Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…. – Scarborough Edition!

As the temperatures begin to warm up, it is time to start heading to the coast! There is a wealth of things to do on the North Yorks Coast and having thought about this post for a few days, I would be doing it a disservice to try and fit it all in one blog post, so I have decided to concentrate on Scarborough today.

The inspiration for the blog post was that on Tuesday, me and Heidi spent a daddy-daughter day in Scarborough and we both had a wonderful, if exhausting time! Having got parked up at 11, we left at 4 and by 4.01, Heidi was asleep on the way home!

First things first – Scarborough is a nightmare to get to on a summer weekend. The A64 is a slow road after York and so it may be best to go on the M62 to Goole and go up through Howden and Driffield. Take plenty of entertainment for both the big and little ones!!

If you have never been to Scarborough, the sand beach is probably half a mile long from end to end and even at high tide, there is beach available to go on. The town is just above the resort area (South Bay) and accessible via the steep hills/lift cars (approx £1 single). About half a mile away from South Bay is North Bay and while it is possible to walk between the two, it can be tiring.

There are a number of must-dos which have been particular highlights for me and H

South Bay

Scarborough Spa Orchestra – http://www.scarboroughspa.co.uk/orchestra-welcome

During the summer period (July and August) the orchestra do a Monday morning performance called ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic’ which is aimed at toddlers and young children, but I am amazed at the number of adults without children who turn up. It is quite interactive and a different set is played each week. As the show is aimed towards the little ones, singing, dancing and clapping is encouraged! It is only £3.50 each and lasts for 90 minutes and is brilliant entertainment. I have already booked the first and last shows of the season off work so we can attend. The show is held outdoors (in good weather) so hat and suncream are necessities. Also, they did a Christmas show which was absolutely brilliant!

Fish and Chips

The south bay is filled with fish and chip restaurants, ice cream stalls and arcades. Probably the best one is the Fish Pan on the front (it has a blue front) and the prices are reasonable to sit down and eat and they welcome babies and toddlers. When I went, they didn’t have a changing table, which proved to be a problem. Perhaps a bigger problem is the seagulls on the front, as they are quite large and vicious and they are prone to attack for food, so it is probably best to eat in a restaurant or have someone ready to chase them away. In terms of ice creams, the favourite is the Harbour Bar, where they do lovely ice creams and milkshakes, all set in a 1960’s diner setting. (http://theharbourbar.co.uk/)

North Bay

Sea Life Centre – https://www.visitsealife.com/scarborough/

Full disclosure – we haven’t been here yet, but from the outside, it looks like a good half-day activity and something a little bit different to the usual seaside activities. However, check for 2 for 1 deals or early booking deals.

Peasholm Park – http://www.peasholmpark.com/

Peasholm Park is on the north bay and as part of the park, there is a boating lake as well as miniature golf and on certain weekends, there are events on, in particular dragon boats! It is a really good place to stroll around with the pushchair, as well as being a good place to let your toddler toddle towards the end of the day when it is a bit quieter, although beware of the big ducks and swans!!

Openair Theatre

Across from Peasholm Park is the openair theatre, where they get a number of good acts during the summer season. However, there is also a miniature railway where big and little ones alike can go and have a ride.

Scarborough Cricket Ground

One more for dads rather than tots, but the Scarborough Festival occurs usually in August where Yorkshire CCC play a County Championship game at the cosy ground. The crowds are good so you may have to get tickets beforehand.

Out of town

Mini Monsterz – http://www.minimonsterz.co.uk/

This indoor play area is a bit of a hidden gem, located in an industrial estate in Cayton. The play area is fantastic (I am becoming quite an expert!) and one good thing is that they don’t allow the place to get too full, so everyone has a table and there is enough space in the play area. It is a little bit pricey, especially as they charge for adults, but it is worth the money and the food is good also. They have a similar complex in Whitby, which is just as good (and a bit quieter). As a result, I would head there early in the day and stay for lunch!

Baby Rave North

The usual weekend preview is to follow, but tomorrow is an event that I wish that I could go to with H and that is “Rave in the Park” in Charlie Cake, Armley, Leeds, LS12 3RP, held by Baby Rave North (http://www.babyravenorth.co.uk – Facebook/Twitter as well) at 10.30am and 1pm. The event is free and the weather looks to be set fair so there is no excuse not to go…

As my colleagues at work can attest, I am a fully fledged Baby Raver with H.  We have been to about 6 events in various locations and while it sounds a bit strange, the concept really works.

If you have never been, it is an upbeat baby/toddler session to upbeat songs and adults and toddlers are encouraged to dance and sing along. While some of the songs are classic nursery rhymes, some are call and response which is good fun, and the best part of it (for the kids at least) is the environment in which is is held. The room is dark with bright disco lights and this creates sensory overload for the youngsters (clearly not applicable for the outdoor event!) One problem with the dark room and bright lights is that is is a nightmare for taking decent photos!!

 

You are best advised to book ahead and the session lasts for just under an hour, which is a good length of time for the little ones. When I took H for the first time, she was so exhausted afterwards, she slept for 3 hours straight in the middle of the day, which shows how it stimulates the kids.

As I said, we have been to about 6 events, a few have been held in Mothercare at the Crown Point Shopping Centre, which is an ideal location, but the best one was a free Hip Hop event held in November time at Leeds City Museum. As it was a Saturday afternoon, we took the grandparents down as well to see the event and they loved it too, and by doing that, it gave them the confidence to go to these types of things if H wanted to go at a time when I couldn’t go. Also, by Leeds City Museum opening their doors at the event, we have found it to be a hidden gem in the city (more on a future blog post!). There are numerous different events from the mini-baby raves to the Christmas raves and the themes of the raves seem to change quite often, which keeps things fresh.

Sometimes when you go to these events, you wonder if the little ones actually enjoy it and for Baby Rave, I certainly know that H loves it. I know this because whenever she sees her disco ball, she tries to put it on (NOT advisable for kids to play with plugs!) and wants the lights turning off so we can have a DIY baby rave while she dances around. Granted, it is nowhere near as good as the real thing, but what can you do?!

Anyway, put Baby Rave North on your to-do list, regardless if you have a 3 month old or a 3 year old – you won’t regret it!!

I say Boom-chic-a-boom…..

The Hey Diddles!

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This Easter weekend, the Hey Diddles will be performing at Holmfirth Civic Hall (Saturday at 2pm) and I urge everyone with a child under the age of 8 to go and see them!

I went to see them with H at their Christmas show in Moldgreen in December 2014 and they were brilliant! By this point, you should have googled them, but if not, they are a 3 piece group (Sunny, Sky and Poppy) who are dressed in the appropriate colours who entertain the audience for an hour singing songs while working their way through a story.

They give everything on stage and get the audience into the spirit of the show. The kids love it, with the older ones dancing at the front, getting into the spirit of the show. H was just short of 18 months old and was just walking and so she enjoyed exploring the seating area before the concert but after that she was sat on my knee fixated on the performance. She loved it! We bought the CD and while there is a Xmas theme, the songs are of good sound quality and are still played in the car now!

Update: December 2015 – we have been to see them on many, many more occasions and what I mentioned before still rings true, perhaps even more so!

A couple of recent memories are when we were buying the tickets for the 2015 show in Holmfirth Tourist Information centre was, without prompting, Heidi said “I love Poppy, I love Skye, I love Sunny” when I asked the cashier for some tickets!

Also, one evening trying to get Heidi to sleep (late!) and she crawled to lay on top of me and started singing “Shake, Shake, Shake your sillies out”!!

I think she is a bit addicted!

For a good, innocent, well priced afternoon out, go to see the Hey Diddles! If you have a younger one, get there earlier and get to the front. Also, bring your autograph book as they do a meet and greet afterwards (not sure if they do selfies with you!) and prepare yourself for the discussion on the way home, “Who is you favourite Diddle?”