Rising Sun Country Park, a beautiful, leafy woodland in North Tyneside, has always been a firm favourite with my family for dog walks and bike rides. Unless you live nearby, I’m pretty sure you won’t have heard of or visited Rising Sun before – it really is Benton’s best kept secret! The main entrance to the park is situated by Benton Asda, and you really never would think such an oasis would exist so close to industrial sites and supermarkets. This country park is 400 acres brimming with nature and wildlife, providing fun for people of all ages, all year round!
Once the setting for a coal mine and hospital for infectious diseases, Rising Sun Country Park has been transformed into a haven for rare species of birds, the occasional deer and other wildlife that enjoy the mixture of woodland, grassland, meadows and ponds at the park. Whilst walking through the winding corridors of leafy trees is charming in itself, North Tyneside Council and the volunteers at the park have provided extra fun for all the family: an Organic Farm, Play Area, Countryside Centre and organised activities are just some of the attractions this lovely park has to offer.
If you aren’t full up from the berries you’ve picked on your walk through the park, I couldn’t recommend the Rising Sun Country Park Café enough! Set on top of a small hill, overlooking the Swallow Pond and acres of parkland, the café serves humble yet delicious food for reasonable prices. As well as daily specials including pasties and quiches, the café offers a range of fresh and toasted sandwiches, breakfasts, chips and a host of sweet options (including the most delicious scones!) The café also accommodates for their younger customers with children’s lunch boxes and plenty of ice creams for hotter days. With both indoor and outdoor seating, the café really is a lovely spot to enjoy a light lunch or a coffee and refuel before more exploration of the park. I also think it’s really fantastic that the café employs and trains adults with learning difficulties, who are a credit to the park and café.
Because I’m a bit too old for the children’s activities at the park, and because I don’t have children of my own, I can’t say that I’ve experienced the wide range of events and activities that are held within the park and at the Conference Centre. However, from picking up a few leaflets while I was last at Rising Sun I can see that everything from Multi-Sensory Music Classes to Den Building Workshops are going on there. Yoga, Park Runs and Orienteering Classes are also highlights on Rising Sun’s calendar. There’s so much going on here and I think I’m going to have to put my Sundays to better use now and get involved with the activities going on around this beautiful ‘urban countryside’.
It’s not long until Christmas now and if you’re looking for somewhere to go to get into the Christmas spirit, or somewhere to take the kids once the Christmas Holidays begin, look no further than Rising Sun. I have heard really good things about the group Christmas Meals that are held in the café and having had a look at the menu for this year, I can honestly say that I’m very tempted – with three courses for £20.95 and three courses from the children’s menu for £10.50, it really is a bargain! Why not book a place to visit Santa Claus in his Grotto this December too? Rising Sun are offering a visit to the big man himself, a present from Santa, Christmas crafts-making and festive refreshments for just £8 per child! I’m feeling very Christmassy just thinking about this.
Rising Sun really is a hidden gem that has probably been sitting on your doorstep all this time without you knowing. It is the perfect place to really immerse yourself and your family in nature, without having to travel very far at all. Woodland walks, bike rides, berry-picking, nature spotting and so much more- you really can do it all at Rising Sun Country Park. It’ll be the loveliest day out you’ve had in a long time.
Overall Rating: *****
Pro(s): Fantastic day out for all ages and people of all interests. It is very accessible by car and metro and really does have fantastic facilities to complement the beautiful, leafy surroundings. I think it is especially lovely in Autumn too!
Con(s): This park achieves what it sets out to do; no complaints from me!