AN auction opens today with bidders being invited to choose from a list of one-off experiences in the North East’s top beauty spots and visitor attractions.
The National Trust has provided a choice of happenings at its properties in the North East and Yorkshire which it says will deliver Christmas presents to remember.
The eBay auction ends on November 29 and proceeds will go towards helping the trust’s conservation activities.
Trust property manager and auction organiser Simon Lee said: “This is a chance for people to make somebody’s Christmas. We have some fantastic experiences on offer.
“As a charity, completely independent from the Government, we are always looking for ways to generate income which is spent on the care and maintenance of the land and buildings in our protection.
“We’re always in need of financial support and are asking people to bid generously to help support a group of places that hold a special place in many people’s hearts.
“We will contact the highest bidders in early December to confirm the terms and conditions. Certificates will be sent to the lucky bidders in plenty of time for Christmas.”
The Leas at South Shields and Whitburn in South Tyneside will provide two of the offers. The first is two guaranteed entries in next year’s Great North Run and accommodation for four in the Trust’s Souter Lighthouse holiday cottage the night before, and the night of the big event.
After crossing the finishing line, the bid-winning runners can walk along the clifftop path of The Leas, to the lighthouse where a bath and pamper-hamper will be waiting.
Bids are also invited for a dinner for two in the lighthouse’s lantern room, bathed in a romantic red glow, followed by a night in the holiday cottage.
There is also a double header from the Farne Islands off Northumberland.
There will be an exclusive boat-chauffeured view of bird life on the islands, finishing before a fish and chip supper. A separate tour of the grey seal colony will include some normally off-limits islands.
Other experiences include:
Hosting your own Georgian dinner party at Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland. Dressed in full provided Georgian clothing, start with a Champagne reception for eight guests before an authentic Delaval menu for dinner. After you bid your guests farewell, retire to the hall’s Bird Bedroom for an overnight stay.
A wedding at Washington Old Hall for up to 60 guests where canapés and drinks will be served.
A special tour of Cragside in Northumberland, plus a separate offer of fishing on one of the estate’s lakes.
Two nights in one of the Trust’s newly-refurbished cottages on Hadrian’s Wall with a tour of the Wall led by a Trust expert followed by an evening of wildlife watching with one a ranger.
An overnight stay in a yurt at the Trust’s Gibside estate near Rowlands Gill with ranger-led wildlife watching.
Family rock pooling day on the Northumberland coast with a Trust ranger.
A house party mystery evening at Ormesby Hall near Middlesbrough with a 1930s Champagne and cheese evening reception for up to 25 guests.
A day’s fly-fishing on the River Wharfe near Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire. The day on Yorkshire’s premier trout river will some professional tuition and a pub lunch.
Camping on Rievaulx Terrace in North Yorkshire with a Champagne picnic hamper above the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey.
For details of all of the experiences up for auction, log on to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/experiencesyne