With another of the caravan holiday deals from the paper, the Meiklejohns had a five day holiday at Haggerston Castle for the October week break this year. It was looking cold and wet so we stumped up the extra £20 for a caravan with heating in the bedrooms, and it was certainly worth it.
We drove down on the Monday, checked in and unpacked at 3 Gleneagles. With the heating on for a little while this was a cosy home from home. The only thing missing was wifi, but you can't have everything. We'd brought food with us, so after pizza for dinner we went to the showbar for the character show and disco. There was a sort of competition where some of the kids got to get their own back on their mum or dad, along with lots of bouncing around and "eww, he must smell" witty banter from the hosts.
The torrential rain started at 3 in the morning and kept up until 3 on Tuesday afternoon, so we had to seek some indoor activities. We spent an hour in the pool, followed by lunch and some hula hoop and skipping tuition. We'd booked the climbing wall for 3 so were determined to do that whatever happened with the weather. Cate did well to make it to the top twice. At 5 we had the high ropes and power fan, which turned out to be a lot scarier than it at first looked. Cate managed to make it round the whole course and jumped off the power fan jump. We had a well deserved buffet at the local Chinese restaurant to celebrate.
Torrential rain today so we stayed indoors pretty much all day. An hour's drive south took us to Newcastle and the Metro Centre where we had a bit of a wander about and bought some toys and Christmas presents(!). After a little bit of lunch we went to the cinema to see Hotel Transylvania in all its 3D glory. A drive back to Haggerston got us back in time to have dinner and get ready for some water activities.
We booked Cate in for three activities in a row. Aqua gliders are little boats with electric engines that you can ride about on. Then we had the water walkers, or hamster balls as they're better known. This was followed by the aqua jets, for a bit of James Bond style action in and under the water.
Thursday morning was our one chance of some sunshine so we had to make the most of it. Bamburgh Castle was just 20 minutes away, so we went for a visit. The castle itself is well worth a visit, with an actiivty sheet for the kids to follow, giving them things to look out for and tick off as you go round.
We also played a game of our own inventing: find the Simba while rushing about in a mad panic thinking you'll never see him again. I won this game by not rushing off back through the last 10 rooms we'd been in but just checking the room where we were.
We explored the castle until lunchtime, then climbed down from the car park to the beach, via a series of sand dunes. The beach was enormous, very flat and very clean. It must be great on a warm summer's day. We had a good enough time wandering along it on a mild autumn's day.
After we were fed up with the beach we travelled inland for about half an hour to some small villages where there is a little steam railway. The train runs every hour and takes half an hour to wend its way along the river. Because we were on the last run, we couldn't get off at the far end, but just had to stay on for the trip back. Highlight of the trip was seeing a pheasant by the river side.
Well, that was our short break at Haggerston. We had a good time. If you ever go in the spring or autumn I'd recommend getting a caravan with decent heating. And make sure you get out and about. There are some decent places to visit nearby.
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