As a family we love exploring new places and it is always nice when you find somewhere different. Even better if the kids enjoy it. That is why I have put together a very short list of our five favourite places to visit in Northumberland. I could have written a good few pages on places to go for a family day out up here, but honestly, no one has time to sit and read that. So these are a select few which, let’s be honest, are just touching the surface of what Northumberland has to offer.
I have recently done a video for this on my YouTube channel if you would like to see in more detail the places I will be sharing with you!
The Alnwick Garden
A firm favourite for us is the Alnwick Garden. Probably because it is only a ten minute drive away and provides a full day out. Charlie loves coming here and playing in the fountains while having the freedom to run around in the open space. (Along with all the other children whose parents are trying to wear them out.) It is one of those places that you think will be really busy and packed with tourists (which it is, especially in the summer), but because of the size you don’t really notice. Plus people go for different things. For example, we go for the ride on tractors, maze and for a splash in the fountains. Where as others go to, well, see the gardens I guess! But that’s what we like about it. There is something for everyone.
My favourite time of year to come here is in the Autumn, around Halloween, as the gardens and woodland become a sea of red and orange.
If we are going for a full day out, we usually take a picnic to save spending in the food areas. It is also worth mentioning there is a woodland walk which you can access for free and a run around the wobbly bridges in the tree house without spending any money.
There is also the famous Alnwick Castle, where the first Harry Potter films were filmed. (That, as you can tell, is the main selling point for me.) But we tend to stick to the Garden just while the children are so young. Visit The Alnwick Garden website here .
Carlisle Park, Morpeth
Carlisle Park is situated in the old market town of Morpeth. It provides a free day out, (if you take a picnic and manage to say no to your children asking to go on the boats and bouncy castles). There are formal gardens, (I seem to have a theme with gardens here?), a play park which is suitable for all ages, along with a paddling pool. Perhaps once over the summer we will brave a paddle in the pool but it is always busy so other people are obviously braver than us.
Need I say more? Who doesn’t love a day out at the beach? Well actually, my husband. But I still drag him along because it is one of my favourite places to go and Northumberland beaches hold so many great memories for me. They remind me of holidays when I was a child and I’m just so happy I get to share the same experience with my own children. Northumberland has miles of beaches to explore and our favourites are Alnmouth and Beadnell because the car park isn’t far away, making it easier to carry tents/picnic bags, bucket and spades, children etc down onto the sand. If you aren’t taking all the gear down, the beach makes for a good long walk as well if you are wanting your children to let off steam.
Cragside House and Gardens
A National Trust property situated in Rothbury, this was once the home to Victorian inventor: Lord Armstrong. Another place where you will probably want to come for a full day. Like all National Trust’s there is something for the children as well as the adults. The highlight here for us is going to the play park and the den building up at the top car park. There is a six mile drive around the gardens (or you can walk through its many footpaths) and each time you go, there will be somewhere new to explore that you haven’t been to before. The house is interesting but you pay extra to go in there and let’s be honest, your intention will be good showing the kids around an old house steeped in history, but they really aren’t interested so ask yourself is it worth it?!
Finally, for those rainy days, which lets face it there will be a few, there is Barter Books in Alnwick. The biggest second hand bookshop in Britain and set in an old railway station. It is free to get in and you can browse through its many sections from sport to history. There is also a great children’s section with comfy beanbags and soft toys.
The great thing here is you can take your old books in, they will be assessed and you will then get money put onto an account for you, depending on their value. You can then use the money in your account to purchase new (secondhand) books. There is also a lovely cafe in the old waiting rooms where you can sit by a log fire drinking your coffee and enjoying the food. I recommend the sausage sandwich which uses local meat and comes complete with a gherkin! (I don’t eat the gherkin but do enjoy the sandwich!)
So there you have it, just some of our favourite places to go as a family. Are you from Northumberland or have you been here on holiday? What are your favourite things to do for family days out? It would be great to here what you love doing, partly because I am nosy and also because I love hearing about new places to visit!