Our 7-day guide of family-friendly activities to make the most of the school holidays
Start the day at the ‘king’ of castles, Bamburgh Castle, which reopens daily from February 10. Feel like royalty in the Great Hall, scare yourself silly in the dungeons and see all kinds of unusual contraptions in the medieval kitchen. Plane enthusiasts will also like the aviation museum, and don’t forget to leave without taking in that view of the beach and coast below. You can spend a large part of your day at the castle, but it would be a shame to go home without a walk on Bamburgh Beach.
If the weather permits, enjoy an hour and a half boat trip out to The Farne Islands. At this time of year you can sail around the islands and see the grey seals. Seal pups were born in the autumn months so you’ll be able to see these youngsters fooling around in the water or chilling on the rocks. Coastal Retreats guests receive discounts at a couple of boat operators so it’s worth checking the partner offers section of your account for details. The afternoon can then be spent relaxing at the private Ocean Leisure Club across the road from the harbour where there’s a dedicated children’s pool and a Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room for the adults.
The Alnwick Garden always has inventive ways of keeping the children entertained and this school holiday is no different. Every child that visits the garden during half term will be given a sapling to plant in the Woodland Walk, and you’ll receive a ticket for a free round of Adventure Golf with your admission ticket. There’s also badge making crafts and the usual highlights of The Treehouse restaurant and its rope bridges, the bamboo maze, the grand cascade and the poison garden.
Hop on the train at Alnmouth and head to the city of Newcastle for a day of shopping, walking the famous bridges on the Quayside and taking in one of the exhibitions at either the Baltic art gallery or the Centre For Life science museum, which is currently showing Dino Jaws, on tour from London’s Natural History Museum.
With such an inspiring landscape, Northumberland is one of those places where a walk should be on your top 10 list. For coastal walks we’d recommend either Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle or Beadnell to Newton by the Sea. There’s pub stops in all these places if you get a little chilly. For the more adventurous, the Northumberland National Park has a two and a half hour walk to the Drake Stone. Originally known as the Dragon Stone, it is said to have special healing powers. Maybe this short pilgrimage is one not to miss if you are looking for a new lease of life!
The Snowdrop Festival opened at Howick Hall Gardens near Craster on February 3. There’s a special explorer challenge for children and it is free for them to enter the gardens. What’s more after you’ve enjoyed the seasonal trails and played nature detective for the day, you can reward yourself with a visit to the Earl Grey Teahouse for afternoon tea.
A holiday is the perfect time to try a new activity. Kimmerston Riding Centre offers supervised horse rides in coastal or country locations. Or if you don’t mind venturing into the North Sea, Kevin Anderson Kitesurfing Adventure Sports based at Beadnell Bay has a variety of watersports for you to try from stand-up paddle boarding to kitesurfing. Read our blog on more experiences you can try while holidaying in Northumberland.