I suppose I need to wrap up this rather haphazard set of posts about our holiday. So the other things we got up to are here. Mostly gardens.
On the way North we stopped at Preston Park, entirely because it was there when the children/parents got grumpy. It has a lovely big playground and bouncy castles and a reasonable cafe. Loads more (such as 'grounds') but we focussed on the playground and the cafe really. Marisca did really well at these swinging things, "challenging herself" and eventually getting up to the 4th handhold. Quite impressive.
They love bouncy castles...
...and of course each other.
On the train and Etal castles day (did I mention the train? There was a train) we found ourselves at a cafe at Heatherslaw Watermill that had a load of outdoor games outside. Marisca is surprising good at hula hooping.
And then we popped up to a Big Horse Place (I forget the name). It had big horses, two of which were called Emily and Thomas (being the names of local friends, this amused us). Marisca would like me to tell you that there was a sheep that sounded a lot like a pig. Plus Big Horses.
On a different, quite sunny day we went to The Alnwick Garden. Not just Alnwick Garden, it has the be The Alnwick Garden. Anyway, despite being quite a way from the parking, and being incredibly crowded with tourists and probably not too cheap, we had a very lovely time. They had a fairy tales treasure hunt thing which was great - Marisca chose to dress up and we raced round the gardens looking for clues. Without the hunt I'm not sure we'd have had quite so much fun, the gardens would have been equally nice for us but a challenge to drag the children round.
Hint: in busy places, dress Tom in bright orange.
I think per the clues that this is the Beast's rose. It was just quite nice so I took a photo.
Tom, not getting lost (although he id taking an illicit path down the endless switchbacks through the cherry orchard).
As a bonus we saw some ducklings heading for the big pond!
We actually got away with it in the water features. There's a bit of fountain sprayingness for fun, and then some really lovely water sculptures further round. Clearly one of these does a big water show designed entirely for drenching children, but it had just finished by the time we got there, and as we weren't equipped with towels, we survived with only slightly wet children.
Finally, as I don't have pictures of the bamboo maze or of the enormous tree house, here is a familiar picture... Remember this? They're even wearing the right colour tops...
Not really a garden, but a farm park on one of our wet days (the other featured a trip to a science museum in Newcastle). The highlight wasn't really the farm but watching Risky on the go carts. Obviously having built up her pedalling muscles, she was awesome on them! Lots of fun.
Oh, and proof of animals. These ones are called goats.
Our last garden was at Howick Hall, near where we camped. It's the home of Earl Grey so we went to the tea room (Elspeth had coffee. Odd choice) and had a potter around the garden. The children mustn't have been very photogenic that day, so here's some flowers.
So that's it. What a lovely holiday, lots of things done and seen but lots of relaxation too. We coped with lots of rain in our aging tent and all remembered again how much we love camping. Next up is Teesdale again in a couple of weeks.