#ETW17: English Tourism Week 2017

We kicked off English Tourism Week 2017 in style with the return of Orange Pip Market! It was of course, beautiful blue skies, and a massive turnout! With a crackin’ 26 traders, we ate ALL the food and drank way too much hot chocolate – we’re still dreaming of the artisan hot chocolate from Sprinkles of Yarm with homemade marshmallows *drools*

Vegan samosa

It wasn’t just Orange Pip Market for English Tourism Week, we were shouting about loads of other fabulous things to do in Middlesbrough.

Feeling hungry?

We love all our independents – shopping, food and all the other good things in life!

Out with the kids?

It’s a gorgeous, sunny day – let’s go to the park!

albert-park-grid

Got your running shoes on? PS. check out the fabulous Love Middlesbrough run which you can download here – it’s a heart shape just like us! ❤️

Culture vulture?

Dorman Museum in spring

We’ve already told you all about our InstaMeet but we couldn’t resist sharing it all over again because we had such an awesome time!

We hope you enjoyed reading the English Tourism Week blog posts as much as we have enjoyed writing them. Shout out your suggestions in the comments below for where we should go next. Roll on English Tourism Week 2018…

Love Middlesbrough Lasses
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#ETW17: Middlesbrough sport and leisure

If you enjoy spending your leisure time indulging in sport then English Tourism Week could not be better timed. Longer days and lighter nights means far more opportunity to get out and about and sporty. Just drive along any road it seems and you will soon be made to feel guilty as you pass by jogger after jogger. So, if you cannot beat them then join them. Here is a guide to a few of the options Middlesbrough has on offer to entice you out of that car.

I think we should start by looking at things that are totally free to do. If you were thinking about a lie in on Saturday morning, then think again. The start time for parkrun nationally is 9am Saturday and in Middlesbrough you have a choice of two 5 km courses lapping Albert and Stewart Park. Parkruns are exactly what they say, not a race but a run and all ages and abilities are welcome with open arms. Simply click on the website beforehand, register and print off your barcode and then pop along to the start line. Then afterwards join the runners and volunteers for a cup of tea in the cafe. Oh and yes you can have that slice of cake, you earned it. Register with parkrun.

stewart-parkrunIf you are not visiting on a Saturday then don’t worry you can do the parkrun courses anytime, permanently marked out around Albert Park. They call them Freedom Runs when you run the routes on your own.

Middlesbrough has two very popular and well established annual community runs in the Tees Pride 10k and Ali Brownlee Riverside Run. The former 10km route describes a square around the south of Middlesbrough. It is marked out with kilometre signs so is a great way to practice throughout the year ahead of the 3rd September event. You can try and emulate last year’s winner, Middlesbrough and GB runner Matty Hynes, although you might struggle to match his time of 33 minutes and 44 seconds.

Never to be forgotten, oh so popular Boro commentator and Mr Middlesbrough Alastair Brownlee is remembered in the run that finishes with a circuit of Ali’s favourite football stadium the Riverside, on Sunday 2nd June.

We will return to running at the end of the article as we have made a brand new Love Middlesbrough route for you to try out.8km

Talking of the Riverside and the Boro, one of the biggest draws to Middlebrough is football tourism. Premier League status means football fans making pilgrimages to the Riverside from across the North Sea as well as around Britain. Middlesbrough Football Club has signed an agreement with DFDS Ferries opening up the club and the town to football followers from across northern Europe.

There are no Boro games during English Tourism Week but you can book to go on a Riverside stadium tour and learn something of the heritage of the club. You even get to experience the walk from the changing rooms and down the tunnel and out into the stadium itself.

I am staying with free now. If you have a bike then why not take it along the many miles of cyclepaths to Middlesbrough Sports Village where there is a 1 kilometre long track that you can cycle in complete safety and yes it is free. There are also cycles and equipment that can be hired for free. Book on the hour to ensure availability. Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit

cycle-trackTime to give a big mention to Middlesbrough Sports Village.

sports-village-1Middlesbrough Sports Village is a wonderful hub for sports outdoor and indoor in one hub. It offers state of the art, bang up to date facilities, expert tuition and guidance. You are truly spoilt for choice with the options available here.

Things on offer are a large gym, athletics stadium, skate park, cycle circuit, velodrome, fun village, cafe, astro turf pitches, grass pitches, sports hall, ample parking and more.

sports-village-gymThe athletics stadium has a 8 lane 400m track, 10 lane 100m track, a grand stand with 584 seats, 4 long jump pits, high jump, hammer throw and pole vault.

You can play 5, 7, 9 and 11 aside football on the 3G football pitches. Badminton, table tennis, indoor football, basketball, volleyball , netball, hockey and short tennis can all be played in the main sports hall.

The latest addition is a £1.6 million outdoor velodrome track. This is available to anyone who have track cycling accreditation from any indoor velodrome in the country or either of the outdoor velodromes at York or Bournemouth.

Right next door to the sports village is Tennis World. This long established indoor and outdoor tennis facility offers the chance to play and also be coached in all weather. You can play outside for £5 an hour on hard court, £10 per hour on artificial grass or £6 on clay courts. Play out of any wind inside from £12 per hour off peak and weekends.

There are special tots tennis times and coaching is available for individuals and per group. Ring 01642 322388 for more details and bookings. My nephew recently booked some coaching here when he was visiting from Hong Kong and got a lot out of the experience.

tennis-worldFrom tennis to table tennis. Founded in 1957 Ormesby Table Tennis Club were once European Champions. Now established in excellent facilities in East Middlesbrough, on Cargo Fleet Lane you could play at a club with an incredible sporting history.

You might well be wanting to get in the swim. In which case Neptune Centre on Ormesby Road or Rainbow Centre at Coulby Newham could be just the places. Aimee Willmott trained for the London Olympics and Glasgow Commonwealth Games at the Neptune Centre, the base for Aimee’s old Club Middlesbrough Amateur Swimming Club, MASC.

middlesbrough-ascAs well as swimming, there are a full variety of sporting activities, exercise programmes available at the two leisure centres. If you are visiting long enough you can join Everyone Active for a month and use all of their facilities across Middlesbrough.

Everyone Active also run Middlesbrough Municipal Golf Club on Ladgate Lane. There has been a course here for 30 years now and it is set in a beautiful scenic parkland location. The course also includes a nine hole pitch and putt course as well as a floodlit driving range.

golf-clubNow and finally for our heart-shaped Love Middlesbrough run taking in so many of the sights and sounds of Middlesbrough, something no visitor or resident could possibly not want to do. Specially designed with love from Middlesbrough to you. Enjoy the run. Enjoy your leisure time in Middlesbrough.

#ETW17: Middlesbrough’s museums and culture

Dorman Museum

Middlesbrough’s first museum, the Dorman Museum, tells the fascinating history of our wonderful town.Dorman Museum in the spring
As well as local history, the museum has the world’s largest public collection of Linthorpe Art Pottery (world-renowned in the Victorian era and produced just a mile away from where the museum now stands), and an internationally-significant collection of items designed by the surprisingly forward-thinking Victorian industrial designer, Dr. Christopher Dresser, who was for a time the Art Superintendent at the Linthorpe Pottery. (Sorry, geeking out a little over the Dresser collection here!)

Plus, Dressers Tea Room at the museum is adorably cute and very traditional, and does amazing cake (I should know, I’ve eaten a lot of it!)

Captain Cook Birthplace Museum

Middlesbrough’s second museum is dedicated to one of the world’s greatest navigators, Captain James Cook.Pacific Predators at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum

Cook was born in a cottage which once stood close to where the museum stands today – a granite urn, placed there by legendary Middlesbrough industrialist Henry Bolckow, marks the spot.

After a £500,000 government grant, the museum, which is in the heart of the beautiful Stewart Park, is being transformed, with refurbishments to the first floor and the creation of a new temporary gallery space – which means even more Cook for your buck (sorry)! After the epic Pacific Predators exhibition last year, we can’t wait to see what 2017 brings at the Cook!

Middlesbrough Town Hall

If you’ve been checking our Instagram, you’ll have seen that we recently got a sneaky behind the scenes tour of the multi-million pound renovations currently taking place at the Town Hall. Middlesbrough Town Hall sneak peekBeing a bit (okay, a lot) of a history geek, I’m super excited that they’ll be restoring some of the most historic areas of the building, like the old courtroom and police cells.
But it’s not just the heritage which will benefit; the main concert hall is also being completely refurbished, and work is taking place which will help visitors to have an even better experience when they go to massive concerts and gigs with comedy legends. (We’re talking about boring but essential things like toilets, and exciting and very essential things like the bar!) As Sarah Millican would say, champion!

Middlesbrough Theatre

Middlesbrough Theatre was opened by Sir John Gielgud in 1957 – so happy 60th birthday for this year! – and was one of the first theatres built in England after the Second World War. The theatre plays host to a packed programme of productions, from unique shows by local playwrights to crowd-pleasers like The Ladyboys of Bangkok – not bad for a theatre was originally named the ‘Little Theatre’. With over 450 seats, it’s not really that little!

Galleries

You’d be forgiven for wondering where all of Middlesbrough’s galleries are, because we have some little gems which are hidden away off the beaten track.Neon and That by Stuart Langley
The House of Blah Blah lives in what was Victorian Middlesbrough’s post office, neatly tucked away in Exchange Square right by Teesside Archives. Hosting everything from exhibitions of neon artworks to Christmas markets to warehouse parties, it’s definitely one of the town’s most unique spaces.
In contrast, the more traditional gallery spaces, Python Gallery and the Heritage Gallery at Cargo Fleet, exhibit paintings, photography, and other works from local artists. mima brings things up to the minute with modern art, discussing themes including housing, migration, inequality, and regeneration through their exhibitions.

Transporter Bridge

A blog about Middlesbrough wouldn’t be a blog about Middlesbrough without a mention of the Transporter Bridge.Transporter Bridge on a sunny day

Our beautiful blue dragonfly isn’t just a handy way to cross between Middlesbrough and Stockton, it’s also one of the country’s premier extreme sports venues (abseiling or bungee jumping, anyone?) and an attraction in its own right.  Standing over 150ft above the River Tees, the views from the top are pretty magnificent, and the new glass lift is the perfect way to get up there and see them. You can book a glass lift tour online.

Middlesbrough skyline from the Transporter Bridge

Love Middlesbrough Lasses
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#ETW17: Family-friendly Middlesbrough

The hardest thing of all when we started writing about family-friendly Middlesbrough was narrowing it down to a manageable list, so to help us out we asked a selection of Love Middlesbrough buddies to share their top picks and reasons why they are so family friendly. We’ve kindly included some direct quotes which you’ll see scattered throughout in italics, because we all know that there’s nothing better than word of mouth, from people in the know.

Middlesbrough Sports Village and Playworld
A popular choice, our family-friendly fans couldn’t recommend this highly enough! The soft play area has four floors and includes rope bridges, tunnels and so much more; there’s also a ‘toddle zone’ area suitable for little ones who are not yet brave enough to climb!funvillage-2_1

The soft play area is great, particularly for toddlers. They have a host of bikes available too which means all the family can get involved as they even have the bike trailer things for tiny kids.

It’s reasonably priced, well looked after, has lots to do and very clean. We often take all the kids there when we have visitors from London because they all really like it too. 

Playworld is open from 9.30am – 6pm, Monday to Sunday. Entry price is £5, for children up to 12 months old entry is £1. There are also term-time offers and children’s party facilities! There’s heaps of parking and easy access to all areas. Find out more at Middlesbrough Sports Village.

Stewart Park
Ooof – it’s really hard to choose just one thing to talk about for Stewart Park as there are so many brilliant things you can do! Take a stroll, feed the ducks, count the totem poles, visit the Farmers’ Market (the last Sunday of every month) and eat loads of tasty local food, swing and bounce in the playground, enjoy some cake in the cafe…the list well and truly could go on. It’s a fantastic park that has something for all ages, and best of all, it’s mostly free!

stewart-park-family-fun-2012-3…great for all ages, the park is great and it also has a swing suitable for children who use a wheelchair. The café is great, very friendly and really reasonably priced.

A brilliant all-rounder, it’s an ideal place to meet up with friends – they bring their kids, I bring my dog, we go for a stroll taking in all the delights of the playground and work up an appetite before we head to the cafe for a proper catch-up over some cake! 

…loads of space for picnics and games on the open grass, hide and seek in the woods and a play area suitable for a wide range of children. It’s pushchair and wheelchair accessible too. 

There’s loads of free parking available, including buggy-friendly and disabled spaces. Find out more about Stewart Park, including the opening times, but the best way is just to go and see it for yourself. It will only take one visit to convince you…

Teesaurus Park
Did you know we have dinosaurs in Middlesbrough? Well, we do, and we LOVE them! It’s one of those places that either you know about and go all the time, or you’ve never heard of it before and are amazed when you find out it exists.teesaurus-park Our top pick recommendation came from the former and they are frequent visitors.

Teesaurus Park is the best – we start getting excited as soon as we pull in to the car park (and that’s just the adults!) 

You can find the dinosaurs on Riverside Park Road, and there’s plenty of free parking available. In the spirit of total honesty, there’s not a lot else around there so we would recommend toilet visits before you head out, and take your own drinks and snacks if you want refreshments!

Dorman Museum/Dressers Tea Room
It’s free entry to the beautiful Dorman Museum (some temporary exhibitions charge a small fee) and there’s loads of stuff to do from family-friendly trails to heading straight upstairs to play with the amazing fish floor! There’s plenty of space for diving around and hiding in tunnels and just generally having an absolutely brilliant time! At the end of your visit you can pop in to Dressers Tea Room for an afternoon treat for all the family.

There’s loads of kid-friendly options [in Dressers Tea Room] even for the fussy ones…  

For some extra family friendly fun, there’s also the fabulous Little Lion sessions that run on Thursdays from 1pm – 2.30pm. The sessions are £1.50 per child and include a drink and a biscuit.

The Dorman Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9.30am to 4.30pm (last entry is at 4pm). Find out more and read some Trip Advisor reviews at the same time via the Museum website. While you’re so close, you should definitely include some time to call in to Albert Park which is right next door!

Cineworld Movies for Juniors
What do you do if it’s pouring down with rain and it’s the weekend and you’re desperate to take the kids somewhere? Cineworld in Middlesbrough have the answer: Movies for Juniors! From just £2 (£3.50 for 3D movies!) there’s animated and live-action films to choose from, available on Saturday mornings at 10am (times subject to change). Please note that all children must be accompanied by an adult. You can also book in advance to avoid any queues.

Creams Cafe: ice-cream, crepes and more!
Creams was added as a last-minute top tip after a recent visit this past weekend. With a massive menu choice and a cool, kid-friendly interior, it’s a brilliant place for a weekend treat (for teens and adults too!). There’s ice-cream, crepes, waffles and loads of other tasty treats that will make you go all heart eyes emoji and wonder if you need one waffle or two…highly recommended! Visit the website for opening times and more info. There’s also an online menu…just saying…

As with all of our English Tourism Week posts we can only share small snippets or we’d be here all day and you would be too! You’re bound to have a list of all your own favourite places – feel free to share them in the comments below and let other families know about your special places. Sharing is caring 😃

Love Middlesbrough Lasses
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#ETW17: Parks and outdoor spaces

Spring is firmly on its way and it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and embrace the blue skies, milder weather and all the glorious Spring blooms bursting into life! English Tourism Week couldn’t have happened at a better time! With seven prestigious Green Flag seal of approvals for the parks and green spaces in Middlesbrough, we’re not exaggerating when we say they’re quite simply, the best!

We’re not ones for choosing favourites – because how could we?! – so in no particular order, here’s our list of parks and outdoor spaces you have to visit in Middlesbrough.

Albert Park
It makes sense to start with Albert Park. Situated right in the town itself, the park covers an area of 30 hectares and includes a visitor centre, roller skating rink, swan and boat hire on the lake, tennis courts, bowling greens, play areas, a fabulous bandstand and so much more! At this time of year the trees are just starting to see their first bursts of beautiful blossom, and all around the grounds are bright flashes of yellow, white, pink and purple as Spring bulbs pop out of the ground to say hello…and it just keeps on getting better as the seasons progress. The park is currently open from 7.30am to dusk .

Love Middlesbrough Top Tip ❤️ To take in all the sights of the park we recommend entering via the Park Road North entrance, turn right and follow the circular path round the entire perimeter of the park. Along the way you’ll be able to enjoy all the trees and seasonal blooms, see a sneak peek of our much-loved Dorman Museum, stroll past the lake with the ducks and the swan boats, and back around to where you started from…where you can pick another path and start exploring all over again!

Stewart Park
Ahhh Stewart Park, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways. Nature! Heritage! Captain Cook Birthplace Museum! Stewart Park Farmers’ Market! 120 acres of mature woodland and wide open park space! So pretty, so spacious, so tranquil, it’s hard to believe that outside the gates of the park is the normal hustle and bustle of life. There’s a huge children’s play area, a trim trail for when you’re feeling super fit (or trying to be!), outdoor table tennis and mini golf! There’s also two lakes for all the water fowl so you can feed the ducks too! Make sure to get the right food for ducks though, they’re not as keen on bread as everyone imagines…Stroll up an appetite and head to the cafe to enjoy a very tasty scone – just one of the many tasty delights – which you can enjoy outside or inside, depending on the weather. We could wax lyrical for so much longer, but space is limited. The park is currently open from 7.30am to dusk.

Love Middlesbrough Top Tip ❤️ Head to the park on the last Sunday of the month for the Stewart Park Farmers’ Market. Make sure to get there bright and early (it opens at 9am), wander round all the stalls with some of the best tasty and local food we have ever eaten, try not to drool (it’s so unladylike!), grab a coffee to go, pick a path and wander where your feet take you, before taking your food belly home for some well-earned sofa time!

Transporter Park
Transporter Park is right next to our iconic Transporter Bridge, which is an absolute must-see/must-visit/must-ride! The area has recently seen a real change and is looking tip-top – it’s even been a venue for music celebrations!. The recent addition of the oh-so-cool, multi-coloured Pioneer housing sets it firmly as a place on the up. As with all the other parks in town, the Spring blooms are bursting out of the ground and we can’t wait for the wildflowers to be back in Summer – so pretty. If you like taking photographs, it’s a brilliant place to start as you’re close to some of our most loved and iconic sights and there’s a photo op at almost every angle. There’s plenty of parking (including the two hours free offer available throughout the majority of town centre car parks) and you only have to do a hop, skip, and a jump back to the train station and onwards into town if you fancy finishing off your visit with some food. Doesn’t everyone do that? Just us then…

Love Middlesbrough Top Tip ❤️ We only have one for Transporter Park: if you’ve not been yet, go now and explore! Trust us…

transporter_park7

Fairy Dell 
Fairy Dell is a woodland beck and park and it sits on the borders of Marton and Coulby Newham. I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s beautiful! Truly, it’s a gem in Middlesbrough and well worth a visit if you’ve never been. Step through the main gates into a vast expanse of green park and then basically pick a path and start strolling (if you’re not sure 20170324_103101-effects which way to go there’s a handy map just as you walk through the main gates). Along the way you’ll see woodland, pretty waterfalls and streams, wooden sculptures and seating, and right now, as Spring is springing, bursts of yellow daffodils everywhere you look! The great thing about it is, there’s something for everyone. The outer pathways are accessible and buggy friendly, and if you want to go exploring you can do that too – just remember to pack your wellies! There’s even a ‘Trim Trail’ all the way around if you want to get your health and fitness on at the same time as taking in the lovely sights. There’s free parking available right outside of the main gates too which is always an added bonus!

Love Middlesbrough Top Tip ❤️ Head through the main gates and take the first pathway to your right and then just keep on following that pathway all the way around. You get to see most things on this trail including the giant snake, acorn and stork wooden sculptures, as well as enjoying the peace, quiet and the tranquil sound of the bubbling stream and birds singing – truly delightful! We already can’t wait to go back…

Linthorpe Cemetery and Nature Reserve
This is a recent discovery for us and we are absolutely loving it! A highly important burial ground, it’s steeped in history as well as being a genuinely lovely place to walk around. You’ve probably figured out by now that we’re massive fans of Spring blooms and there are heaps of them here *heart eyes emoji* If trees are more your thing there are parts of the cemetery that are almost completely covered by canopies of trees, many of which were planted in the 19th Century. And finally, for all you bird lovers out there, it’s a bird paradise! We’ve even heard that there are tawny owls – wow!

linthorpe_cemetery19

The beautiful thing about all these parks and green spaces is that they’re just a mere glimpse into all the amazing places that you can head to in Middlesbrough when you feel the need for some great outdoors. You can find out more about Council facilities via their website and more from us at Love Middlesbrough too.

Love Middlesbrough Lasses
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