Days Out Attractions & Buildings
Wallsend centre itself can’t really be described as a beauty spot. There’s a high street just far enough away from Newcastle to keep busy and bustling and there’s a reasonably pretty park too. However, it is what Wallsend marks rather than what it is that makes it special and this is, of course, the end of the Roman wall. Segedunum Roman Fort stands on the banks of the Tyne, the last outpost of Hadrian’s Wall. £9 million has brought the fort back to life with superb hands-on displays, the only reconstructed Roman bath-house in the country and a fabulous viewing tower.
Open: April-Sept 10am-6pm daily. Oct 10am-4pm daily. Nov-Mar 10am-4pm, weekends only. Hermitage open April–Sept 11am-4pm Mon & Sun. Castle prices: adults £5, children (5-15) £3, conc. £4.50, family ticket £13. Hermitage: adults £3.40, children £2, conc. £3.10
The ancient ancestral home of George Washington - Washington Old Hall – was built in this town in the 17th century. The Old Hall is beautifully furnished in pieces from the same period, providing a fascinating insight into how the first President of the United State’s family may have lived. Outside are immaculately maintained gardens featuring the scented plants and herbs of the time. The Great Hall is also available for weddings and private functions – a venue sure to lend any occasion an upmarket air. A Washington attraction with very different appeal is Washington Wetlands Centre. The centre is set in 100 acres of stunning wetland and woodland on the River Wear and is a major conservation success story providing as it does a home to hundreds of rare and endangered ducks, geese and swans, plus a colourful breeding colony of Chilean Flamingos.
Washington Old Hall
Open: Mid March-Start Nov 11am-5pm Sun-Wed. Garden 10am-5pm. Tea Room 11am-4pm. Adults £5.50, Kids £3.50, Family £14.50 At the heart of historic Washington village this picturesque stone manor house and its gardens provide a tranquil oasis, reflecting gentry life following the turbulence of the English Civil War. The building incorporates parts of the original medieval home of George Washington's direct ancestors, and it is from here that the family took their surname of 'Washington'.
Washington Wetlands Centre
Washington, Tyne and Wear
Open: 9.30am-5.30pm. 364 days a year. Adult £8.45, Conc. £6.50, Child £4.25, Family £23.00 (Two adults and two children). The centre is set in 100 acres of stunning wetland and woodland on the River Wear and is a major conservation success story providing as it does a home to hundreds of rare and endangered ducks, geese and swans.
Best remaining stretch of the city walls, Newcastle’s main Medieval defensive fortifications. Also seen at Forth Street/Hanover Street and Broad Chare/City Road. Several wall towers remain, including Durham, Heber and Plummer, with Morden now used for poetry readings.
Whitley Bay has something of a party reputation with plenty of bars tempting the frolicsome and carefree to jump on a Metro and head for ‘Whitley’ to let their hair down (see Newcastle pubs section for more on these). For those searching for high jinx, a good time is guaranteed. Candyfloss, ice-cream and fruit machines are also very much the order of the day. St. Mary’s Lighthouse attracts many visitors to the town as it is one of the few lighthouses to allow the public full access. The views from the top are pretty impressive too. Surrounding the building is a nature reserve – perfect for soggy ankles and happy kids who will be fascinated by the rock-pool inhabitants. Also worth checking out is the totally rebuilt Whitley Bay Playhouse which has had £8 million splashed out on it and plays host to popular plays, musicals and bands.
Whitley Bay Playhouse
The Playhouse originally opened in 1913, being refurbished in 1930, then transformed into a cinema. It's now currently run by a trust who ensures their programme is a lively mix of drama, dance, musicals and cabaret whilst keeping its cinema connections with its film programme. Seating 746 the Playhouse is complete with a bar and is well worth a visit.
Winlaton Cottage Forge
The last remaining link with the Crowley family that once ran iron manufacturing trade in the north-east. The forge dates from the 1690s.