Wellness at Alpamare

On a rare (very, very rare!) childfree weekend, we went to Wellness at Alpamare in Scarborough for my first Spa experience!  It was such a relaxing experience and one that I am sure that we will want to do again.

Adults only!

Wellness at Alpamare is a relaxing, calm experience and as such, it is adults only. If you’re looking at taking the family to Alpamare, then this blog post is ideal for you.

Getting started

When you get to Wellness at Alpamare, you are given your towel and robe at the entrance and get changed in the usual changing rooms.  Make your way upstairs and you’ll be welcomed at the Wellness at Alpamare reception. Here you will be given a tour of the facilities.

For those who are more into these things, you are given a couple of suggested routes around the facilities to get the most out of it.  However, we didn’t use them but they are clearly there for a reason!

The staff at reception are more than happy to answer any queries or offer advice. Here you can help yourself to free flavoured water, book any treatments and order food/drinks.

The Wellness at Alpamare lounge

The Facilities

Wellness at Alpamare offers both treatments and the general spa experience. We didn’t have any treatments, and whilst they are offered, there is certainly not a hard sell by the staff.

The spa has both a Finnish sauna, which overlooks the sea as well as a clay sauna. There are also foot spas, again, which look over the sea.

Wellness at Alpamare view over the sea
The view from the Finnish Sauna and footspas

In terms of baths, they have a Herbal Steam bath and a soap steam bath, which is extremely funny to see other people try to work out how to use it!

Perhaps my favourite was the warm centre stone, where you lie down and relax on the warm stone. It might sound daft, but it was so soothing on my back and so relaxing!

You also get full use of the Alpamare swimming facilities!!

Alpamare pool
Alpamare swimming pool

Top Tips

Being a newbie to spas, I did find it a bit strange, but my word, it was so relaxing! Here are a few tips to get the most out of your experience:

  • The saunas are intense, therefore don’t worry about giving them short sharp bursts.
  • Enjoy a drink/snack in the lounge overlooking the main pool.
  • You have the rest of Alpamare to use as well, so enjoy the super warm pools.
  • If you go on an evening, there are some nice photo opportunities. However, phones, saunas and spas don’t mix very well!
  • Go to the Aufguss Ceremony. It is a bit strange, but the mixture of heat and aroma is a bit different!

Just Relax!

As Wellness at Alpamare is child free, then the atmosphere is completely different to the rest of Alpamare. As such, relax, enjoy some adult company and let the body and mind drift. Sometimes we have to look after ourselves and after going to Wellness at Alpamare, I was so so chilled!!

Cheers!!

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Brimham Rocks

One of the places we discovered in 2019 was Brimham Rocks, which is to the north of Harrogate near Pately Bridge. The mixture of climbing, adventure and mystic means that virtually every weekend a request is made to go back!!

Brimham Rocks view
The view at Brimham Rocks

What is at Brimham Rocks?

Brimham Rocks is set in 400 acres of moorland and historic rocks that is open all year round. As it is in great outdoors, weather can be a factor, and so take an extra layer, just in case!

To some, there isn’t much to do at Brimham Rocks except walking. There are no shops, no playgrounds, no games. However, the open space, mud and rocks prove an excellent backdrop to allow your children (and yourself) a way to get exercise and fresh air!

The Rocks

If you’re going to Brimham Rocks, then you’re going to want to climb the rocks! It is best to go when it is dry as they can become slippy but they aren’t too difficult to make a decent attempt at them.

Brimham Rocks
The Rocks!!

Children from about 3 or 4 years of age can probably feel comfortable starting out on them, although it is best if a grown up leads the way and/or helps them up and down.  Probably best not to wear anything you don’t want to get ripped or muddy, because once they start climbing, it will be difficult for you to stop them!

Climbing the rocks

One thing that I like to do is get Heidi to imagine how the rocks came to be how they are. As such, it isn’t just a place to explore the body, it is a place to explore their imagination and mind too!

Geocaching

One of Heidi’s interests in 2019 is geocaching and Brimham Rocks is great for it! There are 4 which are quite easy to find for young families and they are great fun to help motivate little legs!

Geocaching at Brimham Rocks
Geocaching at Brimham Rocks

There are a total of 13 dotted around the park, but some of the others are a little more difficult and may be suitable for older families.

Facilities

The car park is of decent size, and whilst Brimham Rocks entry is free, car parking does cost. In 2019, it costs £6 for 4 hours (which is long enough for most) and is very competitive, especially compared to somewhere like the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. If you’re a National Trust member, parking is free!

There is a toilet block and outdoor cafe about half a mile walk from the car park, past most of the rocks and there is an information point at the car park. There is also a picnic area next to the cafe.

The paths are ok for prams and pushchairs, but it might be a slightly bumpy ride at times!

All in all, we absolutely love Brimham Rocks and I am sure that we will keep on going in 2020 and beyond.


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Ponderosa Zoo

The outskirts of Heckmondwike is not the first place you imagine an animal park to be. However, Ponderosa Zoo has been there for a number of years and apparent investment in the park and animals has breathed new life into the venue.

Ponderosa Zoo Animals

Ponderosa Zoo has two functions; one being an entertainment attraction, but the other is that it is a place for therapy for people. As such, the animals at Ponderosa Zoo are on the smaller, friendlier side!

There are meerkats, reptiles, birds, otters, reindeers and many, many more.   In late October, they have just introduced wallabies so it will be interesting to see how they take to Heckmondwike!!

Ponderosa Zoo isn’t a huge attraction, and as such, it is quite child/toddler friendly. It will probably take a couple of hours to walk round, with a few stops at the play areas thrown in. However, it does get a bit chilly and muddy, therefore pack an extra jumper and wellies, just in case!! Although there is mud, Ponderosa Zoo has paths all the way round, so it is pram-proof!

Ponderosa Zoo tortoise
My favourite!

There are a number of talks throughout the day and it is best to look on the website at the times, before planning a visit. The animal handling talks are usually the most popular talks and it is usually a good idea to plan around those. The staff are really friendly, especially during the talks and are happy to answer any questions about the animals.

Ponderosa Zoo holding animals
You don’t have to do this!!

Perhaps most importantly, the animals looked to be well cared for and happy. By no means is this an educated view, but it is important to mention.

Halloween Trail

For Halloween 2019, for an extra £3, you can take part in the Halloween Trail. This is where you have to find 10 “gravestones” of extinct animals hidden around the park.

You’re looking for these!

It isn’t too difficult, although we did see one family struggling to find the last one!! If you complete it, you get a “small treat” which in our case was a lolly.

Check out my pumpkins!

However, the main part of the trail is getting to do pumpkin carving, with no danger of getting hurt!! In the “pumpkin patch”, you can select a pumpkin and a member of staff will cut the top off for you. Then you need to scoop it out (spoons and baby wipes are provided!). After that, you draw your design and allow the staff to do the carving.

Ponderosa Zoo pumpkins
Check out our designs

For £3, it is really good value for money, and you don’t have to pick up a knife at all!! I would do the pumpkin patch towards the end, just so you aren’t carrying it around Ponderosa Zoo. However, as it takes them a few minutes to do the carving, I wouldn’t leave it until the last moment either.

Play Areas

There are a few decent sized play areas for the little ones to burn off some energy. There is the ship and huge sand play area, which is brilliant in summer.

Ponderosa Zoo play area

There is also 2 sets of climbing frames, both of which are a little bit different. However, they have slides and allow the children to climb and run around.

Ponderosa Zoo play area 2

There is also the indoor play area (extra charge applies) but this is closing in early November 2019.  However, they are keeping its replacement well under wraps!!

Facilities

At Ponderosa Zoo, there is a indoor ice cream/snack outlet, as well as the Lakeside restaurant. The restaurant is often used for functions and so check before you set off whether it is open or not. The Sunday carvery smelt terrific however, when we popped in to use the toilets there!

Speaking of toilets, there are plenty dotted around so you shouldn’t be too far from one!

Car parking is free (yes, free!) and plentiful and there is a small gift shop at the entrance/exit.

Conclusion

All in all, if you’re looking for lions, tigers or bears, Ponderosa Zoo isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for an afternoon out where the children have space to play and see smaller animals, then you can’t go wrong with Ponderosa Zoo.

Disclosure: For the purposes of this blog post, we received free entry to Ponderosa Zoo for the Halloween Trail. However, we have previously paid entry prices, on numerous occasions. This blog post has not been edited by Ponderosa Zoo, nor any influence made on it.


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Light Night Leeds

October is “Light Night Leeds” month and it is a perfect night out for grown-ups and children alike. Whilst the attractions change year on year, the crowds always turn up regardless of the weather. As such, here are a few hints and tips to make the best of Light Night Leeds.

Make a plan

You simply cannot see everything at Light Night Leeds. There are too many things and it is too busy. However, pick a few things that interest you and stick to them. You’ll see plenty as you walk within the city centre, but if you walk aimlessly, you might miss quite a bit!

Light Night Leeds - Jugglers
Light Night Leeds – Jugglers

In 2018, our favourite was the Leeds Children’s Circus exhibit in the Kirkgate Indoor Market, and there is always something for the children to enjoy.

Light Night Leeds - Circus School
Light Night Leeds – Circus School

Eat before arriving

City Centre restaurants and bars will be busy and you don’t want to be wasting time waiting for food. As such, eat before getting into town, and take a few snacks to keep the children happy and quiet!!

Wrap Up Warm

Yes, you will be walking throughout the city centre. However, it is a night event and the October chill will be in the air. As such, take an extra layer and you’ll be thankful when the sugar rush has worn away and the children complain that they are cold!!

Use a pushchair

There will be crowds and you will end up walking throughout the city centre. As such, if your child is on the edge of being in a pushchair, err on the side of caution and use it. It will come in useful in case they get tired, and it will also be a good battering ram!!

Light Night Leeds - pianos
Find the pianos in Leeds City Centre!

Check out the Queens

Queens Hotel is usually the focal point of the Light Night Leeds exhibits. As such, if you only have chance to go to one thing, go here. They usually show an animated short show on a loop on the side of the hotel. There are numerous special effects and is a sight to behold.

Because of this, and the traffic, if you can get into the city centre by train, do so!!

It would be great to read your own hints and tips to make the most of Light Night Leeds for you and your family. As such, please use the comments section below!!

Light Night Leeds - Queens Hotel
Light Night Leeds – Queens Hotel

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Domino’s Xscape – Restaurant Review

If I could only have one meal in the world, it would probably be pizza! As such, when we got the opportunity to visit Domino’s Xscape for their store opening, we couldn’t say no!!

We were invited to Domino’s Xscape by the good people of Don’t Panic Events, who did an amazing job given that the queue had built up around half of Xscape before the start of the event! However, as we arrived a couple of hours in, it was busy, but not hectic.

If truth be told, we didn’t know what to expect, apart from a couple of slices of free pizza. However, we were given the chance to make our own pizza, which turned into a magical experience!

Domino's Xscape explaining how the oven works
Explaining how it all works!!

Making the Pizza

First and foremost, the Domino’s Xscape staff were so friendly, especially as they were run off their feet making pizzas and working the crowd. A but shout out to Karan for helping us to make the pizzas and Hannah for organising it.

All dressed up!!

First impressions were that Domino’s Xscape is quite small “behind the scenes” (as Heidi puts it) but so well organised. After we were given the aprons and hats, we washed our hands and we started!

Heidi made a 9in pizza with beef and pepperoni and Oscar made a garlic bread with ham. Kim and I made, well, I’m not sure, but I can confirm that there wasn’t any pineapple on it, because pineapples don’t belong on pizzas!!!!

Heidi loved the opportunity to put the ingredients on and whilst she does it at home now and again, there was something special about doing it in a real kitchen! The thing that amazed her was the fact the oven was a conveyor belt, rather than a standard oven! I was amazed that none of us burned ourselves on the ovens!!!

Putting the ingredients on

So, how did we do?? I’m not sure we are as good as the Domino’s Xscape professionals, but we absolutely loved it!

The finished product!!

The other highlight of the day was the fire-eater, who was absolutely amazing. However, I’m not sure it would be any good for cooking pizzas!!

Domino's Xscape Fire Breather
An alternative to the oven!!

How to Find Domino’s Xscape

The Domino’s Xscape outlet is on the side of Xscape facing the Junction 32 shopping outlet. It is a little hard to find, but there is parking just outside!! There are a few seats and tables to eat at, but it is mainly for takeaways. There is plenty to do at Xscape, one of which is the trampoline park, Gravity, which I have written about previously here.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to see a pizza outlet open. I’m sure we will be back to Domino’s Xscape, but we will let the professionals do the cooking next time!!

Continue reading Domino’s Xscape – Restaurant Review

Playdale Farm Park

Located inland between Scarborough and Filey, in Cayton, Playdale Farm Park is hidden off the beaten track but is a wonderful way to spend a day in the area.  We went when Heidi was 3 and had a lovely time, but now she is 6, she could enjoy it even more!

We spent 3 hours at Playdale Farm Park and only saw half of the animals and missed out on 2 of the play areas. It’s safe to say that it is a day-long attraction!!

Animals

As Playdale Farm Park is, well, a farm, there are the usual animals to see. In the main barn, there are goats, pigs, alpacas and chicks to see, amongst others.  In the other barn and dotted around outside are donkeys, chipmunks, sheep and loads of birds.

Heidi holding a chick
Heidi holding a chick

Perhaps the best part of this is the handling activities that are set up during the day.  Times can vary so check before you set off, but we got to hold guinea pigs and chicks that were only a couple of days old.  Whilst it was busy, we didn’t real rushed and had long enough to hold the animals, before both they and the children got bored!!

Heidi holding a guinea pig
Heidi holding a guinea pig

The staff looking after the animals were more than happy to talk to the children about the animals. They also encouraged children to wash their hands after holding the animals, to make sure the risk of catching a bug was reduced,

Play Areas

Even if you are not into the animals, there are loads of play areas for the children to run about and, well, be children.  There are 2 outdoor climbing play frames, as seen below, which are more than adequate for most children aged 2 to 12.

The smaller Playdale Farm Barn outdoor climbing frame
The smaller Playdale Farm Barn outdoor climbing frame

There is also an indoor barn full of hay bales, which the children absolutely loved.  Because of this, it might be a good idea to pack a spare set of clothes for the children because hay can get EVERYWHERE!!

Playdale Farm Barn hay barn
Playdale Farm Barn hay barn

There is also an indoor play area with 2 soft play areas – one for under 4’s, and one for over 4’s, although the children can play in either quite easily. Inside the indoor play area are ride on tractors as well.

Indoor play area at Playdale Farm Barn
Indoor play area
Indoor tractors
Ride on tractors

However, as it was a lovely early September day, we had great fun on the zipline, dry sledging and the cycle go-karts. As you can see in the video at the start, the zipline and dry sledging isn’t for toddlers, but children 4 and over should be ok with it. Once we got over some nerves, Heidi absolutely loved it and it was difficult to pull ourselves away from it!

We didn’t even make it to the sand play area or the Frisbee golf, but I suggest the latter is more for adults. It can get a bit windy and the children may get a bit bored chasing the Frisbee!

Facilities

To make the most of Playdale Farm Park, you do need dry weather, as some of the activities are outside.  If you have bad weather, there is enough to entertain, but you will miss out on the dry sledging, which was our highlight!

There are plenty of picnic tables for you to bring your picnic, as we did. However, there is also a lovely looking cafe, with some amazing looking cakes, which I really should have taken a photo, as well as bought!!

The toilets are of decent quality and the cubicles are quite large, which helps when you’re with children. There are plenty of hand washing stations, which is always good to see.

Cost

For 2 adults and 2 children, it cost just over £30 (2019 prices), with free parking.  This didn’t feel too bad given that we took our own food and could have had a full day of entertainment.  The children absolutely loved it and I am sure that we will be back on a future trip to the North Yorkshire Coast.


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Grass Hoppers at Tong Garden Centre – indoor play

We love Grass Hoppers and have been looking forward to the opening of their new soft play. As such, we were really excited to be invited along to the pre-launch event, to check out the facilities, which are now open.

Grass Hoppers in Tong Garden Centre is an amazing place to take the kids, and we have visited their outdoor area on many occasions. It is a safe play space for families and you’ll find a huge outdoor adventure playground and a large indoor play area, where children up to 10 years old can enjoy proper playtime! You can read about the outdoor area in this blog post.

Keep reading for details of their great grub and award winning (and allergy conscious!) ice cream being served in the new Woody’s Kitchen.

What’s New at Grass Hoppers?

Well, first off there is a brand new entrance. It is accessed through the covered area where you will find the outdoor plants. It’s really easy to find but the staff at Tong Garden Centre are always willing to help if you find yourself a bit lost.

This guy is happy to help!!

As you walk in there is a brightly painted wall and a wooden desk with a locked gate which you find at all soft play areas. This gives you you real confidence it’s a safe place for your child to run around and explore.

Grass Hoppers entrance

There is ample seating for you to sit down. However, if it is very busy, you’ll likely not be able to see your child if you’re near the back or sat near the ice creams. As such, get there early if they are young and need closer watching.

The Soft Play Area

We love soft play, it’s a brilliant opportunity for the kids to burn off energy and for the parents/carers to have a few minutes peace with a hot cuppa!

The soft play itself was very impressive, as you find they all tend to be the same. However, Grass Hoppers have set the bar high. For the younger kids, there is a brilliant interactive area. This includes a piano to record and play sounds with your feet. They even have nursery rhyme suggestions and tell you which keys to press to play the tune. However, it was still popular with the older kids and parents testing it out.

There is a talking tree and an infinity mirror panel with lights as well. This is an excellent sensory activity for any children on the spectrum. A big “wow” was a screen hiding under the smallest slides. It loops a video of different bugs and animals like ants and snails so you can see the detail of their anatomy and how they move.

What about older children?

For older children, they have a great sports court with cut outs for goal scoring, just like you see at fairgrounds. This was really popular with some of the older children. We also enjoyed some the games throughout the Soft Play frame such as spot the difference.

I also counted at least 5 slides throughout the play frame which was a big hit with us.

Something I’ve never seen in a soft play before but I was very impressed with was the 3 real life play areas including a Shop, Garage and a Coffee Shop. They’re not very big but this stops it getting clogged with too many kids trying to play with the same thing. In the garage, there was a racing car the kids can take apart and re-build as much as they want or just use their imagination to pretend they’re the next Lewis Hamilton!!

Garage

In the garage and also in the toddler play area, were wall jigsaws to place soft play shapes/tools. This was a great spin on traditional jigsaws.

What does entry into Grass Hoppers give you?

Your entry gives access to both indoor and outdoor play. If you want to access the outside area, there is a new doorway at the back easily spotted from entering Grasshoppers.

Grass Hoppers outdoor play

You will find that with the new building the outside feels a little smaller. However,  nothing has changed in respect to the facilities or the equipment for children to play on. There is a new area for ride on cars, seesaws and play houses for younger kids. There is so much space both inside and out that it shouldn’t be a problem.

Woody’s Kitchen

There is a brand new kitchen and ice cream parlour known as Woody’s Kitchen. They offer a great selection for breakfast and lunch such as sandwiches, panini’s and pizzas.

We ordered sausage, chips and beans for the little ons. They were fresh butcher sausages and were ‘yummy’ – which is the official seal of approval from the 3 year old! From the adults menu, we tried the fish finger butty and a bacon roll. Both were delicious and very filling. However, we did manage to save room for cake!

Healthy (ish) meals!

There is so much to choose from such as brownies, flapjacks, scones and cakes. You  can eat in or take away. The menu itself highlights suitability from a Vegetarian and Vegan perspective too.

Let me tell you about the ice creams!! I was so impressed at how switched on they are from an allergy perspective. There were 8 sorbets and ice creams to choose from that were dairy free (Vegan friendly) and individually wrapped gluten free cones. This is to prevent any risk of cross contamination or picking the wrong cone. Whilst not ideal from an environment perspective, from a health & safety perspective, it really makes you relax that allergies can be catered for.

Ice cream!

There was a microwave not far from the toilets you can use to heat up any baby food etc.

Toilets and Baby Change Facilities

The toilets haven’t changed from before. But what you may not notice is that where you once accessed them outside by the ticket office, they are now just easily accessed from the play area. There are baby change facilities in both the men’s and women’s toilets. There is also a toilet and baby change facility for unisex use. The disabled bathroom does not offer changing facilities.

I did really like that in the main toilets there was 1 much smaller ‘toddler’ toilet which you don’t find in many places.

Overall

In a nutshell, we loved it! We will definitely be back though the summer and beyond now that Tong Garden Cebtre is an all-weather spot to take the kids.

For full disclosure, whilst we received free entry for the purposes of this post, no influence has been made to the information or contents.


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The Best Place in Leeds…

Even though I have written about loads of different places in Leeds, I have not done a “Best Place in Leeds” blog post before. As a result, here are a few things which are some age appropriate selections for you!

Best Place in Leeds - splash image

Best Place in Leeds for Crawlers

Boomchikkaboom hosts one-off events all over West Yorkshire, but quite a few are held in Leeds, with most being in Mothercare at the Crown Point Shopping Centre. You have to pre-book (and make sure you do well in advance) but their Mini Raves are a mix of upbeat music, dancing and songs which brilliant for smaller children who love sensory overload!

Boomchikkaboom take some brilliant pictures and share on Facebook

Boomchikkaboom also do messy play sessions for the younger kids, but during school holidays, they do sessions specifically for school aged children as well.

Loving a Boomchikkaboom rave!

You can read a full blog post on Boomchikkaboom here.

Best Place in Leeds for Pre-Schoolers

If your child is into creative play and imagination, the Rainbow Factory based in Farsley will be absolutely perfect. Keep your eye out for their special events during certain weekends and school holidays.  However, during term-time, they have specific sessions for pre-schoolers.

Best Place in Leeds - Rainbow Factory

We are HUGE fans of the Rainbow Factory and whilst it can seem a bit strange concept, the work that they do really does bring children out of their shell and boost their imagination. If your child is a bit shy, it does help to join in the sessions, but you’ll enjoy it just as much as your little one.

Kids are free to be as creative as possible at the Rainbow Factory

You can read Rainbow Factory posts here and here.

Best Place in Leeds for Primary School Children

Opened in 2017, the Leeds Urban Bike Park is a really safe space for children (and grown-ups) to ride their bike. Set on the old council golf course in Middleton, it is a free venue where there are trails for cyclists of all ages to explore. The site is completely vehicle free which means that riders are so much safer than on the roads and your child can ride, and develop accordingly.

Best Place in Leeds - Leeds Urban Bike Park
One of the trails at the Leeds Urban Bike Park

There are even bumpy trails for young and old to experience proper BMX-ing, which I am reliably told is a “pump track” (who knew?!)

Best Place in Leeds for Older Children

The Royal Armouries is a free attraction at the south east of the City Centre which gives an insight into the history of battles through the ages. Some of the artefacts are a reminder as to how deadly war can be, but it can act as a thought provoking visit for the older children. It would work really well if your child was into history and/or was learning about a relevant topic in school.

Royal Armouries
Exhibit at Royal Armouries

To make the trip more of an experience, get the free water taxi from Granary Wharf (near the train station) to the Armouries.  You get to see parts of Leeds which you would never see before although the queues can be big on hot summer weekends.  If you have not done it before, it is worth the wait.

You can read a full blog post on the Royal Armouries here.

Best Place in Leeds for Adults

Why should the children get all the fun?! Hotel Chocolat, just off Boar Lane, do chocolate making sessions for children and adults. Whilst there is some learning about the science behind chocolate, there is also the opportunity to decorate chocolate. You also get a decent discount in the shop at the end of the session, which is ideal if you’re going to do a bulk buy purchase at Easter or Christmas!!

Hotel Chocolat
Welcome to the Hotel Chocolat!

You do have to book well in advance for this. However, if you know you’re going to be child free, you’re probably counting down the days already!!

You can read a full blog post on Hotel Chocolat here.

Overall

All in all, there are loads of things to do in this brilliant city. I’d love to hear what your recommendations are, which will probably lead to a follow-up blog post!!

Continue reading The Best Place in Leeds…

Royal Armouries

Opened in 1996, the Royal Armouries is one of the jewels in the crown of Leeds. I remember when it was opened, how it was such a big thing for Leeds to have such a national treasure. However, being from Leeds, perhaps it is taken for granted somewhat.

We have visited the Royal Armouries a couple of times now and felt that it needed a blog post doing!!

Royal Armouries splash image

What is at the Royal Armouries?

The Royal Armouries is the home of arms and armour from all over the world, both historical and modern day, held over 5 floors.

I am in no way an expert in any of these areas, and so I’ll let the pictures to the talking, but as you can see, there are lots of artefacts to view.

Royal Armouries armour

The most visual displays, particularly for younger children, are the animal exhibits, showing how animals were used in battles. Depending on the age of your child, they may just see them as dressed up animals, which isn’t a bad thing at all!!

Horse and soldier

There are talks and demonstrations as well throughout the day, and on the top floor, there is a paid-for activity, using a cross-bow to shoot balls. We didn’t have chance to give it a go, but it did look fun and decent value for money (2019 price: £3 for 8 balls)

The Royal Armouries also do special events as well, particularly in the summer and bank holidays, so keep an eye out for upcoming events, especially as they tend to get quite busy!

Is Royal Armouries child friendly?

It depends on how old your child is. If your child understands war and has a historical understanding of certain events, then the Royal Armouries will be very, very educational.  However, if your child is more hands-on or doesn’t understand the concept of war, then the attraction may not be for them.

Elephant going into battle

However, there is lots of space for children to explore and as such, they can find what appeals to them.

There are really good baby changing facilities, with separate toilet facilities, was well as changing facilities in the men’s toilets.

Is the Royal Armouries just about War?

Pretty much. However, there is a small “Peace” section hidden away on one of the upper floors. Whilst it is important to know about the past, it would have been good to see how we can avoid wars going forward.

It's not all about war at the Royal Armouries
It’s not all about war

How can I get to the Royal Armouries?

Probably the best way to get to the Royal Armouries is via the free water taxi service from Granary Wharf. It gives a view of Leeds that you wouldn’t normally see and is very interesting. There can often be a large queue in summer, but if you can take the trip, do so.

There is a large multi-story car park about 300 yards away, which charges city centre prices (understandably), but is very convenient.

Perhaps the best way would be to get a bus/coach into the bus station and do the 10 minute walk down. This is especially true if you have older children.

To read about our experience of getting a National Express coach, check out this blog post.

How much is admission to the Royal Armouries?

Entry into the Royal Armouries is free. There are places to make a donation throughout, as it is a registered charity.

Overall

The Royal Armouries may not be ideal for your child, depending on their age and level of understanding. However, it is a national treasure and its quality is amazing. With everything undercover and free entry, it is well worth a trip and see for yourself!

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Abbey House Museum

A cold, wet late January weekend took us to Abbey House Museum in Leeds. Heidi had been with school a couple of weeks before and so was enthusiastic to go back and show what she enjoyed!

Abbey House Museum

What is at Abbey House Museum?

Abbey House Museum has 2 floors full of historic exhibits. The ground floor has a Victorian street/village with houses, shops, and a school to look in. Think of it as an indoor, smaller version of Beamish. There is nothing to “do” in the village except look around, but it is very interesting to look around.

Upstairs are more modern exhibits, which change over time. In late January 2019, there was an historical toy exhibit, which the child loved to look around. There was also the “Danger Zone” exhibit, which highlighted household items through the last 200 years which were dangerouss. There were also exhibits as how those dangers were managed and how we prevent danger in the house.

What did the children enjoy?

The children loved the space to run out in the Victorian street and I would like to think that they learned a little too!!  They also liked the dressing up section as part of the “Danger Zone” section.  They also enjoyed the toy section, especially with the chance to play with a couple of the toys.

It might sound daft, but because Abbey House Museum isn’t too big, it meant that they were able to enjoy it all, rather than be too tired from walking!

There is also the chance to dress up!

The free playground next to the car park was also a chance for the children to get some fresh air and tire themselves out a little bit more!

What did the children not enjoy?

The fact that a lot of the toys were on display, but not able to be played with, didn’t go down well! Also, a lot of the displays are perhaps for older children/adults, so they didn’t get as much out of it as other visitors would do.

What are the facilities like?

The toilets are really good and roomy, which is perfect for talking a child. Abbey House Museum also has a cafe, but it’s safe to say that the children were far too excited to go in there. However, the food looked good!

There are lifts to all floors, so if you want to take a pushchair, you can. However, as the Vicotrian street is cobbled, then it is a bit tricky. Abbey House Museum isn’t took big, therefore you might be able to get away with not taking one.

How do I get to Abbey House Museum?

Abbey House Museum is located opposite Kirkstall Abbey and there is a free car park just over the road. As Kirstall Abbey is popular in the summer, then car parking could be a problem. However, in late January, it was fine!

The postcode to find Abbey House Museum is LS5 3EH.

Is Abbey House Museum good value for money?

We paid £11 for a family ticket (as at January 2019) which covers 2 adults and 2 children. We spent about an hour and a half running about and trying to do our best to get the children to learn. As a result, it is one of the better value for money places in the region.

Verdict

All in all, Abbey House Museum is a lovely hidden gem in Leeds. It doesn’t get the publicity of the other Leeds museums, but if youre wanting to go somewhere for a couple of hours, and want your child to learn, then this could be a place for you to go.

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