Schools Out

Entertaining the kids this summer doesn’t have to cost the earth. The North West have loads of fantastic fun free days out for all ages and all weather, so get your wellies on and head to Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm in Wirral. There are loads of adorable animals to see.Keep those wellies to hand as you may need them again if you Head to NW Lancashire for a fun day out at Fairhaven Lake. There is something for everyone whether it’s a quiet stroll around the lake stopping to feed the ducks, having a go on the boats or a muddy sludgy adventure on the estuary mud looking for creatures that the birds come to eat. There are also good museum’s to be found in the North West and you certainly won’t be disappointed by Manchester’s Museum of Science & Industry. There is something for all, adults and children alike.

We all know how irreplaceable parks are, a must to let off steam and mix with other kids. This one in Bolton is by far no exception, what could be better after having a good play around than a walk around Animal World and Butterfly House.

Don’t forget to breathe in that fresh air! Most of us love the outdoors and Cumbria has some fantastic forests to get you and your kids enjoying what nature has given us. Pack a picnic and choose from Whinlatter Forest or Grizedale Forest, both offer stunning views and both have an excellent adventure playground.  After all that exploring you’re probably in need of some relaxing and what better way to relax than by the sea. Soak up the sun in the Sunny Isle of Man where there is a lovely clean beach called Finella Beach. It has passed the Marine Conservation water Quality tests so grab those costumes!

With all that money saved on entry fees head to Cheshire Ice Cream Farm and treat your little angels to a deliciously locally produced ice cream, there are over 40 irresistible flavours to choose from.

Escape 2 Travel is one of Barrow in Furness competitive coach hire business’. Established in 2013 the family run business accepted the challenge of making people happier within their travelling. It is only a small family business including father and daughter companionship.

Escape 2 travel is a fast growing business from handling one coach up to 2015 and now up to five coaches in 2016. We specialise in quality coach hire and executive coach hire centrally located in Barrow in Furness. Cumbria’s coastal gateway to the lake district.

If you are looking to hire a coach for Business, Tours, Educational Trips, Airport Transfers, Sightseeing Holidays, Weddings or even Sports events, Escape 2 Travel welcomes enquiries from both private and corporate clients including schools and colleges. Within then business we can offer 49, 51 or 53 seater but can join up with our Colleges Kt’s Coaches of Kendal who can help us upgrade to a 70 seater.

Our friendly, professional drivers have extensive local knowledge of the North West of England and are always pleased to help you make the most of your tour, visit or outing by passing on their comprehensive knowledge of attractions and places of interest, ensuring an enjoyable experience.

north-west-front-pageNorth West’s top 10 beaches

The coast here is made up of 1,400km of pure glorious sand, making it the largest stretch of undeveloped coastline in England, and with over 80% of it protected, the sea and sand here are well worth a visit. It includes a World Heritage waterfront and two areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

You’re never too far away from golden sand, and with summer here, there’s never been a better time.

The following are beach locations we consider to be the best in the region. Happy summer!

1. Formby is a National Trust-owned nature reserve on the Mersey coast and is a thing of diverse beauty. Red squirrels in the pine forest, rolling sand dunes with a vast, flat expanse of beach with parking on site. Mersey Railway station is only a mile or so down the road but you’ll need to bring a picnic as there are no cafes or shops.

2. Crosby is a short drive from Formby and is a lovely little beach with car parking on site with no cafes or shops.

3. Llandudno West Shore has a beautiful Victorian pier and a popular funfair with rides. This crescent-shaped beach is overlooked by the Great Orme whose cable-operated tramway to the top of the hill is the last still operating in Britain. Take a picnic or be prepared to queue at the café.

4. Gaddings Dam, Todmorden is a beach strangely nowhere near the sea. It is said to be the highest beach in England, and can only be accessed via a steep footpath. When you get there there’s a little patch of sand lapped by the waters of the four-acre reservoir. No vehicle access; footpath via Lumbutts Road, Todmorden (park opposite the Shepherd’s Rest Inn).

5. Lytham St. Annes, is close to Blackpool but a world and a half away from flashing lights, and is what is known as a “traditional” seaside resort. Think nature reserves, village greens, cosy pubs and windmills. There are plenty of local cafes and teashops.

6. Hilbre Island is tidal island two miles from the town of West Kirby. It can be reached by foot at low tide and is actually a series of three small islands, with the largest (and furthest away) being Hilbre. Now a nature reserve, Hilbre is part of an area known for its wildfowl and waders. Grey seals can also sometimes be bobbing about in the water, while the tiny Telegraph Station is occasionally open to visitors. Check the tide tables before you set out.

7. Morecambe Bay beach has a fantastic restaurant positioned right at the top giving spectacular views across the dramatic-looking bay. Good antique and junk shops can be found nearby, as can the coastal village of Heysham and the South Lakes too.

8. Southport Sea is very far out, so much so that it has “Britain’s longest overland pier” complete with its own tramline.

9. Glenridding, Ullswater might not be quite a beach as we know it, but Ullswater is one of the Lake District’s finest freshwater spots and, even during peak season, one of its quietest. It is best experienced by boat. Take the Ullswater Steamer to Glenridding, there the lakeshore boasts gently sloping beaches that are perfect for paddling, wading and enjoying the spectacular views. Glenridding is also close to Aira Force, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Britain.

10. Blackpool is of course one of Britain’s most famous beaches. Seven miles of golden sands with car parking on site, lots of cafes, places to eat (Yorkshire Fisheries is good for a sit-down fish supper) and oodles of entertainment.
‘The North West Times recognises that families in the UK are always looking for something new and something exciting to try. Our
‘What’s On’ Features have become increasingly popular over the years. We ask our readers; “So you’re trying to plan another day out for the whole family, but just aren’t sure where to start?” And then naturally, we give them some ideas!

Our advertisers range from smaller, more localised attractions or tourist hot spots around the North West through to the bigger, national theatres, theme-parks, castles and events.

A favourite amongst readers have always been the the more subtle atmosphere and educational aspect of the more local parks, farms, zoos and aquariums. Everyone likes a trip to the Zoo – today it’s more about conserving our world wild life and children can learn about the caring aspect, as well as have a super day out. In addition to featuring numerous zoos scattered throughout the UK – there have been plenty of specialized wild life centres specialising in small animals, birds, insects and butterflies that have benefited from their feature in the ‘North West Times’.

One successful feature we ran recently for example was;

“For those who what a change why not visit an exhibition or museum?”

We focused here on the fact that ‘Museums are no longer those stuffy places to visit you might remember when you were younger; instead they now provide hands-on experiences for even the youngest children and cater for all types of genres.’ We explained to readers that; ‘Whether its dinosaurs, a celebrity or certain time period that you and your family are interested, if you look hard enough there is certain to be a specialist exhibition in a museum somewhere to cater for your desires.’ The advertisers featured in this piece commented after the feature that the response was even better than predicted.
Below are some of our regular advertisers who have all benefited from the North West Times marketing their business and their products to the numerous couples, families and groups that pick up our publication.

Inglenook Farm

The farmhouse café serves the very best of British food, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients*.  Whether you stop by for fresh coffee & homemade cakes or linger and enjoy one of the seasonal specials, the cafe offers great value, freshly prepared food, friendly service in a bright fresh farmhouse setting.

The farm shop also sells everything from jams & chutneys to fresh, local fruit & veg – all representing the best of what the region has to offer.  They have sourced hundreds of products from small producers throughout the region, with fantastic seasonal produce available all year round!

Of course, Inglenook is still a farm, and under the expert eye of Steve, they  grow Chamomile and Lavender in the fields. Chamomile has distinctive daisy like plants and is  distilled & bottled in Inglenook’s on-site laboratory to create a unique essential oil. Available in the shop will be over 80 varieties of essential oils, hydrosols, carrier oils, soaps and other distinctive skincare products from shampoos to face creams..

As part of their desire to help the local community they now source all their  fruit & vegetables for the shop & cafe from local community initiative the Neighbourhood Services Company. Larkins Farm is a105 acre community farm located on the urban fringe in Croxteth.  The farm is a community-owned resource delivering a range of activities and services for the local community.

With unique shops such as African Dream, Crafts with Spirit, Phish for Plants, The Wood Works and Fine Feather selling contemporary crafts, jewellery, home furnishing, mystic gifts, plants, shrubs and bird food to name a few, complemented by the Boonric Art Gallery Inglenook Farm is the perfect place to spend an hour or two.

Also on site is Re-Nu therapies. Established for over 3 years, they offer a wide range of beauty, aromatherapy, holistic treatments and pamper days in tranquil and relaxing setting in the farmhouse.

‘Crafts with Spirit’ is a unique combination of fabulous hand made crafts with spiritualist readings & workshops.

There is also a regular Artisan Craft Market selling local and regional food and crafts every second Sunday of the month.  These are proving very popular with swing music playing in the courtyard by the Cotton Town Hot Club.

Barbara and Sarah invite you to come along and visit Whitey the Donkey, Lucky the Sheep, April, Bill and Bugsy the Goats and Mia and Perry the Miniature Shetlands.  Enjoy the farm and café and all it has to offer.  There is no admission cost and there is free parking.  Visit their website at  to keep up to date with all their news and what the shops have to offer.

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