Ice Skating This Festive Season In & Around The North East


The build up and buzz to Christmas 2021 is well underway now and one of our favourite family festive activities is ice skating. There’s something so nostalgic about putting on a pair of skates and slipping around the rink. Here’s our guide to the best ice skating experiences available this year.

*I’ll be updating this post regularly so keep checking back*


Centre For Life, Newcastle

Dates: 13th November 2021 – 9th January 2022

Where: Times Square, NE1 4EP

About: “We are delighted to confirm that our much-loved, open-air ice rink will return this winter. Tickets for timed slots can be purchased online in advance. Some slots will be kept free for walk-ups – but booking is advised to avoid disappointment.”

Prices: Adult – £11.50, Child – £9.00, Under 4’s – £4.00

Booking & Further Details: https://www.life.org.uk/events/ice-skating

Centre For Life, Newcastle

Keel Square, Sunderland

Dates: 27th November 2021 – 3rd January 2022

Where: Keel Square, SR1 3LH

About: “Ready to deliver a magical winter experience for people of all ages we promise to give you the best year yet at Sunderland Ice Rink with our fantastic new all weather rink – say goodbye to the rain and wind we now have a huge marquee covering us from the elements!”

Prices: Adult – £10.00, Child – £8.00, Under 4’s – £3.00

Booking & Further Details: https://sunderlandicerink.co.uk

Keel Square, Sunderland

Manor Walks, Cramlington

Dates: 2nd December 2021 – 2nd January 2022

Where: Manor Walks Shopping Centre, NE23 6UT

About: “Join us at Manor Walks Shopping Centre for festive fun with a glide on our first ever real ice rink! Grab your skates and enjoy the 32x 15m open air ice rink and enjoy the perfect day out with friends and family.”

Prices: Adult – £9.00, Child – £6.00

Booking & Further Details: https://www.manorwalks.co.uk/news-events/events/festive-ice-rink/

Manor Walks, Cramlington

Metro Centre, Gateshead

Dates: 9th November 2021 – 31st December 2021

Where: Exhibition Square, NE11 9YG

About: “We’ve brought the outdoors indoors this year with our magical Arctic Experience. Little kids, and big kids too, can skate on our synthetic ice rink, grab a selfie on our enchanted throne, and watch the magical snow fall indoors.”

Prices: £2 per person

Booking & Further Details: https://themetrocentre.co.uk/whats-on/events/arctic-experience

Metro Centre, Gateshead

Ocean Beach, South Shields

Dates: 26th November 2021 – 9th January 2022

Where: Sea Road, NE33 2LA

About: “With Festive food stalls, Bar, our very own real ice skating rink and of course some of your favourite rides and arcades are open daily too.”

Prices: Adult – £9.00, Child – £7.00

Booking & Further Details: https://www.oceanbeach.co.uk/events/ice-skating-and-winter-wonderland/

Ocean Beach, South Shields

Winter Winderland, Gosforth

Dates: 19th November 2021 – 2nd January 2022

Where: Racecourse, NE3 5HP

About: “We have something for all the family – from thrilling rides, attractions and an ice rink to Santa Claus himself & his reindeer. This is not one to be missed! We look forward to seeing you there!”

Prices: Adult – £9.50, Child – £7.50 (general admission tickets also need to be purchased)

Booking & Further Details: https://www.winterwonderlandnewcastleracecourse.co.uk/events/ice-skating-book-online.php

Winter Winderland, Gosforth

Winter Wonderland At Rainton Arena, Houghton-Le-Spring

Dates: 26th November 2021 – 2nd January 2022

Where: DH4 5PH

About: “Grab Your Skates And Come And Join Us At Our Real Open Air Ice Rink. Kick Off The Winter Season With Some Festive Skating, Open Daily. Stretch Out And Practice Your Skating Moves And Enjoy The Afternoon Sun As It Glistens On The Ice; Soak Up The Romantic Atmosphere At Twilight, Or Skate After Dark Under The Stars.”

Prices: TBC

Booking & Further Details: https://raintonarena.co.uk/events/

Winter Wonderland At Rainton Arena, Houghton-Le-Spring


Halloween Trails In And Around The North East


From bats to pumpkins, ghosts to potions there are loads of Halloween Trails happening over Half Term throughout the region.


Alnwick Garden Family Friendly Halloween Trail, Alnwick

What They Say: “Grisly ghouls, spooky skeletons and Halloween nasties have taken over The Alnwick Garden, grab your family’s hand and go on a spook-tacular adventure around The Alnwick ‘Spooky’ Garden. A trail card and activity pack will assist you on your ghoulsome journey.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.alnwickgarden.com/events/daytime-halloween-trail-2021-10-23/


Berwick Museum Bat Trail, Berwick

What They Say: “Pick up your trail sheet at the museum Welcome Desk then explore the museum to try and find all the bats. Count how many you can find and make your way back to the Welcome Desk with your completed trail sheet. If you’ve spotted them all then you’ll be rewarded with a small sweet treat! The Berwick Bat Trail is inspired by the story of the Berwick Vampire.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://museumsnorthumberland.org.uk/whats-on/berwick-bat-trail/


Ford & Etal Scarycrow Trail, Heatherslaw

What They Say: “The famous Scarycrow Trail has been running for over 10 years and causes great excitement amongst visitors and locals. Follow the trail of weird and wonderful ‘Scarycrows’ around the villages, awarding them scores as you go.”

Booking Needed:

When: Monday 25th October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.ford-and-etal.co.uk/events/the-famous-scarycrow-trail/


Gibside Halloween Trail, Rowlands Gill

What They Say: “Venture on a quest through the West Wood and help Ghastly Griselda collect magic items to conjure a grizzly pet. Creep towards Griselda’s lair and create a scary monster using twigs, acorns, leaves and more – from spindly arms and scruffy hair to yellow fangs and eyes that glare!”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/557cf357-7f51-46bb-82a8-174e5f7784d6/pages/details


Hardwick Park Day Of The Dead Trail, Sedgefield

What They Say: “This Halloween trail is inspired by the Day of the Dead. Purchase your trail sheet from the café and search for the items hidden around the park. Each one will help you learn more about the Mexican traditions relating to this special.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.thisisdurham.com/whats-on/day-of-the-dead-trail-at-hardwick-park-p1075861


High Force Halloween Trail, Co. Durham

What They Say: “If you venture down to High Force Waterfall this Halloween, you’ll find a series of spine-tingling clues along our woodland walk. Can you collect them all, solve the puzzle and make it all the way back to the Hotel?”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.raby.co.uk/events/high-force-halloween-trail/


Land Of Oak & Iron Painted Pumpkin Trail, Winlaton Mill

What They Say: “After the popularity of last year’s trail – we have once again enlisted our artist friends and our staff team to get creative by hand painting spooky pumpkins for our Painted Pumpkin Trail! Visit the Heritage Centre in Winlaton Mill and pick up a trail page during half-term, then find and name all the different painted pumpkins that you encounter.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: http://landofoakandiron.org.uk


Newham Grange Farm Halloween Trail, Middlesbrough

What They Say: “Complete the Halloween Trail on a Halloween Walk.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Friday 29th October 2021

Further Details: https://newhamgrangefarm.co.uk/discover/events/halloween-fun/


North Tyneside Big Pumpkin Trail, North Tyneside

What They Say: “The Borough’s Big Halloween Pumpkin Trail features 30 giant pumpkin caricatures on pavements in and around town centre locations, and adventurers will be able to track all of them using a free app. Characters can be found in Tynemouth, Wallsend, Whitley Bay, North Shields, Cullercoats, Killingworth, Forest Hall and more.”

Booking Needed:

When: Throughout October

Further Details: https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/news/29023/north-tynesides-big-halloween-pumpkin-trail


Northumberlandia Pumpkin & Bat Trails, Cramlington

What They Say: “Download our trail guide to help your explorers find our hidden clues in the woodland, learning interesting facts as you go.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.facebook.com/northumberlandia/


Ormsby Hall Potion & Poisons Trail, Middlesbrough

What They Say: “Are you brave enough to follow the Halloween trail through the house? Grab your potion ingredients list before searching for the potion bottles to find out what is required to cast your spookiest spell. Keep alert for what you might find in the dark rooms filled with magic and mystery, then continue your spooky adventure outside to discover more about the darker side of nature on the poison garden trail.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ormesby-hall/features/halloween-adventures-at-ormesby-hall

Ormsby Hall Potion & Poisons Trail, Middlesbrough

Paxton House Halloween Trail, Berwick-Upon-Tweed

What They Say: “Come and follow our Halloween Trail around the grounds at Paxton House for some spooky surprises this October. “

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 9th October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://paxtonhouse.co.uk/event/halloween-trail/

Paxton House Halloween Trail, Berwick-Upon-Tweed

Project Feelgood Halloween Rock Hunt, Blyth

What They Say: “Find all the clues on our spooky trail to complete the quest.”

Booking Needed:

When: Wednesday 27th October

Further Details: https://m.facebook.com/ProjectFeelGoodUK/

Project Feelgood Halloween Rock Hunt, Blyth

Raby Castle Halloween Trail, Co. Durham

What They Say: “Collect an activity sheet from our creepy Coach Yard and see what hidden creatures you can find. Steer clear of the Witch’s cauldron and brave our scary spiders to find all of the clues and complete the puzzle.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.raby.co.uk/events/halloween-half-term-trail/

Raby Castle Halloween Trail, Co. Durham

Souter Lighthouse, Sunderland

What They Say: “Get into the spirit of Halloween with our spooky outdoor trail.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/souter-lighthouse-and-the-leas/features/october-half-term-at-souter-lighthouse

Souter Lighthouse, Sunderland

Tynemouth Park Pumpkin Trail, Tynemouth

What They Say: “Follow the pumpkin trail through the maze”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.tynemouthpark.com

Tynemouth Park Pumpkin Trail, Tynemouth

Ushaw Illuminated Trail, Durham

What They Say: “Travel through our child-friendly Halloween-themed illuminated gardens, where you will come across some rather spooky characters roaming the grounds of Ushaw.”

Booking Needed:

When: Friday 29th October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://ushaw.org/whatson/halloween-at-ushaw-illuminated-trail/

Ushaw Illuminated Trail, Durham

Wallington Broomstick Trail, Morpeth

What They Say: “Thirteen witches have left their best broomsticks behind at Wallington! See how many you can spot during your visit.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wallington


Washington Wetland Centre Halloween Trail, Washington

What They Say: “Are you brave enough to explore the weird and wonderful side of wetland nature this October? Discover what lurks beneath and join us on our all new interactive trail to uncover amazing facts about some very special creatures, while facing tricky tests along the way.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 2nd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://www.facebook.com/wwtwashington/

Washington Wetland Centre Halloween Trail, Washington

Woodhorn Museum, Ashington

What They Say: “Pick up your trail sheet and then explore the museum and colliery buildings to try and find all the hidden pumpkins.”

Booking Needed:

When: Saturday 23rd October until Sunday 31st October 2021

Further Details: https://museumsnorthumberland.org.uk/woodhorn-museum/event/pumpkin-trail-4

Woodhorn Museum, Ashington

Ways To Make Your Daily Walk A Little More Interesting

For the next few weeks, government guidelines state everyone should “Stay Local” and avoid unnecessary travel. Twelve months after we were first told we must “Stay At Home” I’m sure everyone has exhausted all of the walking routes in their area. So how do you make your daily walk a little bit more exciting? Below are a few options that are super engaging and fun.

HUNTEE

Brief: Free treasure hunts on your phone to explore the world around you.

Area Covered: Tees Valley

Tell Me More: Each Huntee is a digital treasure hunt, encouraging players to explore the world around them. To date the Huntee platform has 27 digital treasure hunts around the region. Players can compete against the clock to earn the highest score and even collect medals & badges as they progress. Huntee is a Progressive Web App that can easily be played on all modern smartphones and tablets in the web-browser. No app download is required.

How Do I Play: https://www.myhuntee.com


HUNT FUN

Brief: Town and city treasure hunts

Area Covered: UK & Europe

Tell Me More: Follow the directions and solve the clues along the way. Treasure Hunts take you past many local attractions and places of interest, but more importantly they get you looking around opening your eyes to many other things you would ordinarily walk straight past! A hunt will take about 2 hours to complete and is ideal for families.

How Do I play: http://www.huntfun.co.uk


GEOCACHING

Brief: Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices.

Area Covered: Worldwide

Tell Me More: Have a read of our recent blog post about geocaching here https://northeasteats.home.blog/2021/02/15/a-guide-to-geocaching/

How Do I Play: https://www.geocaching.com/play


LITTLE WOOD WALKERS

Brief: Scavenger hunts, challenge cards and forest activities designed to get kids outdoors, one wood at a time.

Area Covered: North East

Tell Me More: There’s something going on in the woods and Tailsy the Squirrel needs your help. Little Wood Walkers allows your child to choose their own story through the wood, whilst following their chosen characters story and completing challenges along the way. Add an extra element to the story with more challenge cards and scavenger hunts.

How Do I Play: https://www.littlewoodwalkers.co.uk


TREASURE TRAILS

Brief: Explore the UK with one of 1,000 different Murder Mystery, Treasure Hunt or Spy Mission themed self-guided Treasure Trails

Area Covered: UK

Tell Me More: We’ve completed loads of Treasure Trails, read about them here https://northeasteats.home.blog/2020/11/15/treasure-trails-the-fun-way-to-explore/

How Do I Play: https://www.treasuretrails.co.uk

So get out, get exploring and enjoy your local area.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of the above and what you thought of them.

Walking With The Snowman and The Snowdog – North Tyneside 2020

Over the coming weeks, enjoy a (socially distant) Christmassy walk around North Tyneside’s town centres following The Snowman and The Snowdog trail.

This winter, North Tyneside’s most prominent shopping areas are delighted to welcome Wild In Arts festive sculpture trail celebrating Raymond Briggs’ quintessential Christmas characters, The Snowman and The Snowdog.

The ‘Walking with The Snowman and The Snowdog’ trail is made up of 20 stunning sculptures featuring twelve giant Snowman and eight Snowdog.

Each of The Snowman figures have been reimagined with stunning designs and decoration relating to the song, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’.

The sculptures are waiting to be discovered in and around North Tyneside, specifically Wallsend, North Shields, Killingworth, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay.

The trail is centred around North Tyneside’s shopping areas to hopefully encourage those completing the trial to support small businesses and shop local in the run up to Christmas.

An interactive app costing 99p, which includes a trail map and sculpture information, is available for download in the app store with the proceeds going to St Oswald’s Hospice.

Alternatively, you can visit https://walkingwiththesnowman.co.uk/event/north-tyneside-2020/ to view all of the sculptures and download the trail map there.

After visiting each sculpture, you can share your ‘snowfies’ with the sculptures using: #SnowmanandSnowdogNT

Local artist Lisa Kirkbride designed the A Partridge in a Pear Tree Snowman, which can be found outside “For the Love of the North” at Spanish City in Whitley Bay. Prints and Christmas cards based on Lisa’s design can be purchased in-store, online and in selected St Oswald’s Hospice shops.

You can also bring home the magic of The Snowman and The Snowdog Trail North Tyneside 2020 with Snowdog figurines available in-store at “For the Love Of The North” or online at https://www.snowdogarttrails.co.uk/shop/.

The Snowman and The Snowdog trail is available from Saturday 14th November through to the end of January 2021 so plenty of time to get out there and find them all.

If you do manage to spot the sculptures, I’d love to know which one(s) is your favourite, we have ours!

This initiative is organised by North Tyneside Council and Wild in Art and is supported by the North of Tyne Combined Authority.