Auckland Castle Deer Park Review

Disclosure - I visited Auckland Castle Deer Park as part of my research for another paid project. This post has not been paid/asked for. 

Our local woods (Plessey Woods) are lovely but also super popular. If there is the slightest bit of sunshine, you can guarantee the car park will fill up fast. It is a big place and ok to socially distance once in there but some of the first few paths can still get busy. 

Auckland Castle Deer Park Review


I have made it my mission to try and discover woodland areas which are a little quieter this summer. So far I have featured Ford & EtalBelsay HallCausey ArchBedlington Country Park, East Cramlington Nature Reserve  and Queen Elizabeth II Country Park. All significantly quieter than Plessey Woods. 
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Northumberland College Zoo Review


We visited in July 2020 when some Coronavirus restrictions were still in place.  

Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens has recently re-branded to Northumberland College Zoo. I do not know the reason behind this change and reckon lots of people will get mixed up with the other Northumberland Zoo further up the A1. Whatever the reason, it was a good excuse for us to revisit - the last time we blogged about Kirkley Hall was back in 2014!



If you are visiting during summer 2020, tickets should be pre-booked online. Their family deal is such good value if you are a family of 5 like us as it works out at just £4.30 per person which is a proper bargain. 
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Outdoor Adventures around Durham to Enjoy with Grandparents in Tow

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Outdoor Adventures around Durham to enjoy with Grandparents in tow



Today I am sharing a few ideas for outdoor days out in the county of Durham which are perfect for both little ones and grandparents too. There are of course the obvious places like Beamish Museum and Hamsterley Forest but today I want to focus on a few of the lesser-known hidden gems in the area. 
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The New Plough Coffee Trailer & Penshaw Monument


I first spotted the New Plough Coffee Trailer on New Girl in Toon's Instagram. The little coffee and cake stop had been recommended to Chloe by Nomipalony and now I am recommending it to all of you. A chain of influencing at its best ;-) 

The New Plough Coffee Trailer & Penshaw Monument


The New Plough at Waterside Cox Green is a cute little horse box serving cakes and drinks with outdoor seating overlooking the River Wear in Sunderland. It is situated next to a livery and you can walk along and say hello to the horses, ponies and pigs too. It is such a lovely spot for a drink with kids. 
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Eat Out to Help Out Northumberland List - Half Price Dining near Top Attractions


The Government has launched a new scheme which runs every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout August 2020. Restaurants / Pubs / Cafes can register to take part and offer 50% off food and non-alcoholic drinks up to a maximum of £10 per person per visit at no cost to themselves. 

Eat Out to Help Out Northumberland List  - Half Price Dining near Top  Attractions


The scheme has been subsidised by the Government to give a boost to some of the hospitality trade. 
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A Fantastic Outdoor Sunday Lunch at The Woodmans Arms


If there is one thing I started craving towards the end of lockdown, it was a proper pub Sunday lunch. I mean Steve makes a lush dinner but to do it right, it takes forever and then there are so many dishes too. 



Disclosure - the first part of this post is part of an (ad) with The Woodsmans Arms and based on a visit in October 2020. We paid for the food & drinks mentioned in the second part of this post which is based on a visit in July 2020. 
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Lockdown 2020 - Our Photo Diary


A few photos to remind us of the time we were told to stay home and save lives. 



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What to do at Ford & Etal (an itinerary for first time visitors)

This post was published in July 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic (when most restrictions had lifted).

Ford & Etal is somewhere I have wanted to visit in forever. I did have a trip penciled in for Easter but thanks to Coronavirus, it had to be postponed to this summer. 

What to do at Ford & Etal  (an itinerary for first time visitors)
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Riley's Fish Shack, Tynemouth - Now With Reservations


We have visited Riley's Fish Shack on a few occasions now. We love the vibe, the delicious, fresh seafood and those views of King Edward's Bay. In the past, you could not make a reservation and just had to join the queue up the bank. 

Riley's Fish Shack, Tynemouth - Now With Reservations



The queues were notorious and we have always spent 1 hour+ queuing and waiting for food.  It all did kind of add to the anticipation of it all though and it was worth it for us on a little lunch date but not brilliant with kids in tow or if we wanted to catch up with friends. Who wants to spend most of the night queuing? 
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Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

This post is in two parts - the first section was published in July 2020, when some but not all Coronavirus restrictions had been lifted in England. The second part is the original post from a trip in 2016 - I love looking back through the older photos. 

There are some FAQs halfway between the two posts. 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

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5 Sets of Steppy Stones to Jump Across this Summer


Whenever I share a photo of stepping stones on Social Media, I am always asked for more info so I thought I would pop them together in a post. Crossing them all might be a fun challenge to set yourself this summer. 



Let me know if there are any others from North East England that you would add to the list. 
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Causey Arch Picnic Area, Tea Room & Walk

Disclosure: I visited Causey Arch recently as part of another campaign . This blog post was not part of the campaign & I have not been paid / asked to share this specific post. We covered our own costs. 

We have visited Causey Arch a few times as a stop off when enjoying the Tanfield Railway. We always just stop off for a quick picnic though and have never really fully explored the area - until now. 

Causey Arch Picnic Area, Tea Room & Walk


First of all, there are over 40 free parking spaces. We visited on a warm weekday afternoon in July and as you can see, there was ample parking. Use postcode NE16 5EJ and follow the brown tourist picnic signs as you approach. 
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Treasure Trails Review

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Treasure Trails Review


Although I am working with Treasure Trails on this particular post, I want to begin by saying we are genuine customers too. We have tried a few over the years including a Treasure Trail with Here Come the Hoopers during a weekend break to Scarborough. They are something we will continue to purchase again in the future too. 
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Durham's Hidden Gems: Walks, Rides & Picnic Spots

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Durham is a county that covers an area of over 862 square miles. There is so much outdoor space to explore from your door. From heritage coastline and nature reserves to rolling countryside and dark skies. Durham is an area of outstanding natural beauty. There is an abundance of outdoor space to enjoy. 

Title Image:Durham's Hidden Gems: Walks, Rides & Picnic Spots

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The Ultimate Guide to What's On in the North East for Kids | Summer Holidays 2020



Hello and welcome to my ultimate guide to what's on for kids in North East England this summer. The format of this post is going to be slightly different from usual as understandably, there are hardly any events taking place this year. 




I have tried to include as many ideas as I can for fun this summer though. I hope you find it useful. This post will be updated across the summer as more events are announced so please bookmark this post and check back. 

If you visit anywhere and would recommend, please post the details/ a mini review in our North East Days Out Facebook group here. 
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Our First Proper Day Out This Summer



As of 4 July, one household can meet up with another household in any setting. I had booked tickets to Belsay Hall a few weeks ago and originally, it was just going to be me, Steve and the kids going.



But Steve landed a new role at work and his hours changed which meant he could no longer make it. So I asked if my brother and his son (4 year old Evan) would like to use our spare ticket (under 5s are free so I booked another ticket for Evan). My bro lives with my mam and we realised my mam had the day off work too so we thought we would make a day of it and invite mam along too so I booked another ticket. Luckily there were still tickets left. 
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15+ North East Pubs & Restaurants Where You Can Pre-Book An Outdoor Table


 

North East Pubs & Restaurants Where You Can Pre-Book An Outdoor Table

 For those who are not ready to dine inside a pub/restaurant yet, I asked my Facebook & Instagram followers for some of the best places in the North East you can pre-book an outdoor table. 

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Our £1000 (ish) Moroccan Back Garden Makeover


For the past two years, our back garden has grown out of control and was pretty unusable. Our back gate kept breaking every time there was a bit of wind and despite Steve's best efforts, it just wasn't secure. The whole fence would sway in the wind. Our shed was broken into a few times and the whole space was just unsafe/unusable. 

Our £1000 (ish) Moroccan Back Garden Makeover


We didn't do anything about it last summer as we were out and about a lot and didn't actually miss the back garden at all. We are lucky to have lots of space in our front (although this isn't private). We also didn't have the money to replace our fence but vowed to save and for it to be our project this summer. 
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Fun & Easy Magic Tricks with MAOAM Mischief Hub

This is an advertisement feature with MAOAM. 

MAOAM is a fun confectionery brand which includes a range of popular treats, such as Stripes, Pinballs and Bloxx.  We are delighted to be partnering with MAOAM this year and will be sharing some of the tricks and mischief they have up their sleeves to help families make the most of their time at home. 

This summer, we are spending most of our time at home. We have now fallen into a nice routine and we are very much used to the new norm. 

Fun & Easy Magic Tricks with MAOAM Mischief Hub



I will level with you though, sometimes the days can feel super long and monotonous and often the days all roll into one. Anything that can add a little mischief and excitement to our day or break it up gets the thumbs up from me. 
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Thali Tray Date Night


Over the past few months, Steve and I have been enjoying little date nights at home. With no babysitters or inclination to visit a restaurant, you have to do what you have to do. We started off weekly but now I would say we plan something for just us every couple of weeks. 



Sometimes we cook and other times we order from one of our favourite restaurants. I love how many places have adapted to provide an at-home service and I am so thankful for this. One such place is Thali Tray in Ouseburn
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