A few weeks ago, I went on a little mid-week press trip with one of my oldest friends up to Tees Valley. You might be wondering where Tees Valley but I’m talking about places like Middlesbrough, Darlington, Stockton and the surrounding Teeside area. It’s actually an area which I spent a lot of time visiting in the Summer when I was younger as I have family in the area but it was actually lovely to come back and re-discover the area.
Our first stop was Middlesbrough which although there aren’t brilliant train connections from Scarborough, you can take the direct X93 bus. It takes around two hours but it does go through some beautiful places such as Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby and it’s quite a pleasant journey. I can’t remember much of Middlesbrough from when I was younger but first impressions (especially of the high street and shopping) I was surprised. There was such a wide selection of shops, it would make a great place for a shopping day. Which is something I think my Mum and I will do in the future. After we looked in a few of the stores, we headed to Baker Street Kitchen.
Baker Street Kitchen is a short walk from the high street and is in such a lovely area. You could tell this place was a firm favourite with locals and served up some delicious food! I believe they serve Breakfast, Lunch and in the Evening and with the menu, I was spoilt for choice. In the end, I went for a full English breakfast (without eggs) paired with a luxe hot chocolate and my friend got the Sweet Potato, Avocado and Sweetcorn dish. The food was absolutely delicious and just the ticket to fill us up over lunchtime. I loved the way they did the hash brown into balls on my Full English – Something a little different.
The area of Baker Street and Bedford Street is full of little independent shops and also is where you will find the Orange Pip Food Market which takes place on the last Saturday of the month. I’m always up for a food market so I will definitely be coming back to visit this too!
Our next stop was the Middlesborough Insititute of Modern Art otherwise known as Mima. I had no idea that there was anything like this in Middlesborough. We had a tour of the building and a chance to explore the exhibitions which address some key worldwide issues such as the Fragile Earth. There was a really incredible piece of artwork which looked like a lovely pattern which in fact at a closer look, was discarded plastic items frequently found on the beach. This piece was by a local artist from Hartlepool so it’s great that the gallery is really championing locals. There was also an extensive list of events and workshops going on at Mima and the best thing was the gallery was free to visit.
That evening, we were staying at Wynyard Hall which I’d heard some amazing things about. On arrival, it was like entering a stately home or even a royal palace. Everything was so big and regal and moving on to our room was a Grand Master Suite truly took my breath away. I think I’m most likely going to do another blog post specifically on the hotel as it was an incredible experience and I took a ton of photos. Wynyard Hall not only has 19 luxurious bedrooms for hotel guests but its a great venue for any big events as there are some spectacularly grand rooms. Also on site is a gorgeous lakeside spa which we also visited, a farm shop and 150 acres to explore including a walled garden.
As I said before, our room was utterly gorgeous, it really felt like some sort of royal suite. That evening we dined in the Wellington Restaurant where we had the choice of an a la carté menu or a tasting menu. I decided to go for the Flat Iron Steak served with chop house butter, fries and watercress and my friend got the Stone Bass with Pink Fir Apple Potatoes and Pancetta. The food was presented beautifully and absolutely delicious. We could resist getting dessert which I got the Salted Caramel and Chocolate Delice and my friend ordered the Passion Fruit Mousse and Fruit Compote. It was the perfect way to finish off a lovely dining experience before heading to the bar for a couple of G&T’s.
After an amazing night’s sleep in the bed fit for royalty, we returned to the Wellington Restaurant for breakfast. We had a choice of a few cooked dishes and also a continental selection of pastries, fruit and cereals to help ourselves to. After breakfast, we were ready for the day ahead starting off with a relaxing couple of hours in the hotel’s spa. Just a short walk from the main hall is Wynyard Spa where you can enjoy a range of different treatments and relax lakeside in their sauna and one of their two hot tubs. We were incredibly lucky as the weather was pretty good and it was just glorious to just lay out.
Our final destination before heading back on the train was Darlington to the Head of Steam Museum. Darlington was the location for the first steam-powered passenger railway and this museum was established on the North Road Station to delve into the local railway history. There were some really fascinating parts to the museum including an original locomotive and a victorian booking office. Whilst we were visiting, there was also two exhibitions going on, one featuring paper toys including some incredible vintage Disney merchandise. The other exhibition was all about the moon and I love anything to do with space so I found it so interesting. There was even a piece of moon rock there to touch!
It was then time to head back home on the train after quite the whistle-stop yet relaxing break. Although we only had two days in Tees Valley, it was a great taster. I’ll definitely be back very soon. My name is being called to the Orange Pip Food Market. I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Wynyard Hall, I’ll be doing another in-depth blog post very soon. It’s certainly an ideal place for a relaxing break in the Teeside area. A massive thank you to Enjoy Tees Valley who organised this trip, we had an amazing time!
*This trip was organised by Enjoy Tees Valley on the basis of creating content on the area. All thoughts and opinions are my own.