When we think about summer school holidays we imagine families playing on a sandy beach. We hear the laughter of kids enjoying days out with their parents and the smell of barbeques and suntan lotion. Fast forward to the end of the second week in (or sometimes the first!) and the reality is, things have often deteriorated into endless rounds of “what are we going to do next?” or the inevitable “I’m bored!” It can feel exhausting, but with just a little planning ahead and scheduled “grown-up person time out” I think we could all survive the 6-8 weeks, just, maybe!
I think children should learn the art of being bored, initiating activities themselves and learning to rub along with their siblings with a reasonable amount of amiability, however for everyone’s sanity planned trips and structured activities can help to make the summer holidays that bit more interesting.
There are some great websites out there filled with loads of ideas whether it’s a holiday, day trip or the 2 hour let’s get out of the house scenario, these include;
Looking through these websites for inspiration and experience from holidays gone by, I recommend a few that look perfect for occupying everyone, without breaking the bank.
Wheelbirks Ice-cream Parlour – Stocksfield
Firstly, my most favourite place to have ice cream, Wheelbirks Ice Cream Parlour, the owner Lucinda has created a perfect on the farm experience, the staff are always so friendly. The food is excellent, the ice cream is made with the milk from their herd of Jersey cows and there are extra activities including “Kickgolf” for when they get bored with letting off steam round the apple orchard!
Gibside is an estate in the Derwent Valley. It is between Rowlands Gill, Tyne and Wear and Burnopfield, County Durham. Gibside was previously owned by the Bowes-Lyon family. It is now a National Trust property. The grounds have lots of areas to explore with various activities for children to get involved with, almost like a natural gym with surprises around every corner. There are lots of opportunities to observe wildlife around the estate and it is also dog friendly. The estate is open from 0600 to 2100 in the summer months.
Beamish Open-Air Museum Co Durham
A little further afield but definitely not to be missed is the amazing Beamish Open-Air Museum. It’s a living, working museum and tells the story of everyday life in the North East of England between 1820 – 1940. You could easily spend a whole day here, there are several places to eat including a traditional Fish & Chip shop and Victorian sweet shop. Prices per adult are £19 and children £11 (a family pass for 2adults 2 children is £49.50 and is unlimited for a year, dogs are allowed.
Treasure Trails are a printed trail that allow you to explore towns and villages on a self-guided tour. There are several available for the Northumberland area including Hexham, Corbridge and even one entitled “The Wicked Wizard of Alnwick”.
The easy to follow route will enable you to crack clues whist taking in the gorgeous surroundings of the county, ideal for all the family.
By solving the fiendish clues on the Trail, you’ll be discovering whodunit, finding the location of the buried treasure, or completing the mission like a true secret agent.
Trials can be downloaded or ordered online www.treasuretrails.co.uk Priced at 6.99 (plus any P&P), you only need one Trail booklet per family/group of up to 4-5 people.
And Finally, a Rainy-Day Idea…
Seven Stories, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle
If this glorious weather fails to continue, there are places you can visit “indoors”, check out the websites for ideas, I can recommend Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books is a museum and visitor centre dedicated to children’s literature and based in the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne, close to the city’s newly regenerated quayside. It has various exhibitions and visits from children’s authors as well as plenty of sensory activities and of course story telling!! There is a café, so you can plan a short or longer trip out.
Happy, stress free holidays everyone!! x