Ten of the best summer family days out in the North East
PUBLISHED: 18:20 29 July 2012 | UPDATED: 12:12 28 February 2013
Don't be stuck for places to go and things to do this summer
The print version of this article appeared in the August 2012 issue of North East Life
We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here
1 Roman Vindolanda and The Roman Army Museum
Once a key military post on the northern frontier of Britain, Vindolanda is now home to the Vindolanda Writing Tablets and is one Europes most important Roman archaeological sites, with live excavations taking place every year. The nearby Roman Army Museum underwent huge redevelopments last year and now has an award winning 3D docudrama and stunning audio visual displays. Learn about the Romans from a holographic Roman teacher, get a 3D glimpse of everyday life for the soldiers posted here and, until next month, children can complete a quiz around the museum to win a 12 month pass to Vindolanda and the museum.
2 Crook Hall and Gardens, Durham
History comes to life at the beautiful Grade I listed Crook Hall and Gardens in Durham city centre. Take a look in the Medieval Hall, built in 1208, explore the Jacobean Mansion, or discover the Georgian House built by the Hopper family in 1720. You can discover the tales of the many families who lived here and the story of the White Lady, who it is believed haunts the main hall. The grounds are stunning throughout the seasons. During the summer they are blooming with roses and the walled gardens are full of colour. The Moat Pool is teeming with life too, providing you with the opportunity to spot dragonflies, frogs, toads and newts. On August 13th you can take part in a special garden tour. Pre-booking is essential.
3 Alnwick International Music Festival
The historic market town of Alnwick provides the stage for one of the norths favourite music festivals. The International Music Festival transforms the town with eight days of folk dancing and music, with colourful costumes lighting up the streets.
Performances take place around Alnwick from August 4th-11th and the focus is upon the teams of dedicated musicians and folk dancers young and old who are passionate about keeping their folk traditions alive. The organisers expect 200 performers in ten groups from nine countries, including Mexico and India.
Local groups include the Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band, which takes its name from the towns theatre, The Uketeers, a whacky band of ukulele players from Hexham.
4 Glendale Show
This is one of Northumberlands oldest and most spectacular countryside events. It has been in existence for 120 years and its popularity must having something to do with the fact the Cheviots provide it with such a stunning backdrop.
It has a deserved reputation as north Northumberlands premier show, providing one of the north easts great days out. Around 15,000 people went through the gates last year.
The show, with access directly from the A697, celebrates all aspects of farming and rural life with classes for cattle, sheep and goats. There are also more than 160 trade stands plus marquees with speciality food, crafts and country pursuits.
This years show will be on Bank Holiday Monday, August 27th.
5 South Tyneside Summer Festival
The South Tyneside Summer Festival comes to a close this month with a series of free concerts, music-based workshops for all ages and childrens parties for young people aged one to 15.
A variety of North East bands, will be performing at the South Marine Park Bandstand every Saturday afternoon from 2pm-4pm. And brass bands from around the region will be live at the Sea Road, Amphitheatre from 2pm-4pm every Sunday. The Amphitheatre will also host free samba drumming workshops from 1pm-3pm on August 4th and 11th, with a circus workshop on the promenade from 1pm on August 12th and August 19th. And every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon there will be parties at the Amphitheatre, hosted by family favourite Tommy the Trumpeter.
6 Farne Islands
The boats run by the Shiels family have been taking visitors from Seahouses to the Farne Islands since 1918.
Today, the trip is more popular than ever driven by our desire to get close to nature. The Farnes, looked after by the National Trust, are considered to be among the best seabird colonies in the UK. There are more than 20 species here but the real stars are the glorious puffins. There are believed to be around 35,000 pairs in the vicinity. Also, dont miss the colony of grey seals and, if you are there during the autumn, youll see some of the1,000 pups born each year.
The islands have great views and played an important part in the story of Christianity in England.
If youve never been to Beamish, this summer is the perfect time to put that right. It has an enduring appeal for people of all ages and thats why the County Durham museum has picked up award after award. For 40 years, Beamish has been collecting the regions heritage by installing buildings from the past along with transport, the places people worked and where they spent their leisure time. From Georgian to Edwardian times, you can discovered just what life was like for people in the North East. Events planned for August, range from steam rallies to brass band concerts. www.beamish.org.uk
8 Kielder Water and Forest
If you love the great outdoors, head for Kielder in Northumberland. As well as being home to nesting ospreys, this vast area it stretches over 250 square miles provides a host of activities and adventures.
Here you will find the biggest man-made lake in northern Europe and the largest working forest in England. There are three main visitor centres at Tower Knowe, Leaplish and Kielder Castle - to help you plan your day.
This could include hiking, fishing, mountain biking, canoeing, riding the Wannie Line railway, survival training or horse riding. There is also the largest outdoor art gallery in the country and the lack of light pollution means the observatory is a must for star-gazers.
9 Take to the Tees
An eight day festival celebrating the river. Events kick off with a triathlon and also include everything from adrenalin-packed powerboat rides, to gentle riverside strolls. From August 21st-28th visitors will be able to join in the fun by taking part in taster sessions on the water in every kind of vessel whether you fancy white-knuckle thrills or something more sedate. And there will be plenty see and do from dry land, too.
10 Newcastle Mela
Exhibition Park will be transformed with the sights, sounds and smells of South Asia for a weekend this montha s the city celebrates its mela. The free event, based around Punjabi, Pakistani, Bengali and Hindi and other South Asian cultures, and is open to everyone and will feature art, fashion, food and displays of traditional and modern music and dance. The two day community party - from noon-6.30pm on August 26th and 27th will also include hundreds of stalls selling arts and crafts and a programme of events to help children learn and have fun.