Really, nothing makes my heart soar like the prospect of a Day Out. Forget DIY. For me, setting off in a car laden with waterproof jackets, picnic rugs and multipacks of crisps in search of somewhere simultaneously sunny and scenic is what Sundays and Bank Holidays were made for. But what constitutes the ideal Day Out location? Fresh air, accommodating picnic benches and a nearby tea room with an impressive selection of cakes are some of my most important criteria. Nice loos, an interesting animal or two and an open space large enough for an impromptu game of rounders are some others. Add an independent bookshop and I have reached Day Out Nirvana. Does such perfection really exist? Perhaps not, but there are plenty of places in North East England that come close, and this blog will chart my pursuit of the perfect family Day Out in the region I am proud to call home.
My childhood was punctuated by Days Out. From windswept beaches overlooked by ancient castles to rambling riverside walks, from ruined abbeys to remote Northumbrian villages, our clan drove the length and breadth of the region armed with an array of cool boxes, plastic cutlery and an insatiable appetite for cake. On one occasion, having reached our destination and comfortably ensconced in the tea room, my late and dear Grandad, who really would have preferred to stay at home, sighed and announced “It’s a long way to go for a cup of tea”. He may not have shared my love for the Day Out, but I did inherit a number of other traits from him. This blog is written in his memory.
Copyright (c) (Anne Clough) 2012