Review – Thought Foundation – Birtley

We had a lovely little morning at Thought Foundation​ yesterday. I adore having this wonderful gem of a place just down the road. If you haven’t visited yet then you are seriously missing out! Not only is it a fantastic cultural space, with amazing artwork, a delightful shop of quirky goodies and an absolutely kick ass cafe, it’s also an amazing hub for a huge range of diverse activities for both adults and children alike.

Our usual Friday morning class had been cancelled for the day and mummy was keen to escape, ahem, venture out to do something fun. So we thought we’d check out the Read and Play session at 10.30. It’s £3 a child and can just be paid when you get there, no need to book, you can just turn up and join in. The class takes place in a small space tucked away alongside the cafe. It was a lovely session for a mix of ages up to pre-school (there was a teeny 9 week old baby there 😍 and older ones for Eliza to become immediate bffs with!). The session consisted of two stories, singing and valentine’s themed parachute play. A lovely way to spend half an hour.

After the session we decided to stay and play for a while, mainly so mummy could have some much needed caffeine intake while the kids play. I absolutely adore the food offering here, it’s ideal for lunch with a really diverse selection of bagels, sandwiches, soups and salads. They also do a really lovely menu for little ones at super reasonable prices. They’re absolutely amazing at catering for allergy and dietary requirements – the vegan and gluten free brownie is to die for! Plus they do an amazing afternoon tea (also with an option for little ones!).

Imagination station

We split a brownie between the three of us and I tried my beat to down a gingerbread latte as it was still nice and hot while the kids played. The back of the cafe has a big play section for little ones, full of a range of things to explore which are far removed from your typical play area toys. The kids had a ball climbing in and out of a wooden structure (which Eliza had declared to be a pirate ship), stacking bricks and blocks and raiding the fancy dress hamper for princess outfits (standard).


After caffeine had been inhaled we went to explore the latest installation in the gallery space – this did involve some level of headless chicken madness on my part ensuring the kids didn’t touch or get too involved in the artwork 😰 but the kids really enjoyed exploring the huge space and everything it had to offer. Sadly due to the aforementioned headless chicken stage I didn’t get chance to have a nosey in the shop which is an amazing treasure trove of handmade goodies, a beautiful range of children’s books and awesome prints and affordable artworks to take home.


They also have a lovely outside space, with a huge sandpit, picnic tables and a caravan for kids to explore, but I’ll save that one for when storm Dennis has buggered off 😂.

All in all it cost us less than a tenner and we had a lovely time escaping the miserable weather, having a sing song, a bit to eat and some very energetic play time. The only downside was trying to drag them both away again when it was time to go home!

Running riot

Entry to Thought Foundation is free, and a full list of their events can be seen on their website ( or Facebook page. They have loads of really cool things on for kids of all ages over half term so I thoroughly recommend checking them out.

Cafe artwork
Exploring the installation

To see the list of upcoming events and activities check out their facebook page or website.

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