We love a day out – and no day out is complete without an ice cream right? It’s a tough job, but all in the name of research, I’ve been in search of the best ice cream-based day out in the area. A little niche I know, but there is some seriously good ice cream making going on around here!
On to the important stuff – ice cream!
If you’re heading down to Valley Gardens then check out our first recommendation:
Vanilli’s on Cold Bath Road.
These guys have some seriously good ice creams, and milkshakes. I can highly recommend the salted caramel, mint chip, lemon cheesecake and honeycomb flavour. By the rate I’m going and if the weather stays sunny I’ll be able to get through the whole menu by the end of next week!
Next on our list is Ripley Castle.
Only a short drive from Harrogate, Ripley is gorgeous! We just went for the Gardens and Parkland admission. We took a walk round the castle’s beautiful lake into the deer park. There is also a gorgeous walled garden and walled kitchen garden to have a good walk round. I love places like this – somewhere I can let my toddler run around and I know she can’t go too far. There’s also a few children’s play area – we had to literally drag my little girl away from the big multi-coloured wind chime! You could easily get lost in this place for hours – we did! And all that walking certainly builds up an appetite. So this calls for one thing only – the world famous Ripley Ice cream! It’s located a short walk from the castle entrance. According to my eight-year-old nephew – the bubble gum flavour is the best ice cream in the world – EVER! I’m all over the deliciously creamy vanilla flavour! You can also get your fill of Ripley ice cream at the café in Valley Gardens.
Our third ice cream-based day out took us to Birchfield Ice Cream Farm.
This place is just brilliant – and a big hit with you guys, as it’s always getting a mention on in the Facebook chat group. The farm is currently closed – although they are due ti re-open on Saturday 25th July. For the time being though they are still serving their delicious ice cream and their play park is open. The Elderflower ripple is a favourite at Mumbler HQ! They must rear some seriously happy cows on this farm to produce such tasty ice cream!
Billy Bob’s Ice Cream Parlour!
I’d heard so much about this place – and WOW – it did not disappoint! I felt like I’d walked on to the set of Back to the Future. We got ourselves a seat in the outdoor area – in the swinging wagons! Our daughter LOVED the outdoor play area. There are also indoor barns that the children can play in for a small fee – as it was such a lovely day we didn’t go in – but I’m sure we’ll be back later on in the year to check them out! We went all in on the ice cream – coke floats, strawberry milkshakes followed by a serving of rocky road and key lime pie flavoured ice cream. All ridiculously good. We went to Hesketh Farm beforehand, which is only a few minutes’ drive away and I would highly recommend it. Animal feedings throughout the day, along with brilliant play areas – the indoor ones are currently closed. There’s also Bolton Abbey near by. But in all honestly, we could have happily spent all day at Billy Bob’s!
*Updated July 2020: Billy Bob’s is now back open – however due to government guidelines the indoor play areas are currently shut. There are plenty of outdoor play areas, you must book a slot, and only for use if dining there too.
Stump Cross Caverns
Stump Cross Caverns are now open. Its a great day out for all the family – and with so much space up there its so easy to socially distance. Whilst they were closed, they operated the now infamous – Stumpy Van – serving the most wonderful ice cream sundaes I’ve ever seen! The van and cafe are open throughout the summer serving delicious Brymore ice cream.
Mrs Smith’s Cafe
New for summer 2020, Mrs Smith’s have installed a new icecream freezer stocked full of creamy gelato made right here in Harrogate at local favourite restaurant and cafe, Brio’s. There is a full menu of sundaes, shakes and freakshakes all available to eat in or take away as well as slush, cones and cups with a whole host of toppings and sauces! There’s even fresh churros and dairy free and vegan options too!
Its all part of their new summer plans to help the cafe adapt and ease out of lockdown. The icecream menu and a new food menu for preorders including their usual favourites plus burgers, parmos and tapas can be enjoyed inside or out in their garden area which has boxes of construction toys allocated to each outdoor table and sanitized between customers.
Table bookings and preorders can be made online at www.mrsmithsharrogate.co.uk or the full icecream menu is available for walk ins too.
This weekend we paid a visit to the fabulous Castle Creamery in Knaresborough. A must visit when you’re in the area! They have over 50 different flavours – from various ice cream dairies! The menu can change but when we went they had some fab flavours: white choc chunk, bakewell tart, tutti fruiti and blueberry crumble to name just a few. The choice at this place is unreal, with over five different types of cones, 50 flavours, endless different free toppings and too many sauces to count! Little one went for the rainbow cone (obviously), strawberry ice cream covered in smarties! Hubby went for one of their legendary milk shakes – cookie dough! They were soooo good! Grab yourself an ice cream, walk through the Castle down to the river and enjoy a fab day out. Then, if you’re heading back into town from the river treat yourself to another ice cream after that walk!
So there you have it – the ice cream-based day out bar has been set pretty high. But as always we’d love to hear your recommendations – I’ll happily do more ice cream eating, sorry – I mean research!
I was a bit dubious when Revolution De Cuba invited us for a family lunch as I’d always associated the place with boozy cocktails and dancing into the early hours. But how wrong was I – it turns out in the daytime it’s a really family friendly restaurant! Baby changing facilities, room for buggies and a great children’s menu – Revolution De Cuba has it all!
The first big tick is how accessible the place is! We arrived, with a pretty big buggy and a sleeping toddler and we didn’t have a single step to deal with! The place is so spacious we had no problem in manoeuvring the buggy about. There was plenty of space around the table for our buggy, a high chair and the million shopping bags we had with us. I noticed there were a few other families with buggies dining, and all had plenty of space. It was a bank holiday weekend lunchtime too – so the place was pretty packed. Its nice to go to a restaurant where they haven’t tried to fit in as many tables as possible. The extra space certainly made us feel more relaxed – even when our toddler decided to make an escape from the high chair we didn’t feel like she was disturbing any of the other diners.
We were seated at our table, given the adult and children’s menu along with an activity pack – including crayons and bubbles to keep our daughter amused. You also get a small cup of nachos to keep you going whilst you peruse the menu. Service was excellent – our waiter was Sam and he was fab – talking us through the menu and giving his recommendations. We opted for 3 tapas dishes for us adults to share as a starter – my favourite being the chorizo croquettes! My husband went for the Cuban Cheeseburger and I went for the Sunshine Salad for mains. All got the thumbs up from us! The children’s menu was £5.95 for a main, dessert and a drink. We chose the homemade chicken goujons with sweet potato fries and salad for my daughter. The portion sizes for both adult and children were just right. I also LOVED the fact they had children’s cutlery. More often then not when we dine out we usually have to deal with my 2-year-old wielding cutlery bigger than her!
Her drink – a choice of fizzy drinks or juices – came in a plastic pineapple – she loved it, and so did we. It was knocked over a few times and there were no spillages! Desserts were ice cream for the little one and chocolate cake and Churros for Mum and Dad. Wowzer – those Churros were gorgeous – and a really generous portion!
All in all, we had a fab time here, the staff were great and the food delicious – a great family friendly restaurant we’ll be sure to frequent again! Check out their Facebook page for special offers – they usually run promotions over school holidays – kids eat free etc. On last Thursday of every month they also host Boomchikkboom parties – basically parties (discos, bubbles, messy play etc.) for babies and toddler. Turns out partying at Revolution De Cuba isn’t just for the adults!
Reviewed August 2018
Disclosure: Mumbler was lucky enough to receive this lunch for free however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account of our meal. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!)
MUMbler were invited to try out the George Carvery so I decided to give it a go on Sunday 12th March with my hubby and little boy. I had always driven past and wondered what it was like! I had also seen lots of people recommending it on Facebook so there was no reason not to try it out.
We pulled up and the car park was busy but there were plenty of spaces so it was lovely and easy to park. On arrival, it was busy inside but it’s actually a lot bigger than I thought so there was space available for us to sit down straight away. Having never been before we sat down and checked out the carvery price card which also explained that we needed to go through to the bar to purchase our carvery tickets and drinks. The staff were very friendly and helpful, and also explained the process to us. Highchairs were available and they also provided my little boy with colouring pencils and a Peppa Pig colouring sheet to keep him entertained.
Getting the tickets was quick and easy and as we had our 19 month old little boy with us we decided to get his first as he can get a bit fidgety in his highchair if he doesn’t have food to distract him!
I joined the queue and let him point to what he wanted. The selection of food was great – there were 3 meats on offer: Turkey, Gammon and Beef. We opted for turkey for the little one and of course a large homemade Yorkshire pudding plus all the trimmings. Gravy was available to add as much or as little to our plates as we wanted (which is great because we are a gravy loving family!)
Finlay loved his and ate more than I thought he would, particularly as he has been a bit fussy with food recently. His favourite thing by far was the Yorkshire pudding!
We got our own plates and (in the interests of the review of course!) I had a bit of each meat. My hubby had the gammon and turkey. All in all, we were really impressed with the quality of the food. Sometimes carveries get a bad reputation as the food can get cold but it was lovely and warm and the meat was really tender. The sides were good too, offering peas and green beans, broccoli and honey roasted carrots and parsnips, stuffing, as well as mash and roasties of course!
There were plenty of sauces available for the side too, such as cranberry and apple, mustard etc.
One thing I noticed which is really helpful is that they have plastic cutlery available for the children. We had brought some in anticipation but hadn’t managed to pick up a fork from home, so it was great to find some there for us already.
Once we had finished our meal (there was no room for dessert unfortunately even though they sounded lovely!), we headed outside to the beer garden. This was great for Finlay as he could run around and there was a small play area with a slide which he loved! An added bonus was the kitchen washed up Finlay’s plate and cutlery we had brought with us.
There are baby changing facilities and when the weather isn’t so lovely, an air hockey table and table football in the bar area to keep the older kids amused.
We went at the peak of Sunday lunchtime and it was really busy. The carvery queue got quite long atone point but was dealt with quickly and did die down. We were sat quite near to the queue which was a bit inconvenient when there was a long queue so I would advise sitting in the main part of the restaurant or by the front entrance. The staff were all friendly and fresh food was coming out the kitchen regularly so there was always plenty available.
Overall, it is a great place for families as there is no waiting (Finlay is not very patient so long waits for food are a big no no for us!), you can have as much or as little as you want (as long as it will fit on the plate!), and the facilities for children are great.
Carveries at the George are available all week and the best part is kids (under 12) eat free with a paying adult from Monday to Saturday! Adults are £9.95 Mon-Sat and £10.95 on Sundays and kids are usually £5.95 so it’s a nice saving if you go during the week or on a Saturday.
Disclosure: The George did provide us with a free lunch for the purposes of this review. The opinion I’ve expressed here is my own.