I was super excited by my purchase of a picnic basket from TK Maxx recently that I hoped (more than usual) for a sunny weekend to take it on an outing. Saturday was not as warm as we’d have liked, but as the pies and ales from the Grainger Market were already purchased I was determined to show my Geordie lass credentials and brave the breeze for a bit of al fresco eating.
The destination was Finchale Priory (pronounced Finkle) – a site I had visited a number of times as a child. It was probably some 20 years since my last trip, so it was a slight gamble. I remembered a lovely river (the Wear, as I’ve discovered since), a tree swing and fishing for tadpoles. It is now run by English Heritage, but is free to visit. The only cost incurred is the car park, which is operated by the local farm. This costs £3 and is payable on site.
When we arrived I was awed by the view. It really is pretty, especially when the sun was shining. We sat on the grass and ate our picnic, although there are tables dotted around. It was astonishing to think the history reached as far back as the 12th Century, and it felt a little eerie walking round some parts for me. The undercroft is one such place, although I took a great photo down there.
The river is clearly still there, and the rope has been replaced by a tyre swing. We walked across the bridge and did the woodland walk, which rounded off a lovely visit. It isn’t a particularly long route, but is steep at times. There was an opportunity for me to see some lambs in a field nearby, which I loved.
This is a great place to stop off on the way back from Durham with kids for an hour or two. They would enjoy running round! My only disappointment was that there isn’t a lot of information on site available as with other Heritage properties, but it’s a very small grumble.
Thanks for reading,