Top 5 Independent Kids Shops in Northumberland

Today's post has been shared by Hayley (images also credited to Hayley except where stated). Over to Hayley...... 

I don’t know about you but every year the thought of going Christmas shopping for presents for my kids and nieces and nephews fills me with dread..

Top 5 Independent Kids Shops in Northumberland - Mr Wolf Hexham
Credit : North East Family Fun


I’m not being a bah-humbug but the crowds of people, the jostling over the last “must-have” toy on the shelf and the fact that it feels like it’s an endurance race for tired parents rather than an enjoyable shopping experience, are enough to make me pull the duvet further over my head.

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Ice Skating & Santa at Manor Walks Cramlington

 AD - we were invited to press night but have not been asked or paid to share this post. 

Ice Skating at Manor Walks Cramlington 

Ice Skating & Santa at Manor Walks Cramlington

This ice rink at Manor Walks is located outside between Concordia and Asda. It is made from real ice and measures 32 x 15m. The ice rink is open daily from 11am - 9pm from 2 December - 2 January 2022.

The ice rink is closed on Christmas Day but it is open on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day so worth considering if you are looking for something to do on these dates. 
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Rainton Arena Winter Wonderland Review

AD - This post has been written by Grace Porter who attended Rainton Winter Wonderland in November 2021 with their family. Please always double check info with attraction direct when making plans / before heading out. Over to Grace....... 



The Winter Wonderland is hailed as the largest Christmas attraction in the North East with 45 fairground rides and stalls, a pantomime, live entertainment and Santas’s Grotto. It has become an annual tradition at Rainton, offering fun for all ages, both indoors and outside so we were looking forward to seeing for ourselves!

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Ocean Beach South Shields Winter Wonderland & Ice Skating Review

Ad - thanks to my friend Vicci who attended Ocean Beach Winter Wonderland as their guest this week and took the photos in this post for us. They had a fab time! 

South Shields Winter Wonderland & Ice Skating Review


This year, Ocean Beach is hosting their very own Winter Wonderland in South Shields. Entry is FREE and the event takes place at Ocean Beach Pleasure Beach Park on South Shields Seafront.

You can check opening hours here. You do not need to book - simply turn up. The exception to this is ice skating where I would recommend booking in advance (find the booking link in the ice skating section). 
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North East Christmas Gift Guide (+ £1000 giveaway)

This is an advertisement - the businesses mentioned in this post have kindly donated a prize to our mega North East Business giveaway. Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter, you won't want to miss it! 




Over the last few years, I have tried to support North East businesses in the run up to Christmas. I know that lots of you are interested in supporting our local and small businesses and that every single sale does make a difference.

Even if you don't purchase anything, following the businesses that you are interested in mentioned in this post on Social Media and interacting with their posts is a FREE and easy way to show your support so please do consider doing this. 
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Potter's World at Lanchester Garden Centre | A Rainy Day Idea for Under 5s

 A few people have mentioned how fantastic Potter's World is in our Facebook group recently. I must admit I have not visited myself so thanks to a reader (Jenicath982 on Instagram) for sending through these photos and information for me to share. 

Potter's World at Lanchester Garden Centre | A Rainy Day Ideas for Under 5s


There is no need to book in advance, simply turn up and pay admission on the day. I think Potter's World looks like a nice cross between soft play and a children's farm but at a really affordable price. 
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Unique Birthday Party Ideas across North East England

This post has been published by Bethanie from Girl About Northumberland. Details are correct as of November 2021. Please check direct with venues for up-to-date information and pricing when booking. Over to Bethanie........ 

Okay, so you have exhausted the soft play and don’t fancy facing another weekend spent in the village hall assisting with “pass the parcel”. You could host a party at home but that just involves a lot of hard work on your part. (I have done it recently and the balloons are still hanging around, slightly deflated.)



If you have a little one with a birthday coming up, have a read through these unique party ideas for under 7’s, that steer clear of the traditional and involve little organising on your part.
I have put together a round up that caters for parties on all budgets.
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Sunday Lunch at Nest, Chillingham Road

This post is based on our personal experience when we visited in November 2021. Please always check with venue direct for the most up to date information.  

Sunday Lunch at The Nest, Chillingham Road

Nest on Chillingham Road has been one of Newcastle's must-visit restaurants since opening earlier this summer. In fact I'm sure many dates were booked up before they even opened their doors. When I booked our table for Sunday Lunch, I could only manage to book a date which was three months in advance. Oh well, something to look forward to I thought. 
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Go Henry for Tweens | Our Review

This is not a paid or sponsored post but the Go Henry links are standard customer referral links (where I receive a little bonus if you sign up). 



I've been meaning to write this post for a long time. I wanted to write my honest review of Go Henry after using it for the past 18 months. 


What is Go Henry? 

Go Henry is a prepaid debit card and financial learning app for kids. They have won awards, are used by 1.5 million customers and 92% of parents say their kids are more confident with money management thanks to the app/card and I would have to agree.
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FREE Redcar Christmas Light Switch On & Illumination Parade

This is an advertisement for November 2021. Any edits / reshares beyond this date have not been asked or paid for. 

There is lots for Redcar and Cleveland families to look forward to across the region this festive season. As well as the FREE Winter Ice Trail that I shared in this post, there is a calendar of events taking place from Wreath Making & Christmas Markets to Panto, Community Carol Services and even a Boxing Day Dip if you fancy it. Check out the full programme of festive events taking place in Redcar and Cleveland here. 

FREE Redcar Christmas Light Switch On & Illumination Parade
Credit : Photography Arches 
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Visiting Bamburgh Castle at Christmas

 

Bamburgh Castle is one of our favourite castles in Northumberland. Actually scratch that. One of our favourite castles in the world. After all these years I still get goosebumps when I first catch glimpse of the castle as you drive through the Northumberland countryside towards the coast. 


We visited Saints & Angels at Bamburgh Castle without kids at the end of November in 2021. I would honestly recommend a visit either with or without children - both are suitable. There were quite a few babies and little ones there who loved the twinkling lights when we visited. Plus there is plenty of space to run around outside and reindeers too. 
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A 1.5 Mile Circular Wellbeing Trail at Chopwell Wood

 This post is based on a visit in November 2021. Please check for up-to-date information with Chopwell Woods direct before setting off as the information in this post may have changed. 




Can you believe this was our first visit to Chopwell Woods! Wow have we been missing out on a real gem. It is so beautiful and completely free to visit (including free parking). It very much reminds me of a less commercialised version of Hamsterley Forest if that makes sense.
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FREE Winter Ice Sculpture Trail in Redcar

This is an advertisement for November 2021. Any shares/edits beyond this date have not been asked or paid for. Please check with Redcar & Cleveland for any updates / changes to this info before heading out. Photo credits : Sand In Your Eye (from previous events). 

FREE Winter Ice Sculpture Trail in Redcar
 
A FREE Winter Ice Trail is heading to Redcar High Street and Esplanade on 11 December 2021. No booking is required, simply drop in across the day and enjoy the trail, activities and pop-up festive performances. A perfect winter activity for Redcar and Cleveland families. 
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The Cheapest Place to go Ice Skating in North East England


This post shares the various options for ice skating across the North East this winter. Please always contact venues direct for up-to-date information before making plans and heading out as the info in this post may have changed. Prices are based on a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) booking one session including skate hire. 

The Cheapest Place to go Ice Skating in North East England

Scroll to the bottom of this post to discover the cheapest (and most expensive) options for ice skating this year plus a few options which are suitable for wheelchairs and venues which do not require pre-booking too. 
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Tyne Theatre & Opera House | Panto Review & Top Tips

 Advert - We have press tickets 


Tyne Theatre & Opera House is a beautiful Grade I listed theatre in the heart of Newcastle City Centre on Westgate Road. I have lots of happy memories from visiting panto here over the years and this was the panto that I remember first taking Harry to when he was small which always sticks in my head as a special memory. 
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FREE and Low Cost Winter Events (with no booking required)


I know this time of year can put a financial strain on many of us and at the moment, booking events can be tricky (I've lost count of the number of times we've had to cancel/re-arrange stuff). So I thought I would share a few ideas for FREE (or low cost) events which can be enjoyed with no booking required over the festive period. 

FREE and Low Cost Winter Events (with no booking required)

Please always double check opening times, dates and information direct with venues before heading out and when making plans as the information in this post may change over time and sadly, last minute event cancellations is not a rare occurrence in these current times.
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Musical Sessions with Hartbeeps at Discovery Museum, Newcastle

This is an advertisement. Thanks to our writer Bethanie who attended Hartbeeps at Discovery Museum with their one year old daughter. Over to Bethanie..... 

From the moment we stepped into the side room at the Discovery Museum, I knew we were going to be having fun. A colourful display of imagination, a treat on the senses, as we took part in a class whose aim is to explore ways to play with your child using music and sound. Musical sessions with Hartbeeps are part of the wider “Making Waves” programme at the Discovery Museum. 


Musical Sessions with Hartbeeps at Discovery Museum, Newcastle

Hartbeeps classes are upbeat, fun and engaging and a great way to bond with your baby or toddler. Created using years of research in child development, the imaginators are accredited baby massage and baby yoga instructors, which really comes across in the delivery of the classes. 

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NEW Shaun the Sheep Christmas Special

 

NEW Shaun the Sheep Christmas Special


This Christmas, a brand new Christmas-themed Shaun the Sheep film will be broadcast on BBC One. 
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A Christmas Escape Room in Cumbria

 

A Christmas Escape Room in Cumbria

Lakes Escapes in West Cumbria has launched a brand new Christmas themed escape room this year. 'Santa's Lost His Marbles' is available to book now. 

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Visiting Whitehouse Farm Centre with a 2 & 6 Year Old

Thanks to our guest writer Jennifer for this post which is based on several visits over the years including their most recent visit in October 2021. Always check for the most up-to-date info with venues direct when making plans and before heading out. Over to Jennifer: 


A visit to Whitehouse Farm Centre is always guaranteed to be a fun day out for my family.  I have two children, aged 6 and 2, and there is just so much for them to do, we really can (and do) stay all day.


Diggers at Whitehouse Farm

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Gravy Fondue with Christmas Dinner at The Spa Hotel

 We visited the Spa Hotel for an evening meal during our stay in Saltburn with Saltburn Holiday Lets in Summer 2021. I was really impressed and have been looking for an excuse to go back ever since (I just wish we lived a little closer). 


The hotel is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks for both residents and non-residents (booking recommended) with ample parking available on site or nearby. The hotel sits on top of the cliff and the first thing you notice is their panoramic sea views of Saltburn-by-the-Sea which can be enjoyed from the outdoor seating area and the conservatory restaurant. 
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The New Under 7s Play Zone at Life Science Centre

This post is based on a reader visit in November 2021. Please check direct with venue for up to date information when making plans. 

The New Under 7s Play Zone at Life Science Centre

A reader has been in touch and kindly sent some photos of the upstairs area of Life Science Centre which has now reopened (thanks Sarah for these photos and info). Sarah was really impressed with the space and also mentioned there were pop up activities for little ones downstairs relating to space and science. 
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Bottomless Pizza & Prosecco at Twenty Twenty, Newcastle

 
Twenty Twenty is opening in Newcastle's Bigg Market on Friday 19th November. Their tagline promises coffee, cocktails and bars and they have some enticing offers available which look great. 



They plan on opening Wednesday-Sunday from 12noon and are child and dog-friendly before 7pm. Kids can 'make their own pizza' too (menu coming soon). 
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Riley's Fish Shop & Restaurant Review

 This post is based on a lunchtime visit in November 2021. Please check with venue direct for the most up to date information. 


Not to be confused with the equally as wonderful Riley's Fish Shack on King Edward's Bay, Riley's Fish Shop is a second venue for this popular business which has opened on Percy Park Road in the centre of Tynemouth this Autumn. 
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Cut Your Own Christmas Tree at Meldon Park, Northumberland

 

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree at Meldon Park, Northumberland

Did you know you can cut your own Christmas Tree in Northumberland? Nothing beats a real Christmas Tree and I think choosing and cutting your own really adds a sense of occasion to the experience. 
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What To Do After Visiting Fenwick's Window in Newcastle

This is a question that pops up a lot in our Facebook groups so I thought I would share a few ideas for festive things to do in Newcastle which are ideal to extend your annual visit to see Fenwick's Window.

What To Do After Visiting Fenwick's Window in Newcastle


Before we jump in, just a quick note to say that the window reveal will once again be a virtual and take place on Sunday 7 November at 7:30pm. Here is the official FB event where you can watch online.  From Monday 8 November, you are free to visit Fenwick's Window at your leisure. It is free to visit, simply join the queue on Northumberland Street and enjoy. 
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What's On For Kids & Teens this Weekend (November 2021)

A little look at what's on across North East England this weekend. As always, please double check details with venues direct when booking and before heading out and information can change and events may be cancelled in bad weather. 

Redcar Christmas Light Switch On | Credit Dave Charnley

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What to Expect from the FREE Spaces at Seven Stories

This guest post by our writer Jennifer shares what to expect from a visit to Seven Stories (and which areas need to be booked/which areas are free to drop in). 


What to Expect from the FREE Spaces at Seven Stories

One of my favourite places for a family day out in the North East has to be Seven Stories; the National Centre for Children’s Books. Cradled in the heart of the vibrant Ouseburn Valley, this beautiful renovated seven-storey Victorian Mill has been transformed into a museum and visitor centre, devoted to children’s literature. Operating as a charity, all profits are put back into the celebration and preservation of children's stories.
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