Taking my kids shopping is not something that I relish the thought of. As soon as they are within 100 yards of a shop they are suddenly starving and lose the ability to walk normally. Instead either tearing around as fast as they can, or equally endearingly holding my hand only to drag their weight to the floor. Thankfully intu Metrocentre has thought of us parents and there are a host of things to do (lots of them free) to make shopping with kids a bit more bearable, and offer some brilliant activities perfect for a rainy day, or birthday treat.
Entertaining kids can be so expensive, especially in the six weeks holidays. Whilst I balk at the idea of spending more than £30 on an item of clothing for me, we will regularly end up spending that if we head out for the day with the kids. We are really lucky in the North East to have so many options for free days out, from out beautiful beaches to the fantastic parks in the area. But sometimes it's hard to think of them all, so I've had a brainstorm and put as many as I can think of in this list. I considered frugal to be less than £10 in total for the cost of an activity for an adult and two kids (it was £7 last year but so many things have gone up in price!). I've come up with 42 so that’s one for every day of the school holidays. Hopefully this might be a page that you return to a few times over the summer holidays to get some ideas that won't leave you eating baked beans for dinner 6 nights a week.
Disney on Ice is coming back to Newcastle this October. We absolutely love these nights out. Each year it has been an amazing show, and they have such a sense of magic and such a special evening out.
If you haven't been before, and are considering it, then hopefully this post might help. There is some information about this year's show, and then some tips for the night.
Scroll to the bottom for a video of our day out.
During the February half term we visited Diggerland in Durham. It was the first time that we’d visited, which feels strange as it’s such a big local attraction. I think there were probably two reasons, firstly because I didn’t know much about it, apart from that it was a theme park about diggers, and secondly it’s pretty pricey to visit, so there never seemed to be right time.
[Advert] If you are looking for place to visit that will entertain both the children and adults in your group, then <a href="https://www.prestonparkmuseum.co.uk" rel="nofollow">Preston Park Museum and Grounds</a> is a great day out. Until 3rd March 2019, in addition to the brilliant park, museum and Victorian street you can catch <a href="http://www.prestonparkmuseum.co.uk/behindtheseams" rel="nofollow">Behind the Seams</a> is a collection of over 35 costumes from famous films and TV Shows.
Last week we headed along to the Theatre Royal to see this year’s panto – Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I think it’s fair to say that the Theatre Royal offering has an excellent reputation in the North East. I read something earlier that said that they were the fastest selling Pantomime in the country.
Last week we went along to the the opening night of Peter Pan, this year’s Panto at Whitley Bay Playhouse. I had high hopes as I’d loved last year's Cinderella at the Playhouse, but this year the story and jokes didn’t really hit the spot for me. However, my 4 year old, who has been lucky enough to see three pantos this year, says Whitley Bay was his favourite. It’s always a relaxed environment so a good first panto for families with young children.
This year’s show is Beauty and the Beast, and it made a really nice change to be heading to a panto to see a show we’d never seen live before. The story loosely follows the Disney classic that we know and love, but with a fair few plot points taken out and replaced with panto slapstick. There were loads of songs, (including four from The Greatest Showman), laughs and warmth. The theatre is small with comfortable seats and due to the layout you are pretty much guaranteed a good view from wherever you sit.
[ADVERT - We have been provided with complimentary tickets for sharing details of this year’s Disney On Ice presents Dream Big]
We are soooooooooo excited. One of our favourite family nights out is almost upon us. Disney on Ice is back in Newcastle in the Metro Radio Arena for four nights between 2-7 October 2018, and this time they are presenting Dream Big.
Last month we went to messy play at the BALTIC Centre For Contemporary Art. I’m the type of parent who likes to be out and about pretty often, but planning crafting and sensory play activities at home are well outside my comfort zone. Which is why I love classes like this, as the kids can play in all the sprinkles, flour and paint they like, but it doesn’t fall to me to clean it up.
* This is a sponsored post *
We have been National Trust members for a good few years now. Once we had a baby and realised that we'd have a lot more family time to fill, with considerably less money, it seemed to make sense to sign up for an annual membership. Especially as we have so many great National Trust places to visit in the North East. I love that with an annual pass there is always somewhere lovely to visit without needing to spend money. We often take a picnic so it’s always a pretty frugal trip out.
Tyne and Wear Metro recently got in touch to work with us on a Great Exhibition of the North family day out. To celebrate the amazing exhibits, inspired technology and innovation, Tyne and Wear Metro have launched a limited edition design of their Pop Pay As You Go card and a Great Exhibition of the North adventure book.
Entertaining kids can be so expensive, especially in the six weeks holidays. Whilst I balk at the idea of spending more than £30 on an item of clothing for me, we will regularly end up spending that if we head out for the day with the kids. We are really lucky in the North East to have so many options for free days out, from out beautiful beaches to the fantastic parks in the area. But sometimes it's hard to think of them all, so I've had a brainstorm and put as many as I can think of in this list. I considered 'cheap' to be less than £7 in total for the cost of an activity for an adult and two kids. I've come up with 42 so thats one for every day of the school holidays. Hopefully this might be a page that you return to a few times over the summer holidays to get some ideas that won't leave you eating baked beans for dinner 6 nights a week.
Okay, so we might not get many hot days, but when the sun is shining there is nothing quite like playing in water for kids. In the North East we are really lucky to have a quite a few options for where to cool down when it warms up. Lets face it though, we could have a cold and wet summer and most kids would still love to play in a splash pad or take a dip in a paddling pool. Read on for some ideas about where to head and information about opening hours.
We recently visited Little Land Play in Peterlee. One of the newest role play centres to open in the North East. I've been to quite a few role play centres now, and I *think* this one is the biggest? If it isn't, then for me it has the best layout and sense of space. It has been really well designed, with lots of room for kids to run around, but so that parents can view the whole play space from the seating area. The role play area walls are only as tall as kids' height and none of them had front walls/doors so there were no nooks or crannies for kids to hide behind to get.
I had heard great things about the Winter Wonderland at Whitehouse Farm on various facebook groups, so I was really pleased when they got in touch to ask us to come along and see if for ourselves. Whitehouse Farm is a perfect for toddlers as there are so many things included in the entrance fee. Winter Wonderland falls into that category. There is no extra charge to visit Santa, write a letter to him (and receive a reply before you leave), join Elf school, or to walk through the winter wonderland. The usual Whitehouse Farm attractions are all still on, some of them - like the tractor rides - have even been given a Christmas touch.
I have written a few posts about Breakfast with Santa across the North East, but until last weekend I didn’t really know what they entailed. Wyevale Garden Centre in Gosforth got in touch with us because they read my round up post, and invited us to breakfast with Santa, so we took them up on their offer and went along last Saturday.
Santa is clearly an early riser as all of the breakfasts are scheduled for 9am, so getting there was a bit of a struggle for someone like me who is always running late, but for once we arrived bright and early and on time. We headed to the cafe where we were given a really warm welcome by Mrs Claus who showed us to our table, which was looking very festive, set up with crackers and Christmas decorations.
This is a collaborative post.
Tyne and Wear Metro recently got in touch to tell us about their new booklet 'Metro's little book of things to see' which is a guide for famililes on some of the brilliant places to visit along the metro line. The booklet is free of charge and available from any of the nexus travelshops. As well as detailing loads of places that families might like to visit, it is has metro related actvities for kids to try out, such as wordsearches, spot the difference and quizzes. Our favourite game was the #metromission which was a list of things to look out for whilst on family days out, scoring points for each item checked off. It is a really nice little guide and one that I would recommend you pick up if you are going to be out and about with kids on the metro, to add to the fun of getting catching the 'train' and give the kids something to do to help to pass the time.
This week Fenwick's breakfasts and teas with Santa went on sale...and went off sale. They sold out in a day. Whilst you might have been too late for those the good news is that this year there are SHEDLOADS (over 30 in fact) of other dining with Santa options. Tonnes of them, still with availability, so if it's not Christmas to you without feasting with Father Christmas then read on and decide if you would like, breakfast, lunch, tea or ice cream with the big man.