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!