to Seaton Delaval Hall, Cragside and Wallington


In celebration of the National Lottery turning 25 this year, holders of a National Lottery Ticket/Scratch Card/Proof of Play (from any date) can enjoy FREE entry to selected National Trust properties on selected dates this Winter.





I LOVE strolling around National Trust grounds and looking at all of the beautiful houses in the build-up to Christmas and think this is an opportunity not to be missed! National Trust sites are the perfect spot for a Magical Winter Walk. 

The National Lottery has provided millions of pounds worth of support to National Trust properties across North East England and this is their way to say thank you.
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A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights

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When National Express asked us to pick a Northern Christmas Market to visit and write about, I immediately knew it had to be Liverpool. We visited the city last October Half Term and have been itching to return ever since. Christmas seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore more of the city.




I feel like a lot of people from North East England visit Edinburgh, York or Manchester Christmas Markets and really hope this post inspires a few of you to give Liverpool a try - we really had the best weekend.


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13 Reasons Why Ramside Spa is the Best Spa in North East England

Disclosure: I have visited Ramside Spa a few times this year - a mix of press visits & visits I have paid for myself. Some photos in this post are c/o Ramside Spa.

13 Reasons Why Ramside Spa is the Best North East Spa


It was love at first sight for me and Ramside Hall. I have visited a few times this year and can confidently say, it is my favourite North East Spa. I love it so much that I am thinking about treating myself to a 3-month membership from Jan-March when I am not so busy work-wise. The only thing that is putting me off is the pesky traffic on the A1 during rush hour.
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10 Magical Winter Walks for Children in North East England

Disclosure - This post features affiliate links

10 Magical Winter Walks for Children in North East England

Do not let the cold weather put you off, winter is a wonderful time of year to wrap up and take a stroll with the family. In North East England we have plenty of magical Winter walks to choose from including:
  1. Kielder Forest 
  2. Low Newton
  3. Tynemouth to Cullercoats 
  4. Cragside 
  5. Wallington Hall
  6. Bolam Lake
  7. Belsay Hall 
  8. Hamsterley Forest 
  9. RSPB Saltholme 
  10. Snowman Trail in Middlesbrough  
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School Holiday Short Breaks at Potters Resort - A Review

AD - Post features a press trip from October 2019 


We all know that we love our short breaks. Nothing beats quality time away with the family and short breaks with the kids are something I prioritise. I am a definite believer in experience and memories over material objects.

Potters Resort Review


The problem is, with three older kids, holidays are an expensive business. The amount of spending money we can sometimes go through on food and activities is ridiculous (I will never forget the time we spent £130 on one activity at Center Parcs).
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Villa Pia Review - An alternative all-inclusive holiday in Italy

Ad - This post features a press trip from October 2019


Snuggled in the library on a rainy October morning with my slippers on, warm and cozy by the fire which had been going all day. I had a glass of red wine in hand, was just about to finish the final chapter of my book and was looking out through the shutters at the rolling Italian countryside outside. I could hear the kids in the kitchen next door tucking into a slice of homemade cake which the cook had just brought through for our afternoon snack and I remember thinking that this is the most relaxed I have ever felt on holiday. 

Scroll to the bottom of this post to check out prices and how to book.

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Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle - 2019 Review & Tips

It was never my intention to buy tickets to Santa on the Rooftop this year. We already have a full festive diary and lots of lovely Christmas events to attend BUT in the end, I was caught up in the frenzy of booking tickets and ended up booking tickets to take my 4-year-old nephew as I knew he would love it.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle Review


We visited Santa on the Rooftop in 2018 and had a wonderful experience so I hoped this year would be just as good.

There will be spoilers in this review!  
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10 Reasons We Love Potters Resort Family Breaks

Ad - Press Stay October 2019

Potters Resort Family Breaks are available across selected dates. Short breaks in the school holidays are priced from  £279 per adult, £179 per child aged 9-15, £169 per child aged 2-8 and £10 for under 2s. You get a lot for your money here. This price includes:
  • Full board 
  • 100s of activities for all ages
  • Evening entertainment 
  • Accommodation 
Potters Resort is in Norfolk - around a 5 hour drive from Newcastle and its right by the sea with direct beach access too. 

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Haven Berwick Upon Tweed Review


I have not been compensated to write this post, I stayed at Haven Berwick twice this Summer - one trip was part of a press trip with Visit Berwick and the other was a trip we paid for ourselves. This post contains affiliate links.

Haven Berwick Upon Tweed Review

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5 Reasons to Watch An Inspector Calls with Teens

We were provided with press tickets
An Inspector Calls is a play I remember studying in year 9. I loved it at school and it was probably my first introduction to a murder mystery type story. I was enthralled.

Fast forward 20+ years and I'd kind of forgotten the story so I couldn't wait to relive my youth. I took my theatre-loving teen Harry along for the show on opening night at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for booking links and tickets. 


10 Reasons to Watch An Inspector Calls with Teens

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The Best Days Out in County Durham for Kids

Disclosure - I have worked with some of the attractions in this post in the past. I have not been paid to write this post and retain editorial control.

The Best Days Out in County Durham for Kids


We've spent a fair bit of time visiting attractions across County Durham this year and it's fair to say that I've more than fallen in love with the region. In fact, I've been blown away by how much there is to do here.

It's impossible to include every attraction in this list and I'll update this post through time as I visit more attractions - please let me know if you have any favourites and we'll try to visit asap.
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Why are we obsessed with the perfect Santa?


Why are we obsessed with the perfect Santa?

Why are we obsessed with the perfect Santa?

This is a question I've been asking myself this year. With most premium attractions selling out before we even hit half term, I really feel as if our obsession with the perfect Santa is getting out of control.
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Angry Birds Adventure Golf at intu Metrocentre | Opening, Prices & Food

Disclosure - we were invited along to their VIP launch night with no obligation to write this post.

Angry Birds Adventure Golf Review at intu Metrocentre | Opening, Prices & Food


Angry Birds Adventure Golf has now opened at intu Metrocentre and is one of our top recommendations for what to do when it rains in North East England.

There are two courses - Bird Island and Pigtropolis. Both have 18 holes each. You can choose to play one course or both of them together.
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Chester Zoo & Blackpool Tower Bus Trip with National Holidays


Disclosure - we paid for a different National Holidays trip a while ago and didn't have the best time (you can read about it here). National Holidays invited us back as an apology and for the opportunity to give them another chance. I originally paid as a normal customer and was not asked to write this blog post. 

Chester Zoo & Blackpool Tower Bus Trip with National Holidays - A Review

National Holidays offer coach trips throughout Europe. There are lots of different options including city breaks, theatre breaks, guided tours, trips to top UK attractions and more.

There's no denying they are hassle-free and a convenient way to travel, especially if you don't drive. We booked the Chester Zoo and Blackpool Tower Trip in October - our party was made up of myself, my mam, Heidi (10) and Jack (8).

The cost of this trip is usually £99 per adult and £89 per child inclusive of return coach travel and transport throughout, entry to Chester Zoo and the Blackpool Tower Eye (or alternative), a 3-course evening meal, overnight accommodation and breakfast.

Because so much is included and we took packed lunches for breakfast & lunch plus our own snacks, we hardly spent any money across the weekend so I would say trips with National Holidays are a brilliant option if you're on a budget.

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Shakespeare for Tweens with RSC at Northern Stage

Disclosure - We have a mix of press and paid-for tickets to see this show

I struggle with Shakespeare sometimes - the language is often alien to me and if it's not a popular play, I struggle to follow what's going on at times. I don't think there's any shame in saying this. I also think this puts a lot of people off going to see Shakespeare and I can understand why.

Shakespeare for Tweens with RSC at Northern Stage
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Sunderland Festival of Light


The Festival of Light in Sunderland is moving to a brand new venue this year. Instead of the usual Roker Park, the new venue of Mowbray Park in the city centre (it's right next to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens) will host this month-long festival.

Sunderland Festival of Light
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Fontburn Reservoir | Family Walk & Play Park

I'm always looking out for new family walks to try and if they have a play park - even better. Fontburn has been on my list for ages. They received a new play area in 2018 and I'm annoyed that it's taken me so long to get here. We visited on a blustery Saturday afternoon in September and practically had the place to ourselves. 


Fontburn is near Rothbury in Northumberland and honestly feels as if it's in the middle of nowhere.

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10+ Easy Coastal Walks in North East England (less than 2 hours long)

A walk along the coast is a brilliant activity to enjoy with the family at any time of the year. Nothing beats a good dose of sea air. We're spoilt for choice when it comes to coastal walks in North East England and I thought I'd share some of our favourite easier walks by the sea. They're all less than 2 hours long (round trip) and most are pushchair and dog-friendly too.

10+ Easy Coastal Walks in North East England  (less than 2 hours long)


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Rose and Robin North East Tour | Theatre for Tweens this February Half Term

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I am delighted to share with you a brand new theatrical production aimed at children aged 7+ and their families (all ages are welcome) which will be touring North East England this February Half Term. 


Rose and Robin North East Tour |  Theatre for Tweens this February Half Term



Rose and Robin is brought to you by Mad Alice Theatre, has been funded by the Arts Council and commissioned by Queen's Hall Arts. The show is fun, friendly and a real celebration of life and adventures.

I love that the venues chosen for this tour are at the heart of communities and that ticket prices are very reasonable. If you didn't catch the tour over October Half Term 2019, the show is resuming their tour across February Half Term 2020.



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The Ultimate Guide to Enjoying Autumn in North East England


Autumn is just the best isn't it! I've popped together some posts and information to help you get the most from the season.
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Shaun the Sheep Farmageddon Glow Trail at Hamsterley Forest - Top Tips for Visiting


There's a new trail heading to Hamsterley Forest this year and it features one of my all-time favourite TV stars, Shaun the Sheep. Nevermind the kids, I am personally SO excited for this!

To keep up to date with ideas for things to do around North East England, join our FREE Facebook group here. 



Shaun the Sheep Farmageddon Glow Trail at Hamsterley Forest - Top Tips for Visiting

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Ninja Warrior Adventure Park Wigan Review

Whilst staying at my friend's house near Wigan this summer, I was looking for somewhere for us to take the kids for the afternoon. I wanted somewhere that was close by, would be fun for the kids but also allow myself time to catch up with my friend. Ninja Warrior fit the bill and as huge fans of the show, I knew the kids would love it.

Ninja Warrior Adventure Park Wigan Review
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A Postcard from Perranporth Beach, Cornwall


During our trip to Cornwall in February, our favourite beach was Perranporth. Somewhere we just visited on a whim when the sun was shining. I'm so pleased we made the trip though as it was beautiful. 

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A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall

Ad - This post features a press stay with Seaham Hall, I have retained editorial control.

A Luxury Short Break in County Durham with Seaham Hall

As Regional Ambassador for This is Durham this year, I am delighted to share with you what to expect from a luxury short break at Seaham Hall - the perfect destination for celebrating a special occasion and exploring County Durham. Steve and I spent 48 hours here in September 2019 and left feeling on cloud nine. I'd highly recommend if you're looking to stay somewhere a little bit special.
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20+ Ideas for things to do in Berwick-upon-Tweed

This post includes some experiences which were covered by Visit Berwick during our press trip in September and others which I have paid for myself. I have not been paid to write to post & Visit Berwick has no editorial control. The post features affiliate links for Haven.

20+ Ideas for things to do in Berwick-upon-Tweed (includes free and rainy day ideas).

Berwick-Upon-Tweed is somewhere I had not visited until this year despite being recommended to us on numerous occasions. I'm not sure why - I think my preconceptions were probably that there wasn't much to do there and it was just a market town with a few shops. Well, how wrong could I be? We visited twice over the summer - once as part of a holiday with my brother which we paid for ourselves and another as part of a press trip with Visit Berwick. Across our two visits, I discovered that there is loads to do in the town and I'd highly recommend planning a day trip or short break to Berwick sooner rather than later to see all that Berwick has to offer for yourself.
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