At the weekend we were invited by Enjoy Tees Valley to see what the area has to offer. It’s somewhere that we’d never been to before but were excited to discover. Tees Valley sits between County Durham and North Yorkshire and includes Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar & Cleveland. There really is something for everyone in Tees Valley with its beautiful countryside, stunning coastline, charming market towns and impressive historical venues.
Here’s what we got up to during our trip…
Our first destination was Darlington. We wanted to allow plenty of time so set off from Sheffield around 10am, it actually didn’t take as long as we thought it would and we arrived at 11:45am after a straightforward journey. We headed straight to The Hippo Lounge for lunch, which is within the Darlington Hippodrome.
The Hippo Lounge is at the heart of the restored edwardian theatre. The contemporary café offers and a selection of light bites and hot and cold drinks. There’s even access to free wi-fi available. We really enjoyed our lunch here, the food and drinks were great and the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming.
We then headed over to the Hullabaloo Theatre, which is the only dedicated children’s theatre north of London. The Hullabaloo opened at the end of 2017 and is located right next door to the Darlington Hippodrome, in a former fire station.
“Theatre Hullabaloo is one of the UK’s leading children’s arts organisations. We make, produce, promote and programme world-class theatre for young audiences. In December 2017, we opened The Hullabaloo, a purpose-designed venue for children and families in Darlington, which is where we are based.”
The children got to explore the enchanted forest creative play space which is fantastic and completely free. The forest includes interactive trees, ponds and lily pads that light up. It’s really quite magical. The play space is designed for babies and toddlers right up to children around 10 years old. My two are six and eight and both enjoyed playing here.
There’s also a small play area in the main lobby where children can draw pictures, use the blackboard or choose to read from a selection of books while they wait for their show to start.
We saw the play FIVE, which is all about the human five senses. It’s aimed at children aged 3-6 years but I personally think older children can enjoy this play just as much as younger ones. The two dancers and a live musician show us how our bodies react to sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. We all really enjoyed the play and it sparked a conversation with the children about our senses afterwards.
A new show, The Polar Bears Go Up is opening on 6th December until 24th December, perfect for Christmas! Prices are £8 – £10 and the show is suitable for children aged 2–5 years.
Our next stop was The National Museum of The Royal Navy in Hartlepool. Here we were kindly given a guided tour of the HMS Trincomalee, which is the oldest warship still afloat in Europe. We got to see what life was really like onboard for the many crew and how that differed to that of the captain.
After that we got to see a real life cannon being fired, and what an experience that was! We were warned it would be loud but it still suprised us all just how loud it was! The kids were in their element and I think this was the highlight of the weekend for them.
We then spent some time seeing what else the museum had to offer. There’s lots more to explore and opportunities to learn about the Royal Navy. There’s a really nice cafe, a gift shop and a brilliant children’s play area too.
Adult tickets are priced at £8 and children £6.50.
Our home for the night was Baby Moon Camp in Guisborough. Baby Moon offer glamping breaks in yurt accommodation. This is something that we’d never done before so it was great to be able to experience it. Luckily we went prepared with our coats and wellies as it had been quite a soggy few days!
Inside our yurt was a very comfy double bed, a sofa bed and a pull out camp bed for the children. We also had a stove and a kettle for those all important cups of tea! We were provided with plenty of wood for the fire, which kept the yurt nice and warm. There’s no electricity in the yurts so when it went dark we had to light candles, which made for a super cosy evening. It was definitely very different to what we are used to as we’ve never even been camping before but still an experience I would recommend trying. The kids loved trying something new.
As well as the activities mentioned above, there’s lots more to see and do in Tees Valley. Here are a few more suggestions…
- Middleborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA)
- Preston Park Museum
- RSPB Saltholme
- Roseberry Topping
- Air Trail High Ropes
- Head of Steam Railway Museum
- Raby Castle
We had a brilliant time exploring Tees Valley and were surprised at just how much there was for us to do as a family. Now that we have spent some time in the area we would absolutely go back again, knowing how much more there is for us to do. A huge thank you to Enjoy Tees Valley for organising our trip!
To find out more about what Tees Valley has to offer and to plan your trip, visit the Enjoy Tees Valley website.
Thank you for reading.
*Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Enjoy Tees Valley*