The sun has firmly got his hat on and doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere for a while. So here at Harrogate Mumbler we’ve put together a little review of some fun days out in and around Harrogate, which all incorporate one of my favourite things – ice cream!
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!
My first day out took me literally five minutes down the road. It’s already proving a stable for me and my daughter – the paddling pool at Valley Gardens. We’ve been down there five days on the trot now. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to someone it’s like being abroad – but it really is! Take a couple of water toys with you – watering cans and balls seem to be really popular. Soak up some rays whilst your little ones go absolutely bonkers in the water (if they’re anything like my daughter!). It obviously gets busier after school – but I’m yet to see it ridiculously full. We can happily spend a couple of hours here – going between the paddling pool and the play area. Now on to the important stuff – ice cream! If you’re heading down to Valley Gardens then check out 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 like this 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 – very reasonably priced at £5 for adults and £3 for children. 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 next 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. They have something going on all year round and I’ve already been advised this is the place to go for pumpkin picking in October. This time of year there’s PYO strawberries, as well as the usual farm related activities going on. There is also plenty of play areas – including the Maize Maze set to open at the end of July. Spend a couple of hours on the farm then head to the Jersey Barn Café and Ice Cream Parlour for some – you guessed it – ice cream. We went for mint choc chip and strawberry flavours. Demolished
in seconds! They must rear some seriously happy cows on this farm to produce such tasty ice cream!
My final recommendation is slightly different. We went here specifically to go to the ice cream parlour, but easily managed to make a day out of it with all the great attractions near by. Even the 30-minute detour via Ilkley didn’t put us off (the A59 is currently closed in this area). Yep you’ve guessed it – 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 and demonstrations throughout the day, along with brilliant play areas – both indoor and outdoors. There’s also Bolton Abbey near by. But in all honestly, we could have happily spent all day at Billy Bob’s!!
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!