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Published: April 3rd 2013
I know it has been a while since I last blogged on this site. I have been so busy with my final university modules and achieving my degree. I did not travel abroad in 2012 as I wanted to concentrate on my studies and also see more of the UK. Besides my favourite musical was on the road so I visited different parts of the country to see it!
There are some ideas for returning to South America long term and will plan to properly beginning of next year. I will keep posted to what is happening about those plans. Anyway I want to share a fantastic trip my family and I did at the end of March. We spent a few days exploring the North East of England visiting three counties, Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland. North East of England must be one of my favourite regions in the UK to explore. So I was looking forward to returning to that wonderful part of the world.
We had begun our travels in Chester le Street. On a past trip I had picked up some leaflets about the town and I was curious to visit the market town
The Ankers House
Chester le Street
between Durham and Newcastle. Apart from a few interesting buildings and a church going back to the times of Cuthbert of Lindsifarne there was not much to see. We follow a bit of the town's heritage trail which was overrated in my opinion. My Dad reckons it is just a big village with a high street and good public transport links. It is mainly a residential town with the necessarily facilities for its residents. It felt find strange taking photos in the town centre and some people looking at me! I do not think I will make a special trip to Chester le Street again even if I was happy to have paid a visit.
Our next stop was at National Trust's Gibside. Gibside is an 18th Century Landscaped Gardens which used to belong to George Bowes, a wealthy coal merchant, and her daughter, Eleanor Bowes. We had a coffee at its Potting Shed Cafe to warm up as it was very cold. Afterwards we explored some of the grounds and visited the Palladian Chapel, a column of Liberty, Gibside Hall ruins and the orangerie. We enjoyed our wander despite the very cold weather and we caught the shuttle
van back to our car. We then drove onto our hotel of two nights in Kenton, near Newcastle.
The next day, after a good breakfast at Toby Carvery, we visited some National Trust properties in Northumberland. Firstly, George Stephenson's Cottage in Wylam. We had an interesting and informative tour by the guide there and learnt about Stephenson's humble beginnings to his big successes with locomotives and railways around the UK.
We moved onto Cherryburn which we saw the cottage of Thomas Bewick, Northumberland's most celebrated artist. He was also an engraver and naturalist and revolutionised art print. We enjoyed looking around the exhibition and watched some print demonstrations. We learnt more about the social history during Thomas Bewick's life by some of the friendly guides. We made briefs stops in Ovingham, Prudoe and also Wylam village itself.
Later on the day we travelled down to Woodham, near Newton Aycliffe, to pick up my niece who was spending the last day of our trip on us. On on way we stopped at The Angel of the North in the Gateshead area. I have stopped there once before and never like the statue. Being more acquainted with the arts
and humanities I appreciated the icon more especially the work that had been put in and what it symbolises socially. After picking up Aaliyah we drove back up to our hotel in Kenton for a well deserve carvery and a good night's sleep!
The final day was visiting another National Trust property, Cragside, near Rothbury in Northumberland. Cragside is a massive estate with its house, woodlands, lakes and formal gardens. We must have spent four hours or so exploring the estate. We first stopped at the house and learn some interesting things about Lord Armstrong and the use of hydroelectricity in the house. I enjoyed looking around especially noticing the soda stream machine in the Butler's pantry! Subsequently we checked out the grounds including crossing the infamous iron bridge, wood carvings and the formal gardens. I loved the views of the Cheviot Hills in the distant.
Eventually we called it day and made the drive back to Woodham via Northumberland National Park through Rothbury and the Otterburn ranges. It was a beautiful drive with the snowy scenes. We had dinner at my niece's and returned down the A1 for Leeds and home! In all it was a great
Gibside, near Rowlands Gill
trip and look forward to another trip to the North East England in the not too distant future!
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