Time flies when you’re having fun, which would explain why June went by in the blink of an eye. The weather may have been a bit unpredictable here in the North East of England but one thing’s for sure, there’s never any shortage of things to do! Here’s a little round up of some of the lovely days out I’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks, I hope it gives you some summer inspiration.
A Lazy Sunday Afternoon at Gibside
I’d been meaning to visit Gibside for years, it’s one of my nearest National Trust sites, set amongst the picturesque Derwent Valley in Gateshead. There’s lots to explore on the country estate including beautiful landscaped gardens, The Strawberry Castle play area, perfect picnic spots and fascinating 18th Century architecture.
We were lucky enough to discover live music being performed in the peaceful chapel when we eventually popped in and we felt so relaxed as we wandered around the gardens in the sun.
Gibside has a jam packed calendar of events and activities ranging from their ‘Growers and Sowers Club’ and ‘Tots Plots’ for green fingered folk of all ages to Open Air Theatre, Foodie Nights at the Gibside Pub and Wild Camping Weekends!
The Terrace at Hawthorns
More from the Summer Menu launch @hawthorns_ncl @crowneplazancl yesterday evening, perfect weather, friendly, welcoming staff & lovely food! #NEFollowers #nefoodies #foodporn #foodies #tasteofthenortheast #foodbloggers #nebloggers #savour #hawthorns #summermenu #menulaunch #newcastle #fashionvoyeur #pixietenenbaum #northeast
I was recently invited along to Hawthorns, the restaurant at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle, to sample the wares of their fabulous local suppliers! The sun was out so we were treated to a BBQ on the terrace and while a DJ got us in the party spirit I mingled with other North East bloggers (including Pixie from Fashion Voyeur who’s pic I have used above) and enjoyed a vast array of delicious dishes. If you’re looking for somewhere to schmooze clients or you happen to be staying at the hotel this summer, definitely head for Hawthorns!
All the Fun of the Fair at the Hoppings
As any Geordie will tell you, no summer is complete without a visit to the Hoppings! Europe’s biggest travelling fun fair (some say the World!) has been coming to Newcastle for over 100 years, filling the Town Moor with colour, noise and fun as far as the eye can see!
I took my Mum, Dad and four year old niece and nephew for their first ever Hoppings experience during a recent visit to see me in Newcastle and although I’d tried to describe how huge and exciting it was, I don’t think they quite believed it till they saw for themselves!
We enjoyed traditional games like Hook-a-Duck and the Kentucky Derby and the kids went of loads of rides emblazoned with images of their favourite cartoon characters. I promised we’d go on the white knuckle rides when they were a little older! We had a lovely day out, until the heavens opened and we had to leg it to the car in the pouring rain, but that’s all part of a visit to Hoppings I’m afraid, it is synonymous with unpredictable weather!
Fruit Picking at Brocksbushes
In the same weekend as our Hoppings visit we also made the short journey up the A69 for some fruit picking fun at Brocksbushes Farm! It was a great way to spend a few hours of quality time together in the great outdoors and teach the little ones about where our food comes from. As we wandered through the acres of strawberry fields, trying to resist eating before paying, I overheard my niece Emily say ‘we’re having a lovely day aren’t we Grandma?’ in the cutest voice ever, I nearly melted!
If you visit Brocksbushes this weekend (9th/10th July 2016) you can also enjoy the Summer Fayre, there’ll be a bouncy castle, music, face-painting and food & craft stalls. Entrance is free, you’ll just pay for any fruit you pick.
A Day at the Races
A photo posted by Rachel Kershaw (@rachmotormouth) on
My job at Metro Radio does come with some rather lovely perks and the company recently whisked us off to Newcastle Racecourse for the first day of the Northumberland Plate Festival. The sun was scorchio and the fizz was in full flow.
Although Plate day on the Saturday is normally the highlight of the racing calendar in Newcastle, I actually think we had a better time than the weekend race-goers because we could watch all the action beside the track without without worrying about the weather and there were no crazy queues for the bar or the loos! The only downside was that I didn’t back any winners!
Summer Menu Launch at Malmaison
Chez Mal Brasserie at Malmaison on Newcastle Quayside recently launched their new summer menu and I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch party. It was a glitzy and sophisticated affair with a champagne reception and specially created cocktail menu plus the chance to sample beautifully prepared mini portions of the talented chef’s new creations.
James and I both agreed that we mistakingly overlook the Mal when choosing somewhere to dine but not anymore… we were hugely impressed by the yummy seafood dishes, tasty hand-made burgers and quirky afternoon teas. The restaurant has glorious views of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the staff are some of the friendliest around so we are definitely heading back there soon and I urge you to check it out too!
North East Chilli Fest
I’m a bit of a softie when it comes to hot food but the annual North East Chilli Fest is much more than a chilli eating competition! The two day festival in the grounds of Seaton Deleval Hall also had a live music stage which was filled with the sounds of sweet British Soul all weekend, including a headline performance from Kenny Thomas!
There were an abundance of food stalls serving up chilli inspired dishes from across the globe and selling locally produced ingredients to take home. There was even a cabaret tent hosted by award winning local magician Chris Cross.
It was a cracking day out in a beautiful setting with a really friendly and relaxed vibe. Next year the event will be relocated to a different venue in the in the North East (tbc) and promises to be even bigger and better so watch this space!
As you can see, I’ve been a busy bee and there’s still lots more to look forward to in Geordieland over the summer. How has your summer been so far? I’d love to hear about any adventures you’ve been on!