30+ of the Best Cycle Routes for Kids around North East England

Over the years,  I have been asked a lot for ideas where families can ride their bikes with kids. I am not an expert in this - we just ride our bikes along the cycle path near our house or at the coast.

It is something I have been asked more and more during the past few weeks though so I decided to ask my readers for suggestions for their favourite routes so I could put them all together in one list for others to use. I hope you find this resource helpful. 

30+ of the Best Cycle Routes for Kids around North East England


25 of the Best Parks & Playgrounds in North East England

25 of the Best Parks & Playgrounds in North East England

This post will share 25 of the best playgrounds to visit with kids across North East England. Why not make a plan to visit them all this summer? 


Dinosaur Crazy Golf & Dobbies Garden Centre Morpeth

Like many people during lockdown, we have taken to gardening this summer. We have visited Dobbies Morpeth (aka Heighley Gate) a few times over the years but it had been well over a year since our last visit. 

Dinosaur Crazy Golf & Dobbies Garden Centre Morpeth

The garden centre is just off the A1 - exit onto the A697 towards Coldstream and it is less than half a mile up the road on your left (use postcode NE61 3DA). There is a huge free car park for customers. 

A Pizza Picnic from Di Meos Ouseburn

Ouseburn is my favourite part of Newcastle. I just love the vibes in this area of Newcastle plus it is home to some of my favourite restaurants, pubs and places to visit

A Pizza Picnic from Di Meos Ouseburn

Back in February Half Term, we were going to visit Di Meos for Pizza and ice cream after a street art trail but the queue was too long, there were no spare seats and it was freezing cold so we popped to Gingerinos instead (which by the way is fantastic and I would also highly recommend) . 

As Steve's payday treat this month though, I was craving a trip to Ouseburn and this time was a little more organised and phoned ahead to pre-order our pizza at Di Meos. 

Strawberry Picking in North East England - What to Expect this Summer

We love visiting Brocksbushes Farm near Hexham to pick strawberries and are honestly over the moon that we have still been able to enjoy this tradition this summer. 

Strawberry Picking at Brocksbushes


The Best Places to Paddle in Streams across North East England

A few weeks ago, I published a post sharing safety advice against the dangers of swimming in reservoirs (you can read the full post here). Please do not swim/paddle at the likes of Kielder / Derwent Waterside Park. There are lots of hidden dangers. 

The Best Places to Paddle in Streams across North East England

However, paddling in streams is a kind of rite of passage in childhood I think. Obviously, you still need to remain vigilant - young children can drown in a teeny amount of water and depths can change suddenly. Children should never be left unsupervised. 

For more ideas for places to visit across North East England this summer, click here to join our FREE Days Out Facebook group which is packed with recommendations. 


Before we jump in, a lot of these places are likely to be busy, especially if it is a sunny day. Consider heading out early/later in the evening if possible to avoid the crowds. Car parks do fill up and if you are unable to park responsibly, please leave and return another time. Remember to leave no trace and take all litter home with you. 

Please read local safety advice before entering the water. Some of the places mentioned may not technically be classed as a stream.  

Some areas / facilities may be closed at the moment due to Coronavirus. 

I have not visited all of these places personally so please do your own research before setting off to avoid disappointment. You can see more suggestions and photos from others over on this Facebook post

The Best Places to Paddle in Streams across North East England 

Plessey Woods 

Plessey Woods Stream to paddle in

Plessey Woods is a popular spot in Northumberland. There is a cafe, play park, visitor centre, toilets and lots of green space to run around / enjoy a picnic right next to the car park.

I can confirm that the toilets are open at the moment (June 2020). 

If you venture into the woods there are various routes to take (with signposted routes for step free / accessible / pushchair friendly routes) with trails and sculptures hidden throughout.

Watch out for the Ogre swamp! The woods can get fairly muddy in bad weather so if you visit after rain, I would recommend an all-terrain pushchair. 

As you head down through the woods, there are spots to paddle in the river by the bridge and jetty. 

Humford Woods / Bedlington Country Park 

Humford Woods stream to paddle in

There are lots of places to paddle in and around Bedlington Country Park, especially near Humford Mill. If you park at the mill, the river is accessible (however you will need to navigate a moderate hill).

There are stepping stones across the water too. If you cross the stepping stones and follow the river, there is a lovely waterfall area where you can paddle too. 

There are picnic tables and a play park on the river bank. 

Ingram Valley 

Paddling in the stream at Ingram Valley

We absolutely love Ingram Valley. It is a natural beauty spot in Northumberland National Park with plenty of space to paddle. 

We normally park in Bulbys Wood Car Park which has its own toilets. From here, the grass is flat and accessible and just a short distance away from the stream (you can see the stream from the car park). There are more parking spots, further loos and a cafe further along the road if you continue driving. 

Bring some change as an ice cream van sometimes randomly pops up!


Paddle in the river at Rothbury

Rothbury is a beautiful town in Northumberland. The walk along the river is beautiful and very scenic and you can paddle at the riverbank area by the main bridge into town. 

There are picnic tables and a play park (which is currently being refurbished) right by the river and the walk is accessible too. 

Hamsterley Forest 

Paddle in the stream at Hamsterley Forest

Hamsterley Forest is a super popular spot. Expect bike trails, walking routes, a Gruffalo trail, lots of play areas, cafe, visitor centre & areas where you can paddle in the river. 

The forest has accessible walking trails and is pushchair friendly. The car park is chargeable, see website for details. 

Plankey Mill 

July 2021 update - we visited in June and it was closed.

As far as I can see, Plankey Mill is open. We used to visit the area a lot as kids. There is a large grassy area for picnics/BBQs/ball games, loos in the farmhouse and access to the river for paddling. The old wobbly bridge has been replaced. Before you cross the bridge, Plankey Mill is accessible and flat. 

See below for a recent Tripadvisor review: 

Plankey Mill Review

  • Postcode NE47 5ND
Alternatively, you can visit the National Trust Allen Banks site and walk through the woods alongside the river. There are various areas to paddle in along the route. The walk can be slightly challenging. Find out more here. 

Causey Arch 

Causey Arch is such a lush picnic spot surrounded by ancient woodland, grassland and a stream to paddle in. There are picnic tables dotted about or near the car park too. 

It is a fairly steep walk down to the river and their website says it is accessible but just be aware - there is a steep part! 

Jesmond Dene 

Paddle at Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene is a popular area just outside of Newcastle. Expect picnic spaces, grassy areas, a cafe, Pets Corner (may not be open) and gorgeous woodland walks where you can stop to paddle in the river. The walks are accessible and pushchair friendly. 

Falling Foss 

paddling in the river at falling foss

Falling Foss near Whitby is a gem. It is a bit of a steep climb down from the car park and I am not sure I would take a pushchair/wheelchair myself. I think there may be a disabled drop-off area right next to the tea garden though so it may be worth phoning ahead to ask. 

There is the most beautiful outdoor tea garden in the heart of the woods, a waterfall you can paddle near or various points where you can paddle throughout the woods. 


paddling in the river at corbridge

We love Corbridge. Lovely independent shops and pubs, a Roman Town to explore and of course the river to play in too. 

The following sites are reader recommendations and places I have yet to visit myself so can only provide limited info at the moment (apologies). I will update this post with more information as we visit a few of them this summer : 

Haltwhistle Burn

Haltwhistle Burn
Wiki Commons

Derwenthaugh Park near Winlaton Mill

Derwenthaugh Park
Geograph Britain : David Dixon 



Geograph Britain : John Walton 

Finchale Priory 

paddle in the river at finchale priory
Geograph Britain - Mat Fascoine 

Hawthorn Dene

  • Postcode: SR7 8SH
  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - Hawthorn Dene has some lovely shallow streams 


Watergate Forest Park 

  • Postcode: NE11 9RQ
  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - Watergate park in Whickham is an easy little walk with good paddling spots. 

Stanhope Ford

Wiki Commons

  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - Went to Stanhope on Saturday and there were quite a few paddling in the river there. Get there early to get a parking spot. 


Hareshaw Linn

Wiki Commons

  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - Hareshaw Linn has loads of spots where people can paddle. There is a spot further up where you can swim too. 

NOW CLOSED Linn Waterfall 
Please see additional advice from the MOD re: visiting Crammel Linn here: 

Ponteland Park 

  • Park in town
  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - There are a few places to paddle in Ponteland Park. 

Malton Picnic Area, Lanchester 

  • Postcode: DH7 0TH
  • Find out more here (website states this area is accessible for wheelchairs & pushchairs) 

Hill End, Frosterley 

Blaydon Burn 

NOW CLOSED Carrick Picnic Site, Blanchland 

Update - A reader has informed me that this area is currently closed due to vandalism.  

River Swale in Richmond 

Saltburn Valley Gardens 


Asygarth Falls Codbeck 

Boilhope Burn 

  • Car park postcode: DL13 2SZ
  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - Boilhope Burn on the B6278 past Stanhope Ford has lovely picnic areas and a stream to paddle in. 

Castle Eden Dene 

Low Slitt Woods, Westgate 

  • Park at Westgate town and walk through the woods past beautiful waterfalls and streams.
  • Find out more here. 

If you are looking to travel a little further afield, check out the best places for paddling in Yorkshire by Yorkshire Tots or how about Wild Swimming in the Peak District by Peak District Kids? 

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Thank you for your support as always. 

Let me know if there is anywhere else we should add to the list. I cannot wait to visit some new places from this list myself and will update the post with more photos and info when we do. 

Don't forget to click here to join our Days Out Facebook Group for more ideas. 

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Bedlington Country Park Riverside Walk & Stepping Stones

This week we enjoyed another super local walk to us (less than 3 miles away) with a trip to Bedlington Country Park. We brought the kids here a few times when they were little to paddle in the river, play in the park and jump across the stepping stones and it is somewhere I would hang out with my friends quite a lot when we were younger. It is a lovely walk/area and usually a lot less busier than nearby Plessey Woods. 

Bedlington Country Park Riverside Walk & Stepping Stones

We parked in Attlee Park Car Park (postcode NE22 5RX) at the bottom of Bedlington Bank. It is free (no ticket required) and there are plenty of spaces. If you wish to skip the woodland walk and head straight to the stepping stones/play park,  use Humford Mill Car Park (NE22 5RT). 

10 Reasons to Never Visit Northumberland

 Northumberland is a terrible place to visit and you definitely should not come here. There is nothing to see or do and I would hate for you to waste a journey here. 

10 Reasons to Never Visit Northumberland

Top Tips for Visiting Local Reservoirs & Waterside Parks this Summer

This is an advertisement with Northumbrian Water. Details correct as of 6 June 2020. Visit  www.watersideparksuk.com  for updated information regarding site opening (which can change) and up-to-date visitor advice. Please follow current Government guidelines regarding social distancing. 

Top Tips for Visiting Local Reservoirs & Waterside Parks this Summer

There are several Northumbrian Water Waterside Parks & Reservoirs located across North East England and their beautiful locations make for a wonderful day out or location for exercise and walking.  Kielder & Derwent Waterside Park are two of our favourite spots in the whole of the North East.
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