Castles, abbeys and beers

Kids can enjoy talks and feeds at the Bluereef Aquarium, ride the world’s oldest railway, or see the caves at Bamburgh and stay for the castle. Grown-ups can bike the quiet roads and rugged mountains, fish at Bywell, golf at Matfen, or shop at the Metrocentre. Discover ancient castles, majestic abbeys and strong keg beers.

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Country kids

Slosh about in the stream, wend your way along woodland walks, party on the playcentre – then discover the wider world. Enjoy 12 talks and feeds every day at the Bluereef Aquarium in Tynemouth. Or see the past come alive at Hexham Abbey, Handcock Museum and Woodhorn Museum.

Ride the Tanfield – the world’s oldest railway, steaming its way from Durham to Gateshead. Meet the friendly animals and ride the tractors at Whitehouse Farm Centre. See the caves at Bamburgh, and stay for the castle. And dig the sands at Tynemouth, Druridge Bay and Whitley Bay.

Catch a flick at the Odeon Metro or Hexham Forum. Paint your own ceramics at Inspired Pots. Walk Hadrian’s Wall and see Housesteads Fort – the inspiration for Game of Thrones. Take the Zog Activity Trail at Hamsterley Forest. Or meet feathered friends at the North East Falconry Centre.

See the seven-foot walls and 1100-lb bell at Preston Tower. Meet reptiles, ring-tailed lemurs and alpacas at Kirkley Hall Zoo. Swim outdoors at Haltwhistle Leisure Centre. Discover the rich history of Kielder Water and Forest Park at Tower Knowe. Or putt your way past moving dinosaurs at Dinosaur Encounter Adventure Golf.

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For the grown upsFor the grown upsFor the grown upsFor the grown ups

For the grown ups

Ride the quiet roads and rugged mountains around Corbridge and Hexham with bikes from Wallington Hall. Fish at Whittle Dene, West Water Angling or Bywell. Shoot 18 holes at Matfen, or be guided by your host, a former pro. Stay in Matfen to Go Ape for 30-foot-high treetop adventures.

Keep your feet on the ground at dozens of award-winning gastropubs and restaurants just a short drive away, such as The Robin Hood or The Feathers, recommended by Jamie Oliver Magazine, no less. Or potter the independent shops of Corbridge and Hexham, or Gateshead’s intu Metrocentre for big brands.

Stay on site for organised yoga, cookery or an alpaca experience. Shoot some clay from the sky at Matfen Hall or Slayley Hall. Take day trips to see the majesty of the Lake District, the serene calm and dark skies of Kielder Water and hundreds of years of history at Hadrian’s Wall.

Stay rooted in the past at Wallington Hall, Craigside, Gibside and Hexham Abbey. See magnificent castles at Alnwick, Prudhoe, Tynemouth Priory and Durham. Discover super-strength keg beers such as Dank Marvin and Advocate Salvation at Wylam Brewery, or taste local beer, cider and gin at The Pele.