Driving around the UK can be really fun as there are so many new places to see any explore. All you need as a car and a map and you’re ready to go. If you can’t drive to the following destinations because you haven’t yet passed your theory or practical driving test then get cracking!

Have a look at the TopTests site and use it to practice for your driving theory test. The site will give you the chance to take free mock exams that will get your ready for the real one.

For something new to do this summer, have a look at one of the many popular cities below and see if one takes your fancy for a Summer road trip.

1. Scotland

If you haven’t been to Scotland before or you have only had the experience of flying into Scotland, a road trip will allow you to see the picturesque countryside and beautiful coastlines. If cities are more your thing, Edinburgh and Glasgow are home to some amazing shops and historic buildings.

Photo Credit – Rachel Bustin

2. Cornwall

This summer is supposedly going to be a hot one so why not throw your tent in the back of your car and head down to Cornwall for a camping break. Not only will Cornwall offer you a variety of beaches and campsites to choose from but you’ll also be able to drive to nearby towns such as popular Penzance, St. Ives, and of course Truro should you fancy taking a tour of the south.

Photo credit – livinglifeourway

3. Essex

Essex isn’t just about the cast of Towie, it’s a great place for travellers within the UK.  If you’re not visiting one of the many popular pubs in Chelmsford or Colchester, you’ll easily be able to take a boat down one of the many rivers on a nice summer’s day.

Photo credit – falcondalelife

4. Bristol

If you like the peace and quiet, why not to set off for a weekend away somewhere in the south-west. The south-west is the farming capital of the UK with cities such as Bristol and Swindon to visit. Bristol is a great city and has been voted one of the best cities in the UK to live in recent years, and with the harbour and beautiful attractions to see such as the suspension bridge, you should put Bristol down as one of the places to go to this year.

The above destinations are just some of the many wonderful places to visit in the UK this summer. Whether you drive or get a train, there are so many places to explore this Summer.

 

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Following the record breaking success of the 2016 Dacia Magic Weekend, Super League (Europe) is delighted to announce that a 2017 event will be returning to St James’ Park, Newcastle, on Saturday May 20 and Sunday May 21.

The Dacia Magic Weekend is a special Rugby League event which is  returning to the city for it’s third year.  12 Super League teams will go head to head in 6 exciting games of Rugby League over the weekend of Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st May.

The fixtures for the Dacia Magic Weekend 2017 will have three Betfred Super League games taking place on the Saturday and three on the Sunday.

Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves will face each other in the closing game on Saturday evening and Hull FC and St Helens, will face each other on Saturday afternoon

Catalans Dragons and Huddersfield Giants will start of the Sunday when they go head-to-head at 1pm and Leigh Centurions will have their first game at the Dacia Magic Weekend as they take on the Salford Red Devils.

 

The full schedule for the weekend can be seen below –

Saturday May 20th 2017

Widnes Vikings v Wakefield Trinity (14:30)

Hull FC v St Helens (16:45)

Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves (19:00)

Sunday May 21st 2017

Catalans Dragons v Huddersfield Giants (13:00)

Leigh Centurions v Salford Red Devils (15:15)

Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos (17:30)

 

The event sounds like great fun for the whole family and one of my lucky blog readers has the chance to win a family ticket for the weekend.

To enter, complete the Gleam form below.

Dacia

Terms and Conditions

The giveaway will end on 4th May 2017.

Prize is 1 family weekend ticket for the Dacia Magic Weekend event at St James Park on the weekend 20th-21st May 2017.

The winner will have 7 days to reply and accept their prize, otherwise another winner will be chosen.

The tickets will be sent or arrangements made directly with the PR company who are supplying the prize,

 

 

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We recently won tickets for Naomi’s Wild and Scary Show at Tyne & Opera House in Newcastle over on Here Come the Hoopers blog.

The show was on yesterday, starting at 2pm and including the interval, ran for just over two hours. Our seats were in row F so we had a really good view of the stage and the little man was able to see easily. Although the show is aimed at children 5 years and upwards, the little man at just 3 thoroughly enjoyed it and was still old enough to join in. I think children any younger may struggle with the length of the show and fact it isn’t at all ‘babyish’.

As we hadn’t seen the TV show prior to the stage show, we weren’t too sure what to expect and if I’m honest, I had no idea who Naomi was! I also didn’t know how an ‘animal encounter’ in a theatre would work as I knew the children wouldn’t be able to get up close with the animals on stage.

I needn’t have worried, Naomi Wilkinson (Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature, Wild and Weird, Live ‘n Deadly, Countryfile, Milkshake) was a fab host who was enthusiastic and entertaining from start to finish but her obvious fear of some of the animals makes her much more relatable and down to earth.

The show starts off with Naomi dressed in a sparkly show girl number, bounding round the stage with an energetic musical intro. She introduces herself and ‘Animal Mark’ who is the animal handler for the show. He’s the man who brings out the animals for the audience to see and is responsible for the ‘trolley of doom!’.

With the use of a close up camera on stage, the audience were able to feel up close and personal with various animals including a snake, a giant centipede, and a tarantula.

As well as being able to see a range of scary creatures on the stage, Naomi’s journies around the world are shown in short videos on a large screen. We saw videos of her meeting a Alligator Snapping Turtle in the swamps of Florida before traveling to Belize, The United States, Costa Rica, South Africa and Borneo.

The video’s were short enough to keep younger children engaged but were interesting for informative for the older ones in the audience. Naomi managed to keep us all interested and the children loved joining in with her ‘scary shake out’ and laughing at her silly songs and crazy outfits.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the show and were sad when it came to an end. It was interesting, informative and delivered a thought provoking message – encouraging us to travel, learn about the ‘scary’ creatures in the world and then try and do your bit to protect them.

Whilst you may have missed out on the Newcastle show, there are still a few performances left this month –

Apr 19th – Crawley The Hawth

Apr 20th – Basingstoke The Anvil

Apr 21st – Cardiff St David’s Hall

Apr 22nd – London Royal Geographical Society

Apr 23rd – Brighton Dome Concert Hall

Tickets cost £19.50 for an adult and children are £16.50.

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The little man is a huge fan of arts and crafts and we were really excited by the arrival of the Fuzzikins Craft Cottontail Cottage play set from Interplay. It’s a 3D pop up play house with two rabbit figures and various pens and stickers to enhance the cottage.

The set includes a large pop up 3D cottage with furniture, two Fuzzikins bunny figures, a white plastic garden fence and a range of stickers and colouring pens to decorate your bunnies and your cottage.

The set is pretty easy to set up. The 3D playhouse looks like a book and simply opens up to reveal rooms of the cottage with built in furniture. It’s made using pretty sturdy card and has withstood the little mans ‘not so gentle playing’ well. The only issue we’ve had really is we’ve found it quite difficult to lie flat. As it folds up like a book for storage, it loses its shape easily and when opened again, doesn’t like flat so we have to spend ages weighting it down before the little man can play with it properly.

The bunnies are a huge hit. They’re made of plastic and are coated in a fuzzy ‘fur’. Little people can use the felt tips pens that are included to colour the rabbits in with their own designs – just make sure you give them a few minutes to dry as the pen is easily transferred to other surfaces if not completely dry.

The little man is a huge fan of colouring and drawing so he thoroughly enjoyed colouring in the little bunny stickers which can be stuck on the walls of the cottage (or all over the house in our case!)

The Fuzzikins Craft Cottontail Cottage retails at £19.99  but is currently on offer at Amazon for £14.99.  It’s aimed at children aged 5 years old + and would make a great gift idea. It’s a great way to encourage imaginative play and the little man will sit chatting away to the bunnies for ages whilst moving them round the cottage. It’s an ideal toy for us for quieter times, perhaps those afternoons when Mammy is shattered but the little man still needs entertaining.

 

* We were sent the play set in return for an honest review.

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Easter is quickly approaching and I’m sure, like us you’re looking for fun, family friendly activities to enjoy. Here are a list of purse friendly events in the Durham area that are easily accessible.

PRINCE BISHOP SHOPPING CENTRE, DURHAM CITY

Friday 14th  11 am – 4 pm –  Pet some cute and cuddly farm animals.

Saturday 15th 11am – 4pm – Get up close and personal with birds of prey from York Bird Of Prey Centre.

On Friday and Saturday there will also be an Annual Easter Egg hunt around the street with free chocolates for every participant, collect an entry form Bertie’s Play Barn to join in. More info here.

 

WHARTON PARK, DURHAM CITY

Saturday 15th and 16th April 11am – 5pm

Mobile animal farm and a self-led egg hunt ( £4 for each child). On Saturday afternoon there will be face painting and a ceilidh band playing. Sunday will bring a brass band and free indoor and outdoor craft activities. Tickets for the animal farm and egg hunt can be bought from the Heritage Centre. More info here.

 

THE BOWES MUSEUM, BARNARD CASTLE

Friday 14th

Easter themed drop in craft activities for all ages, and an Easter themed trail. Normal admission charges apply.

Children must be accompanied by an adult, for whom normal admission applies. £10.50 for adults and free entry for children under 16 years. More info here.

 

LOW BURNHALL, DURHAM

Friday 14th 11am – 3pm

Easter themed trail with a chocolate prize at the end. Booking essential

Tickets cost £2.50 per child. More info here.

 

DURHAM DALES CENTRE, STANHOPE

Easter Sand Art
13th – 14th April 11am – 3pm
20th – 21st April 11am – 3pm
£2.00 per decoration

Easter Egg Trail
Hunt the grounds of the Durham Dales Centre to find the hidden clues and claim your prize. Everyday 9am – 5pm, £1.00 per trail.

Easter Arts & Crafts
Egg decorating, Paper crafts and more.
Everyday 9am – 5pm, £1.00 per activity.

More info here.

BEAMISH MUSEUM, STANLEY

Numerous activities including an Easter egg trail round the museum, make an Easter bonnet in The Pit Village school, learn about egg dyeing or make a paper flower at Pockerley Old Hall. You decorate an egg in the Dentist’s waiting room before rolling it in The Town park.

Buy a tasty and freshly baked hot cross bun from Herron’s, make a Easter card or rabbit finger puppet at the farm.
Or why not try your hand at egg jarping at 11.00am and 3.00pm at Pockerley Old Hall on Easter Monday.

All of the events are included with the price of your unlimited ticket. More info here

 

RABY CASTLE, STAINDROP

14th, 15th and 16th April

There’s an Easter Egg hunt around the grounds and all that complete will receive a treat at the end. There are crafts to make, face painting and giant games on the lawn.

Activities are included in the admission costs. £12 for adults and £6 for children. More info here.

 

CROOK HALL, DURHAM CITY

16th and 17th April

Kids can meet the Easter Bunny who will be passing out chocolate eggs to all children who complete his Easter Treasure Hunt. There will also be Easter Games and a story telling session inside the house.

Admission charges apply. £7.50 for adults and £5 for children. More info here

 

DURHAM UNIVERSITY BOTANIC GARDENS

Sunday 16th and Monday 17th April 2017 – 10am to 4pm

Family friendly Easter chick hunt around the gardens.

Normal admission charges apply, no further charge for participating in the Easter event. Adults £4 and children £1.50.

More info here.

 

BOWLEES VISITOR CENTRE, BARNARD CASTLE

Saturday 15th April – 11am – 3.30pm

Face painting, Easter bunny trail, egg decorating, mask making and other family friendly crafts. There are also two egg decorating sessions with Artist Anna Harding which must be booked in advance by ringing 01833 622145.

No booking needed for the other activities and visitors can drop in at any point during the day.

£5 charge for children. Adults are free.

More info here.

 

HEAD OF STEAM, DARLINGTON

Sunday 16th April 10am – 4pm

A range of Easter activities including an egg hunt, face painting, crafts.

£1 entrance fee per person, family members go free.

More info here.

 

NEWGATE SHOPPING CENTRE, BISHOP AUCKLAND

Saturday 15th April 10.30am – 2.30pm

Children are invited to dress up in Easter costumes and join in the Easter parade(  leaving from the Newgate Shopping Centre at 11am). There’s an Easter Egg hunt around the town centre with the winner
receiving a giant gold egg. There will also be face painting, a tombola and a raffle with some live entertainment.

Free event. More info here.

 

How about something a little less Easter related?

 

THE GALA THEATRE – DINOSAUR WORLD

15th and 16th April  – booking essential

Families can meeet a host of impressive creatures, including  every child’s favourite flesh-eating giant, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, Giraffatitan and Segnosaurus. An interactive show which is suitable for ages 3+. More info here.

 

Do you know of any other Easter events in Durham that I’ve missed? Feel free to send me the details and I’ll add it to my list.

Before setting off for any of the events above, make sure you check they’re still running by contacting the venues directly.

 

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