I've searched the local authority websites, the Little Pages booklet, talked to friends, visited the Nexus Travelshop and carefully perused the local newspaper, and here are my top tips for summer fun (n.b. not all the activities are free, but I don't mind spending a little bit of money every so often)!!
I'm not booking up activities for every day, as that would be too much, and sometimes we all like a quiet PJ day, I'm planning one 'paid for' trip each week, and allowing free days for trips to the park, playing in the garden, usual ministry days, hospital appointments or visits from/to family and friends.
- Bike Rides - now Sam can ride without his stabilisers we have lots of places to visit on the bike.
- North Shields Fish Quay - We'll be having fish and chips here, and as its near our home we can walk!
- Treasure Trail at Sage (which is running from 23rd July until 31st August), we are visiting this with some friends this week, and hoping to have lots of fun, not only at Sage but also on Newcastle Quayside.
- Week 2
- Rising Sun Country Park - for some lovely outdoor fun.
- Tynemouth Longsands Beach - Walking distance or a short bus ride away, the beach can prove to be lots of fun whatever the weather
- River Trip - We'll be enjoying an afternoon on a fun-filled party boat (the ferry)! Music, games, face painting and balloon-making will occupy their time, while my parents and I potentially sit back and enjoy a relaxing trip on the ferry. The river trip should also prove to be a great and educational way to point out the historical places of interest around the river banks of our local area which the boys may not normally get to see!
- Laing Art Gallery - Big Wednesday ARTventures (running from 25th July - 29th August) these are free family fun days, to keep your budding artists occupied.
- Blue Reef Aquarium, Tynemouth - In our local newspaper this week there was a voucher for free entry for children, which would mean Sam gets in free (James is under 3 so is free anyway), so I'd only have myself to pay for. I'll probably visit here on a sunny day, as it gets very busy when its rainy!
- Play Rangers - Organising lots of fun outdoor activities in North Tyneside's Parks
- Discovery Museum, Newcastle - this place was always a firm favourite of mine when I was a little girl, and it still doesn't fail to disappoint!
- Rock Pooling at St Mary's Lighthouse - once we've checked the tides we'll head out with our welly boots, buckets and a picnic to find what treasure has been left behind in the pools.
- Shiremoor Adventure Park - It's packed with brilliant features including an awesome outdoor area with high towers, fixed and wobbly rope bridges, climbing frames and nets, a giant rope swing, den-building spaces, tunnels, slides, natural play areas and lots more! There's also a multi-use sports court for ball games and a special area for under fives with a pirate ship and sandpits.
- Great North: Hancock Museum, Newcastle - Another firm favourite, with so much to see and do they boys will be kept busy here for hours
- Whitley Bay Water Park - Open from 10 am til 6pm, we can spend all day having fun with the sky drencher - a tall column which as a bucket on the top. The bucket fills with water and then tips over to give a drenching to anyone below, Water jets that are triggered by the children, Cobbled areas where dams can be made, Sprinkle showers, Water wheel, A set of water tables, and a rock feature and play boulders that can be used for imaginative play or to sit on.
This week will be a little busier because its our 'family week' as Adam has holiday from work too, so all four of us can spend the time together.
- Whitehouse Farm - Whatever the weather, there is lots of fun to be had a this farm, I found a '10% off entry price' voucher in the local paper so will be using this to save some cash.
Whitehouse Farm is a 40 acre farm centre that has been entertaining and educating
visitors since it opened it's doors in May 1997. There is something for everyone and 75% of the farm is undercover so come along whatever the weather for a fun filled day out in the country!
- Thurnton Woods - One of Adam's favourites, it holds lots of memories from his childhood, and we're busy making new memories for our children too.
- Cinema - We're hoping to take the boys to see a child friendly movie
- Penshaw Monument - This 70 foot high folly is a replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens and can be seen for miles around. It is considered to be Wearside's most beloved landmark, even appearing on the badge of Sunderland Football Club. We'll be visiting here, and perhaps flying a kite on Penshaw Hill.
So those are a few of our planned trips. Can you suggest anywhere else we should go?
Happy Summer Holidays!