Thursday photo #222

This week’s Thursday photo post is brought to you from beautiful Northumberland. It’s the third time we’ve been to this area in the past couple of years and it’s an ideal place to be in August. So much quieter than the coastal resorts further south and close to some idyllic parts of Scotland. And yet, this time, we’ve realised that being here is a mistake.


Having booked a few days in Northumberland, we decided to extend our holiday with a couple of nights in North Yorkshire on the way. We booked a quiet campsite near to some stunning cycling trails and it totally lived up to our expectations.

We spent all day Saturday mountain biking with the girls at Sutton Bank National Park Centre. Much like the cycle tracks in the Forest of Dean, Sutton Bank is geared up to accommodate cyclists. Tracks vary from easy paths with stunning scenery to more challenging routes for experienced mountain bikers.

A small mountain bike skills area allows cyclists to practice on different surfaces before hitting the trails. We were glad we’d done the other bike tracks before the girls saw the skills area. They loved it so much they’d have stayed all day if we’d let them.

A Haven holiday park

For a while, we’ve been wondering whether the girls would prefer a holiday park to a regular campsite. Somewhere with activities for them to do and evening entertainment. Somewhere that we could park up the van and not go far all week because there was enough to do on site. So, we took the plunge and booked five nights at the Haggerston Castle Haven holiday park.

It’s in a wonderful part of the country, just outside of Berwick on Tweed. Near to Lindisfarne Holy Island where we had a brilliant day out last year. But the holiday park itself is just not our sort of place. There are a few free activities including soft play and swimming. There’s a little play park and plenty of activities that you pay extra for. Within about an hour of arriving, we’d realised we’d made a mistake.

The park is vast and busy. Caravans and camper vans are immediately adjacent to each other with hardly any space around each one. The girls can’t go off without us because they’d get lost and we wouldn’t feel like they were safe. The free activities are mostly inside and the things they want to do outdoors cost a fortune – which we’ve been paying because we want them to have a good holiday.

We have only ended up spending one day on the site, with days out all the other days exploring the beautiful local area. We’d definitely come to this part of the country again, it’s stunning and there’s loads to do. But in future, we’ll stick to small, friendly campsites in gorgeous surroundings. No more holiday parks on the main road.

The talent show

On our first day at Haggerston Castle, the girls auditioned for a talent show in the bar. I was so proud of them as they did a routine they’d adapted from their drama class, singing and dancing to Hard Knock Life from Annie. They did it without background music or microphones and were among just eight acts chosen to go through to the final.

At the final, there were around 600 people in the bar and the girls were the only ones singing without a microphone. They were also the youngest. Another little girl didn’t manage to do her dance because she was overwhelmed and I have to say, I didn’t blame her and I expected our two to do the same.

But up they went onto the stage and performed their song and dance perfectly with smiles on their faces throughout. I doubt the judges could hear them because it was so loud in the bar, but they did brilliantly and I was incredibly impressed with their confidence.

Thursday photo #222

We’ve had some brilliant days out this week, including a wonderful day with Jenny from Monkey and Mouse and her boys at Tantallon Castle and then a beach picnic. But my favourite photo has to be this one of them riding their bikes with great big grins on their faces. Their cycling has come on no end this holiday, and we’ve loved being able to cycle with them. Here’s to more cycling and less enormouse holiday parks in future.

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  1. What a great photo! It sounds like a bit of a mixed holiday, but I guess you have to try these things out to know whether or not you like them! Very well done to the girls for taking part in the talent show.

  2. Hi Nat, just the thought of a holiday park makes me shudder, but sometimes you have to try things ti know they aren’t right for you. The photos you took show a much different side to the area, it’s obviously very scenic. I can imagine your girls looking all tiny and proud blasting out their song (quietly). It’s the taking part that matters. Well done them!