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What to do with grandchildren in the North East of England

25th July 2019

During the summer holidays and other school holidays, many grandparents will be asked to look after their grandchildren.

This means you will need to think of activities to do and for people suffering from mobility problems and who need to use walk in showers and baths around their home, it can sometimes be difficult and complicated.

This article, however, takes a look at the top activities and attractions that grandparents and grandchildren can enjoy together in the North East of England.

Adventure Valley

Location: Brasside, Durham


Opening Times: 10am-5pm

Best for: Thrill-seekers

Adventure Valley is a fantastic day out for all the family! With 6 huge play zones to discover, children of all ages are guaranteed hours of ‘all-weather fun’.

With over 18,000 sq. feet of indoor play, packed with slides, tubes, tunnels and scramble nets, children will certainly be entertained. During weekends and school holidays, there are a variety of entertaining shows within the venue’s Showtime Theatre, which provides laughter for not only children but also adults.

Kirsten from the Adventure Valley team discusses what makes the attraction so great for grandparents to take their grandchildren:

“All our animals on-site at Adventure Valley are big lovable pets. We are not a working farm, so we name all our farmyard friends and even offer some for visitors to adopt. The farmyard is home to micro pigs, Pygmy goats, Shetland ponies, rabbits and even chipmunks. All very cute! We do also offer daily animal handling sessions, which can be enjoyed by both children and adults.

“At Adventure Valley we have acres of outdoor fun, which we believe to be enjoyable for the whole family. Whether it be whooshing down our Runaway Racers, flying along the Zip-Line, racing our Go-Karts or bouncing on our Jumping Pillows, there is something for everyone. Families can also admire the beautiful and unusual birds we have on display, visit our goats at Goat Mountain and take a tractor ride to the River Wear and back, taking in the beautiful scenery along the way.
Adventure Valley is easily the North East’s biggest family adventure park.”

Adventure Valley is split into three sections and the top part is completely accessible, giving visitors access to all indoor play areas. The other two sections are outdoors and on a hill, however, paths have been covered in tarmac so people with mobility problems can access them too.

Whitehouse Farm Centre

Location: Morpeth, Northumberland


Opening Times: 10am-5pm

Best for: Animal lovers

Founded in 1997, the Whitehouse Farm Centre has provided interaction, education and fun to anyone who has visited the attraction.

Spread over more than 40 acres it is Northumberland’s largest family-run farm attraction and is always evolving having recently opened a brand-new Hoglets Adventure Play Area that includes a pyramid trio slide tower and a range of interactive play equipment such as a 30m Zip Wire, Solar Spinner and 5 Point Swing.

Dawn Peters, the events & marketing coordinator at Whitehouse Farm Centre, talks about how visitors can handle their animals.

“The farm is a great place for families, school and group visits of all ages enabling visitors to see, handle and feed a wide variety of animals from traditional breeds to more unusual and exotic species. There is always a full programme of hands-on activities from meeting mini beasts and reptiles, hugging a bunny, stroking anything from a snake to sheep, being mesmerised by meerkats and marmosets to having a hoot with the owls and birds of prey in our new and improved interactive Bird of Prey Centre.”

In addition to these attractions, there is a daily schedule of activities run throughout the year and this includes their Easter EGGstravaganza, Halloween Spooktacular and Winter Wonderland. Other special events include bathing a pig, walking a goat, meeting piglets, a bird of prey meet and greet and small animal handling.

The farm park is accessible for visitors with mobility problems as one half of the farm park is tarmacked and easily accessible to wheelchair users. Attractions such as the Swirl Roundabout also has easy wheelchair access.

There are mobility scooters and wheelchairs available to hire free of charge, although there is a refundable deposit of £30 for each item.

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

Location: Sunderland


Opening Times: 10am-4pm (open 12pm-4pm on Sundays)

Best for: History buffs

Here visitors can discover Sunderland’s fascinating history in one place and explore a collection that dates back to 1846.

As part of the collection, there is Wallace the Lion who visited Sunderland as part of a touring wild animal show, the first Nissan car to come off the production line at their Sunderland factory and exhibitions dedicated to the regions shipbuilding, coal mining, glass making and pottery.

The museum’s art gallery boasts a collection of works from LS Lowry, while temporary exhibitions regularly include works by Leonardo Da Vinci and Canaletto.

The Winter Gardens are a 21st-century tropical paradise that is home to over 2,000 plants. The gardens are a recent addition to the museum and there is a treetop walkway that visitors can use for a bird’s eye view of Mowbray Park.

The attraction is accessible to visitors with mobility problems as there is a level access entrance, lifts to all floors and the Winter Gardens Treetop Walk, accessible toilets and wheelchair hire available.

Blue Reef Aquarium Tynemouth

Location: Tynemouth


Opening Times: 10am-6pm (last admission is 5pm)

Best for: Conservationists

This underwater adventure will take you on a journey from the local waters around Tynemouth to exotic destinations across the globe.

There are 40 different displays and tens of thousands of creatures you can see, including rays, sharks, seals and coral reef fish. There are also green iguanas and monkeys living at the aquarium.

There are lots of shows you can take your grandchildren including a seal show, a rockpool encounter and feeding shows too.

The attraction is wheelchair friendly as the walkways are level throughout the aquarium and there are automatic doors visitors with mobility problems can easily get through.

Hamsterley Forest

Location: Bedburn, Hamsterley


Opening Times: Dawn to dusk

Best for: Adventurers

If your grandchildren are little adventurers, then you should take them to Hamsterley Forest as there are lots of activities they can try.

From wildlife watching and dark sky gazing to an adventure play area, there are lots to keep them entertained for the day. As well as the play area there are four walking trails, four cycling trails, two-horse riding trails and a café.

Visitors with mobility problems are catered for at Hamsterley Forest as there are disabled toilets on offer, easy access trails you can follow and level access to the café and Viking play area.

There are so many attractions that are perfect to visit with the family and here we’ve rounded up our top grandchild-friendly attractions in the North East:

  • Adventure Valley
  • Whitehouse Farm Centre
  • Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
  • Blue Reef Aquarium Tynemouth
  • Hamsterley Forest

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.