I try and plan our summer holidays trips in advance. This way we avoid the tantrums and questions. Most of them are cheap or free too which is a bonus.
There are things we have booked in for specific dates but mostly I just have a list of ideas that the kids can choose from.
Let’s start with Festa Italiana. You may remember, at the beginning of June, Aria was invited to be part of the small group press event to promote Carmella’s Kitchen and the Bambini Garden at Festa Italiana. The Italian food festival runs from Friday 26th till Sunday 28th July and promises to be an epic day out with plenty to keep the kids occupied. It’ll all take place in Manchester’s lovely Cathedral Gardens. If you’re planning on making a full day of it, parking is great near the arena, which isn’t that far a walk from the gardens. You can find the parking on Parkonomy for Boddingtons Gt Ducie Street.
12th August welcomes the Amazing Animals back to Temple Newsam. I’m waiting on more information on this event, I shall update on it as soon as possible but from what I remember from last year, there will be exotic animals and birds of prey around the farm to meet.
Then later in the month we have a family camping holiday at Eweleaze Farm in Dorset. I can’t wait to see the famous Durdle Door, but I’m going to have to think of other things to do for the rest of our time there… if anyone has any ideas, do let me know.
There are 2 events in Leeds that deserve a special mention.
1 – Leeds Pride on 4th August. There’s always a warm and welcoming vibe with plenty of things to do dotted around the centre including things for the kids. Breeze will be supporting the takeover of Leeds Bridge to provide a family area complete with soft play, craft stations and giant games. The family area will be alongside the market and funfair. Pride isn’t about getting pissed up, be respectful of the LGBTQ+ community while you’re there, it is their space.
2 – Leeds’ West Indian Carnival on 26th August. I’m not even sure where to begin with this one. Last year was our first peek at Carnival and we were blown away… this year we intend to make the most of it, especially as Aria knows Faye of Boomchikkaboom fame will be there in Team Creative’s troupe. There’s no escaping it now. What you must remember before anything else is that Carnival is more than just a party, it is a celebration of the emancipation of slavery So again, be respectful of the community and their space. Enjoy food from the Caribbean, on stage entertainment and a family friendly atmosphere with plenty to do.
Don’t forget to check out the beaches and see what Boomchikkaboom are up to over the holidays.
Now, you already know we love Knowsley Safari park but what else have we been eyeing up?
Well, the kids have become rather fond of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. The largest and most intact Cistercian Abbey ruins in Europe form just one part of the estate. There’s also Fountains Hall from the Elizbethan era, a medievil church and deer park as well as a mill and the Georgian Water Gardens. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is always a full day out and not only is the estate child friendly but it is dog friendly too. It is well worth investing in a National Trust family membership if you plan to visit, it can save you a tidy sum in just one visit.
Other places we like to visit when the whether is nice are Lotherton Hall, who boast a large estate with adventure playground and aviary featuring a white peacock and Roundhay Park including Tropical World with it’s butterflies, carp and reptiles. We also hope to go back up to Druids’ Temple and Brimham Rocks; where we will hopefully meet the gorgeous Abbie (@Badmamsclub). Both Druids’ Temple and Brimham Rocks offer incredible scenery, peaceful walks and enough space for children to run around, plus dogs are welcome at both.
Harewood House, along with Harewood Castle ruins are high on my summer holidays wish list and an absolute must, is The Deep in Hull, who have recently welcomed 2 penguin chicks to the penguin habitat. Bred in house, both chicks are thriving and the kids are super excited to go see them. I recommend going mid week if you can because the weekends are often jammed!
We had planned on heading up Middleton Equestrian Centre; it’s only up the road and their riding sessions are some of the most affordable around… However, we’ll actually stop off at Draytonbrook Fields Livery on the way down to Weymouth so we’ll give Middleton a miss this summer.
There’s still so much in Yorkshire the kids have no idea about yet. Here’s some of the outdoorsy* ideas from what’s left on my days out list for the kids to pick from; hopefully there’s some there you want to check out too.
- Hackfall. A stunning man made woodland, designed by John Aislabie, who also created landscapes near Fountains Abbey. At Hackfall you’ll find follies, grottos and recently restored fountain. Thanks to generous conservation efforts Hackfall is still around and free to visit. Please note, you do not want to go here with a wheelchair or a pram.
- Treetop Nets. Fun for all ages! Bounce, run and crawl up in the canopy above the ground. There are a few age restrictions for the more advanced parts of the playground and the harnesses aren’t suitable for pregnant women. I’d book online in advance to avoid it being too full when you arrive. Adults and children over 5 are £20, with children 4 and under being £13.
- Cannon Hall Farm promises to be a full day out and by the looks of their website, they’re not lying. With its indoor soft play barn and cafe area, tractor rides and milking demos as well as all the animals to see there’s enough to keep you occupied. Not gonna lie, I’m very intrigued by the sheep races. They also have an unlimited summer pass offer at the moment allowing you unlimited admissions all summer for just £19.95 per person.
- Horsforth Pick Your Own is actually going to have to wait till next summer I reckon; my kids are weird and don’t like berries. There’s something wrong with them but if your offspring like berries Horsforth PYO is well worth checking out.
- The Forbidden Corner is a labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises in the heart of Tupgill Park and the Yorkshire Dales. I loved going here as a child and I can’t wait to see these twi exploring the grounds. It’s not as expensive as you think either, at £13 per adult and £11 per child with under 4s going free. Admission is pre-booked only.
- Bolton Abbey is only £10 per car, yes you read that right, per car. So whether you own a 5 or 7 seater you pay the same price. Everyone loves a cheap day out right? Take a picnic and enjoy the view. The stepping stones are a must and don’t forget your camera.
- Hardwick Hall is another reason to get yourself a National Trust membership. Now the reason I like Hardwick is that it was built by a woman, which is incredibly rare for a building of its era. Explore the house, its gardens and the park. Parking costs £5 and I’m not sure if that includes NT members or if they park for free.
- Stockeld Park is a seasonal attraction so you’ll only get access during the school holidays and book online. The summer adventure is on now till 2nd September, 10am-6pm. Included in your entry fee is access to all the adventure zones except the bumper boats which are an additional £6 each. I have it under good authority that all the food on site is handmade from local resources too. Parking is free, under 2s are free and everyone else is just £15.50 per person. Not bad for everything included, similar days out woul have you looking at around £25 per person.
- Mother Shipton’s Cave claims to be England’s oldest tourist attraction. Historically home to the famed prophetess Mother Shipton and The Petrifying Well in the woodland along the River Nidd. OVer the summer holidays they have a witches and wizards event on, which would appear to be some sort of Harry Potter themed event. For discounted entry you’re best off booking online. Under 3s are free, 3-15 year olds are £7 and adults are £9. Parking is £2.
- RHS Garden Harlow Carr is simply stunning from what I’ve seen of it. The gardens are expansive and you could easily spend a full day exploring. If you don’t fancy a picnic, you can get a bite a Betty’s Tea House in the gardens. Pricing wise it’s ok, under 5s go free but you can save 10% online unless you book on the day. Online you’ll pay £5.31 5-15 year olds and £10.62 for adults.
- Manor Heath Park and Jungle Experience is probably one of the cheapest days out in Yorkshire. The grounds are free and admission to The Jungle Experience is only £1. I’ve heard good things about this place and fully intend to check it out if we have time in the summer holidays. There are places on site for refreshments and to enjoy a picnic. Dogs are welcome in the grounds but not the Jungle Experience to the adventure playground.
- Ingleton Waterfall Trail is a well-defined footpath which runs as close to the edge of the two rivers as possible to provide spectacular views of the waterfalls. The path includes a large number of steps which means that it is unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Parking is free for ticket holders and tickets aren’t that much either. Adults are £7 and under 16 are £3. During the holidays the trails are open from 9am with last admission at 7pm. On average the walk takes around 2.5hrs but if you’re taking little legs and hope to get some decent photos, I’d advise giving yourselves an hour or two extra.
I think I’ll leave it there. 12 potential days out is enough I reckon. So if you’re in, around or visiting the area, do check them out. I’ll be doing individual posts on each one we manage to do for anyone that wants more information about them.
*We’re keeping the indoor ideas for when the weather gets colder later in the year.