BEST YORKSHIRE DAYS OUT USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Leeds by bus, train and water!

BEST YORKSHIRE DAYS OUT USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Leeds by bus, train and water!

A lot of families want to explore the best Yorkshire has to offer but without a car… so we thought at Yorkshire Families that we would start to share some of our favourite days out using public transport… beginning with Leeds, West Yorkshire.

I myself (Sophie Mei Lan) have a driver’s licence but no vehicle and I am determined to do what I can using public transport or by walking. Not only can it save money but it is better for the environment too and at times, I have found, it is less stressful than driving a car (YES I have been stuck on Leeds Ring Road a number of times!). So what is there to do in Leeds via public transport?

There are so many but here are some of the recent places we have visited and loved in Leeds City Centre!

Train  

As we live in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, we often get the train into Leeds if I have the energy to face the busyness of Leeds Train Station (that said the kids love it and it looks super pretty after its recent makeover). The train station itself is equipped with a few shops and lots of eateries from coffee shops to McDonald’s (the children’s favourite along with Subway), Pret a Manger (great for an affordable filter coffee), Wetherspoons (cheeps and cheerful but not child-friendly), Leon (my absolute favourite) and a Sainsbury’s (perfect if you forget picnics and snacks like I always do).

From Leeds Train Station main entrance you can easily access the city centre shops and Trinity Leeds and it is just a 10 minute walk to Millennium Square where you will find the brilliant Leeds City Museum (such a great free day out for little ones) as well as Leeds Art Gallery. Nearby there is also The Core Shopping Centre where we like to grab a slightly quieter bite to eat, The Merrion Centre and for a treat we love The Light Leeds.

Or if you come out of Leeds Train Station’s South Entrance you can easily access the city’s waterfront (River Aire).

The entrance has two escalators up to the concourse which provides access to either side of the river for passengers to get to Granary Wharf and Little Neville Street, or Holbeck.

Granary Wharf has lots of places to eat but the children’s favourite are Leeds Water Taxis. The boats (called Twee and Drie) ferry passengers from Granary Wharf to Leeds Dock. At Leeds Dock you will find Royal Armouries Museum which is well worth a visit.

Bus 

My favourite way to get to Leeds is via bus although it does take a lot longer this way (approximately one hour on the 110 Arriva bus from where we live in Wakefield to Leeds City Bus Station, which is only 20-30 minutes on the train).

Once arriving in Leeds City Bus station, there are lots of places to visit locally.

The bus station itself is nothing to shout about but at least it is quieter that Leeds Train Station and it has a Greggs and corner shop as well as vending machines.

Leeds City Bus station is literally next door to Leeds Kirkgate Market which has a huge array of fruit and vegetable stalls as well as an accessible food court with lots of independent food and drink vendors (you can get delicious fresh food cooked for you at an affordable price).

The bus station is also across the road from Victoria Leeds which is home to John Lewis and some higher end shops and eateries. It’s great with a pushchair or with older children.

Not only that, Leeds Playhouse theatre is also across the road with a new city facing entrance which makes it even more accessible (previously West Yorkshire Playhouse). We love going to the theatre to see family friendly shows such as The Bear which was on during half-term.

Yorkshire Families review of The Bear at Leeds Playhouse: 

“Charming and captivating! My 5 & 8 year old daughters were so engrossed, they forgot to ask for the sweets I’d brought them. I’m not sure I could give higher praise!?

This production is everything children’s theatre should be: beautifully made, witty, charming and light-hearted.

The Bear is adapted from the picture book by Raymond Briggs, the same writer behind The Snowman. Here, a relatable and enchanting little girl, Tilly is delighted when a polar bear climbs through her bedroom window. Despite the bear making trouble, in every toon in the house, her parents remain blissfully unaware and assume the ‘bear’ Tilly constantly charters about is part of her imagination. Which my girls found hilarious, as the bear is huge!

We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the experience, from the welcome at Leeds playhouse, the wonderful acting on show, the seamless scene changes to the perfect duration and atmosphere for my girls. I’d thoroughly recommend for a family trip!”

Also nearby you have Yorkshire Dance and Northern Ballet who both run classes for children and adults. We recently attended a free family festival at Yorkshire Dance where we did a Bollywood Dance Workshop.

 

So whether you’re visiting Leeds by bus, foot, train or even boat… there are so many things to do! Let us know your favourite day out on social media @yorkshirefamilies on instagram/facebook and @yorkshirefams on twitter.

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FREE FAMILY DAYS OUT IN YORKSHIRE: What’s on this Half-term School Holidays for families?

FREE FAMILY DAYS OUT IN YORKSHIRE: What’s on this Half-term School Holidays for families?

School Holidays can be a daunting time for families throughout Yorkshire when it comes to finding out what’s on for the family on a budget. You suddenly have lots more meals to make, activities to pay for and time you want to enjoy.

So we at Yorkshire Families wanted to do a round-up of some of the best free days out in Yorkshire to keep the school holidays as cheap and affordable as possible.

And most of all we want your whole family to enjoy half-term as much as possible (sorry we can’t promise no tantrums or grumpy moments, but we’re only human and as Yorkshire folk we like to do things on a shoe string!).

 

The best free family days out in Yorkshire:

 

  1. National Science and Media Museum in Bradford: “Situated right in the centre of Bradford is the National Science and Media Museum. This museum is devoted to the fascinating history and technology behind TV, film and video games. From the basics of how lenses work to displays of old sets and favourites from the past, there is something here for all the family.”
    Here’s what we got up to:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/B5SR7-SFZi-/
  2. Weston Park Museum in Sheffield will have 2 NEW galleries opening at the start of half term, plus activities on every day. Half Term: Discovery Days are free drop in events, and include Incredible Egypt crafts. 
  3. Clifton Park & Museum is a “fantastic free day out in Rotherham with adventure playgrounds, big slides, sandpit and park. There is a good free museum with hands on stuff for kids. Plus there is a funfair – not free but worth mentioning,” says Naomi from Trips with a Tot blog.
  4. Grimm & Co is a magical Apothecary in the heart of Rotherham Town Centre (right next to Clifton Park). They have a range of free activities on, some you need to book in advance. There’s Portals from 18-22nd Feb:
    Explore the textures of the apothecary to create your very own portal. Once your portal is in full form, where does it lead? What’s on the other side? Complete a description of your imagined land and see if anyone would like to go through…
    This is an independent activity that you can do by yourself or with grown ups in their apothecary. Just ask the Shop Elves behind the counter for more details.
    Puzzle Poetry also 18-22nd: As spring brings new life and growth to the natural world, our apothecary begins to sprout new words! Use the leaves all around to uncover the lines of a poem. Place them in any order you want, change it, add to it, make it your own!
    This is an independent activity that you can do by yourself or with grown ups in their apothecary. Just ask the Shop Elves behind the counter for more details.
    And Bewitched Botanicals on 18th and 19th Feb 10-2.30pm,
    20th Feb 10-1pm: Join Professor G. Greenfinger as they identify the magical and mystical plants hidden within the mortal realm. Craft your newly discovered enchanted plant andrecord its features to be kept in the Bewitched Botanical Archive forever.  Call the apothecary on 01709 8296750 to book your free slot.
  5. National Coal Mining Museum of England in Overton (near Wakefield, West Yorkshire) has so much to offer from indoor galleries and a free play area and space to dress up as well as a range of outdoor play areas and places to explore England’s mining history. There’s also pit ponies you can meet and don’t miss the underground tour which goes 140m underground and is led by friendly former miners. There’s also a woodland trail and a chance to meet real life Blacksmiths creating works of art out of metal. There’s lots of extra activities this February half-term too. For more of what’s on at NCMME for families, head to our post here.

    ptr
    The underground tour at the National Coal Mining Museum is perfect for over 5s
  6. East Park in HullEast Park fully opened in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. This Grade II listed park recently benefited from a council assisted lottery grant totaling £10 million and has been transformed into a vibrant green space where you can enjoy modern attractions and discover historic treasures.
    East Park Bridge

    There’s something for everyone – you can take a stroll around 130 acres of parkland, brave a ride on our Wicksteed splash boat, visit the Animal Education Centre, try the new library at the Pavillion and enjoy a picnic.

  7. Aysgarth Falls in North Yorkshire: Aysgarth Falls are in Leyburn, North Yorkshire and are a set of three magnificent waterfalls on the River Ure. The falls cascade over the series of broad limestone steps which are divided into three stages; Upper Force, Middle Force and Lower Force.
    “We decided that we would walk down and see the middle and lower falls. We weren’t sure how long it would take, but we were in no rush. Following the footpath, we passed the visitors centre, crossed a road and entered the woodland through a gate. The walk through the woods is well signposted, with a nice path which is suitable for buggies. Wheelchair users will find accessing some areas a bit tricky though as there are some steps,” explains Hodge Podge Days blog.
  8. Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre is dedicated to the history and people of the borough.  It is an interesting place for all the family to visit.  There is lots of fun to be had in the interactive galleries and the Discovery Centre holds priceless treasures. We stumbled upon it in the town centre after getting a bus to the bus station to buy some food from Barnsley Market. It’s great for little ones as it is compact and has lots to to as well as a lovely gift shop.
  9. Rhubarb Festival – Wakefield’s Food and Drink Festival:If you don’t know what the Rhubarb Festival is, then where the ‘eck have you been? It’s Wakefield’s love-letter to the divisive vegetable, the first date in the Merry City’s festival calendar, and it starts the year off with a bang.In 2020 it’s a festival of Miracle-Gro proportions, running for a whole week from Monday 17 February until Sunday 23 February (the traditional food and drink market runs 21-23 February), and truly taking over the city centre. There’s lots on for families too, so head to Wakefield’s former Market Hall which is right next to Wakefield Bus Station (the festival of the Moon took place here too).

    Open Monday to Sunday, this is a real family space, with a cosy reading corner, kids’ Activity Zone (including an awesome rhubarb video game which has to be played to be believed) and storytelling workshops.

    There’s plenty for grown-ups too. Highlights include a community-led rhubarb recipe exchange, the photographic Heritage of Rhubarb exhibition, exclusive photographs from Martin Parr’s Rhubarb Triangle, and – prepare to be intrigued – the Rhubarb Shed, an immersive experience where visitors learn about the cultivation of the plucky pink vegetable, and watch (and hear!) it grow before their eyes.

    Like an enormous rhubarb crumble, Rhubarb Festival 2020 has plenty to get your teeth into. So get your pink on, and get set to eat, drink… and be merry.

  10.  National Railway Museum in York not only has it’s normal exhibition offering but also Decoded themed activities this half-term. So this February school holidays, let the NRM show you how we needn’t be scared of words like “data” and “coding” with fun hands-on activities that break down these concepts and build confidence:

    TECH ON THE TRACKS

    Get to grips with high-tech toys in this introduction to the basics of tangible coding on the train tracks, run by Technology in Play.

    FLUX DANCE

    Create code through movement in this dance workshop which teaches you the 10 key words of coding.

    ROBOT RAILWAYS

    Take charge of a small robot to find out how technology can be used to change and improve our railways.

    HOW TO BEAT THE SYSTEM

    Enjoy a screening of a Royal Institute lecture exploring how algorithms relate to our lives. More info and tickets.

    STORYTELLING

    Technology in Play are taking over story time with their Code-a-pillar. Use code to tell this clever critter where it needs to go, bringing a new twist on well-known early-years stories.

    PASSENGER GO

    Think like a train in this interactive game, where a roll of the dice throws up problems to solve.

    MORE FUN—AND FOOD, TOO

    Head out to South Yard for a Steam Ride or a rumble along our Miniature Railway. There’s also the super-speedy Mallard Experience and the Road Train to take you to and from York Minster.

    You’re bound to work up an appetite exploring our big museum. Pop over to our family-friendly cafés in Station Hall and Great Hall to refuel, where you’ll also find irresistible coffee and cakes.

  11. Leeds Galleries and Museums: There are so many free things to do across West Yorkshire this half-term and in the Easter Holidays, go to our full post here.
    Leeds art gallery art space

 

More free ideas for family days out in Yorkshire wherever you are:

 

  • Canals and River Walks: Check out Canal and River Trust for nice walks near you. We loved a charity walk with Leeds Cares along the Leeds and Liverpool canal. It was great for picnics and lovely paths for buggies and bikes too. We caught the train to Kirkstall Forge Station and walked along the path to Leeds Dock.
  • Museums, Galleries and Libraries near you: Check out your local council website for a list of venues that are open near you and many of them will also have free activities on during the half-term holidays.
  • Local Parks and outdoor spaces:  From woodland to playgrounds and community allotments. Why not wrap up warm (sorry I am assuming the weather will be bad!) and get outside even if it is just for a short walk or a bit of fresh air.
    FAMILY WALKS TOP 10: Where to go Walking in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and win a spa day
  • Organise a meet-up or playdate either outdoors or in your own home: We often have playdates at our house which gives the kids chance to play and us adults chance to chat.

 

What’s your favourite free day out in Yorkshire?

 

Happy Exploring God’s Own County!

FEBRUARY HALF TERM & EASTER HOLIDAYS: What to do in the school holidays in Leeds, West Yorkshire?

FEBRUARY HALF TERM & EASTER HOLIDAYS: What to do in the school holidays in Leeds, West Yorkshire?

Before you know it February half term and the Easter Holidays will be upon us, so what is there to do for the family in Yorkshire? Here Leeds Galleries and Museums share a range of events from free days out to paid for experiences across Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Abbey House Museum

February Half Term

18-21 February

 

During February half term celebrate the Leeds Year of Reading with selection days inspired by family favourites. On 18 February there’s Alice in Wonderland creative crafts and silly science inspired by the wonderful world of Roald Dahl on 19 February. Say ahoy to another classic on Wednesday with Treasure Island themed crafts and murky murder mysteries in the Victorian streets. Round off the week with tropical fun inspired by the Jungle Book on Friday 21 February too!

DJ Workshop

20 February, 12-3pm

Calling all aspiring young DJ’s aged from 11–15. Come along and meet Melodies Music and DJ Academy, take over the decks, cue your track and get spinning in an introductory session to DJing.

Entry is included in museum admission, all equipment is included and no experience needed. Advance booking required via youth.curator@leeds.gov.uk

 

 

Easter Holidays

7-17 April

 

Bounce into Easter with adorable animal crafts in the Victorian streets. On 10 April from 10am–4pm hop along to meet the Easter Bunny. Choose a treat from his basket, pick up a trail and find the golden eggs hidden around the streets. Don’t miss amazing real life animals from Lion Learners each Wednesday too, including creepy crawlies and fluffy Easter bunnies!

 

Leeds Art Gallery

School Holiday Arts and Crafts

Selected dates, 11am-4pm

Between 18 & 20 February come along and make space-shifting sculptures in Artspace. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the Easter school holidays, Leeds Art Gallery will be joined by their artist in residence for painting, drawing, crafting and collage! On 21 February and 17 April check out their family friendly pop-up event looking at art in 3D with the Henry Moore Institute.

Leeds Young Film Festival

7, 8, 9 & 11 April

 

Experience Leeds Young Film Festival at Leeds Art Gallery this Easter for the UK’s largest family film event! It features premieres and special film screenings for the whole family to enjoy and explores the world of film through workshops at pocket-money prices.

For more information visit www.leedsfilm.com  

Leeds City Museum

February Half Term: Clever Clothes & Fabulous Fashions

18-21 February, 10am-12pm & 1-3pm

Reuse and recycle craft materials to design funky fashions for your favourite toy and parade them down the table catwalk. Create a rainbow using plate weaving and take the textile trail around the museum to discover how clothes have been used, recycled and made here in Leeds!

Sensory Room for Families with Additional Needs

20 February & 9 April, 10.30-11.30am

For those who may find a trip to the museum a little overwhelming, Leeds City Museum will be hosting a pop-up sensory room with bubble tube, dark tents and tactile toys for a calmer moment on your museum trip.

Booking essential via Eventbrite

Recycle Runway

15 April, 10.30-11.30pm

Get crafty with activities inspired by the new exhibition, Fast x Slow Fashion. Create a brand new outfit from old clothes and recycled materials and learn all about reusing, recycling and reducing material waste.

Easter Holidays: Patterns & Prints

7-19 April

There’s a whole load of activities on offer during the Easter holidays with workshops and drop-in sessions suitable for visitors of all ages. Create patterns and prints from 14 – 17 April, try your hand at embroidery for children on 7 April and take the daily trail through the museum. Explore patterns through the museum collections from textiles to tiles and animals to Ancient Egyptian jewellery.

Leeds Industrial Museum

Mystery Matinees

Every day in school holidays, 2pm

Watch a classic film in one of the UK’s smallest cinemas. The Art Deco Palace Picture House will be screening family favourites and vintage classics every day during the holidays. Grab a family ticket for just £9 which includes entry into the museum and the Leeds to Innovation exhibition.

Build: Code: Create: Innovate with Programmable Lego

18-20 February, 12.30-3pm

 

Come get hands on with the collection! See cogs, wheels and engines up close before building your own innovative creation from Lego. Add a motor, get coding and the make your creation move, bleep, bloop and trigger images! No coding experience is necessary, just come down and learn something new.

Armley Print Fest

21 March, 11am-4pm

Armley Print Fest is back by popular demand! Celebrate a little bit of local Leeds heritage with family fun activities, beginner workshops, a local craft fair and live demonstrations to suit every age, interest and ability!

Necessity

7, 8, 9, 14, 15 & 16 April, 12.30–3pm

 

“Necessity is the mother of invention” Follow in the footsteps of Leeds innovators and ask what you could design in order to solve a problem that’s been bugging your brain! Get hands on and design and build a model inspired by the Leeds to Innovation exhibition.

See the Mill Engine in Steam

10 & 13 April

 

Did you know that Armley Mills was powered by engines as well as by waterwheels? A marvel of Victorian engineering, the 1887 steam engine is still in working order. Experience the museum’s mill engine in full steam and discover fascinating facts from the expert engineer. Learn about its history and the mechanics behind this ground-breaking machine.

 

Thwaite Watermill

Crafts & Experiments

Tuesdays & Thursdays during the school holidays

During February half term and the Easter holidays, there’s a whole load of family fun with Crafty Tuesdays and Experimental Thursdays in Thwaite House. Show off your scientific side and get messy with paper, glue, stickers and sparkles! Don’t forget to grab an explorers pack from reception during your visit and hit the nature trail by the canal. What wildlife will you spot by the waterfront?

Thwaite Easter Fayre

12 April, 12-4pm

Hop along to the annual Easter event with tea dances, pop-up cake stalls, traditional fete related games and a whole load of springtime fun! This year there’s new farmyard friends so come along and pet some animal pals or take a trip on one of the bright and beautiful canal boats!

Lotherton

Love Birds

15-23 February

 

Love Birds returns to Wildlife World for February Half Term. See the Humboldt penguins being fed at 11am and 3pm daily. Take part in feathery crafts and follow the Love Birds trail to learn more about your feathery friends. Make a nest box for new baby birds on 16, 19 and 23 February too.

Really Wild Spring

4-19 April

 

A wild spring to make your heart sing! Enjoy Easter at Lotherton with zany zoo animals, hidden house creatures and fantastic flowery gardens. Follow the Wildlife trail, take part in crazy animal crafts, try out seed planting and keep an eye out for special family days too!

 

St George’s Weekend

25-26 April

Head to Lotherton for St George’s Weekend with a dragon trail to conquer, dressing up, medieval crafts, mythical beast activities and explosive experiments. Sit back in the formal gardens and enjoy the sounds of a brass band each afternoon.

Temple Newsam

February Half Term Fun

15-23 February

Design, decorate and take home your very own treasure or trinket box fit for a mansion. Follow the trail through the house and discover other weird and wonderful treasures from the past along the way. There’s springtime sunflower planting on 19 February too. Get stuck in and see your tiny creation grow into a bright and beautiful flower!

Potty Pots

21-22 March, 10.30am-4pm

Follow the Mad Hatter’s trail and take inspiration from the unique designs of teapots from the past to make a teatime card for someone special. Become a butler, maid, master or mistress of the house and prepare afternoon tea for important guests.

Easter Holidays & Majestic Eggs

4–19 April

 

Get involved with family fun crafts, take on the majestic Easter egg hunt and visit new born farmyard friends at Home Farm. Head to the Walled Garden on 8 April for some pumpkin sowing. Plant your seeds and come back to carve them in October, just in time for Halloween!

Anything Could Happen

8 April, 1.30-2.30pm

Join in with giggles in the gallery! The most unpredictable kids performance is returning to Temple Newsam after a series of hit shows. This improvised children’s performance is suitable for anyone over the age of 5 with a wild imagination and a wicked sense of humour!

Kirkstall Abbey

Make a bird feeder and bird crafts

20 February, 2-3pm

Make a natural bird feeder to help out our feathered friends who might be struggling at this time of year. Be prepared to get messy with creative fun for the whole family to enjoy!

Easter Holidays Bunny Fun

7-19 April

 

The Tuesday under 5s session will be getting a fluffy makeover with lots of creative Easter themed fun. Fancy bagging yourself a sweet treat during your visit? The bunnies have gone hopping mad and hidden all over the abbey! Hunt them down and earn yourself an Easter treat!

Kirkstall Abbey Markets

28–29 March, 25–26 April

Don’t miss out on the fantastic monthly markets and be sure to stock-up on treats from local suppliers. With over 40 stalls, it’s the perfect place to find quality Yorkshire produce, handmade crafts, collectables and grab freshly cooked food from around the globe.

Leeds Discovery Centre

Behind the Scenes Tour

Every Thursday, 11am & 2pm

A Leeds hidden gem, the artefact store is filled with over one million objects from across the world and millennia. Join knowledgeable guides for a free tour to see everything from fabulous costume to vacuum cleaners, African masks and taxidermy. Don’t forget to look up and see the giant squid hanging from the ceiling as you enter!

Minibeasts & Crawly Critters

19 February, 10am-12pm

Explore the huge collection of insects and creepy crawlies, with some critter themed crafts and a tour of the amazing store which is crammed full of beastly bugs and other weird and wonderful findings!

Booking required. Call 0113 378 2100 or email discovery.centre@leeds.gov.uk

 

Easter Holidays

8 & 15 April, 10am-12pm

 

On 8 April bring along your tired old t-shirt for a tie dye refresh! This activity ‘ties’ in with the new exhibition Fast x Slow Fashion at LeedsCity Museum. On 18 April come along and take inspiration from the ceramic collections to create your own masterpiece in a messy play session for creative kids of all ages!

LEEDS CITY MUSEUM AND LEEDS ART GALLERY: A cultural day out in Leeds City Centre for all the family – Review

LEEDS CITY MUSEUM AND LEEDS ART GALLERY: A cultural day out in Leeds City Centre for all the family – Review

We rushed around early Saturday morning to purchase the last item on our shopping list before the crowds flocked to Leeds City Centre, we then felt smug with shopping bag in hand as we made our way in to Leeds Art Gallery for a bit of respite before heading on to Leeds City Museum. 

Leeds Art Gallery

I’m ashamed to say that despite growing up in Yorkshire, I had never looked around the gallery which is based on The Headrow, just a 10 minute walk from Leeds Train Station.

As soon as we entered the hustle and bustle of the City Centre was behind us and we spotted the stunning Tile Hall Cafe which is on the left as you enter. 

I clocked it as the aim of finishing off a busy morning. The next striking feature of the entrance hall was the stunning stair case with a colourful wall. 

leeds art gallery galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families

Enter the light filled entrance hall and take in the bright and beautiful work of Lothar Götz.

The entrance hall is home to important works from the collection including Alexander Calder and Antony Gormley.

Götz’s stunning wall painting Xanadu links the lower and upper galleries, leading up to the light-filled space above. Both colourful and contemporary it is juxtaposed against the Victorian architecture of the gallery.

 

Ironically (after a busy morning shopping), the current exhibition is entitled Slow Painting as it includes works of art from artists “who take their time” and the gallery encourages visitors to do the same. 

art space at leeds art gallery exhibition galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families

It was fascinating looking around the different themed galleries and I loved the break out Artspace where families can play, draw and create. It was a decent sized space catered for all ages to stop and get creative. 

A world of art in the heart of the city.

Leeds Art Gallery presents a dynamic exhibition programme and holds a significant collection of modern and contemporary British art.

leeds art gallery exhibition galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families

I then headed up the staircase to see the Upper Galleries. The most striking gallery was the Central Court which was commissioned as part of Yorkshire Sculpture International. You can walk under the structure in the light airy space or you can sit and look at it. 

 Unveiled during the restoration project of 2016, the Central Court forms a large light filled space in the upper galleries.

Ayse Erkmen’s Three of Four (2019) was commissioned as part of Yorkshire Sculpture International in response to the historical architecture of the gallery. This is the first time a work has been specifically created for the space, responding to its hidden history and architectural changes throughout the life of the building.

leeds art gallery exhibition galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families sculpture ysi

It’s a brilliant space to stop, think, ponder and be mindful. 

After exploring the other galleries, we were then keen to head back down to try the Tiled Hall Cafe. 

It felt as if we were in a movie setting with the stunning blue and green tiles adourning the walls with marble columns and even a grand piano. We opted for a quick coffee and drink and enjoyed basking in the atmosphere the large cafe creates as we sat on a comfortable leather sofa. 

tile hall cafe at leeds art gallery

Once replenished, we made our way on to Leeds City Museum which is a real family-friendly treat.  

Leeds City Museum

Six galleries and a programme of family friendly exhibitions in the heart of Leeds

Leeds City Museum is based at Millenium Square in Leeds so just a short 5 minute walk from Leeds Art Gallery. 

Again, we hadn’t visited Leeds City Museum, which is also free to enter, before.  

They have a range of events on from Etsy Craft Markets to regular art sessions… it’s a stunning versatile venue which has much more to it than I had realised. 

leeds city museum galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families hall venue hire

We didn’t have long so first off we headed into the Voices of Asia exhibition. This is a rich colourful exhibition celebrating dance, music and culture from across Asia and Leeds’ connection to the continent.

leeds city museum galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families voices of asia

On the same floor there is also The Collector’s Cabinet which is home to a huge Moa skeleton (one of the world’s largest birds). 

Upstairs is The Leeds Story and then on the third floor is Ancient Worlds 

Discover the fascinating history of Leeds including our surprising inventions, sporting accolades and incredible textile heritage.

From the first archaeological finds to changing displays reflecting people’s lives in the city today, Leeds is a city of stories. Find out how Leeds has shaped, and been shaped by, its landscape and people.

Find out how the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks lived their lives and paved the way for the world as we know it in the Ancient Worlds gallery.

Visit the final resting place of Nesyamun, the 3000 year old Leeds Mummy, and the only known mummy known to hail from the 20th Dynasty. Discover clues to the past in art and architecture, objects in the earth, ancient writing and burials.

Also on the third floor is a City and It’s Welcome…

Many people have come to Leeds to start a new life, including those escaping famine in Ireland in the 1800s, those seeking work opportunities, and today’s refugees arriving in our City of Sanctuary.

A City & its Welcome tells the stories and experiences of those who have made a home in Leeds over the past three centuries and how they have helped shape the city that we recognise today. Come on a journey with us to see the differences between their hopes and expectations and the realities of life in a new place, plus treasured objects brought from afar.

We then ventured to Life on Earth exhibition… 

The story of how the natural world is more astonishing than you ever thought.

Life on Earth is home to some of the most remarkable specimens in Leeds’s collection of 800,000 animals, vegetables and minerals. From fearsome tigers to prehistoric beasts, rainbow-feathered birds and fascinating fossils, there’s so much to discover.

We could have spent a good hour in here or more as the open plan exhibition is a feast for the senses. There’s so much for the whole family to interact with from children’s dressing up to exploring fossils and animals. This alone is worth a visit and it is right next to the cafe if you need refreshments. 

leeds city museum galleries and museums city centre yorkshire families millennium square

Cafe and play area at Leeds City Museum

The Corner Cafe at Leeds City Museum is lovely and light with windows overlooking Millennium Square. There is also a small play area which is perfect for little ones as well as space for buggies. 

There’s a range of hot and cold food and drinks on offer as well as sweet treats. 

 

Verdict: Leeds City Museum and Leeds Art Gallery

Both Leeds City Museum and Leeds Art Gallery warrant a day out to Leeds in their own right. We’d say Leeds Art Gallery is perfect for families with older children or for adults and Leeds City Museum is perfect for little ones. But they are both so different and we would recommend seeing both places in one day. They are right in the heart of the city centre too so can act as good places to have some respite. They’re free to enter and have a range of free crafts and family events. 

For more information, go to: https://museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk

 

ABBEY HOUSE MUSEUM: School holidays at Leeds Galleries and Museums – Review

ABBEY HOUSE MUSEUM: School holidays at Leeds Galleries and Museums – Review

We had been stunned by Kirkstall Abbey but we had never ventured inside Abbey House Museum which is opposite the Abbey across the road and connected to the Gatehouse Cafe. 

We had been expecting an old house to look around but what we found was an immersive Victorian experience where we could have spent the best part of a day. 

After collecting the tickets through the museum shop we then took the stairs past the cafe to enter the museum. 

A family-friendly museum exploring social history and childhood in Victorian era Leeds

Instantly we were transported to Leeds 100 years ago with a life like Victorian street complete with shops and homes. 

The kids had been given an adventure trail so they were focused on that. It was lovely to see them interweaving through the shops, getting dressed up in the photographic studio and then take part in some of the craft activities laid out. 

As it was Christmas when we visited, we also went to see Santa in his grotto which was nicely tools away in one of the Victorian side streets. 

We thought we’d finished the museum until we saw some stairs leading to a Victorian bedroom. After seeing the glass enclosed bedroom and my kids comparing it to their own.. we walked into the “Danger Zone” exhibition which was really interesting.

Abbey House Museum in Leeds near kirkstall abbey danger zone

My kids were drawn to the dressing up part in the Danger Zone Jungle and then onto the Victorian Penny Arcade. 

We were surprised to find another section too of more interactive exhibits where the kids enjoyed dressing up again in the Childhood Galleries. 

I had only scheduled an hour and a half for the museum but my daughters could have easily spent three hours exploring and playing. 

childhood galleries at Abbey House Museum in Leeds near kirkstall abbey

We then finished off our morning in the stunning Gatehouse cafe. 

Abbey House Museum in Leeds near kirkstall abbey gatewhouse cafe

We would have wandered across the road to revisit Kirkstall Abbey but we didn’t have time. We could have easily spent a day across both sites. The car park also has a playground next door if the kids want to let off more steam… although wrap up warm for the Abbey and playground if visiting this winter!

Abbey House Museum

OPENING TIMES

Monday: closed

Tuesday to Friday & Sunday: 10am–5pm

Saturday: 12pm–5pm

Abbey Walk, Kirkstall, Leeds LS5 3EH

Phone:
0113 378 4079
(10am – 4pm)

Email:
abbey.house@leeds.gov.uk

 

Facilities

  • Baby change
  • Toilets
  • Visitor centre
  • Picnic area
  • Café
  • Education facilities
  • Play area
  • Shop
  • Free parking

 

Prices

abbey house museum Kirkstall abbey admission prices

How to get to Abbey House Museum 

Rail

The nearest train stations are Kirkstall Forge and Headingley, both 1 mile away.

Bus

Bus numbers 33, 34 and 757 from Leeds stop outside Kirkstall Abbey.

Parking

A large free car park is situated next to Abbey House Museum on Abbey Walk. This includes disabled parking. There is an additional disabled access parking space immediately outside the museum entrance.

DISCLAIMER: WE RECEIVED OUR VISIT AND REFRESHMENTS FREE OF CHARGE FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIES REVIEW.

PONDEROSA ZOO: A family-friendly attraction in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire – Review

PONDEROSA ZOO: A family-friendly attraction in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire – Review

Ponderosa Zoo in Heckmondwike is a hidden gem housing over 120 animals from Lemurs to reindeers and reptiles. 

We went on our first trip to the West Yorkshire based Zoo, formerly known as Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre, during the school holidays to experience a family day out. 

Visiting Ponderosa Zoo 

The zoo is located off Smithies Lane Liversedge, Heckmondwike WF16 0PN. I hadn’t realised it was there until recently as it is tucked away. 

 

We parked up before checking in at the wooden hut-come-gift shop. We were greeted and showed the treasure trail which was there for Halloween. As it was Halloween when we went you could also pay £3 extra to get a pumpkin carved. The zoo is very reasonably priced compared to larger zoos we have been to. 

ponderosa zoo pirate ship dand pit yorkshire heckmondwike  family blog.jpg

I hadn’t realised how much there was to do from visiting animals to an indoor playbarn, outdoor play area, zip wire and talks on animals. There’s also spaces to eat a picnic or there is plenty of food and drink available to buy on site.

The zoo is compact with lots of paths making it easy to get around. There’s also a sand pit, so it’s a good idea to wear wellies especially when the weather is cold and drizzly like it was when we visited. 

My daughters aged 4 and 7 enjoyed exploring the zoo and filling out the treasure hunt. My Step brother Oscar, who is autistic, also enjoyed the zoo which is off the beaten path and felt a lot more tranquil than other attractions we have been to. 

We sought shelter in the large Lakeside Cafe which is also an events and wedding venue. It’s a cafeteria style eaterie with hot & cold food and drink available to buy. I had a nice tomato sop whilst the kids opted for jacket potatoes. 

We then ventured back outside for a last look around at some of the animals, before picking up our pumpkin which had been specially carved for us, suing our drawings. The kids had a few last goes on the zip wire before we returned to the car. 

I hadn’t realised there was a small indoor play barn as well, so next time we will definitely try that too. 

fptbty

We had a lovely half-day at the zoo with friendly and accommodating staff. My mum and I really appreciated the emphasis on education, nature and endangered species. 

It’s a down-to-earth Zoo which is affordable and perfect for the whole family. 

ALL ABOUT PONDEROSA ZOO

Ponderosa Zoo (originally Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre) was created in 1991 by Maureen Cook with the aim to ‘bridge the gap’ between disabled and able bodied people through the care of animals as a form of therapy. At the time the centre held a variety of domestic animals including pigs, goats and cattle.

Since its conception Ponderosa Zoo is now home to over 120 animals from lemurs to reindeer. They are a dedicated team of hard working and passionate individuals who aim to promote animal welfare, in addition to educating the public on conservation efforts and the threats many species now face in the wild. In 2017 we took another step in journey by becoming provisional BIAZA members.

Although they are now a much bigger facility with their primary focus being on welfare, education and conservation, they still hold a ‘Bridge the Gap’ vision by ensuring our zoo is always disabled friendly and offering a variety of grounds keeping roles for disabled individuals to gain valuable work experience in a friendly and welcoming environment.

fptbty

DISCLAIMER: We received a free family pass for the purpose of this review.

 

FAMILY FITNESS IN YORKSHIRE: How to keep active with the kids

FAMILY FITNESS IN YORKSHIRE: How to keep active with the kids

There are so many active family days out to be had in Yorkshire, we’ve tested out a fair few of them this Summer from free activities to climbing and fitness challenges. Here are our child-friendly highlights…

Canal and River Walks 

We kicked off the Summer with a Leeds Cares Charity Canal Challenge which saw the kids and I walking along the Leeds – Liverpool Canal. 

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A lot of people will have a story to tell about their hospital and for us it’s @leedshospitals who helped save my daughter Arianna when she was a baby (as you may know) as we had to resuscitate her and then the Doctors and nurses cared for her and brought her back to life at #leedsgeneralinfirmary #lgi #intensivecareunit so when we were invited to promote the charity which supports the hospital at their canal challenge event, we jumped at the chance 💕💕💕It was a long but fun & scenic day walking along #leedsliverpoolcanal supporting the charity close to our hearts @leeds_cares in their #conquerthecanal challenge 💕❤️💕 Quite proud of myself for taking the two little ones on my own without a pushchair and completing the challenge! We had a few tantrums, some pit stops and bear crawling moments BUT we had such a lovely time together doing the #scavengerhunt, being active and making the most of the stunning outdoors @canalrivertrust @yorkshirefamilies @blogupnorth 👌👌👌

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The event was in aid of a great charity Leeds Cares which funds Leeds Teaching Hospitals work, something we as a family are grateful for as a family as they cared for my youngest Arianna when she nearly died as a baby. 

The day also gave us a chance to explore the Canal side which is simply stunning and free to walk our cycle along. We set off from Kirkstall Forge (we got the train there from Wakefield to Leeds station to Kirkstall Forge) and walked to Granary Wharf. It was a challenge taking the two kids on my own with no buggy or bike but it was well worth it and so scenic. We will definitely be exploring more walks with the Canal and River Trust as we haven’t been making the most of the canals near us. 

It was a free day out (other than the train journey) and we had a picnic along the way too. You can get straight back to the train station from Granary Wharf too. 

 

Travel To Tokyo 

 

It felt good to start the summer with an active challenge like the Canal Walk and we continued it with doing a series of free activities as part of the Travel to Tokyo Challenge to get families active in the run up to the Tokyo Olympics. 

By joining athletes on a virtual journey from London to Tokyo, participants will be in with the chance to win some fantastic prizes as young people work together to reach the December 2020 finish line. You can find out how to join here: https://yorkshirefamilies.co.uk/2019/06/28/families-and-children-wanted-to-join-olympic-and-paralympic-gold-medallists-in-travel-to-tokyo-in-the-run-up-to-tokyo-2020/

Swimming and Climbing 

My youngest daughter’s highlight of the summer was swimming at Disney-inspired sessions at Heeley Baths in Sheffield every Sunday. 

And my eldest loved going climbing at the Climbing Works – Mini Works centre where you can boulder and learn how to climb. 

Whilst in Sheffield, I also enjoyed some adult time going to Hot Yoga classes which are great for core strength and flexibility. 

 

Go Ape at Temple Newsam in Leeds 

I also really enjoyed going to Go Ape with my younger brother and step dad. It was so much fun swinging through the treetops and pretending to be Tarzan. We did the advanced course, but I will return with the kids to go back and do the mini course. 

Tough Mudder and Lidl Mudder 

I then took my step dad and my friend Katy to Tough Mudder which is an 8-10 mile course with 25 obstacles. We went to the one in North Yorkshire at Boughton Hall. My step brother cheered us along as spectators can come and watch for £10. We had so much fun and there was such a great feeling of camaraderie between everyone. 

I also saw that they now do a Lidl Mudder course for kids to take part… which I am sure would make the perfectly muddy family day out. 

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Have you taken on @tough_mudder challenge?! 🧗‍♀️💃🏃‍♀️ I’ve just completed my first #toughmudder experience and it was completely different than I expected… yes I guessed there’d be mud 😂😂😂 (and there was lots of that!) but rather than being a fierce competitive race… the camaraderie was just awesome. The obstacles were challenging but everyone was so friendly and cheered each other on. And somehow people managed to help me and my hips get over some huge walls, under some barbed wire and through a lot of muddy water 💦 I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. It was the best way to spend a Sunday… with great friends old and new @mrleefurness @katypadam … who’s up for joining my team for the next one?! @blogupnorth @yorkshirefamilies 😜😜😜Plus it all finished in Mudder Village with coffees, food, protein shakes and beers 🍺 👌🥤@jimmysicedcoffee @arladairyuk @snickers @brewdogofficial @lidlgb 💕💕💕 Now for a cup @yorkshiretea & a hot bath (the ice bath obstacle didn’t do it for me 😂) Thanks so much #toughmudder2019 – it’s been epic 💋💋💋 #GIFTED #yorkshire

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Community Health 

To finish off on a high… have you checked out what’s on in your local community? Whether it be council run activities in your local park or community open days.. We’ve been making the most of what’s on in our local area. 

We’re lucky to live in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and there are lots of family friendly walks to be had around Angler’s Country Park, Pugney’s Country Park and Sandal Castle. Also at Pugney’s and at Thornes Park there are outdoor gyms to play with too. 

I also taught dance at a community open day held by Inspiring Communities in Portobello, Wakefield – and they had weekly activities on for the whole family. 

Or maybe organise your own game of rounders, football or some indoor dancing and playing games such as twister. 

 

What are your favourite ways to keep active as a family?

 

BBC COUNTRYFILE LIVE: Castle Howard hosts the TV Show event in Yorkshire

BBC COUNTRYFILE LIVE: Castle Howard hosts the TV Show event in Yorkshire

I’ll admit I’ve never watched BBC Countryfile but I liked the idea of BBC Countryfile Live coming to Yorkshire where the whole family is actively taking part in a country-themed day out. 

We reviewed the popular event at its Castle Howard location in York, North Yorkshire… Here’s what we found: 

My daughters, my mum, my step-dad, my step-brother and his girlfriend and, I travelled in two cars to Castle Howard down the dreaded A64 (which can be a nightmare in the school holidays). 

Once we had worked our way slowly along the A64 we then had to endure another queue of traffic leading to Castle Howard (we really should have set off super early as recommended). 

It should have taken us an hour from Wakefield but it was over two hours in the end. 

Once we were parked up, we were relieved to see an event full of funfair rides, haystacks, stalls and food & drink. 

As the kids were ratty from the unexpectedly long car journey, we first got them a drink before tackling the rides – from bumper cars, a Ferris wheel and carousel to a tractor-themed bouncy castle and the opportunity to try out climbing and a paddle board. I was relieved to see that amongst the stages, outdoor furniture stalls, food and drink offerings, that there was space for rides and sheep and dog shows. 

It was a lovely sunny day so the outdoor activities worked really well and the grounds of the castle are simply stunning. 

We were glad to find a lawn area next to the Croquet that was being played. My kids, who are aged 4 and 7, enjoyed the wooden swings as well as taking part in the Maypole dancing. The space which is over the moat and overlooked the castle, is great to sit for picnics or to eat something from one of the many vendors. (From home-made ice cream galore to every cuisine you can imagine. Although my two opted for hot dogs which costed £10 for 2.). 

We spent a lot of our time on the lawn as there was an Opera singer performing and it’s a lovely space for the kids to let off some steam. 

Close by, the National Trust had a good range of activities too and there were plenty of photo opportunities in huge deck chairs. 

BBC Countryfile Live felt quintessentially British, I felt as if I had been transported into a Keira Knightley movie. 

It was a fun day out particularly catering for adults and older children. Unfortunately due to the heavy traffic in and out of Castle Howard we only had a few hours there. So we missed lots of highlights such as a Wildlife zone, canoeing and kayaking and, all the many shows and appearances that take place throughout. 

So make sure you give plenty of travel time to get there, so you can really make the most of it. For all the details of what goes on at BBC Countryfile Live, go to: 

https://yorkshirefamilies.co.uk/2019/08/13/bbc-country-file-live-yorkshire-family-day-out-at-castle-howard-in-york/

WILLIAM’S DEN: Indoor-meets-outdoor adventure attraction creates home-made ice cream for visitors

WILLIAM’S DEN: Indoor-meets-outdoor adventure attraction creates home-made ice cream for visitors

Indoor-meets-outdoor adventure attraction William’s Den has launched a brand-new sundae and shakes menu using their home-made William’s Den ice cream. Den Millionaire, Raspberry River and Mud Pie are just a few of the new and exciting scrumptious ice cream sundaes that are now available. Visitors can enjoy Marvellous Mint, Muddy Chocolate and Award-winning Vanilla shakes too.

William's Den Ice Cream - William scoops ice cream for visitors

EVERYDAY IS A SUNDAE FUN DAY AT WILLIAM’S DEN!

Produced with locally sourced, Yorkshire ingredients, the ice cream is made on site at William’s Den with delicious ingredients to create the delectable array of flavours on offer. The milk and cream used to make the ice-cream come from just down the road – the only creamery in East Yorkshire, St Quintin’s Creamery – meaning William’s Den have met the very cows who are helping to deliver their newest venture!

William's Den Ice Cream - Banana Split 

Creating homemade ice cream was a given for co-owner Tor Carver, who believes food memories are a huge part of childhood and family experiences. Channelling her own fond reminiscences of summer days gone by with her siblings and cousins, Tor knew from the inception of the attraction two years ago, that ice cream would be an integral part of the offer.

William's Den Ice Cream - counter shot

Tor said: “I have wonderful childhood memories of running down our lane on Sunday mornings to meet the ice cream van. For me, food memories are an important part of childhood, so it is because of this that we made sure the food offering at William’s Den can provide those memories and experiences for families who want a great day out to remember.

William's Den Ice Cream - visitors enjoying ice cream

I was also adamant that we needed to be able to use local ingredients where we can. When I realised that there is only one creamery in East Yorkshire – St Quintin’s Creamery. William and I visited Pete & Sarah Burdass’s much loved Fresian cows at their creamery and it is a fantastic feeling knowing which cows produced the milk, where they live and how well they are looked after.

William's Den Ice Cream - Tor and Christian owners of William's Den, with son William

So, after two years of testing and tasting, creating and perfecting the science of making ice cream, we are proud to announce that we make ice cream and to celebrate we decided to launch a new sundae and shakes menu. I hope our visitors enjoy our ice cream and can feel the love that went in to creating it.”

 What is William’s Den?

William’s Den is an award-winning indoor-meets-outdoor adventure attraction that gives families the freedom to play and experience a day out, whatever the weather.

William’s Den was created to enable big and little kids alike to play together in a unique indoor and outdoor space that has all the delights you would expect in a wild landscape such as mud kitchens, water play, den making, tyre swings, and zip lines. The Den has been designed and handcrafted by a team of highly skilled play experts. From the Tree House to the Forest Glade and the Eagles Nest to the Rainmaker, it is sure to thrill!

Families can also stop by to refuel at The Kitchen Table. A beautifully restored stone and brick barn offering something scrumptious to eat for the whole family. Free to enter, visitors to William’s Den do not have to buy a ticket to enjoy the restaurant. Families can expect wholesome and delicious food including wood-fired pizzas, award-winning home-made ice cream or a cup of coffee served by fully-trained baristas.

William’s Den is set on a hill in the Yorkshire Wolds, within easy reach of the M62. www.williamsden.co.uk / @williamsdenplay #williamsden #wdplay

Ice Cream time

The new ice cream sundaes and shakes menu is available at The Kitchen Table in William’s Den now and will be available all year round with new flavours and seasonal specials every month. For more information about William’s Den and their ice cream visit www.williamsden.co.uk.

William's Den Ice Cream - Counter shot (2)

BBC COUNTRY FILE LIVE: Yorkshire family day out at Castle Howard in York

BBC COUNTRY FILE LIVE: Yorkshire family day out at Castle Howard in York
Countryfile Live takes place this August at Castle Howard in York, so Yorkshire Families don’t have to travel far for a family day out.
Countryfile Live allows visitors to meet the presenters and participate in an impressive array of country related activities including getting out on the water with boat rides, paddle-boarding & fishing, learn about conservation at the Wildlife Zone and join in with the National Trust’s 50 Things Woodland, take in spectacular feats of pooch speed & agility at the Dog Lovers’ Arena and join Brian Turner plus celebrity chef friends at the Le Creuset Kitchen Theatre for some culinary inspiration!
Or…if that all seems a bit too strenuous… pop to one of the many mouth-watering traders at the Food Market, grab a drink at the Craven Arms (where John himself will host a daily pub quiz) & bask in the beauty of the great outdoors at two of the country’s most stunning stately homes.

 

Countryfile Live is on at Castle Howard, Yorkshire: From Thursday 15th August until Sunday 18th August. 

For more information and to book, go to: https://www.countryfilelive.com/castle-howard

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DISCLAIMER: WE ARE ATTENDING THE SHOW FREE OF CHARGE