Living in the North East we are lucky to have so many great attractions but my absolutely all time favourite has to be Beamish. I have been visiting since I was a child and never get bored, If you are unsure of what Beamish is then it is an open air working museum based in Durham telling the story of what life was really like in the North East in the 1820's, 1900's and 1940's. So when Marriott hotel got in contact to tell us about their new Beamish package and invited us along to try it out how could I say no ?
The Beamish package is available at four Marriott hotels in the North East until 30/11/2015 and it includes one night in a Marriott hotel with breakfast and day tickets to Beamish museum. It is the perfect package for someone visiting the region looking for a great day out.
This weekend we visited one of the four hotels, Gateshead Metrocenter. I have driven past this hotel so many times as we frequently visit the metrocenter but I have never actually been inside and I have to say I was impressed. Check in is available from 3pm and we arrived just after, even though the reception area was busy we were seen quickly by the really friendly reception staff who explained all the hotels facilities to us such as the leisure club and where breakfast was served and we were given are tickets for Beamish for the next day.
Our room was on the 5th floor and I was a bit nervous about staying in a hotel with all three children as I was worried it would be cramped. I need not have worried as the room was huge, their was two double beds , a table and chairs , dressing table, TV unit and a small hallway with tea and coffee making facilities and a large wardrobe as well as a modern spacious bathroom. The room was very clean, nicely decorated and very welcoming, there was so much space for the children to play even with two buggy's and are luggage in the room too.
|Marriott bedroom Gateshead|
|Selection of toiletries|
When we arrived in the room we noticed there was no cot for Jacob which we had requested, so we called reception and within minutes two staff arrived to set up a travel cot and they also brought bedding and a Tommee Tippee nappy bin for the bathroom. This was a nice touch as I was a bit worried about where I would put dirty nappies in a hotel room. They also gave all three children activity pack's with colouring books and crayons in which kept them occupied for half an hour.
The hotel offered room service and had a restaurant but we decided to head out for a meal as the hotel is only a five minute walk from the metro centre shopping complex, which has lots of dining options. We spent a nice few hours looking around the shops and having a Chinese meal, having some rare quality family time before retreating back to the hotel to put the younger two children to bed.
Whilst the little two were asleep Lee and Chloe decided to visit the leisure club to try out the indoor pool. The leisure club has an indoor pool, gym, steam room and whirlpool and children are aloud in until 9pm if accompanied by an adult. Chloe loved the pool and I wish that I had of had time to take the younger two as I know they would have enjoyed it too.
We then retreated to bed and even though we were near the A1 motorway and the busy metro centre the hotel room was total silence. The beds were also amazingly comfortable, I have stayed in many hotels and these beds were probably the most comfortable I have stayed in so soft and cosy with big fluffy pillows and duvets.
The children woke at the usual time of 6am the next morning and after quick showers we all got dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast, which is served from 6.30-11am. We arrived for breakfast at around 7am and we were quickly showing to a table by the friendly staff, who promptly got us two high-chairs and asked if we would like hot drinks which arrived in record time.
Breakfast was a buffet selection with a range of different options such as a hot counter serving the usual sausages, bacon, beans, mushrooms, hash browns and tomatoes with a chef behind the counter cooking eggs how you liked and constantly replenishing the food. There was a chilled counter stacked with a selection of cheese and hams, fruit and yogurts. And a counter filled with a good selection of cereals, breads, croissants, pastry's and fresh fruit juices.
We all opted for a cooked breakfast and the sausage were delicious very juicy and cooked to perfection. I also had a croissant which was warm and delicious and Lee and Chloe had waffles with nuttela. Sophia and Jacob had a croissant and a sausage each and we had clean plates all around.
We headed back to the room to pack up and make are way to Beamish, which is around half an hours drive from the hotel, straight down the A1. We arrived at Beamish and as we already had tickets we were able to skip the queues and head straight into the museum. From the moment you step through the doors to Beamish you really feel like you are transported back into the 1900's as the whole museum is set out like a town in the vast open green countryside. All of the staff dress up in period costumes and all the vehicle are traditional 1900's vehicle with old fashioned buses and trams you can hop on and off to each section.
There is the colliery where you can actually go down the mine on a tour. The 1900's pit village which is just like a real life pit village would have been with a row of cottages set up exactly how homes would have been back then with coal fires burning and chickens in the garden. The pit village is also home to a church and a school and they often have 'teachers' in the classroom to give the whole experience a realistic feel to it. Davy's traditional fish and chip shop is also located the village, the fish and chips are cooked in beef dripping on coal fires and served in newspaper, they are yummy.
|Fish & Chips at Beamish|
We then made are way to the 1940's farm to see the animals which Sophia loved and she adored the horses, before making are way to explore the railway station and 1900's town. I love the town as it is home to everything you would expect in a town such as a lawyers, dentist, bank, cooperative store, garage, stables, and real life bakers and sweet shop in which you can watch bread or sweets being made and actually buy some to take home. We brought some Kendal mint cake, black bullets and fudge to take home and enjoy.
|1900' s town house|
We then headed for a ride on the coal steam train which all three children enjoyed before heading home utterly exhausted after a wonderful day. We were at Beamish from 10-4 and there is so much to see and do we did not get to see everything but we had a great day. I was a little bit nervous about going with two pushchairs but I need not have worried as we managed to get around fine and there was also baby changing facilities in every section of the museum. I also noticed lots of people in wheelchairs and there was a wheelchair accessible bus available for them to use which I thought was a brilliant idea.
We had a fantastic time the whole package is a great idea and would make a brilliant break for a family or couple. You could spend the day exploring the Metrocenter and the hotels fantastic facilities before enjoying a comfortable nights sleep. A delicious breakfast would set you up for a day of travelling back in time to the 1900's. The package costs from £139 per room for bed, breakfast and day tickets to Beamish for two people which I think is great value.
Keep an eye out this week for a full hotel and Beamish review as I have so many photos and so much to say about the whole experience.
Disclosure we were kindly invited to enjoy the package free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own.