Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Spending ‘the best six weeks of the year’ in Sunderland

Barnes Park, Sunderland.
Barnes Park, Sunderland.
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With just a week left of the academic year, it’s certainly been a tearful time for me and many of my mam friends as my daughter moves from the infant school to the juniors.

She, of course, hasn’t batted an eyelid and can’t wait for the next chapter of her school life to begin.

Me, on the other hand, well I’ve been an emotional car crash, what with the leavers’ concert, seeing her say goodbye to friends who won’t be in her class next year and even saying goodbye to the teachers who made her first school experiences such positive ones.

I never thought I’d become attached to her school, but here I am getting all nostalgic ahead of the summer holidays, a time of year I always look forward to so much.

This week’s column could very easily have become a seriously sentimental one, but instead, I’ve decided to look ahead to the best six weeks of the year and share some of my favourite places to spend the summer break.

It’s super easy to spend a fortune at this time of year, because let’s face it, many kids’ activities aren’t cheap, and that, coupled with the fact that our little people need entertaining, is a sure fire way to put a significant dent in your bank balance.

So, with that in mind, here are some of my top places to hang out this summer, right here in our city, without breaking the bank.

First up it’s the ever popular Barnes Park. It’s always packed and you can easily spend a full day there feeding the ducks, playing on the park and walking. We love taking a football and having a good kick around too.

So let’s keep our fingers crossed for some beautiful sunny days so that we can make the most of an awesome local facility.

Next up it’s the Winter Gardens. During previous school holidays there have been a variety of kids’ activities on that are either free or only cost a few quid, so it’s well worth checking out their timetable and heading down there for some arts and crafts. Not only that, the museum is always a winner and is a great place to spend some time on a rainy day.

We are also huge fans of Katie’s Garden. Located just down from the cinema on Sunniside, it is the ultimate place for crafting and a bite to eat all in one place.

I’m always blown away by how they come up with the ideas they have to entertain kids with pens, paint, and a whole host of crafty bits and pieces.

It’s a lovely trip out, the service is always amazing and they do a cracking soup and green tea too.

Finally, it wouldn’t be summer in Sunderland if we didn’t take a trip to the beach (again let’s keep out fingers and toes crossed for lots of sunny days).

I always head to Seaburn or Roker, which I’ll definitely be doing this year, but I’m also going to dedicate some time to exploring Seaham beach as everyone tells me how good it is there…and of course I’m drawn to the idea of trying out the ice cream parlours in that neck of the woods too.

It’s fair to say we won’t be stuck for days out in Sunderland, as there are so many places that are primed and ready for making happy summer holiday memories.