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!

CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH: How to help your child deal with worries and anxiety

CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH: How to help your child deal with worries and anxiety

We understand that children need physical education and but what about helping a child’s mental health such as how to deal with worries and anxiety? 

As someone who has had mental health problems since I was at school and now being a mum myself and running Yorkshire Families (which aims to get all families exploring Yorkshire regardless of barriers such as mental health problems), I understand the importance of supporting young people and preventing more mental health issues in the future and enabling them to have the ‘best’ start possible. 

I recently went to a workshop on “How to help your child overcome worries and anxiety” by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust. 

Here are the tips on helping a child with worries and anxiety… 

 

  • Ask your child what they are worried about when you notice they are worried or soon after. Don’t assume you know what is worrying them. Use open questions such as what, when and why?
  • Try to encourage the child to think of solutions to their worry. Ask things like ‘Has that ever happened before?’ Has it happened to someone else? How likely is it that this will happen? If this does happen could there be other reasons for it? Ask if (event) happened to a friend what do they think the friend would do?
  • For children who find it difficult to verbalise their worries encourage them to write or draw their worry. Make a worry box or monster to put the worries in. Go through the worries with the child at a set time each day, not too near to bed time. This limits the amount of time a child worries each day as they know they will have set time to talk and think about their worries.
  • If children find it difficult to recognise anxiety draw a body outline and encourage them to draw physical feelings i.e. butterflies in stomach, shaky legs, you can draw your own physical feelings on a body outline.
  • Some younger children like to draw their worries and tear them up or make them into comical characters. For older children encourage them to write feelings and emotions down in a journal.
  • Encourage children to ‘have a go’ at something they are worried about, give praise if they achieve even a small part of their worry. Set child doable goals using visual pictures, make small steps they can achieve to reach their goals, expect setbacks.
  • Make sure your child can identify activities, places and people they can talk to which help to make them feel relaxed.
  • Teach them simple breathing and distraction techniques e.g. counting rectangles in a room, use a rectangle to slow breathing down i.e. breath in for a count of 2, pause, breath out for 3, pause and repeat.
  • Make sure child can identify someone at home and at school who they can talk to.  
  • Use positive self- talk, children learn from example, encourage them to use phrases like ‘I can do this, I am good at…, I like myself because….

 

To recap: 

ASK open questions (don’t assume)

ENCOURAGE THEM TO SPEAK, WRITE OR DRAW their worries 

CREATE a worry box or monster to put their worries in 

SET SMALL GOALS to overcome their worry 

BREATHE mindfulness and distraction techniques 

USE POSITIVE SELF-TALK Children learn from example 

SUPPORT Make sure a child has someone at home and/or school to talk to 

 

 

Some useful books and resources on helping a Child with worries or anxiety:

‘What to do when you worry too much’ by Dawn Huebner

‘Little Miss Shy’ Roger Hargreaves

Overcoming Your Child’s Fear and Worries, Cathy Creswell and Lucy Willetts.

Websites:

Childline

Anxiety-Young Minds http://www.youngminds.org.uk

Anxiety in Children NHS.UK

Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/…/anxiety-and-panic-attacks

Older children and young people:

Moodjuice self- help resources http://www.moodjuice

Kooth online counselling http://www.kooth.com

Young minds

There are many apps and meditation websites that help children build up a ‘tool box’ of coping strategies to help then deal with situations they find stressful.

e.g. Headspace

 

THE BEAR: Half-term family show at Leeds Playhouse for children

THE BEAR: Half-term family show at Leeds Playhouse for children

Ever wondered what it would be like to sit on a polar bear‘s lap? Or ride on its back? Have you ever tried to give a bear a bath?

 

Probably not. But now you can spend some quality time with an enormous snowy white bear at Leeds Playhouse when Raymond Briggs’ magical story The Bear is brought to life on the Courtyard stage.

 

One night when Tilly is fast asleep, a huge bearclimbs into her bedroom. It has a long black tongue and a yawn as big as her head. But, still, she’s not scared.

 

The Bear is a heart-warming, humorous tale from the team that brought young theatregoers the hugely successful Father Christmas. Pins and Needles Productions are delighted to be sharing another of Raymond Briggs’ much-loved storybooks, including dazzling puppetry, unforgettable music, dreamy storytelling, and more laughs than there are penguins in Antarctica (i.e. a lot).

The cast of The Bear includes: 

Abby Wain (Tilly) – All that’s solid Melts into air (Tangled Feet, National Theatre), Alice’s Adventures Underground (Les Enfants Terribles, The Vaults), A Tale of Two Cities (Red Shift Theatre Company, Hong Kong), Fried chicken (Bounce Theatre, Kingston Theatre), Alice in Wonderland (Derby Theatre)

Elena Stephenson (Mum / Puppeteer) – Wendla in Spring Awakening, Hecuba in Trojan Women. Noted portrayals include Hero in Much Ado About Nothing (Trickster Theatre) and Desdemona in Othello (Trickster Theatre), Elaine in Breathing Corpses (Sweet Venues, Edinburgh Fringe), Netflix US, in the role of Claire Morris in Nurses Who Kill and in the upcoming film Redcoat, which will be available to view on Amazon Prime.

John Winchester (Dad / Puppeteer) – Oi Frog & Friends (Kenny Wax Productions/ Pins and Needles Productions); The Scarlet Pimpernel (Pimpernel Productions); Cinderella (Imagine Theatre); A Christmas Carol and Lovers (Cumbernauld Theatre); Dick McWhittington (Perth Theatre), The Demon Headmaster (CBBC); Anna and The Apocalypse (Blazing Griffin Films); A Long Long Crime Ago (CBBC); Grandpa in my Pocket, The Ha Ha Hairies (Adastra Creative/CBeebies).

 

The Bear is a not-to-be-missed experience for the whole family and a perfect introduction to theatre for little people with big imaginations.

So, why not bring your very best bear to Leeds Playhouse and join Tilly and her great big white friend on a wild and magical adventure?

The Bear, Courtyard, Leeds Playhouse

18 – 22 Feb. 

Box office: 0113 213 7700; leedsplayhouse.org.uk

 

NATIONAL COAL MINING MUSEUM OF ENGLAND: Spend a night shift down the pit to help local families

NATIONAL COAL MINING MUSEUM OF ENGLAND: Spend a night shift down the pit to help local families

Pop on a hard hat, a lamp and go an adventure 140 m underground into England’s last deep coalmine. Chat to charismatic former-miners as they tell the tales of their mining careers and the men, women, children, animals and equipment that worked the coal mines for centuries before them. Hear how mining lingo, hardships and dangers shape how we live our lives today…

PLUS FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY… You can experience a night shift down the pit in to raise funds to go directly to provide emergency winter fuel grants for local families suffering the harsh effects of the cold weather.

Community Foundation Wakefield District are looking for teams of people to Spend a Night Shift down the Pit with BBC Look North’s Harry Gration.

Your team will go underground at 11.00pm on Wednesday 5th February before resurfacing at 1.00am.

Nightshift (rev)

Following a successful launch of this year’s Winter Fuel Challenge, where £16,600 was raised, you’re invited to join us and Yorkshire Families to go on this adventure in aid of a great cause!

Screenshot 2020-02-01 at 18.00.22

This unique event has already received support from Chadwick Lawrence, Direct Marketing, OE Electrical, Jolliffe Cork and the National Coal Mining Museum. You will be going underground with TV presenter, Harry Gration and others who are happy to start the New Year helping keep local families warm this Winter.

If you and your friends/family/colleagues are interested in taking part in the event please contact: jon.ingham@wakefieldcf.org.uk. Alternatively, it is easy to sign up or donate via: https://www.justgiving.com/team/NightShift

Spend a Night Shift down the Pit  Wednesday 5th February 2020  11.00pm – 1.00am at National Coal Mining Museum of England. 

 

What’s on for families at National Coal Mining Museum of England?

 

The National Coal Mining Museum for England provides a unique day out filled with grit and charm:

  • Go 140m Underground to experience England’s last deep coal mine. This is free although a voluntary donation of £5 is recommended per person.
  • Explore 14 galleries and buildings for free.
  • A free soft play area for younger children.
  • An outdoor adventure playground.
  • Meet the Pit Ponies!
  • Watch and chat to real life Blacksmiths doing metal work.
  • Go on the woodland trail.
  • There’s also a cafe, shop and picnic area too.

It’s all free to enter and a full day out for the whole family!

For more information, go to: https://www.ncm.org.uk

Where do you love going for a free family day out?

We’ve been eyeing up some activities and free things to do in York, from the Museum Gardens to the National Railway Museum.

 

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

 

HUDDERSFIELD PANTOMIME: Sleeping Beauty at the Lawrence Batley Theatre – Review

HUDDERSFIELD PANTOMIME: Sleeping Beauty at the Lawrence Batley Theatre – Review

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a trip to the Pantomime… and Huddersfields’ favourite Panto is back at the Lawrence Batley Theatre for the 4th year running. This year’s Christmas panto is Sleeping Beauty, Oh yes it is and, they just keep getting bigger and better with sumptuous costumes, brilliant foot-stomping tunes and an outrageous Dame, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Blogger Amy Downes went to review the show for Yorkshire Families… 

With just a week left until Christmas, things are really getting busy and between the school plays, festive parties and gift shopping it’s easy to forget to have some fun with your family!

So, I was grateful for the opportunity to attend the Lawrence Batley Theatre’s production of Sleeping Beauty last week. My little boy is 3 years old, so I wasn’t sure if he is old enough yet for the evening performances and much-loved storyline, but there really was something for all of us to enjoy.

Harry was engrossed by the songs and the dragon, 3-month-old James by the lights and colours and Mummy and Daddy couldn’t help but chuckle at ‘Nanny Fanny’ (Robin Simpson). When my other half laughs at a joke, you know you’ve hit the nail on the head with the Dad jokes.

sleeping beauty lawrence batley theatre huddersfield

Director Joyce Branagh has written four pantomimes and lives in West Yorkshire, while playwright Andrew Pollard specialises in writing for families (he also appeared as John Bune in Emmerdale!). Henry Filoux-Bennett, Chief Executive and Artistic Director oat the theatre said of the duo:

‘I’ve heard so much about our audiences’ fantastic reaction to previous productions and this is set to build and excel upon their previous triumphs.’

The opening performance from the cast of Sleeping Beauty was stunning.

From the moment the curtain lifted there was a proud Yorkshire theme which helps set this story apart from the huge offering of pantos that we have on offer every year. From Hester the Jester (Nicola Jayne Ingram) with her thick local accent to the references of nearby towns and suburbs.

The songs too made this a high-quality show, from amazing routines choreographed around well-known hits like Robbie Williams’ ‘Let Me Entertain You’, to originals by like ‘When We Grow Up’ and ‘I’m Stuck on You.’

Nanny Fanny’s ‘Yorkshire Haka was the highlight of the show for me!

Finally, pantos are known for their corny jokes, but my inner feminist is all too often prickled by the uncomfortable stereotyping of larger women, the transgender community and ‘damsels in distress’. Happily, Sleeping Beauty defied this with a cast of strong female leads who stole the show and a challenge to typical parenting roles.

Nanny Fanny’s ‘Yorkshire Haka was the highlight of the show for me!

King Herbert the Hesitant (Richard Hand), who was left as Princess Aurora’s primary caregiver after her mother passed away, was dishing out parenting jokes, Aurora (Alyce Liburd) was seen practicing football in between her lessons, and Hayley Russell was sensational and strong as the evil Belladonna Bile.

Luke, Harry, Baby James and I had a wonderful family evening which got our Christmas celebrations off to a fun start.

We walked out into the rain with smiles on our faces and festive cheer in our hearts, chuffed to have made memories to add to our first Christmas as a family of four. Nanny Fanny will always be a part of that!

Luke, Harry, Baby James and I had a wonderful family evening which got our Christmas celebrations off to a fun start.

So, if you’re looking for something to do with your kids over the next few weeks, this panto is on until Sunday 5th January. The perfect Christmas gift for you all to share is some time together to remember forever.

With thanks to The Lawrence Batley Theatre and Bonner and Hindley for the gifted family ticket.

THE CORE LEEDS: Dining with Santa at Kaspa’s Dessert Bar and Subway – Review

THE CORE LEEDS: Dining with Santa at Kaspa’s Dessert Bar and Subway – Review

Venturing into Leeds City Centre with kids at this time of year can be chaotic, so we were pleased to be able to escape the crowds and head into The Core Shopping Centre on The Headrow for a Dine with Santa Experience at Kaspa’s Dessert Bar.

The Core Leeds has a range of places to eat and drink, shop as well as a good health and fitness offering, perfect for active families like ours.

the core leeds eat drink shop city centre

At the weekend we had been invited to review the sold-out Dine with Santa Experience which takes place at either Subway or Kaspa’s Dessert Bar depending on time slots.

We opted for the later slot at Kaspa’s Dessert Bar so we had ample time to get there as we had been staying at The Holiday Inn Leeds Bradford on Tong Lane (near Tong Garden Centre).

Immediately off the hustle and bustle of The Headrow at Christmas, we arrived at the downstairs food court with Kaspa’s being a separate outlet on the left. It’s a plush-looking pink and black decorated diner with a range of hot and cold desserts – from a tempting ice cream bar to the welcoming aroma of freshly cooked Waffles. It feels very family-friendly, stylish yet cosy at the same time as we made our way into a booth.

We were greeted by friendly ‘elves’ aka The Core Shopping Centre staff who explained that we would be served Waffles and Ice Cream then Santa would pay us a visit. As a parent, we all know how important it is to get the kids fed and watered first!

The elves gave out festive-themed goody bags which contained crafts for my daughters to do whilst they waited for their Food and Drink. My kids, aged 4 and 7, enjoyed decorating party hats and writing their list to Santa. I was surprised (and proud) to see that my 7-year-old had written “Toilet Twinning” (where you donate money to help fund a toilet being built in a poor community) at the top of her Christmas List.

The tempting hot waffles and ice-creams then arrived which were huge portions so plenty for a parent and child to share.

As the kids tucked in, they then heard Santa entering singing Carols. He was a brilliantly realistic Santa with a tuneful voice. The kids then all took it in turn to speak to Santa who  also did a magic trick and gave them a gift.

The Father Christmas impersonator really spent a lot of time with each child and made a big fuss of them and chatted through their Christmas list which was lovely to see. I enjoyed basking in the comfort of the booth too with a nice Soya Latte.

the core leeds eat drink shop city centre yorkshire families

Once the kids had unwrapped their teddy bear gifts they were ready to move around and spotted some mo-ped style seats at the front of Kaspa’s.

We then used the large family-friendly toilet facilities before venturing into the shops.

 

The Core Shopping Centre is nice and small perfect for family outings and a good place to grab something to eat with the kids when shopping in Leeds City Centre.

I also spotted the gym and Yoga studios as well as outdoors shops… something I’ll try when I don’t have kids tugging on me.

Kasha’s too makes a lovely family-friendly treat and would be a perfect place for a birthday party or sweet treat (and bribe) when out and about in Leeds!

How to get to The Core Leeds 

 

The post code for your sat nav is LS1 6AD

The Core is based on The Headrow and is situated in Leeds City Centre. It is easily accessible by Albion Street, Albion Place and Lands Lane. Car parking is available right by the centre and is operated by NCP.

By Car

Car parking is available for more than 300 cars. Use LS1 6AD as the post code. For more information on car parking, including charges, please click here.

By Train

The centre is close to Leeds train station. Upon leaving the station, make your way towards the city centre via New Station Street, and follow Albion Street, turning right at Albion Place. The Core is on your left hand side.

By Bus

Leeds City Centre is easily accessible by bus. Use the map on this page to navigate your way to the centre and click here for bus timetables.

 

The official lowdown

The Core is in the heart of Leeds City Centre, offering a huge range of options for visitors to enjoy.

From the various shops in the centre, to the range of flavours on offer from cafes, restaurants and kiosks, there are plenty of reasons to plan your day at The Core. You can even get fit for less with our health and fitness options!

Parent & Baby Facilities

We have a dedicated parent & baby room, situated within our Public Facilities area, equipped with changing mat and bottle warmer. There is also a bottle warmer available at Graveleys Fish & Chips.

Changing Places Toilet

We are proud to have an accessible Changing Places toilet at The Core Shopping Centre.

Our Changing Places toilet features:

  • A height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench
  • A ceiling tracking hoist system
  • A privacy screen
  • Adequate space for disabled person and up to 2 carers
  • A large waste bin for disposable pads
  • A non-slip floor

Our Changing Places toilet is available alongside 2 standalone accessible toilets and a separate baby change facility.

How can I access the Changing Places toilet?

You can use a Radar Key to access our Changing Places toilet.

If you do not have a Radar Key, please speak to a member of staff patrolling the centre who can give you immediate access.

 

DISCLAIMER: WE RECEIVED THIS EXPERIENCE FREE OF CHARGE FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW.