I’m back in Brownie Pack Holiday planning mode for next Spring. Options include heading back to Cheviot View in Wooler, which we loved, or staying closer to home to save on the coach travel. So the decision hasn’t been made yet. When my fellow Rainbow leaders in the division Karen and Natalie were looking to fulfil the ratios for their sleepover at Gibside I decided to head along. It would be great to tick another pack holiday location off the list and get more experience. Due to a few girls dropping out I was able to take Abigail and her friend Millie along with me. Abigail was happy to have her friend with her to share in the excitement of staying at the Stables at Gibside in their Bunkhouse Accomodation.
The Stables Bunkhouse Gibside
Accommodation at Gibside it at the Stables, above the small cafe and kids activity room. The Stables bunkhouse can be booked out to anyone, including family groups.
For a cost of £17 per person per night (£10 any subsequent nights) you can exclusive use of the bunkhouse. This includes a large kitchen, living room, showers and the dormitory’s which sleep 36. There were 25 rainbows and 6 guides in our group which worked out at £25 per girl. I can vouch that the beds at Gibside are extremely comfortable. The Stables isn’t a huge space, but is clean, modern and has everything for a short stay. Evelyn (chief chef) provided the food but the National Trust can cater for you for a supplement.
National Trust Guide Activities
Another positive of staying at a National Trust property is that they will organise your day activity for you. Working out at £5 per girl, we had a NT guide Liz to plan a great walk to the farm and fairy story activity. Following Liz we took a tour of the estate, making fairy crowns, stick fairy homes and a path of flowers.
The girls loved the activities which really got them worn out and ready for tea. Other options for older children include a bushcraft session, which my Brownies would really enjoy. Gibside is a brilliant place when the weather is good, but i’d worry slightly about coming here in the Winter or if the weather was bad. The indoor space is quite compact to organise crafts and baking.
Strawberry Fields Gibside
After tea (sausage and mash-lush!) we headed up to Strawberry Fields which is the fantastic park at Gibside. We are National Trust members so Abigail was familiar with the park, but there had been some great additions since our last visit. A water feature was great fun, a new climbing frame and a rope bridge swing which was a big hit! The girls had a brilliant time in the park and pretty much had the place to themselves. The Gibside pub night was on but that shuts at 9pm and didn’t cause any additional noise or rowdiness. It’s a National Trust pub night, so think real ale, wood fired pizza and chilled atmosphere. Definitely not the Bigg Market on a Saturday night!
As it was such a lovely warm night, the decision was made to serve hot chocolate and biscuits to the girls in the courtyard. The girls had a lovely time just chatting and starting the winding down process.
My fitbit clocked up nearly 20,000 steps that day, so I can only imagine how tired those little legs were. That was the plan! The girls were soon in their pj’s and snuggled down into bed with very little resistance. The leaders weren’t too far behind. Once I’d navigated the narrow bunk bed steps I slept soundly on a comfortable bed. Those bunks definitely aren’t designed for bums as big as mine!
Breakfast at Gibside
Due to Rainbows 24 hour rule, girls were being collected by parents at 10am.
This meant a quick breakfast, pack up and walk back down the Boulevard to the car park. Breakfast was croissants, rolls and pain au chocolate which were hoovered up. After a little prize giving ceremony, we were ready for the walk back to the car park where parents were ready to collect their girls. Lots of tired but happy faces. Another successful Rainbows sleepover in the Hazelrigg division.