A rare day off together and a sunny morning means a family day out. After checking Tripadvisor for inspiration we decided to head to Eshott Heugh Animal Park near Morpeth in Northumberland.
Eshott Heugh is literally 5 minutes off the A1M and is easily found with a Sat Nav. Exiting the A1, just keep an eye out for the bright yellow Jerky wagon on the side of the road! Once you see it, turn down the little country lane and keep driving. It’s well signposted so you shouldn’t miss it.
Entrance prices are reasonable. It’s £5.50 for each adult, children up to the age of 16 are £4 and under 2’s are free. As well as the animal park, there’s also a tea room, gift shop, indoor and outdoor picnic area and some great children’s play equipment.
There’s a good range of animals, including tortoises, meerkats, goats, ponies and sheep. You can get up quite close to most and the majority can be fed with plain popcorn, which is available to buy for 50p at the entrance desk. They all seem to love it too, and so did the little man!
The animals all seem happy and well cared for. The sheep and goats are really friendly and loved a little tickle under the chin. The donkeys and ponies all came over to the fences when people were walking past, in the hope of some popcorn I think! The areas are all clean and there were no strong animal smells.
After a good wander round the grounds, feeding the animals, picking up sticks and generally looking for mischief (the little man, not me), we decided to try out the tea room.
The menu is quite varied and includes jacket potatoes, sandwiches and homemade cakes. For a large half stottie filled with cheese and tomato, a latte, Earl Grey and a home made chocolate chip cookie the damage was only £7.90 which I don’t think it bad at all.
Not only is there some outdoor play equipment, including a climbing frame with swings for older children, there’s a huge wooden summerhouse filled with toys suitable for little ones under 5. Outside the tea room there’s an array of picnic benches and tables and chairs, perfect for grown ups while the little people run round the large grassed area that’s filled with child size John Deere ride on tractors.
I was very pleased to see that not only is there plenty of seating in the tea room, summerhouse and on the grassed area there is also a lovely undercover picnic barn which is perfect if you taken your own food.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day at Eshott Heugh animal park and we will definitely be returning. The only negative thing I found during out visit was the lack of baby changing facilities. We were unable to find a toilet with a change table. I checked the female toilets at the entrance and the disabled toilets near to the tea shop, both without success. I ended up having to change the little man on the back seat of the car. I’m not sure whether I completely missed the changing facilities or there really weren’t any but I think this possibly needs rectifying.