A Short Break in North East England with Parkdean Resorts #BestOfBritain

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If you're looking for inspiration for your next family holiday, Northumberland is a brilliant option. I have partnered with Parkdean Resorts for their #BestOfBritain campaign which aims to promote all of the wonderful days out and experiences you can enjoy across Britain. Why not follow the hashtag for more inspiration and share your own photos featuring days out and adventures to help inspire others too? 

A Short Break in Northumberland and North East England with Parkdean Resorts #BestOfBritain

Caravan holidays were something I always looked forward to when I was a child. It feels like you're on a real adventure when you stay in a caravan and long days at the beach, fish and chips for supper and cheesy entertainment is something I have fond memories of.

I've kept the tradition going and Steve and I have taken H, H and J on countless caravan holidays over the years. Steve's parents own a caravan at Parkdean Resorts Cresswell Towers Holiday Parks and the kids have grown up with memories of lovely summers by the sea.

Caravan holidays are a little different with tweens to younger kids - we tend to spend our evenings playing family card games and the kids spend a lot of time in the park making new friends rather than watching the children's shows but we all agree that we still always have a lovely time and these kinds of holidays will always hold a special place in our heart and are a tradition we'll continue forever.

Where to visit during a short break in North East England  #BestOfBritain

The Sill

The Sill is the 'National Landscape Discovery Centre'. Located in Northumberland National Park, it is free to visit (although parking charges do apply). Expect hands-on exhibits, interactive displays, a unique rooftop walk with glorious views of Northumberland National Park and various temporary exhibitions and events. I'd recommend spending around an hour here with children - don't miss the chance to create your own digital landscape using sand and light projections.

Sycamore Gap 

Sycamore Gap is a pretty important landmark here in the North East - made famous in the movie 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' and named as 'Britain's Best Tree' in 2018, she certainly is beautiful. You can walk from the Sill to Sycamore Gap in around 30-40 minutes (it's around 1.5 miles with some fairly rocky terrain but I know lots of children who have managed the walk just fine) and it's a lovely spot for photos and a picnic and a perfect 'first walk' along Hadrian's Wall.

Spoiler alert - if you're short of time, you can spot the famous tree from the road as you drive between the Sill and Chester's Roman Fort. 

Chester's Roman Fort 

Chester's Roman Fort is our favourite spot along Hadrian's Wall. It seems to have a bit of everything. Managed by English Heritage, the fort is the most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain with the bath house and steam rooms being particularly well preserved. The views of Tyne are spectacular and it's a lovely spot for a picnic. Children can enjoy 'Chester's Fort Takeover' which is a free trail around the site where children select a character to play and have to hunt for various Roman rubbings around the site. As well as the main fort, there's a cute little tearoom, small Roman museum and fields of sheep to enjoy too. 

Alnwick Castle 

I think Alnwick Castle is a contender for the best attraction in Northumberland. You could easily spend a full day here and there is a lot of fun included in your admission. Take in the glorious countryside views, join a broomstick training lesson where they filmed Hogwarts, have fun in the medieval courtyard with dressing up, stocks and courtyard games, admire the beautiful castle interiors with a stateroom tour and brave the dragon's quest - an interactive experience only for the bravest of Knights. I was really pleased to see that 'have-a-go' archery is also included with admission here (for ages 9+), normally I'd expect to pay extra for an activity like this so bravo Alnwick Castle. 

Alnwick Garden 

Alnwick Garden is another of our favourite days out in Northumberland. We love it so much we have an annual pass. Again, it's a place you can easily spend a full day as there's absolutely loads to see and do. You can try and escape the labyrinth, wander through the rose garden, dodge the grand cascade fountains, dine in a treehouse, play with the tractors, pop your swimsuits on and enjoy the serpent garden's water features or try a free craft in the craft hut. There's a huge programme of events throughout the summer and you can play crazy golf too. Alnwick Garden is open until 6pm in the summer months and even later on some evenings in the school holidays so the ideal place to end a day trip. We decided to grab a drink and enjoy views of the grand cascade then relax on the swings for half an hour before joining the free poison garden tour. Alnwick Garden has grown lots of poisonous and rare plants under license and the free tour lasts around 25 minutes. We all found it fascinating to learn how everyday plants have been used to poison people. Our host was funny yet informative and I'd probably recommend this tour to children aged 7+ and grown-ups (although it is open to all). 

National Trust Seaton Delaval Hall 

Seaton Delaval Hall is one of the smaller National Trust sites in the North East but a bit of a hidden gem. I think it has a huge personality and is well worth a visit. Currently undergoing major restoration and renovation work, Seaton Delaval Hall is still very much open and there's lots going on to entice visitors including a courtyard cafe with play equipment for children - there were slides, swing ball sets, a mud kitchen and hobby horses on the day of our visit. There's also beautiful gardens and a fabulous Laburnum arch to run through and there are usually free crafts in the community garden each Sunday between 11am-1pm (we created our own nature bracelets on the day of our visit). 

St Mary's Lighthouse 

St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay is a popular spot with families. There's plenty to keep you entertained for a full afternoon. You can climb the lighthouse (small charge), spot seals from the wildlife hide (equipment is provided) and spend hours hunting for crabs in the rock pools here. There are little vans selling nets, buckets and refreshments should you forget to bring yours. St Mary's Lighthouse is next door to Parkdean Resorts Whitley Bay Holiday Park and within walking distance. 

Longsands Beach 

Tynemouth Longsands Beach is an award-winning blue flag beach. Absolutely stunning! Park up the car and head down to spend hours building sandcastles and jumping waves. There's a popular cafe (the View) right on the beach and you can enjoy Tynemouth Park with it's crazy golf, maze, boating lake and inflatables on the promenade or visit Blue Reef Aquarium which is just set back from the beach if you're looking for some shelter from the sunshine. 

Segedunum Museum

Segedunum Museum is one of our favourite indoor attractions in the North East. Expect Roman dressing up, exhibitions, stunning views of the fort and tyne from the viewing tower, interactive Roman-themed fun and more. The museum is free to visit for under 16s and the cafe serves a cracking afternoon tea with views of the river Tyne and has a dedicated toy area for children too.

Where we stayed - Parkdean Resorts Sandy Bay Holiday Park

I'd never stayed at Sandy Bay Holiday Park before, but I thought it would be a welcome change to Cresswell Towers Holiday Park and wanted the chance to try somewhere new. I was really impressed. Sandy Bay Holiday Park is in such a good location just off A189 and ideal for exploring both Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle. I loved that this site had direct beach access and we spent a lovely few hours here on our first night - like many beaches in Northumberland, we had the place to ourselves and the whole park felt very well maintained and looked after.

We stayed in 'Lindisfarne' which is a mid-range caravan and is one of the nicer ones we've stayed in - it was super spacious, had its own private decking with direct access from the main living area, plenty of storage and two bathrooms. You can also park directly outside and it was a short distance to the play park so ideal for the kids. We were super busy during our days out and Parkdean Resorts Sandy Bay Holiday Park provided all of the space we needed to relax. We loved it. You can find out more about Parkdean Resorts Sandy Bay Holiday Park here and discover other Parkdean Resorts across North East England here

I hope I've given you some inspiration for your next UK staycation and really would urge you to consider staying in Northumberland - it really is a spectacular part of the world.

Check out our video featuring the Best of Northumberland & North East England below......

Throughout the summer, please join in with Parkdean's campaign and share your favourite days out across the UK via Social Media using the #BestOfBritain hashtag. If you're looking for more inspiration for places to visit during a UK staycation, simply search the #BestOfBritain hashtag and lots of ideas should pop up.

Check out the Parkdean Resorts #BestofBritain page here for more inspiration for your next family holiday. 

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A Short Break in Northumberland and North East England with Parkdean Resorts #BestOfBritain


1 comment

  1. Wow what an epic adventure, it looks like you had the most amazing time!

    I WOULD LOVE to stay in a caravan, I keep trying to convince Simon to let me get one - it's in part a hilarious joke but I think a small part of me might actually be serious!

    You visited so many places I've not made it to yet! I really really want to go to the Sill and I'm desperate to fly on a broomstick at Alnwick Castle, I can't believe I've not had a go yet!

    Where exactly is the wildlife hide at St Mary's Lighthouse? We keep having a debate about its exact location, we should probably stop being lazy and go and investigate really but every time we go to Whitley Bay we get very distracted by Di Meos and don't get much further!


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