Days Out Parks, Gardens, Walks & Tours
Ropner Park makes an outstanding effort to give back to the community that has loved it for many years. The restored water fountain is a focal point of the park because of its heart-warming history. Fisherman used to wash out the guts of their latest catch in the fountain, much to the locals disgust...but it is this humane touch of historical recollection that keeps Ropner Park close to locals’ hearts.
Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire
If you think Helen Mirren looks good for her age, Roseberry Topping is 200 million years old! She has a few scars from the miners, but aside from that, she’s still as strong as 100 million years ago. Accessible to most, climable in a morning, she offers stunning views across the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire. No wonder she’s attracted the nickname “Yorkshire’s Matterhorn”.
Rossmere Park is in Hartlepool’s urban centre and its four hectares of trees and flowerbeds work as a contrast to the halfpipe skateboard ramp and the aerial runway. It has a play area for the kids and a lake where you can feed the assorted fowl. The park is part of a formal and informal sport and recreation centre, boasting basketball, netball, tennis and even angling on the lake. The Wii is going to have stiff competition once the kids get a load of this.
Saltburn Valley Woodland Centre
This woodland centre blossoms because of its excellent bird viewing area, its permanent and changing display panels and its orienteering course in the Valley Gardens. There is a Nature Club too, which is specifically aimed at 8-12yr olds to get them away from High School Musical and into the valley. A mini-locomotive takes passangers from the beach along the valley floor, at the end of which you’ll find Italian gardens, a newly reopened café and bird sanctuary.
Through historic research, this beautiful park has been restored to its former 19th century splendour. Opened in 1876 to provide a haven of peace and tranquillity, it’s a Grade II Park and Garden of Special Historic Interest and contains 12 listed buildings, the main one being the mansion Saltwell Towers, which is a mix of several styles including Gothic, Elizabethan and French. After undergoing a massive restoration programme, the towers are just one of the restored jewels of the park and now house the popular visitors’ centre. Saltwell Park is laid out as a series of ‘garden rooms’ in different styles. In a short walk, users experience a wide variety of styles - going from open meadow, to formal Italianate gardens and then to a woodland glade.
Open 7.30am until dusk all year round, Stewart Park is a vast 120 acre plot of lakes, wild fowl, pet corners and at the heart of it all the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum. It has two lakes and many domesticated animals, like fallow deer, highland cattle, llamas AND the all-important goats.
Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
Open: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2pm-5pm. Free admission. Discover the history of the city from its prehistoric past to the present day in the museum’s exciting displays augmenting the collections with hands-on exhibits and interactive displays. The art gallery features paintings by L.S. Lowry alongside Victorian masterpieces and artefacts from the four-corners of the world. The stunning Winter Gardens stimulate the senses with over 1,500 of the world’s most exotic flowers and plants. The gardens also include exciting water features and a stunning treetop walkway, from which visitors can look down on the plants below.
The Garden Station
An attractive mid 19thC railway station in a small secluded garden in the woods at Langley. Recently restored and retaining its original features the station has been converted into a small centre for art exhibitions, and for gardening and art and craft courses. A unique and tranquil place with unusual plants, woodland walk, gardening books and tea and coffee. The Little Leaning Shed Cafe is open six days a week, Tuesday-Sunday, May-Aug.
on Seaham sea front, Seaham
The Italian Gardens
Open: All year daily dawn to dusk. Admission free. In the heart of the SaltburnValley lies the Italian Gardens with their impressive bedding displays which include sub-tropical specimens in the summer months. Open: All year daily dawn to dusk. Free.
The Lodge, Consett Park
Consett, County Durham
Set in the beautiful Blackhill & Consett Park, which was gifted to the community by Consett Iron Company in 1891, The Lodge was the Park Keeper’s cottage and has now been transformed into a heritage centre with information on the local history of Consett and surrounding area, including things to do and places to visit.
Tom Keating Guided Tours
Tom Keating, Blue Badge Guide offers a friendly, professional local guiding service to tour operators, individuals, small or large groups. Panoramic coach tours of NewcastleGateshead, and the North East as a whole, are a speciality, and can include walking tours or a combination of both.