As a parent a day out with children can sometimes feel like a challenge, especially when you’re trying something new. So if I’m honest, the thought of taking two under threes on a train journey by myself to a town I was unfamiliar with was a little daunting. However, this year I made a Local Motion pledge to travel by train once every month and this was going to be the month I started!
So with the buggy fully loaded with suncream, sunhats, a picnic blanket, water and umpteen toys, we were ready. I checked the live train feed on the Bishopline website and all was running to time so we set off for the station.
The children were so excited about going on a train, they watched the tracks with anticipation and as our train arrived India let out a ‘choo choo’. We boarded our train with ease and the carriage was spacious with bench seat alongside the window so India had a perfect view of the scenery all the way. 27 minutes goes a lot quicker than you imagine when you’re watching your children fascinated with the sheep, the beautiful sky, the historical buildings along the route and the other passengers getting on and off. When we arrived at Bishop Auckland with its newly painted mural the children were just starting to feel at home.
First stop was to find some exciting treats for our picnic so we set off up the high street and it didn’t disappoint, we found numerous bakers and grocers along the way where we selected sandwiches from one, fruit from another and of course cakes from the last.
A further five minutes’ walk led us to the gates of Auckland Castle which excited India immensely. ‘A real castle mummy’. We peeped over the walled garden then set up our picnic lunch on the chess board on the lawn. Hugo was released from the confines of his buggy and was in his element as he ran back and forth across the beautifully manicured lawn and I was able to have a five minute rest!
The lunch was demolished so we set off in search of a playground. We found one which was close to the station which was perfect. India took advantage having the swings and slide to herself as Hugo slept in the shade. She was captivated by the wild flowers alongside the path and played spot the bee.
With 40 minutes until our train was due we investigated the entertainment options around the station, and if you have children yourself you’ll know that it doesn’t matter which shop you’re in, it’s exciting. So the DIY warehouse and well known bike and car parts store did the trick!
We then boarded the train along with the day’s commuters and watched the new scenery from the opposite side of the train as we headed back to Darlington, who would have thought it could be so different from the way there. The digger car park was a winner as far as Hugo was concerned!
As we got off the train at Darlington Bank Top there was a sadness that this was the end of our journey of fun. The day was far from a challenge, it was an absolute blast. A little tear appeared as India waved the train away but I assured her that we would definitely do this again.