Washington Wetland Centre

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Family including children under 16

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We enjoyed an absolutely fabulous day out at Washington Wetland Centre, fabulous because of the diverse environment, rich collection of creatures to see in beautiful surrounding. It is in my opinion a great place for all ages and all abilities.

The Washington Wetland Centre is situated on a large site in Tyne and Wear, east of Washington Town Centre in district pattinson (formerly district 15) It is four miles from the A1M. Drivers should follow the sign from Junction 64/65 of the A1M, then follow duck signs from the A1231. The centre is approximately a fifteen minute bus/taxi journey from Sunderland rail station.

Opening times are 9.30-5.30 in Summer. 9.30 -430 in Winter. It is open all year except Dec 25th. My tip would be allow a full day to enjoy the visiting experience.

Entrance fees are Adult £9.50, Seniors £7.50 Children 4-16 £4.80, under 4s free. Family – 2 adults and 2 children £25.80. Carers of disabled people are admitted free of charge.

The last time we had visited was "many moons ago" when our daughter was small,.back then it was called Washington Wildfowl Park. Today our daughter is grown up and we now have a granddaughter to share the experience of visiting this attraction now called Washington Wetland Centre. When we were staying in the area, earlier this month (July 2014) we could not resist another visit.

There is a good sized car park with disabled blue badge parking bays

When we entered the venue, it was like entering an oasis of calm, it is hard to imagine that it is set in a busy area of the North East of England.

There is so much to do and see: Woodlands to walk through with many birds to spot, meadows, lagoons, marshes, reed beds, pools all providing a home to wetland creatures, there are herons, frogs, dragonflies, butterflies, lapwings, ducks, gees, swans otters and my favourite – Flamingos, the list is endless, far too long to list here. What there is to see, of course, changes season to season which is one of the reasons it is open all year.

For the under 5;s there is a play area (involving water so bringing a change of clothes!) which our granddaughter loved.

There are picnic areas throughout the site, for those wanting a meal indoors there is the Waterside Café which we visited. It specialises in home cooking and the use of Fairtrade products. The Café provides a spectacular viewing point of Eurasian Cranes in the stream which flows beneath the café window.

Guided walks are available. There are talks throughout the day and set times when birds and creatures can be fed. Wardens provide a wealth of information

For the less mobile the venue is very disabled friendly and wheelchair accessible. There are comfortable Hides with step free entry and in Hawthorn Wood there is an extra large window for wheelchair users. The Pond Dipping area has facilities for wheelchair users. Although there are some slopes the venue is mainly flat with good surface paving. Wheelchair and Mobility Scooter hire is available (free of charge but donations welcome. There are wheelchair friendly W.C's The hides are wheelchair accessible.

Photography for personal use (not commercial use) is allowed.

We had a great day out on what was a very warm sunny day, we enjoyed the sunshine, the many shady areas and indoor areas providing shade from the sun when we wanted it. We won't leave it as long till we return again!

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