Yorkshire Museum of Farming – attraction review

The Yorkshire Museum of Farming has been the find of 2020 for us. Located in east York, just off the A64, the location is perfect for a day trip, especially with free parking! Heidi wanted to come back the week after going, which suggests it is a good place to visit!

Animals

As you would expect, the Yorkshire Museum of Farming has a few animals! There aren’t too many animals, but that means there isn’t too much walking!!

Most of the animals are small animals, such as chickens, ducks and the like. These are all kept together near the playground.

The star of the show is the bantam who Heidi has called “Chickpea”.  Chickpea loves children to run up and down along its pen and then it will run alongside.  Heidi found this amazing and how she knows what she wants for Christmas!

Yorkshire Museum of Farming Bantam
Chickpea!!

Vikings and Romans

You would never think that the Yorkshire Museum of Farming would have a Viking and Roman village in it, but it does!!

The mock-ups of both villages are expertly done, and made just as they were made back in the day.  You can walk around the villages and there are plenty of signs explaining various bits and pieces.

Roman fort

However, the taster sessions that are run during school holidays are amazing and were the highlight of Summer 2020!! You have to book online before the day, and the cost is not included in the admission price. In 2020, it cost £6 + booking fee, per child.

The sessions last an hour and are perfect for kids aged 6 – 11. Oscar (aged 4) came to the Roman one and whilst he enjoyed it, he didn’t quite have the attention span.

Viking spear throwing!

Both sessions follow the same theme: The kids get to burn off some energy using spears/shields, in a really safe manner.

A Viking running away from the Anglo Saxons!

Then they will use some clay to make a small model of something like a lamp. Depending on the child, you might need to assist a little.

Clay modelling

After that, you spend a little time talking about either the Vikings or Romans, and learning a bit about them.

Roman soldier

The sessions are limited to 6 children and so it is a really intimate experience.  Heidi loved the Viking session, we came back the following week for the Roman one!

Other Bits and Pieces

As you would imagine, the Yorkshire Museum of Farming has a good number of tractors, ploughs and the like. Unless you have a farming mad child, this won’t be for them. However, it will be popular with adults without children!!  In the same building, there is a Women’s Land Army exhibition, but we never got to see that!

Yorkshire Museum of Farming tractor
Tractor

Yorkshire Museum of Farming is also the start of the Derwent Valley Light Railway line.  However, due to Coronavirus, the trains weren’t running. You could look at the outside of the impressive train, but that was just about it. The trains usually run every Sunday and a bit more often on Bank Holiday weekends.

There is also a wildlife trail linking all these parts together  which is accessible for prams, wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Yorkshire Museum of Farming farming equipment
Farming equipment

Playground

The Yorkshire Museum of Farming has a small, but lovely playground, which is extremely well maintained.  It is perfect for children aged up to 6 and maybe a little older.

Yorkshire Museum of Farming playground
Playground

The playground isn’t the main reason why you would go to the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, but it will keep the children happy!!

Facilities

Yorkshire Museum of Farming has a small, yet perfectly adequate set of facilities.  There is a small cafe, who are really good with the children. The cafe leads out to the playground, and there are picnic tables outside, so you can sit whilst watching the kids play.

There is one disabled toilet with baby change facility, with plenty of space, which is always useful if you have multiple kids!!

There is a small gift shop as well, which specialises in trains, but they also have a good range of books, aimed at 7 – 11 year olds.

Pricing

One-off events incur an additional charge, but entry to Yorkshire Museum of Farming lasts for a whole year.  As such, it can work out as an extremely cheap attraction if you visit a couple of times!

Continue reading Yorkshire Museum of Farming – attraction review

Puttstars – The Springs, Leeds – Attraction Review

Puttstars located in The Springs in East Leeds opening in mid-2020 and is an indoor adventure golf course and entertainment complex.  With ample free parking, and located amongst a retail park, there are lots to offer.

Puttstars – Golf

Puttstars has 3 courses, each of which are 9 holes long. As you can imagine, as the complex has just opened, the courses are of excellent quality.  There are none of those annoying rips in the carpet and as it is all inside, you don’t need to worry about the wind and rain!!

The golf courses are of a decent difficulty for all, but for the smaller kids, they might need some help hitting the ball up some of the slopes. However, the course is modern and you won’t see any of the old fashioned windmills that you might see elsewhere!!

Perhaps the best parts is the fact you don’t have to carry the little pencil and paper to keep score. You’re given a unique code and at the end of each hole, you log onto a tablet and record your score. At first, I thought it was a bit gimmicky, but it really kept Heidi’s enthusiasm going!!  However, it also meant that Heidi said that she got holes in one every time!!

Not exactly scoring correctly!!

It probably takes 30-40 minutes to complete a course, and so it might be an idea to play one round, have a break and then do the other one.

Heidi was 7 when we came and to be honest, that is probably the youngest you can bring a child.

Puttstars – Arcades

Puttstars also has a small section of arcade games to keep young and old entertained. There is a cash machine on site, but because of Covid-19, it was out of action, so come with cash with you for the time being!

Puttstars arcade
Puttstars arcades

Some of the machines can give tickets to win prizes, but because I didn’t have any cash on me, we couldn’t work out if they were good value for money or not.

Puttstars – Food

There is a small menu available of both food and drinks. The prices are correct as at July 2020 and are subject to change.

Puttstars food

As a result of Covid-19, the tables are socially distant and the food is brought to you in the seating area. As such, you don’t need to worry so much about infection.

Puttstars drinks

Other bits and bobs

Puttstars is over 2 floors, although there is a lift between the 2.  Because of this, and the fact the flooring is flat, it is absolutely fine for prams.  However, there is little to entertain younger children, I wouldn’t recommend taking non-playing children, unless they are teeny tiny.  However, there is food/drink on both floors!

Parking is free and plentiful, but don’t drive looking for Puttstars. The main car park is next to Next, so aim for there and walk through to Puttstars. I made that mistake and wasted about 10 minutes!!

Pre-booking is advised as the attraction is new and numbers are limited to maintain social distancing. We had to give our details for Track and Trace, but I think we are all getting used to that.

Overall

We had a wonderful time and it is on Heidi’s list of places to come back to! I’m sure we will be back, probably with cash to spend on the arcades this time!!


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The Great Yorkshire Maze – attraction review

Located about 30 minutes away from Scarborough and Filey, on the A64, the Great Yorkshire Maze is perfectly located for people staying on the North Yorkshire Coast.  The location is also perfect if you are planning a stop-off on the way to coast from West Yorkshire, or the way home.

Great Yorkshire Maze splash image

Please note that it is open until 6th September 2020.

What about the mazes at The Great Yorkshire Maze?

There are 2 mazes – one massive one, and a child-friendly one where you can’t get lost!!  For the main maze, you get a helpful map and along the way, there are 11 questions which spell out a word.  The main maze took us about 40 minutes to complete but we never felt trapped or lost!

Great Yorkshire Maze big maze
The main Great Yorkshire Maze maze

The child-friendly maze is a simple path in the corn field, where there are numerous scarecrow characters.  Some are very cute and is one where the children can run in and you don’t worry about losing them.

Great Yorkshire Maze child friendly maze
Child themed scarecrows

What else is at The Great Yorkshire Maze?

Included in the entry price are 2 ride tokens per person. You can use these on a few rides, including dodgems, 1930’s Speedway, Hush Hush train ride, swingboats, and a chair-o-plane.

Our favourite was the dodgems as it was 1 token per car and as Heidi was under the 140cm limit, I had to go in the car with her. What a hardship!! As such, we went on 4 times and had a brilliant time! It was Heidi’s first time driving and I am sure it won’t be her last.

Dodgem fun!!

Also at The Great Yorkshire Maze is Professor Dan doing a traditional Punch and Judy show. Heidi enjoyed it so much, we watched it twice. The show is in a Big Top, where there are a few picnic tables. However, for the children to get the most out of it, let them sit at the front. There is lots of room, but give them a coat to sit on, as it is quite dusty at the front!

Professor Dan!

There are also a few “pay for” games, such as hook a duck, which cost £3 each. More importantly, you get a prize every time. Clearly this isn’t included in the entry price!

Other bits and bobs

The site is cashless, and as such, there isn’t a cash machine on site. The toilets are Portaloos which were very clean when we visited at 2pm, but clearly they aren’t the most spacious.

So long as the ground is dry, The Great Yorkshire Maze is suitable for prams and pushchairs, as it is very flat. However, if there has been rain, I can imagine it would get muddy quite quickly.

Finally, dogs are allowed in and they are free of charge!!

Our verdict

For us, we spent a wonderful 2 ½ hours at The Great Yorkshire Maze. The weather was good, which is important as it is an outdoor attraction. The fact that you get fairground rides included in the entry price is a big plus, and the dodgems were a big hit!!

We loved the dodgems!

Top Tip!

If you’re an NHS employee, take your ID badge and get 50% off!!


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National Space Centre

If you’re looking for an “out of this world” day out, check out the National Space Centre in Leicester! (Ok, that’s the only pun I’ll make!)

What is at the National Space Centre?

It’s safe to say that the National Space Centre is an educational attraction. As such, don’t expect high-thrill rides, but don’t expect to be bored either! We went when Heidi was still 5 and she understood a lot of the information. I think any younger would struggle, although the visuals would be extremely stimulating for them.

You can even play Guess Who!!

There are several sections to the National Space Centre, although there isn’t a specific route to take, so you’re free to take your own journey. The planetarium show is absolutely brilliant and well worth booking a showing (free) when you enter. Even if you don’t like the show, you’ll love the theatre!!

National Space Centre planetarium ceiling
The planetarium ceiling

The Tranquility Base is probably the most hands-on attraction at the National Space Centre. This is because you can do a number of activities that astronauts do in space, from operating a space rover to prioritising supplies on the space station. It can get a little busy here, so you might be best to leave this until lunchtime/afternoon.

National Space Centre space rover
Working a space rover

There is plenty of educational bits and pieces throughout the National Space Centre, as you can see. There are sections tailored to primary school children, but also some for grown-ups. As such, some might be too complicated for some children, so you might have to do some explaining!!

Heidi’s favourite bit was the chance to read the weather forecast.  Whilst it is for all people, you do need to be able to read quite well, so adult support might be needed! There is the chance to email a video of the forecast to yourself, which is a nice touch.

Reading the weather forecast

National Space Centre Staff

You’ll see National Space Centre staff dotted around the attraction with pop up exhibits. They are very approachable and brilliant with children, so try and get your child to engage with them!

National Space Centre staff
Talking about animals who have gone into space

Food

There are picnic tables to eat your own food, but if you’re anything like us, the picnic will have been eaten on the way to the National Space Centre!! They sell the standard cafe meals and the pricing wasn’t too bad at all. Make sure you sit towards the back of the seating area, near the rocket and have the chance to press the ignition button!!

National Space Centre food
Eating pasta from the cafe

Accessibility

The venue is pushchair/pram friendly, although I suspect that children of that age will be too young for the attraction.  One cool thing that they offer is ear defenders, which may help children with slight sensory difficulties. I wouldn’t say that they are needed generally, but Heidi took a likening to them!!

National Space Centre ear defenders
Rocking the National Space Centre ear defenders!

The venue is fully indoors which does help.

Tickets

As with a lot of attractions, the ticket lasts for 12 months, which makes it good value for money, even if you just go twice. Just make sure you look after your ticket (which I have lost!!)

Parking

There is plenty of parking on site, for which you can pay by coins or card. There is helpful member of staff who can provide assistance if needed.

Conclusion

The National Space Centre is a brilliant day out and decent value for money. We were there for about 5 hours and felt that we could have done a few things more than once. As such, it is a brilliant rainy day activity, given that it is all inside!!


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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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Bodnant Garden

A very rare child-free weekend landed in our laps and we took the trip to North Wales, in part to go to Bodnant Garden.  It is a National Trust property, and so if you are a member, it is free to go in!

Location

Bodnant Garden is about 5 miles south of Conwy and Llandudno on the North Wales coast. It takes about 2 hours from Leeds on a weekend and the drive is pretty easy all the way. The main area of interest along the way is the bilingual signs once in Wales, which can take a couple of miles to get used to!

Bodnant Garden is well signposted (in Welsh and English) once you get near Conwy so whilst it is off a country road, it is an easy find.  Perhaps the best part is that parking is completely free – a rare find nowadays!!

What is at Bodnant Garden?

Unsurprisingly, Bodnant Garden is a garden based attraction! However, it is more than just one little garden! You can easily spend half a day in the gardens, exploring the trees, flowers, waterfalls and so much more.

Top Tip! Make sure you get a free map when you enter.  As the gardens are so big, you can easily get lost!

As Bodnant Garden is set in the foothills of Snowdonia, the terrain is a little hilly. As a result, those with little legs might find certain bits difficult. Therefore, you might want to plan a nice steady route for them.

The paths are fully paved and completely pushchair friendly. As such, you don’t need walking boots to go round the garden. However, as there is water, children may find the urge to splash and get wet a little too strong. As such, take wellies and a change of clothes!!

Is Bodnant Garden child-friendly?

Unless you have a child really interested in nature, children aren’t going to appreciate Bodnant Garden as much as adults. However, if you want to get them some decent exercise, then it is a really good venue. There wasn’t anything child-specific when we went, but it is a perfect place to explore, play hide and seek and play “old fashioned” outdoor games.

Yes, there is plenty of water!!

There are a couple of locations throughout the garden which have toilets (which were very clean!). However, as they are spread apart, you might be best to plan a route so you’re not too far away from them.

Outside of the garden is a mini adventure playground, which is just big enough to allow them to play. However, they may be too tired after all the walking!!

Adventure Park
Bodnant Garden adventure park

Facilities

There are a couple of cafes within the garden, as well as at the entrance. Also at the entrance are a couple of shops which sell relatively unique items, which are tailored to the older visitor. But still some little bits for the children.

As you go into the reception area, you’ll notice a couple of umbrellas to use (free of charge). This was a nice touch, and given the climate of the area, if it looks like rain, it is likely to rain!!

What else is there to do??

As Bodnant Garden is unlikely to take all day, there is plenty to explore in the area. We spent a couple of hours in Conwy, and had a lovely afternoon tea at Anna’s Tea Room. This was bookended with a lovely walk round the marina and village.

Afternoon tea in Conwy
Afternoon Tea in Conwy

The other side of the River Conwy is Llandudno, which is probably more child friendly in its attractions. As such, there is enough to do either with or without the kids.

On the way back, we called into Chester to do a spot of shopping and to relax a bit. This broke up the journey home a little, although you’ll want to keep on going home if the children are asleep!!

Continue reading Bodnant Garden

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…

Anything Could Happen

Over the last couple of months, we have discovered another hidden gem of the amazing creative scene in Leeds – Anything Could Happen. Before Heidi came along, it’s safe to say that I wasn’t into creative arts, but after going to the Rainbow Factory for the past few years, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world!!

Anything Could Happen

What happens?

Well, anything (obviously!!)

On a serious note, there are two adult (I was going to say grown-up, but they have to be a bit childish!) performers on stage, loosely controlled by the fabulous stage director, Carla. They start off with an idea, and then get ideas from the children in the audience. The children then develop the story as it goes, with random ideas being thrown in from all the children.  After the story has reached a somewhat natural conclusion, which often resulted from mild chaos, the stage is reset and a new idea kicks off more carnage!!

As Anything Could Happen takes place in a real-life, intimate theatre, the children get experience of a professional environment and as they sit on the floor of the stage, they feel part of the action.

Every child is asked to input into the performance over the hour and a bit it is on, and whilst Heidi can feel a bit lost in the number of children and ideas, it does help her understand sharing (does that count as a swear word?!) and being patient.

There is very few opportunities for the children to be on stage themselves, so if you’re looking for a stage school this isn’t for you. However, think of it as giving your child the chance for a front row seat to a brilliant comedy show that they can help create.

However, if your child does go up on stage, get your cameras out, as it is a brilliant memory to have. In January, Heidi was “interviewed” on stage and pretended to explain why crocodiles were coming into houses through toilets. Yes, you did read that right! The best thing was that the atmosphere was so supportive that she was able to go out of her comfort zone and do it!

What age is appropriate?

This is a difficult one, but I wouldn’t expect a child younger than 5 would be able to concentrate for the whole show. It is quite fast paced, but so is the humour and so younger children might not get the jokes.

Also, as the children tend to sit at the front amongst themselves (but not every child does) younger children might feel a little overwhelmed by it all.

How do you prepare?

It might sound a really daft thing to say, but don’t wear too many clothes!! Anything Could Happen takes place in a real theatre, and as such, all the stage lights are on. This means that it does get warm quickly and whilst it never gets uncomfortable, you won’t need a thick jumper on!!

Apart from that, you can encourage your child to be creative in play, but generally, they will become immersed in the experience and develop as they take part.

What Do Adults do?

It sounds strange, but there is very little to do for the adults! You sit back in the audience and enjoy the show.  It is that simple!!!

I do think that the adults enjoy the show just as much as the children, and because the humour is so quick and well put together, there is a layer of comedy that is just for adults!

What about First Timers?

This is a note of caution. Regardless of how confident or old your child is, they are likely to be unsure about Anything Could Happen during the first visit. This is because it is quite intense on their sensors – lights, visual and oral comedy, a different environment etc. My advice would be to go with how they feel and perhaps take some sweets with you to relax them.

However, after the first visit, you’ll have made up your mind whether it is right for your child and so don’t let their first impression put you off coming back. Heidi was restless during her first visit, but I knew she would enjoy it, and on the morning of the second show, she woke up with a huge smile, realising that it was Anything Could Happen Day!!

Heidi being interviewed on stage about crocodiles

Overall

Finding Anything Could Happen has been amazing and has sparked Heidi’s creativity at home even more. However, with these kinds of activities, it is the people running it that make it so special. Without their creativity, passion and a little bit of silliness, the children would not benefit and enjoy the shows. I really hope that Heidi will enjoy the shows for a long time, as I know she will learn so much from them!

Continue reading Anything Could Happen

Forgotten Forest

So, on a Heidi-free weekend (sob, sob) we took Oscar (aged 2) to the Forgotten Forest for the first time. As it was the middle of January, we wrapped up warm and went to the forest school to learn all about the story of Zog, and generally have an outdoorsy couple of hours!

Forgotten Forest

What Happens at the Forgotten Forest?

Once everyone makes their way to the Forgotten Forest from the roadside, there is a group “hello” activity and then the story begins. The story is read and after every page or so, there is a little activity in a different part of the woods. For example, the children might have to find chocolate coins, or roar like a dragon.  This breaks up the story nicely for the little ones and keeps them moving and engaged.

After the story, there are numerous activities set up, including painting, a mud kitchen, crafts and a tightrope. Also, the children have the chance to toast a marshmallow over a fire, which is very closely supervised!! Adults and children are provided with some hot chocolate (vegan!) and finally, there are some games at the end. All in all, it lasts about an hour and a half, but you can leave whenever you want.

Painting activity

How do I prepare for the Forgotten Forest?

Obviously depending on the time of year, wrap up warm!! The children didn’t seem to mind the cold so much, but the adults were struggling a little!! Definitely prepare with additional pairs of socks and good footwear, as well as gloves, hats etc.

Zog breathing fire!!

Also, as the Forgotten Forest is an outdoor event in the middle of the woods, it might be an idea not to wear the nicest clothes as they are only going to get muddy and wet! With this in mind, a towel and additional wet wipes would be really good to take along.

What is at the Forgotten Forest?

Not much, but then, that’s the point! There is a parachute tent to provide cover, a camping toilet, as well as the activities. You’re out in the forest and as such, the facilities are basic. However, the Forgotten Forest team have all the safety kit, bins etc that you need, so you’re looked after even though you’re in the forest!

Camping toilet!!!

Is it right for everyone?

No! I know for sure that Heidi would not like it! If your child loves the outdoors and doesn’t mind the mud, then the Forgotten Forest is for them. However, if your child is the more indoorsy type of person, then this won’t be for them as they will start complaining as soon as you get there!!

Toasting marshmallows

To get the most out of the Forgotten Forest, your child needs to be a confident walker, and so I would say from age 2 to about 7 would be appropriate.

Overall

We did have a lovely morning at the Forgotten Forest, even if I took some time to warm up afterwards! It won’t be for everyone, but if you have a child that likes to get dirty and be outdoors, then this is something that you should look at doing!

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Leeds Golf Centre

I was invited to Leeds Golf Centre in North Leeds to check out their facilities, especially their signature course, Wike Ridge. This was one time when I was “Matthew” and not “dad” and as weird as it sounds, it was a nice change. Anyway, less about me and more about Leeds Golf Centre!

Wike Ridge

The signature course is a fully-fledged championship standard course, ranging from 5472 yards to 6535 yards, depending on tee choice. As a result, it isn’t for complete novices!!

The course is of very high quality, with smooth quick greens and well presented fairways. As you can see, the bunkers are of decent condition (including rake!) which makes you feel as though you’re a professional!

This certainly isn’t a “standard” course with the water hazards and amazing views over North Leeds and the views and walk was almost as good as the course itself!

My personal favourite hole was the 9th. Mainly because it was the hole I got a par on!! Although it is a par 4, you can almost drive the green. I landed the tee shot into the greenside bunker before getting out and two-putting. I felt like I won a title!

What a view!

This was the first time I had played since being a dad (5+ years!) and so the length of the course does take it out of you. As a result, don’t be afraid to call it a day early before it stops being fun!!

One note is that it can be difficult to find the next tee, but the best way is to follow the gravel track following the fairway round. However, after the 1st green, you need to double back on you to the right to get to the 2nd tee!

The facilities

When you enter the Leeds Golf Centre complex, there is a decent sized free car park, and you walk round the back to check-in at the golf shop. Here you can rent a set of clubs, trolley or even a buggy (maybe next time!).

You can buy golf balls and tees too!

Within the clubhouse are changing rooms, a restaurant serving snacks, drinks and meals, as well as toilets. Yes, I am that person who takes pictures of the toilets!

There is also a cafe and toilet at the end of the 9th hole of the Wike Ridge course. Please note that this is the only toilet on the course.

The dress code

This is one thing that can cause issues, especially for newbies to golf courses. There is a specific page on the Leeds Golf Centre website about the dress code and the fact that they are relaxed about things. This is such a good thing! For the Wike Ridge course, they only ask that you don’t wear jeans or tracksuit bottoms, as well as a polo collared shirt.

For the rest of the facilities, there is no dress code at all. Result!

The other activities

As well as the Wike Ridge course, there are other facilities at Leeds Golf Centre to entertain. If a full course isn’t for you and/or you want to bring your child along, the 12 hole, par 3 “The Oaks” course would be ideal for you. There is also the increasingly popular Footgolf, where there are 6 specially designed holes from 39 to 90 yards long. This would be ideal to bring a teenage son who had little interest in golf!

All in all, Leeds Golf Centre has loads on offer, even if you’re not a proficient golfer. The course was busy on a Sunday morning, so make sure you pre-book online. If you’re a solo player, it can be slow at times, but the other players were very good in allowing me to play through.

Will I be back? Absolutely! I had forgotten how good the game was and I felt like my own person as opposed to being “dad” for a few hours. I just need to find my golf balls in all the trees!!

Full disclosure: I received a free round for the purposes of this blog post. This was provided by www.onlinegolf.co.uk who also send me some merchandise, including some golf balls. They had no editing influence on this post.

Look at my balls!

From onlinegolf.co.uk

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