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!

Dear Zoo live on Stage in Yorkshire: Watch Rod Campbell’s children’s book in Wakefield, Bridlington, Rotherham and Harrogate

Dear Zoo live on Stage in Yorkshire: Watch Rod Campbell’s children’s book in Wakefield, Bridlington, Rotherham and Harrogate

Rod Campbell’s best-selling classic lift-the- flap book Dear Zoo, has been brought to life in a new stage production which is coming to Yorkshire.

Dear Zoo live on stage!  will be coming to theatres in Bridlington, Rotherham, Harrogate and Wakefield this year. So Yorkshire Families will get to make the most of the classic children’s book live on stage.

As we’re so excited for the show (we’ll be heading to Theatre Royal Wakefield to see it), we wanted to share this rare interview with Dear Zoo Author Rod Campbell…. 

Rod Campbell

“I wrote to the zoo

to send me a pet.

They sent me an …”

And so begins Rod Campbell’s famous book, Dear Zoo.

However, it is my solemn duty to inform you that we were almost living in a world without Dear Zoo! Rod Campbell’s immensely successful children’s book, which has sold an eye-watering eight million copies in twenty different languages, nearly failed to see the light of day.

If that had happened, we would also have been deprived of the very exciting prospect of the first ever stage show of Dear Zoo. The bestselling book has been adapted by Rod into a play, entitled Dear Zoo Live on Stage, which is touring the country this spring – more of which anon.

dear zoo by rod campbell book cover

When we meet at his publishers, Macmillan Children’s Books, Rod, who is as charming and as likeable as his most famous book, takes up the story. “When I was younger, I tried to make it as a painter.

“I had no money. I lived in friends’ attics, and moved ten times in eight years. I made ends meet by doing painting and decorating. It was like La Boheme.”

For the decade before the book’s publication in 1982, Rod did a very passable impersonation of a starving artist. Determined to make it as a painter, he had no thought of being a children’s author.

dear zoo by rod campbell book

“Then someone whose sister worked at a children’s publishing house saw some of my drawings. I was introduced to them and asked to illustrate some simple books for the under fives. This act of kindness started me on a career in children’s books – serendipity, one could say.”

Rod recalls that, at the time, “One voice in my head was saying, ‘But you’re an artist with a capital A. You can’t possibly do that.’ But another voice in my head was saying, ‘Why not? It looks like great fun.’ The second voice prevailed, thank goodness.”

Thank goodness, indeed. Soon afterwards, the publishers Blackie expressed an interest in his work, and the rest is children’s-book history.

dear zoo by rod campbell book

The delightful story of Dear Zoo – in which a child writes to the zoo asking to be sent a pet – has become a publishing phenomenon and celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2017 with a unique partnership with London Zoo.

Now, having established himself as one of the best-loved and most successful children’s authors in the UK, at the age of 72 Rod is entering a brave new world.

Produced by Norwell Lapley Productions and directed by Michael Gattrell, Dear Zoo Live on Stage will appeal particularly to children aged between 2 and 6 years.

Realised through wonderfully child-engaging puppets, original music and lots of audience interaction, it will immediately attract families and children who are already fans of the book. But it will also act as a splendid introduction to those discovering the story for the first time.

The show which toured successfully in 2018 will be touring the country once again in 2019 tis spring, opening on Sunday 3 February at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn. The tour features more than 72 scheduled dates around the UK, with more to come. Full details are available at http://www.dearzooandfriends.com/dear-zoo-live

Dear Zoo Live on Stage will bring the timeless magic of the book to life in an unforgettable way. Children – and of course their parents – will be able to experience the wonder of…

Dear Zoo live for the first time.

Rod has found the process of writing a play quite an eye-opener. He admits that the job of transferring his story to the stage was, at times, challenging.

But the author emerged from the process with a tremendous sense of pleasure at having mastered an entirely new skill. Rod declares that, “It’s been a wonderful experience.

“I have really enjoyed solving problems, and it’s been a great delight to learn something new. I’ve learned a whole new language, including phrases as simple as ‘upstage’ and ‘downstage’. When I wrote, ‘exit stage left’, a frisson ran down my spine!”

Above all, in creating the play, Rod was anxious to remain as faithful as possible to the essence of his widely adored book. To that end, Dear Zoo Live on Stage elicits the same excitement as the book.

The author explains that, “The stage show will play on the thrill of opening the crates.”

“Children up to the age of six love the animals and they also love the guesswork – ‘What’s in the box?’”

It is that curiosity, Rod believes, which has ensured that the book has remained so popular. “Children have a great curiosity about what’s behind the flap. They love to open the flaps again and again.

“Of course, they know what’s behind each one, but every time they approach it as though they don’t. For every child each time is like the first time. The payoff in the play is that inside each crate is an animal that speaks.”

“The other thing children adore about Dear Zoo”, Rod adds, is that, “After the first time, they know that the book is

completely safe. There is nothing in it that will bite them. So they can luxuriate in pretending to be scared by it.

“And of course, it ends with a puppy. That is the present at the end. You’ve gone through several unsuitable animals, and then you get to the perfect animal at the end. It’s a reward.”

Rod is hopeful that audiences will leave the theatre having had a very happy experience at Dear Zoo Live on Stage and that the show will bring many children into the theatre for the first time.

Even today, 35 years after it was first published, people still rush up to tell Rod how much Dear Zoo means to them. The author says, “I remember one parent telling me, ‘My 18-month-old daughter loves it. She walks around all the time with the book under her arm.’ Or they say, and this is the killer, ‘My child loves this book – and I loved it when I was a child, too.’ That sort of reaction is deeply touching and you’re forced to think that Dear Zoo is something that connects.”

I’ll say.

So I think we can safely conclude that at least 8 million of us remain very grateful that three and a half decades ago, Rod chose to write books for young children over his love of fine art.

Full details about the Dear Zoo Live on Stage tour are available at http://www.dearzooandfriends.com/dear-zoo-live.

Dear Zoo text extract © Rod Campbell, 1982

dear zoo by rod campbell book

“I’m absolutely delighted that Dear Zoo is being brought to life on stage for the very first time!” Rod Campbell, author and illustrator

  Dear Zoo live on stage!  will continue to delight audiences when it opens on 4 February at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn.    With 73 scheduled dates around the UK, full details are available at:   www.dearzooandfriends.com/dearzoo-live

Celebrating 35 years in 2017, Dear Zoo, published by Macmillan Children’s Books, the story of a child who writes to the zooasking them to send a pet, continues to delight each new generation of children as they lift the flaps in search of the perfect animal.

“The whole production was full of energy and cleverly pitched at its audience…”   Bury Free Times

Written by Rod Campbell, produced by Norwell Lapley Productions and directed by                                   Michael Gattrell, Dear Zoo live on stage! is suitable for children aged 2 – 6 years. Brought to life through child-engaging puppets, original music and lots of audience interaction, the show immediately appeals to families and children who already love the book and will serve as a wonderful introduction to those coming to the story for the first time.

Rod Campbell is the master of interactive storytelling and an expert in early learning for pre-schoolers. As a trusted household name, his books have stood the test of time and continue to be a staple addition to the family bookshelf and a popular choice for early years’ teachers. The creator of more than 200 books for children, Rod Campbell’s unique ability to be both fun and reassuring encourages children to discover and delight in the world around them.

 

Commenting on Dear Zoo live on stage! Rod Campbell said “I can hardly believe that Dear Zoo has celebrated its 35th anniversary and I really am enormously touched and delighted that successive generations of young children continue to love Dear Zoo – their obvious pleasure when interacting with it is so gratifying to see, and for me is the very greatest of compliments!”

                              www.dearzooandfriends.com

Date Venue Box Office/Website Time
Monday 4 February –

Wednesday  6 February

Shrewsbury,                  Theatre Severn

01743 281 281

www.theatresevern.co.uk/

1.30 /3.30
Thursday 7 February

Friday 8 February

New Brighton,

Floral Pavilion

0151 666 0000

https://www.floralpavilion.com/

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Saturday 9 February

Sunday 10 February

Ulverston,

Coronation Hall

01229 588 994

http://corohall.co.uk/

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Monday 11 February

Tuesday 12 February

Lancaster, Grand

01524 64695

https://lancastergrand.co.uk/

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Thursday 14 February

Friday 15 February

Wycombe Swan

01494 512000

wycombeswan.co.uk/Online/

1.30

10.30 /1.30

Saturday 16 February

Sunday 17 February

Portsmouth,

Theatre Royal

023 9264 9000

https://www.newtheatreroyal.com/

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Tuesday 19 February

Wednesday 20 February

Thursday 21 February

Southport,

The Atkinson

01704 533 333

www.theatkinson.co.uk

 

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

11.00

Friday 22 February

Saturday 23 February

Ipswich,

New Wolsey Theatre

01473 295900

https://www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/

 

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Wednesday 13 March

Thursday 14 March

Stevenage,                         Gordon Craig Theatre

01438 363200

www.gordon-craig.co.uk/

1.30/3.30

11.00/2.00

Friday 15 March

Saturday 16 March

Gravesend,

Woodville Halls

0844 243 9480

https://woodville.thebigideaonline.co.uk/

1.30 /3.30                       11.00 /2.00
Sunday 17 March

Monday 18 March

Eastbourne, Devonshire Park Theatre

01323 412000

https://www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk/venue/devonshire-park-theatre

1.30 /3.30

11.00

Tuesday 19 March

Wednesday 20 March

Basildon,                    Towngate Theatre

01268 465465

http://www.towngatetheatre.co.uk/

 

1.30/3.30                       11.00 /2.00
Thursday 21 March

Friday 22 March

Saturday 23 March

Chipping Norton Theatre

01608 642350

http://www.chippingnortontheatre.com/

 

4.00

11.00 /2.00

11.00 /2.00

Tuesday 9 April

Wednesday 10 April

Bridlington Spa

 

01262 678258

https://www.bridspa.com/

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Thursday  11 April

Friday 12 April

Saturday 13 April

Sunday 14 April

Birmingham Hippodrome

0844 338 5000

https://www.birminghamhippodrome.com

 

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

11.00 /2.00

11.00 /2.00

Wednesday 17 April

Thursday 18 April

Harrogate Theatre

01423 502 116

www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk/

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Friday 19 April

Saturday 20 April

Sale, Waterside

 

0161 912 5616

http://watersideartscentre.co.uk/

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Sunday 21 April

Monday 22 April

Wakefield,                       Theatre Royal

01924 211 311

http://www.theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk/

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Tuesday 23 April

Wednesday 24 April

St  Albans,                             Alban Arena

01727 844 488

www.alban-arena.co.uk

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Thursday 25 April

Friday 26 April

Peterborough, Key Theatre

01733 207239

www.vivacity-peterborough.com/vivacity-venues/the-key-theatre

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Sunday 28 April

Monday 29 April

Bromsgrove, Artrix

01527 577330

www.artrix.co.uk

1.30 /3.30

11.00

Wednesday 1 May

Thursday 2 May

Folkestone,                   Leas Cliff Hall

01303 228600

www.atgtickets.com/venues/leas-cliff-hall

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Friday 3 May

Saturday 4 May

Winchester                   Theatre Royal

01962 840440

https://www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk

1.30/

11.00 /2.00

Sunday 5 May

Monday 6 May

Hastings,                  White Rock Theatre

01424 462288

https://whiterocktheatre.org.uk/Online/

2.00

10.30 /1.00

Tuesday 7 May

Wednesday 8 May

Harlow, Playhouse

01279 431945

http://www.harlowplayhouse.co.uk/

1.30 /3.30

11.00

Thursday 9 May

Friday 10 May

East Grinstead, Chequermead Theatre

01342 302000

www.chequermead.org.uk

2.00

10.30 /1.00

Wednesday 15 May

Thursday 16 May

Durham, Gala

0300 026 6600

https://www.galadurham.co.uk/

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Saturday 18 May

Sunday 19 May

Lincoln, Theatre Royal

01522 519999

www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Wednesday 22 May

Thursday 23 May

Maidstone, Hazlitt

https://www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/Hazlitt-Theatre

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Saturday 25 May

Sunday 26 May

Rotherham, Civic

01709 823621

www.rotherhamtheatres.co.uk

1.30 /3.30

11.00 /2.00

Tuesday 28 May

Wednesday 29 May

Wrexham

William Aston Hall

0844 249 1000

www.thewilliamastonhall.com

1.30 /3.30

11.00/2.00

Thursday 30 May

Friday 31 May

Darlington, Hippodrome

01325 405405

http://www.darlingtoncivic.co.uk/blog/blog

2.00

11.00 2.00

Saturday 1 June

Sunday 2 June

Leamington Spa, Royal Spa Centre

01926 334418

https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/royalspacentre/site/index.php

1.30

11.00 /2.00

 

** DISCLAIMER: WE WILL RECEIVE A FAMILY PASS TO SEE THE SHOW AND HAVE AGREED TO RUN THIS PREVIEW IN ADVANCE.**

YORK MAZE: Family Day-out with rides, challenges and lots of playing in Yorkshire

YORK MAZE: Family Day-out with rides, challenges and lots of playing in Yorkshire

We enjoy going to lots of family-friendly attractions and over the years they have all gotten bigger, better and slicker. It’s great to see the rise of super-farms and businesses booming but sometimes everything feels a bit ‘too’ comfortable for the kids. There’s not a lot of exploratory play. It’s just handed to them on a plate (or screen).

Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing I love more than being indoors, cosy and with a good cup of coffee. But it’s important to let kids be kids and that’s what York Maze does right.

Europe’s Largest Maize Maze – York Maze

After chatting to York Maze online, we were invited to go review the place. I’ll be honest, I had never heard of the Yorkshire attraction, so I was excited to give it a try this half-term.

As we went the day after Halloween, it was all Halloween themed but hopefully this review will help you regardless of what season you visit the maze.

larege real pumpkin halloween york maze

Entering York Maze

Once we had entered through the wooden building we were immersed in smoke to start off our Halloween adventure.

When we had passed the smoke machines, we were then into the ranch-style courtyard where there’s a cafe, toilets, wooden play area and even a pumpkin slingshot. (I imagine it’s themed differently depending what season you visit).

york maze map yorkshire

We popped in first to a mini Halloween panto, set inside a barn.

halloween panto at york maze

Then we spotted the sign for Pumpkin Carving and went that way as we weren’t sure how to get into the maze (yes we’re that bad at directions- we that we had gotten lost before we even got to the maze).

Pumpkin Patch and Pumpkin Carving

Inside the tent you could do pumpkin carving, there was a mini pumpkin show as well as the chance to watch a professional carving a pumpkin.

Out of the back of the tent was a mini field of pumpkins, including the largest real pumpkin I have ever seen! (In fact Farmer Tom from York Maze sailed down the River Ouse in that Pumpkin! You’ve got to love the Yorkshire spirit!).

After some photos with the pumpkins and the opportunity to pick our own, we decided to head for the maze after we had worked out that you go along a little path to the entrance.

york maze carving pumpkin

Exploring the Maze

As it’s a farm the maze can be muddy and uneven, so wear wellies or walking shoes if possible. The children enjoyed finding each station where you can use a stencil to draw on your map. A-maze-ingly we didn’t get too lost! But we had fun finding our way around and trying to keep up with the kids! The girls were chuffed to get their sticker on completion.

yoprkshire families york maze

Awesome Corn Snake Tower Slides

Next up, my daughters and I went on one of the high slides in a brown bag. There wasn’t much of a queue so we managed to get on fairly quick.  

It was really fun! We could have gone on a drop slide but the girls wanted to go on the slower “wavy one.”

Pumpkin Slingshot

My mum then wanted a go on the Pumpkin slingshot where you sling pumpkin/balls and try and get them in baskets to win a badge (all free). So my mum and the girls had fun on that and luckily both daughters won a badge!

Jumping Pillow, Volcorno, Climbing Zone and Sand & Water Play

We had only given ourselves a few hours at York Maze but we quickly realised we could have spent most of the day there. We didn’t get chance to go to the Scarecrow Centre, Painting Mural, Remote Control Boats, Witch’s Grotto, Face Painting  or Mini Mazes. As the girls wanted to go and bounce on the large pillow. We were lucky as there wasn’t much of a queue to get on and the girls had a blast bouncing around. They then each selected their last activity.

york maze maize

Avid climber Jasmine wanted to boulder up the Volcorno Slide and Arianna was a bit young for that, she went in the Climbing Zone and Sand & Water Play.

It’s great that the kids get to be so active and get a bit muddy too… How children should be!

As it was getting dark, we made our way out this time via the shop, The Ivy Store.

Before entering the car park, we bumped into the corn mascots which topped off a fun-filled afternoon for the kids.

corn mascot york maze halloween

 

THE STAR INN THE CITY: Testing out the kids menu and restaurant – Review

THE STAR INN THE CITY: Testing out the kids menu and restaurant – Review

I am married to a chef who loves nothing more than eating out at nice restaurants  but since having children, it has been extremely difficult to find somewhere family-friendly with good food.

We either end up in a sub-standard pub with a play area and microwave-style grub or at a decent restaurant with everyone glaring at our kids who are inevitably making noise.

And just to make it that bit harder, I am a Vegan! So trying to cater for all our needs is challenging to say the least.

As I said, when we have taken the children to nice restaurants, we end up feeling so uncomfortable that we can’t enjoy the food. People judge families who shove a screen in front of their child’s face, but until you’ve been in the situation of getting angry stares because kids (naturally) are wanting to move and make noise, you can’t judge.

The only time we have successfully managed to combine a family meal with amazing food is in Naples, Italy because over there it is just the norm for the whole family to eat out together even until late at night.https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FYorkshireFamilies%2Fvideos%2F285736468713108%2F&show_text=0&width=560

So when we were invited to review the new kids menu at The Star Inn The City in York, we jumped at the chance to go to a well-renowned restaurant who were putting on an event with children at the forefront!

star inn the city york yorkshire families doddl cutlery

Where is The Star Inn The City?

Set in the lush surroundings of the Museum Gardens (home to Yorkshire Museum), The Star Inn The City is right in the heart of York’s historic city centre. You can access it through the Gardens or along the river. Each entrance is as equally scenic and welcoming.

The address is The Star Inn The City, Muesum Street, York, YO1 7DR (The nearest car park is Marygate, YO30 7DT). 

star inn the city york yorkshire families river front

What’s The Star Inn the City like?

The restaurant is set in the old Engine House but it is attached to a new airy extension with windows which display the stunning backdrop in which the place is set.

The restaurant has a modern but cosy vibe. It’s definitely not stuffy fine dining but more of a brasserie-style eaterie. Adorning each table are seasonal gords and pumpkins which give a nod to the restaurant’s locally-sourced seasonal menu.

We were welcomed by staff and our hosts Kate from Avocado Events and Food Blogger Ben from York On a Fork.

Special Child-Friendly Cutlery

Kate kindly offered my youngest (aged three) Arianna a special set of child-friendly cutlery by Doddl (scroll to the bottom for a discount code). Arianna was chuffed with this fun but metal cutlery as she is normally forced to use her hands or huge adult size cutlery (nobody wants Arianna near any large sharp objects!).

doddl cutlery star inn the city york yorkshire families

Meeting the Head Chef Matt Hunter

Head Chef and Director of Operations Matt Hunter who has been at The Star Inn The City since it first opened five years ago, explained how children can order anything off the kids menu or smaller sized portions of any dish from the grown-ups menu.

He said: “We can cook to order, so everyone is catered for.”

star inn the city york yorkshire families head chef matt hunter

Matt also told us how the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks to a range of customers.

“From the man who’s saved up for months to feed his family our burgers.”

To people who like to just drop-in for lunch.

He also added that owner Andrew Pern (also owner of The Star at Harome) has six children – so children are very much a part of what they offer.

The Startlets’ Kids Menu

startlets kids menu star inn the city

As we had been invited to a special influencer event, the kids got to try and share all of the dishes on the kids menu which is named “Startlets.” (We were joined by Harrogate Mama, York Mumbler, Families Vale of York Magazine, Little Vikings, Helpful Mum, Blog Up North and myself aka Mama Mei.). 

For starters there is a selection of Prawn Cocktail, Pate and toast or Yorkshire Pudding and Gravy. My girls naturally went for the Yorkshire Pudding and Gravy which they lapped up.

Next up for mains, the table of child food testers tasted the Spaghetti Bolognese (a clear favourite), followed closely by steak and skinny fries with a mushroom and, ham, egg and chips. It was good quality kids food and thankfully, there was not a Fish Finger in sight!

For Dessert, the kids had Chocolate Brownie and berries, a Bramble Mousse with Honey and Granola alongside Lemonade Ice Cream Floats. My daughters naturally went for the Chocolate Brownie!

My children, as I predicted, wouldn’t sit through all the courses so there was a lot of moving around and playing musical chairs but nobody seemed deterred by there being active children in the restaurant.

bramble mousse star inn the city  york yorkshire families.jpg

Grown-Up Yorkshire Food

Us grown-ups were fed canapes too whilst we watched over our children. As a Vegan I enjoyed Cauliflower Tempura with Piccalilli  and cup of Miso Soup which was tasty, light and warming. Perfect for a chilly Autumnal day.

star inn the city  york yorkshire families vegan food tempura.jpg

I also enjoyed a drink off their Mocktail menu – Rhubarb Iced Tea by Taylors of Harrogate. It was super refreshing and sweet.

star inn the city  york yorkshire families rhubarb iced tea.jpg

The other adults were served a sharing platter of delicious looking canapes (normally as a Vegan I get food envy but I was perfectly satisfied with my food).

star inn the city  york yorkshire families sharing platter.jpg

The Verdict

It’s good quality British Food (which includes the kids menu) with a cosy family-friendly vibe. You can’t beat its location and there’ll be something on the menu (or bespoke) that the chefs will cook up to please anyone’s palette.

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I would definitely love to return with the whole family for a delicious meal that will suit us all, from my fussy children to myself as a Vegan and,  I reckon the food will even meet my Chef husband’s high expectations.

Highly Recommended! 

PLEASE NOTE: We were invited to review and received the food and drink free-of-charge. All views are my own (with the help of my daughters). My also was reviewing the  event for Blog Up North Magazine.

Goody Bags and First Aid

Gorgeous Goody bag treats were supplied by York Gin & York Cocoa House. 

york gin york cocoa house

Plus, there was an Orange Kite First Aider on site and luckily we didn’t need to use her expertise.

Doddl Cutlery discount code: To save 10%, use the code AVOCADO10 until 30th November.

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KIDS EAT FREE: This Half-Term at Turtle Bay Caribbean Restaurant & Bar

KIDS EAT FREE: This Half-Term at Turtle Bay Caribbean Restaurant & Bar

Turtle Bay’s newly revamped kids’ menu has arrived… and to celebrate they’re inviting kids to eat free throughout half term. 

Better still, Turtle Bay have restaurants across  the country and indeed Yorkshire (Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield & York), so Yorkshire families can go to a Turtle Bay near them.

So if you want to bring a bit of Caribbean sunshine into your half term staycation with this bespoke new menu for the “Little Turtles” in your family.

KidsVert

New Kids Menu

The new look Caribbean kids’ collection includes a Tiny Turtles and Bigger Turtles menu as Turtle Bay know that children’s dining isn’t a one size fits all affair. 

All kids are invited to kick their Turtle Bay experience off with fresh dips and dippers – a little persons amuse bouche is served via a vegan spread of hummus, smashed avocado and carrot sticks. 

Tiny Turtles can then grab a main course, side and drink for just £5.95. Dishes include healthy bites like Grilled Chicken with Lemony Rice, Fresh Avocado Turtle Wraps, Sweetcorn Fritters, and Flat Bread pizzas. 

Bigger Turtles can opt for a whole rainbow of slightly bigger, more grown up options including a Quarter Jerk Chicken and Sunshine Quinoa, Chicken and Cheese Toastie with Caribbean Slaw or Crispy Squid with Fries! 

Kids Drinks Menu

Kids get their own special ‘mocktail’ collection at Turtle Bay too – delicious and colourful fresh juices blended to create dreamy drinks that will make the kids feel like VIPs. 

From Sky Juice’s frozen blend of pomegranate pineapple, orange and lemon juices to the Reggae Sunsplash which crushes grapefruit, coconut and raspberry – there’s plenty for the little ones to get excited about. 

Dessert Menu

For pudding kids can choose from healthy Fresh Tropical Fruit selection or the more decadent Salted Caramel Fudge Brownie – or there’s the halfway house treat of two good old scoops of vanilla, coconut or vegan chocolate ice cream. 

New Menu for the Adults too
Meanwhile grown-ups can feast on Turtle Bay’s new menu, which is a colourful selection of sharing platters, hearty dishes, small sharer plates, vegan specialities, salads and of course their signature Jerk Chicken. The menu hacking possibilities are endless!

We tried it out and here’s how we got on.

It’s a real feast for all the family at Turtle Bay so get stuck in this half term. 

 Terms and Conditions: 

  • Offer valid from 22nd October – 2nd November 2018 only
    1 free kids menu main & kids soft drink with every paying adult
    To qualify adults must have a main dish from either our main menu or eat from the set lunch menu
    This offer excludes Kid’s mocktails and puddings
    Not be used in conjunction with any other offer
    Turtle Bay reserves the right to amend or withdraw the offer at any time

MY YORKSHIRE: Yorkshire Mum of 4’s top family days out, activities and attractions

MY YORKSHIRE: Yorkshire Mum of 4’s top  family days out, activities and attractions

From Wakefield to York, new blogger Yorkshire Mum of 4 is taking the online world by storm. Here she shares her favourite places to go and things to do in Yorkshire as part of our My Yorkshire column.

Where do you live and work?

I am Gemma. I live in Wakefield and work in Barnsley as an accounts assistant.

How do you like to travel around Yorkshire?

I do like to travel by car because I love choosing my own music and having the flexibility to just jump in the car on my own schedule. Although as the car is a Zafira, it’s more like a bus which is essential when you have 4 kids.

Where would you recommend nearby?

Places nearby I would recommend for a family would be Xscape as there is so much to do from bowling, laser zone to trampolining, however we don’t get there much as it can be quite expensive.

We do like Swithens farm in Rothwell as all the kids like animals and there are also adventure bits for the older kids. It is cheap and cheerful and not far to travel.

What do you love most about Yorkshire?

I love the fact Yorkshire people are just so down to earth a friendly, there is a real sense of pride about being from Yorkshire. I also love Yorkshire Puddings and Yorkshire tea.

the full english breakfast in a Yorkshire Pudding at The Hepworth Cafe

What is your ultimate day out in Yorkshire?

Ultimate day out in Yorkshire would probably involve a theme park so Lightwater Valley and then a nice pub somewhere on the way home serving traditional British Grub as I like my food. The family like our days out exploring theme parks and trying different rides and thrill seeking and then a nice meal at the end. Usually followed by a chocolate brownie and custard or some equally delicious dessert.

What are your favourite family-friendly places to go?

Weekends for us as a family are about exploring What is on locally so we will look at the local what’s on pages and event listings on facebook and find an event that we can support whether that is a fayre, a music event, a craft occasion, fun day, Emley Show that we went the other week or just a local car boot sale. There are so many wonderful events happening right on our doorstep that it is great to support.

What are your favourite free activities in Yorkshire?

Free activities that are available are places like Bolton Abbey, Hemsworth Water Park, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and also places like Thornes Park that have play areas and also nice park areas where you can take a ball, kite or frisbee, go for a walk or bike ride and feed the ducks.

yorkshire mum of 4 gemma stringer

Where would you recommend going for food and drink?

For food and drink in West Yorkshire we have been to so many places – My reviews on trip advisor have been read by 65,000 people and we have visited a variety of places however we do have three favourites. As a family I would say Orlandos over Emley way because he does magic at your table, they have a birthday hat for the kids and it feels very authentic and happy. For adults I would say the Old Mill in Horbury although I think it has been rebranded now and we haven’t been since. A local favourite would be Rinaldis, food is always delicious and service is usually pretty good.

If you were giving a whistle-stop tour of Yorkshire – where would you recommend people go if they were spending 48 hours in Yorkshire with their family?

For 48 hours in Yorkshire I would say spend some time in York, I remember me and my husband had a day out in York where we did the York Dungeon, then had some lovely food at a nice italian restaurant in the town. Then we went to the Chocolate Story and had a walk by the river.

Later that night, he proposed, so York is one of my favourite places and nice for a day out. They also do a family pass for families to explore the attractions there so it would be a fab place to spend a weekend.

There are also seaside destinations such as Whitby and also Bridlington that I would recommend for sight seeing and historical reasons.

Anything else you’d like to share about Yorkshire?

I love that fact I live and work in such a fabulous place, there are so many things going on here and so many places worth visiting. We have Cannon Hall Farm, Clifton Park, Lightwater Valley, Hornsea, Filey, York, Harrogate and also Leeds which is a fabulous shopping destination. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Find the Yorkshire Mum of 4 at www.yorkshiremumof4.com and @yorkshiremumof4 on pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.