August in the North East

The summer holidays are in full swing and we are almost knocking on August’s door so let us take a look at ten ideas for a jaunt out in the North East.

1. Get out into the beautiful Northumberland Countryside and head to the beautiful village of Rothbury. You can either take the car or why not make it a bus jaunt via the Arriva X14 from Newcastle City Centre. Paul has a special affinity with Rothbury as his Mum and Dad loved the journey from the coast at Whitley Bay deep into the countryside. Rothbury boasts a picture postcard village and on a summers day there is nothing lovelier than a walk along the riverbank with the gentle sound of the river trickling by. Enjoy a lunch at the Newcastle House and have a tootle around the shops. Paul’s Dad would swear that the sausages from the fabulous Rothbury Butchers were the very best in the land and its Cragside Cracker a legend to behold. Of course talking of Cragside the world famous National Trust property and former home of the pioneering Lord Armstrong is just five minutes’ drive from the village. The beauty of Rothbury is that you feel a million miles away from it all so why not even investigate the cottages and guest houses in the vicinity as you might even be lucky to grab a sneaky mid-week break. Photo credit Visit Northumberland

2. One of the many gems we are so proud of in the North East is the magnificent Beamish Open Air Museum. We both have special memories of the museum as Lucy worked closely with them as part of a school project on WW1 and for Paul it marked once of his very first days out as wee nipper back when it was a fraction of the size it is today. The great thing about Beamish is that it has something to offer whatever the time of year with its great programme of events and entertainment. Now who doesn’t love a brass band? And just by chance August offers opportunity aplenty to enjoy the very best . On Sunday 5th August in its resplendent band stand we have the Reeth Brass Band playing between 2:00 – 4:00pm kicking off a month of wonderful brass music at the weekend. Pack a picnic and enjoy stepping back in time.

Photo Credit: Beamish Museum

3. Paul’s ‘love of the North’ came from his parents having a caravan for many years in the Durham Dales which offered so many wonderful places to visit. A day out was never complete without a picnic and the map studied to find the best picnic spot. Paul’s favourite was located in Upper Teesdale just outside the tiny village of Bowlees. The picnic area is a great starting point for a walk along to the spectacular sights of Low Force, just a few miles downriver from its big brother High Force. Straddling the river Tees was the imposing sight of the “Wynch Bridge” and it took all of Paul’s courage to cross it when he was a lad. Once crossed you find yourself on the route of the Pennine Way and if you feel so, can follow the path to the aforementioned High Force. Take care if visiting with small children as the path runs parallel with the river. The Visitor Centre at Bowlees is always worth a visit for all ages and you may even find they have one of their activity sessions going on. Back in the day Paul’s parents would use the red telephone box just off the main road to phone home when a 10p piece was the only key to your contact with the outside world.

Photo Credit: This Is Durham

4. Meanwhile at the mouth of the river Tyne the imposing sight of Tynemouth Priory Castle hosts its “Clash of Nights” on the weekend of 18th and 19th August. Always great fun and those involved really get into the part bringing medieval times right into the twenty first century. Picnics are a recurring theme this month so why not bring one along with you and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of an 11th Century Priory. If it’s a lovely day then why not extend the fun and have a walk down to King Edwards Bay and enjoy a plodge in the sea.

Photo Credit English Heritage

5. Let’s venture indoors now to the wonderful Seven Stories Centre for Children’s Books which always has a great events programme and on Saturday 27th August you can meet former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell for a “a hands-on interactive hour of fairy tale storytelling and drawing to celebrate his new picture book, Once Upon a Wild Wood.

Photo Credit The Guardian

6. We love including a hidden gem and on such is Bide-A-Wee Cottage Garden and Nursery. Located in Stanton, Northumberland Bide-A-Wee offers something very unique and intimate providing inspiration for imaginative planting for the keen gardener. It is an oasis of relaxation and calm whilst offering spectacular views of the Northumberland Countryside. You can enjoy a tea, coffee or ice cream on your visit and pick up some beautiful plants from the nursery.

The garden has a limited season so August is your last month of the year to visit. Open Wednesday and Saturday afternoons 1:30pm – 5:00pm. Go on and discover this gem of an open garden.

Photo Credit Bide-A-Wee Cottage Garden & Nursery

7. Summer is the time for hitting the open road and Woodhorn Museum just outside Ashington is celebrating one of our most iconic vehicles, the mini. On Sunday 5th August they are hosting “The Geordie Job Mini Show”. The Tynemouth Mini Club shall bring mini’s both classic and modern era, including the original 1960 mini. Nothing quite puts a smile on your face than seeing a collection of colourful mini’s full of character. Drop in between 11:00am – 4:00pm.

Photo Credit Woodhorn Museum

8. If you really fancy something a bit different then on Monday 13th August how about enjoying a “Night Safari” at the wonderful Kielder Forest Park:

“Hunt for the elusive nightlife of the forest including bats, owls and creepy crawlies of all descriptions. Join professional naturalist, Bruce Ferguson, on a night time expedition in search of some of the nocturnal inhabitants of the forest. In particular, a detector will be used to help locate some of the bats that live in and around the forest.”

Photo Credit North East Wildlife

9. August can mean only one thing in Whitley Bay and that is the return of its ever popular film festival to our home town. Running from the 16th August – 1st September the festival as always offers some wonderfully varied choices of films, talks and experiences. We are particularly excited about the “Arthouses” event over the weekend of 18th and 19th August in which the residents of Albany Gardens open their doors and gardens between 6:00pm – 10:00pm and all welcome to enjoy an array of contemporary artworks in all media. There is always something for everyone during this fantastic festival.

Photo Credit Cloud Nine Theatre Company

10. Actually August means something else too – blackberries. A lovely way to spend a late summer’s afternoon is to come across a patch of blackberries along a country lane and enjoy picking some delicious fruit and imaging the blackberry crumble that is going to be made back home. Leave some for others though, including our precious wildlife in the hedgerows who need sustenance to see them through the winter.

Photo Credit National Trust