The weather is getting better and days are getting longer. It is time to start getting out and exploring instead of sitting in the house keeping warm. To help motivate you to get out and about I have put together a list of some of the great things to do in the North East this Spring. There is plenty going on, this is only a selection of some of the things going on in the area. Please feel free to let me know of any events you are planning on attending in the comments below.
Northumberland National Park is 60 this year. The park covers over 400 square miles and is the least populated park in the UK. There is plenty to see and do in the area. Why not explore Kielder Water and Forest Park, visit Hadrian’s wall or one of the many Roman forts along it’s length or trek the Cheviot hills. You may even spot a red squirrel or one of Northumberland’s wild neolithic goats. Northumberland National Park is Europe’s largest dark sky park so why not visit at night and and get an amazing view of the night sky.
To celebrate Northumberland National Parks 60th birthday go along to the party Party in the Park at Walltown Quarry Country Park on the 6th of April between 10:30 am and 4:30 pm. A full programme of entertainment is planned activities and entertainment for individuals and families. You can meet the Rangers, take part in a wildlife safari or try bush crafts and much much more. One lucky person will also have the honour of unveiling and cutting Northumberland National Park’s unique 60th birthday cake made by local confectioner Vallum House Cakes. There are charges for some of the activities and car parking but it looks like a fun day.
If you are not able to get along to the party there are lots of event taking part in the Northumberland National Park this year. If you ever wanted to take a walk though the park but were scared of exploring on your own why not take one of the guided walks in the park. There are more than seventy routes covering the length and breadth of the park so you can explore the Cheviots or Hadrian’s Wall and Sycamore gap. The Volunteer Guided Walk programme runs until October is designed to give people of all ages and abilities an opportunity to explore the park.
If you are a confident walker you can download a series of self guided walks called Rangers Favourite Walks. These contain information about the route, wildlife and history along the way as well as being graded from Easy to Moderate. There are six of these routes in total and you can download them on the Northumberland National Park website: http://www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/cat/walking/
If you are feeling really adventurous you could make a couple of days of it and stay in youth hostels along the way like YHA Once Brewed.
If you love vintage or fancy a great day out with entertainment, street food and plenty of shopping pop the 23rd April into your diary. There is a Vintage Festival at The Clayshed, Hoults Yard in Newcastle from 10.30 – 4:30. It looks like it will be a fun day out with vintage stalls, classic cards, dancing demonstrations, vintage inspired workshops and even a vintage tea room. To find out more visit: http://www.britaindoesvintage.co.uk/event/theclayshedbigvintagefestival/
The Centre for Life is hosting the Maker Faire on the 23rd and 24th April. This is a brilliant science fair that brings together hackers, crafters, coders, DIYers and garden shed inventors from all over the globe and celebrates their inventions and makes. We went to the Maker Faire a couple of years ago and had a great day discovering lots of new things. There are opportunities to get hands on and try making and building things yourself. Find out more and get tickets at: http://www.makerfaireuk.com/
In Northumberland there are plenty of castles, you can drive along the coastal route and find lots of them. Bambrough castle is a great example and Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island is one I keep meaning to revisit. Last time we went to Holy Island we visited the Vikings in Lindisfarne Priory instead. Many of them have events on at various times of the year. Warkworth castle have a St George’s pageant on the weekend of the 24th April.
Medieval Life will be recreated with recreate cooking, weaving, games and crafts as well as soldier’s demonstrating military drill and archery. We went to a medieval day here before and it was a lot of fun. Warkworth Castle owned by English heritage so admission charges apply.
There are plenty of National Trust properties in the North East worth visiting and plenty of new events and exhibitions have been added this year.
To mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown Wallington is holding a number of events including guided walks, expert talks, tours of Rothley Lake which Brown advised on the design of, and exhibitions of original Brown designs and textiles produced by the Embroiders’ Guild. Capability Brown was born at Kirkharle near Wallington and went to school in Cambo village. He left Northumberland in 1739 and went on to become England’s most significant landscape gardener. The Owl House in the Walled Garden is also open for the first time.
This year marks the 60th year that Washington Old Hall has been under the care of the National Trust. To mark the occasion there is a small exhibition to trace the highs and lows of the building, the people who lived there and famous visitors. I intend to visit this year and find out more about the hall as it is somewhere I still have to visit.
Cragside is one of my favourite National Trust properties and one that I always need more time to spend at when I visit. Last time we went we explored the house but still need to explore the extensive gardens. The house now has longer opening hours, from 11am instead of 1 pm. The traditional visitor route has been revised and there is now a more relaxed approach and the roped boundaries have been moved further allowing people to explore more. In the summer an electrical room will open which will be an interactive space bringing Lord Armstrong’s experiments to life.
Do you have any plans for places to visit this Spring and Summer? I would love to know.