Days Out in the North East

Published on: 06/07/22

Bleak, rugged, stunning: the North East is home to perhaps England’s wildest countryside (no wonder Hadrian got cracking with his wall!). With national parks, AONBs, and miles of stunning coastline, moors, beaches and forests, if you thought you needed to visit other countries to see spectacular views, think again. Take to causeway or boat for unmissable wildlife watching such as seals on Lindisfarne or dive-bombing terns and cheeky puffins on the Farne Islands.

Thanks to its turbulent history, the area is peppered with a visitor’s dream of fabulous fortifications, castles, stately homes, churches and abbeys. But wild and rugged doesn’t mean backward-looking; there’s top-rated shopping eating, drinking, theatre and sport aplenty in towns and cities like Newcastle, Durham and Morpeth (the last two used as film sets for Harry Potter, if you fancy some Quidditch selfies!). From high battlements to high culture and high tea, you’ll find rewards to best the highest expectations!

Beamish Living Museum

We bet you’ve heard of the Beamish Living Museum, the world famous open air museum, telling the story of life in North East England during the 1820s, 1900s, 1940s and 1950s. But that doesn’t cover the half of it, and if you haven’t been yet, summer is the perfect time! Beamish’s hands-on history is completely unique: with no objects locked away in glass cases, step into the past across 350 completely immersive acres. Taste traditional food from a coal-fired range, hop on board a tram or steam train, pet pigs and pit ponies, feed the chickens and hunt for eggs, play schoolyard games together and pop into the Co-op shops.

Whether using a mangle feels like yesterday, or time before the iPad feels like ancient history, it’ll enthral every member of the family, a great way to reconnect and bring important, shared, and fascinating history alive. Great value too: your ticket includes a Beamish Unlimited Pass, which allows 12 months’ free entry to the museum from purchase, including all daytime special events. Thanks goodness- because heading back in this magical time machine, one visit is definitely not enough!

Newcastle Castle

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Lots of people come to Newcastle for the city’s modern attractions: sporting venues, theatre, comedy, live music, vibrant architecture and of course its famous nightlife. But few know the dark heart of history set right in the centre of the twenty-first century city, Newcastle Castle. Over centuries, royalty imposed their authority, armies gathered, and criminals were imprisoned and executed in the castle keep, one of the UK's finest medieval stone castle dungeons open to the public today. A rugged reminder of northern England's turbulent history, this imposing Norman fortress even gave the city its name!

Step back over 800 years in time, exploring ancient passageways and chambers where in-depth history displays reveal the hidden stories of the castle’s inhabitants over the centuries, from royal apartments to grim dungeons. Enter through the Black Gate if you dare, following in the footsteps of prisoners facing being hung, drawn and quartered. Or how about the unusual local tale of a youngster being killed by a flying donkey?! Enjoy a summer picnic in the grounds, or have your breath taken away on the keep rooftop walk, with incredible views over the city, river Tyne and Gateshead- perfect for deciding where to conquer next!

Go Ape Matfen

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Some people head to the North East for the wild countryside and dramatic views, others for city breaks and culture- at Go Ape Matfen there’s plenty to please both sides of your party. Just 20 minutes from the heart of Newcastle, you’ll find yourself in the heart of a stunning National Park and a World Heritage Site, surveying some of the finest scenery in Northumberland. The first Go Ape to be built in the grounds of a (5*) country house hotel, Matfen Hall, you can swing through the trees, tackling obstacles uniquely designed and dedicated to local landmarks, including a replica Tyne Bridge!

Rare among Go Ape’s sites by being built among deciduous trees, the thick summer foliage gives you the added excitement of hearing your fellow adventurers around the course before you can view your way ahead! Designed to bamboozle the adventurous and inspire rookie risk-takers, the Treetop Challenge includes high platforms, skateboard zip, half trapeze, the stirrups, super speedy zips, and stomach-churning free-falling Tarzan Swings. Once back on terra firma, Matfen Hall has one of the finest golf courses in Northumberland, restaurants, bars and spa, or head to Matfen village’s picturesque green, stream and of course, local pub.

Lightwater Valley

We love places that adapt and change over the years to offer something a little bit different and keep us on our toes. Your little ones will definitely be kept dancing, giggling and shrieking with fun at Lightwater Valley, the North-East adventure park that’s packed full of family fun. Situated just north of Ripon, you’ll find over 30 rides and attractions, ranging from traditional funfair style carousels and dodgems to exhilarating flying swings, twist and turn, and litter dipper rollercoaster. There’s a brand-new interactive arcade with state-of-the-art virtual reality, wacky Hall of Mirrors, and daily park entertainment including character meet and greets, disco-dancing, face-painting and circus skills workshops.

With all rides, areas and activities included in your admission ticket, once inside you’re set up for the day. Explore the ‘Tree Top Trails’ woodland canopy, trampoline, net slides and relaxing ‘sky chairs’ set above the park, as well as ‘Discovery Woods’, an interactive woodland walk that weaves along beautiful lakeside. Kids can get closer to nature with bug hotel and pond-dipping activities, before cooking up some ‘wholesome’ recipes in the marvellous mud kitchen, although with plenty of food outlets including veggie and vegan, there’s much more than mud pies on the menu!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We have also put together a list of frequently asked questions at the link below, which include some Top Tips and Did you know information, which you can use to show off with your friends and family

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We hope that you have enjoyed reading our article called Days Out in the North East and that you have found the information above include our FAQ page helpful in deciding on which venue you to choose for your Activities and Days Out

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