This weekend Andrew’s Mum came up to visit from Lancaster. After spending most of Saturday sitting around talking to Trailfinders about our honeymoon (more on that later!) we took advantage of the beautiful, sunny weather on Sunday and drove up to Northumberland to see the poppy exhibit at Woodhorn, have a bite to eat and head further up North to Amble for a spot of tea and cake.
Sunday was the first time I had ever been to Woodhorn (much to my Mum’s surprise!), even though I’ve seen lots of exhibitions advertised there. When Andrew went to London to buy my engagement ring, he visited the original Weeping Window exhibition at the Tower of London, so it was nice to re-visit the poppies here in the North East as they start to tour around the country. Woodhorn managed to secure the first exhibit outside of the capital and the poppies are on display here from now until Sunday 1st November.
If you didn’t get chance to read up about it, the poppy installation was the idea of Paul Cummins, artist and Tom Piper, designer. At the Tower of London, the installation gradually grew – with the number of poppies increasing from a core number until the last poppy (number 888,246!) was planted on 11 November 2014, 100 years after the armistice of World War One. Each poppy was planted by a volunteer in memory of a soldier who lost their life during the War. The response to the installation, entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, was unprecedented – attracting over five million visitors in the four months that it was up.
After the installation closed in London, you had an opportunity to buy one of the poppies for just £25. I so wish we had done, because the flowers themselves are beautifully crafted and were part of such an interesting piece of national art. We didn’t get one, and sure enough the rest sold out, so there are a much smaller number of flowers here at Woodhorn. The flowers that were kept represent the core set of poppies that appeared for the total time of the display in London.
It’s well worth a visit – luckily we had a really sunny day to see them and it was a nice ride out. The arrangement of the poppies, cascading from a disused part of the colliery, seem all the more poignant in the North East due to the decline in industry up here. It’s a bit remote and there’s not much nearby to see, but if you catch it on a beautiful day it’s very attractive. They are expecting big numbers and it was busy when we went on a Sunday, so be prepared if you head up there at peak times. It’s free to get in, but costs £3.50 to park your vehicle – there’s a field full of parking onsite. Read more on the Woodhorn website by clicking here.
Be warned though, that the cafe there is not really up to much – it serves school dinners or sandwiches in a busy, soulless space that has annoying Northumbrian pipes blaring out of the speakers. So it was that we headed on up to Amble, to visit Circa cafe and antique shop, just near the petrol station. Circa is a really cool place – the cafe serves nice coffee and cake (along with more substantial food if you need it) and the shop has a plethora of second hand and vintage items on sale. There is quite a bit of furniture and it’s all very reasonably priced. Get hunting and rummaging to find some good bits and pieces.
Don’t forget to venture out the back to check out the two converted caravans and Beach Hut, where you can sit and enjoy afternoon tea or hire out for your own little tea party. They’re so cute and really easy to miss if you don’t know they’re there! I’d absolutely love one of those little caravans to take to a festival – they’re delightful!
So that was my weekend spent exploring a little bit of history at Woodhorn and enjoying a little bit of cake in Amble. What did you get up to? Has anyone else been up to the Weeping Window exhibition or manage to see it in London? Did anyone get their hands on a poppy?!