Visit our brand new fitness Park in Nether Poppleton opposite Manor CE Academy on Millfield Lane, YO26 6QY, just a 40 minute drive from the centre of Harrogate.
We’ve got a visitor from Wiltshire at Harrogate Mumbler this week, my gorgeous niece Elsie (Aged 9) has come to stay. We have been out an about having fun in Yorkshire and Elsie wanted to share her own review of Eureka Museum in Halifax with you. Elsie has created “Funbler” which are her own reviews of fun places to visit for kids. Here is her very first Funbler review…
Welcome to our funbler review of Eureka in Halifax. Eureka is a science museum that is way more fun than just looking at things. First let’s start outside…Outside there is a big sand pit that is on the grass and games to play with and musical instruments. There are lots of places to sit and you can even explore a train. You can bring a picnic if you want. (There are picnic tables inside & outside)
As you walk into Eureka you can see the cafe. The cafe is big with a lovely menu you can have a kids lunch box, a hot meal or just a cake and tea. As you go back to the main building you walk to the science area were you can learn about sound and control lights and sometimes they do shows that are very interesting. Unfortunately Aunty Sally forgot to book us into a show this time so we missed it.
As you leave that area on the ground floor you will find a little phone box that you can pretend to call the emergency service and tell them what the emergency is.
Then you move on and you come to the bank. At the bank you can stamp paper like you are a real bank receptionist then if you walk to the back you find a room full of gold ( not real ) that has lots of safes in it. You have to figure out the code to the safes by answering questions. Each safe has film characters things in them.
Next you will find a dark room that is full of light that can see you and sensors that you can put your hands on. Further along on the ground floor you come to mini Marks & Spencers shop where there are tills, little shopping carts, baskets and plastic food that you can play with. Behind M & S you will find the house that is just like a mini two story house. It has a kitchen and a lounge and a washing room.
In the middle of all that is a musical fountain where you can throw a penny in & make a wish and the bath where the Eureka man takes a dip every half hour.
Upstairs, on the top floor there is a body room where you can learn sign language and see what you will look like when you are old and very old and test all of your stretching and you can talk to a robot called zoom. You can see your body through a heat camera and test your reflexes. Along the corridor there is another dark room but this one is more arty. You can ride a bike to spin a wheel that makes pictures on a screen. Then there is a machine that makes designs on its own.
At the end of the corridor there is a desert area for ages 5 and under. Inside there is a reading area and a ball machine that takes the ball up and then they falls down. Behind the desert area you come to a room that has the princess and the pea bed but you can’t go on it . There are building blocks that you can build things withand a rhino that you write your bad dreams on and feed them to it (which makes them go away)
If you walk through the curtain it gets dark and then it feels like you’re in space! The room is covered in mirrors that make feel that you are high up in space. When you come out the other side you can see lots of old toys and a dress-up area that you can dress up in then there is a balcony where there are binoculars and a spinner that controls a big fan.
Back inside you go into a different room full of rubber ducks and water play. There is a bath, a toilet and a sink (but you can’t use them!) You can see what it looks like inside when a toilet flushes and how a bath with jets works. There is a bubble machine that makes huge bubbles and there is a water table with floating rubber ducks.
If you want to get something to remember your day at Eureka then go downstairs, back to through cafe and there is a little gift shop which has toys, cool stones, note books, pens and pencils. Then you can go back home after a fun day out. Eureka opens at 10:00 am to 5:00 pm during the school holidays. It is amazing.
By Elsie, Aged 9.
Eureka! The National Children’s Museum Discovery Road, Halifax HX1 2NE
You buy your tickets once then you can return as many times as you like within a year for free.
August 2019 ticket prices: Adults £13.95, 3-15 years £13.95, 1-2 years £5.95 Under 1 years FREE
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of finally going on the Free Harrogate Walking Tour. I’ve been meaning to do this since I first saw Harry and his big blue sign wandering around Harrogate for the last year or so. It was a cold, wet Wednesday Morning – but that didn’t seem to put anyone off – there were around 20 other people on the tour. Come armed with waterproofs, brollies, some decent footwear and maybe even some sunscreen (we can dream can’t we!) – come rain or shine the tours take place!
The tours take place Wednesday to Sunday , plus bank holidays four times a day, he even does tours on Christmas Day! The tours last about 1 hour 20 minutes, setting off from opposite Bettys Tea Rooms at 10.30, 12.00, 13.30 and 15.00. It’s worth noting that Harry will be taking a well deserved break from 14th – 25th October 2019.
If you’ve got really little ones – and by that I mean ones that will stay in their pram – then I’d definitely recommend. The tour is fully accessible for wheelchairs and baby carriages. If you’ve got older children I think they’d really love it too. Harry is so engaging he’d have your children mesmerised in no time! My 10 year old nephew has been on the tour, and he loved it! What i’d say it isn’t suitable for are toddlers. My daughter has just turned three, and we’re at that tricky stage where she won’t get in the buggy but at the same time couldn’t last on her little feet for the full tour. And as engaging as he is, I think even Harry would find it tough to keep her interest for that long. Even Peppa Pig can’t do that! Well behaved dogs can also join the tour!
We kicked off the tour promptly at 10.30am. If you’re a bit late, it’s not difficult to spot him to catch up! As I said, there were probably about 20 people on our tour – some local, but mainly tourists – coming from as far as Australia. What I loved about Harry is the amount of interest he showed in his audience, and I’m not sure how he did it but he remembers everyone’s name!
The tour starts off opposite Betty’s where we hear about the history of Harrogate, including William Sligsby and The Stray. Did you know Harrogate was built on a two million year old volcano?! From there, we walk down Montpellier Hill, taking in lots of snippets of information on the way. Its then a quick walk round to the Pump Rooms – where you can even sample the sulphur water – if you dare!
After the pump rooms, we walked around to the front of the Turkish Baths and Royal Hall – where Harry regaled us with more brilliant tales and interesting facts. I don’t think I’ve met someone who loves what they do as much as this man – he loves Harrogate too and it totally comes across in his tours.
From there we walked up to the Old Swan hotel, where he shared some real tear jerker stories from the war time. There’s also lots of humour though so don’t worry. In fact, the favourite thing I learnt from the tour was it was the Old Swan Hotel that Agatha Christie was found at when she went missing!
Then it’s a quick tour round Valley Gardens then off to the Winter Gardens. You walk through the Winter Gardens, which has to be the most beautiful Wetherspoons I’ve ever been to! If you do have a buggy – there are a few steps here, but there’s always someone to lend a hand!
The tour finishes at Bettys – and without even knowing it you’ve done a full loop without realising you’ve climbed that dastardly hill! The tour is great and we’d highly recommend it. In fact, Harry mentioned to us that the tour is now getting so popular with families that he’s going to start dedicating one tour a week especially for them – think more Horrible History style facts and less dates! This will probably be introduced around Christmas time.
I came away from the tour thinking how lucky I was to live here, and from what I can gather its always been a fabulous place to live! As Charles Dickens once said “Harrogate is the queerest place with the strangest people in it, leading the oddest lives of dancing, newspaper reading and dining.”
As well as the scheduled tours, Harry also does bespoke and group tours. For more information click here. The Free Walking Tour of Harrogate gets a big thumbs up from us all at Harrogate Mumbler!
This year I got the responsibility of organising our Christmas Day out for Harrogate Mumbler. Nerve wracking stuff, but theres something I’d been wanting to do since I’d moved up here and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! So when Steve invited us to ClueHQ Harrogate to review their live escape games we jumped at the chance! I’d done a couple of these games before, but the rest of the team (there were five of us in total) were all novices. Its really hard to try and to explain what to expect, and to be honest thats part of the fun – not really knowing what’s about to happen! But what I will tell you is its absolutely brilliant and you will LOVE it!
The games are for groups of 2 to up to 6 people, you’re locked inside a room and given 60 minutes to work as a team, searching for clues and solving puzzles in order to escape the game in time. Steve told us the optimal size for a group is probably 4-5 people, any less and its almost impossible for 2/3 people to complete in the time and anymore and things tend to get a bit lost! The games are suitable for those aged 10 and above, but if you’re under 16 there must be an adult (18 years plus) participating in the game. I think it’s a brilliant way for parents with older children to spend some quality, fun time together. My husband’s been itching to go to one of these for ages – so he’s taking his older nieces and nephews for Christmas. In fact, if you haven’t sorted your Christmas party yet – then get in touch with Steve and get down to ClueHQ Harrogate. To give you a good chance of getting out, I’d advise doing what we did – and starting on the booze afterwards!
ClueHQ Harrogate is based in the centre of town on Prospect Crescent ( just behind Lakeland). You’re advised to arrive about 5 minutes before hand. Be warned there are quite a few sets of stairs to climb! Steve the Director of ClueHQ Harrogate was there to welcome us, and more importantly take our team photo! Team Mumbler just incase you were wondering! You’re then shown a short video on what to (kind of) expect in the rooms and the rules you need to follow. By this point we were all completely terrified! It didn’t help we were told we’d chosen the hardest game to play!
There are three games at Clue HQ Harrogate to choose from at the moment. The Betrayal of Cluetankhamun, Cell Block C, and CSI: The Panic Room. We chose CSI: The Panic Room, usually chosen by professional escape game players (yes – there is such a thing!) or at least people who had played an escape game before! So you can understand why we were all pretty nervous! Off we went to the room, with a pit stop at the toilet for everyone (I blame the nerves) first! Next to the room was the leaderboard for that room. Steve went through a few groups on the boards; a group of professional players topped the boards, with amongst others – a group of Accountants, and a group of University Lecturers! At this point I was massively regretting my decision, but it was too late now.
Steve opened the door and let us in – it felt just like being on the Crystal Maze! The adrenalin was pumping and in we went. I would love to have seen a video of what happened yet. Basically a bunch of middle aged women running round like headless chickens not having a clue what was going on – which now i think about it is pretty normal behaviour for a group of Mums! Now obviously, we can give away what happened – where’s the fun in that? But lets just say the next 41 minutes and six seconds were SO MUCH FUN! Really high paced, high energy but above anything else just really really brilliant! You have 60 minutes to escape – so we SMASHED it! Going into the leader board at Number 5!!!! Beating the University Lecturers.
After we’d finished it was time for another (victory!) photo and to have our names put on the leaderboard. I can’t tell you how happy we all felt afterwards, we were all on a proper high! A great start to our brilliant Christmas day out. So if you’ve been thinking about doing an escape room – get it booked NOW! It’s safe to say Team Mumbler loved it and would definitely recommend it!
Prices per team start from £44 and the rooms are open everyday; Mon – Fri 10am-10pm and Sat – Sun 9am – 10pm. For more information and to book visit their website or call 01423 524 658.
Disclosure: Mumbler was lucky enough to try out this escape game for free however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!)
Deershed isn’t a cheap way to spend a weekend, so Harrogate Mumbler went along for the first time to see if it is worth it. What can I say? we absolutely loved it and have been raving on about it ever since. Is it for you? Read on to find out…
To set the context, I’ve been to plenty of festivals in my time, throughout my misspent youth, and even as recently as Download in June 2018, however never before had I considered (for a second!) taking the kids. Honestly, I had always viewed the festival experience as my away-time from the kids, a chance to listen to loud music and basically, well, not be mum for a weekend!
It was impossible not to hear the buzz about Deershed though, it’s only about half an hour away from Harrogate, near Thirsk and many of my friends already go year on year. I decided to give it a try with the famalam and managed to blag the motorhome off my parents (you can read about our 2017 adventures in “Dora the Explorer” here)
Deershed isn’t a day event, the tickets are for the whole weekend. You can either camp, take a caravan/ motorhome or if you really like a proper bed, it’s close enough to drive home each night (not that I’d recommend that- there were far too many delicious gin cocktails on offer… more on that later!)
My two daughters are 7 & 9 years old and they were incredibly excited at the prospect of going to their first festival. We had done our prep and had purchased glitter & hair mascara- Even Mr Mumbler’s beard got the festival treatment! My first impression of the site was how colourful, welcoming and relaxed it felt. The camp sites are all just outside the main arena and within easy walking distance. The campsites have porta loos and (chargeable) showers. It’s not glamorous, but as a seasoned festival goer I can report that as festival loos go, they were as clean as I’ve ever seen. The campsites were well spaced and they were quiet after dark- everyone is in the same boat of wanting to get their kids to sleep after a full day of festival fun. Basically almost everyone who goes to Deershed is a family- from brand new babies right up to teenagers and every age in between.
Inside the arena, it’s big enough to keep everyone entertained without feeling vast or unsafe. I was able to give my two girls a bit of freedom without feeling like they would get lost or overwhelmed. Moreover, the younger children are given a specific coloured wrist band and if a member of staff spots them alone, they will help re-unite you (for once, my girls actually didn’t test this facility!)
The main stage is situated at the bottom of a gentle hill which ensures that everyone has a god view. Families wisely took in camping chairs, rugs, sunshades and the true Deershed professionals took lights and decorations for the fabulous little pull-along carts that you can hire. (These are invaluable for pulling along little-ones or allowing them to snooze when they’re legs are done in)
The mainstage, wasnt actually the highlight for me though, whilst I really did enjoy the bigger bands, it was the smaller stages that did it for me. Sitting in the sunshine while the kids did some crafting, listening to some immensely talented young musicians whilst sipping a gin was just perfect!
Keeping the kids happy and entertained was where Deershed excelled. Our 4 favourite bits were as follows:
1. The Wilder Wild. This is a smallish area off the main stage in the shade. Mainly for crafting (most of which was free) my girls could have spent the full weekend in there. Particular highlights were the clay crafting (free) the Willow Weaving (free) and the free junk modelling (mercilessly shoving the kids aside, I made an amazing jellyfish model- I love a bit of crafting! ;)) My daughters also made a vinyl record mirror, leather bracelets and rode a cart pulled by a beautiful Newfoundland dog, they also listened to a fantastic interactive bedtime story around the campfire before bed.
2. The Science Tent. What a cool place! With everything from programming, bodies, planets, music, Meccano, slime making, VR, and so much more (again, most of it free). I embarrassed myself by not being able to order the planets correctly (My nine year old could do it of course: “There’s a nemonic, don’t you know Mum … My Very Enthusiastic Mother Just Served Us Noodles”- alright sweetie, no-one likes a show-off…” )
3. The comedy tent. I loved this! Some of the acts were pretty risqué, but they went entirely over the head of my 7 year old. My 9 year old however, thought that the acts were hilarious- any mention of toilet humour or body parts and she’s a fan.
4. The Food & Drink. What can I say, Wow, just wow! I had intended on making packed lunches and generally economising on refreshments but this idea went straight out of the window when I saw the quality and variety of the food on offer. Naturally, only because I want to give a thorough review of the offering, I sampled as much as possible…. From Greek food to Indian, Churros, Pizza’s Burgers, Cheese on toast, Fish and chips, fish finger sandwiches (yes, a whole van dedicated to the provision of this awesome food!) Tibetan, Tacos and just about everything else that you can think of. And it was ALL amazing! With regards to the bars, they were plentiful and the offering was varied. There were plenty of beers, cocktails I could go on at length here but i will give you the idea that I’m some kind of lush, who sits in a field at a festival drinking copious amounts of gin… ahem. Anyway, the bars were great- one was actually like someones front room, complete with sofas-a-plenty!
I’m running out of space now, to tell you more about this amazing festival, some of the things that I haven’t even mentioned are the MASSIVE sports arena, which hosts tons of sports. All of the time. Quiddich anyone!? More traditional activities included Yoga (it was lovely to see our favourites, Go Yoga there, crazy & disk golf, football, parkour, sock wrestling ( I have no idea what that is either…).
There was tree climbing (with harnesses right up into HUGE oak trees) and walk about entertainers seemingly everywhere. I bumped into this BRILLIANT marching band on my way back from the loos.
I haven’t even touched on the DJ’s, the theatre, the shows, the cinema (showing family favourites such as The Greatest Showman & Moana) the poetry & spoken word, the canoeing on the lake, the shopping or any of the pre-bookable workshops.
What I really loved was the attention to detail for families. The NCT were there and they hosted a group “baby bathtime” They also had bottle warming facilities, equiptment seterilising facilities and highchiars. You could even buy nappies on site if needed. The toilets had hand wash at 2 heights to ensure that little hands got cleaned too. There were swing ball sets all over the site, which allowed you to sit back and watch while your kids played safely. There were ear defenders on sale and the whole place had a total “families completely welcome” vibe.
Don’t get me wrong, taking your kids to a festival is never TOTALLY relaxing. By the end of the Sunday, you could see parents nerves were getting frayed (or maybe that was just me, trying to stay cool and all festival-chic” whilst nursing a slightly throbbing (and totally deserved) gin- hangover.) but all in all it was completely memorable and a brilliant experience.
Would I go back? Absolutely, in a heartbeat. I spent more time with my kids, crafting, playing and just chilling than I ever normally do; even at a weekend away somewhere.
If you’ve ever wondered about festival-going then I can’t recommend Deershed high enough. It’s just fabulous.
Deer Shed Festival began as a one-day, 1000-capacity event in 2010, in contrast, 10,000 attended Deer Shed Festival 9 in 2018 to witness its biggest ever music, arts and science line-up, with household names like Goldfrapp headlining the music bill and James Acaster headlining the PG comedy big top tent.
Deer Shed 10 will for the first time, allow general ticket holders to say on Sunday night. Previously, the Sunday night offering was an additional extra, with the festival proper closing at 6pm to allow families to get home at a sensible time.This new change means more bands, more acts, and the biggest Sunday night party Baldersby Park has ever seen, all at no extra cost to the festival goers!
For more information and a full breakdown of Deer Shed’s ticket structure, visit: deershedfestival.com/tickets.
2019 dates are 26th-28th July (one week later than usual) Deershed is at Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire
Disclosure: Mumbler was lucky enough to receive press tickets to this festival for free however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account of our weekend. Phew, we LOVED it! (otherwise that could have been awks!
Mumbler was asked to go and try out Harrogate Climbing Centre, see what we thought and write a review. I thought, “great – it’s Half Term, that will fill up a morning/afternoon and the mini Mumblers (Harry, nearly 6 & Louis, 4) were dead keen. Fast forward to this afternoon, as we are getting in the car, Harry changes his mind and doesn’t want to go!!!! By the time we arrive he is in a full blown “teenager-style strop” so it was with a certain amount of trepidation that we went in.
The Climbing Centre was about half full and a very nice man spoke directly to the boys and took them off to get their safety harnesses on. As you can see from the picture, moods had not improved much!
However as soon as we went in and they saw the Climbing walls and their instructor, Rory started a game where they had to run around and when he shouted “sharks coming” they had to get their feet off the floor, spirits definitely lifted. (Phew!)
The boys took it in turns to climb with constant encouragement and instruction from Rory, and whilst one was climbing, the other was sitting and was attached to the same rope to anchor his brother. I really liked the fact that it was teaching them to keep each other safe (the instructor also had hold of the rope just to allow for lapses in concentration!!).
They played various different games to teach them to trust the ropes that were holding them up, listen to the instructions, concentrate and (miraculously!) to do as they were told. (I’m hoping that some of this will transfer to their behaviour at home.)
The boys were given the chance to have a go on several different climbing walls and to go into the “Bouldering Room” – which is small walls, no ropes and squidgy floor.
I am very pleased to say that after a rocky (!) start they absolutely loved it and have asked to go again tomorrow and maybe even start lessons.
The facilities were great, lots of much higher climbing walls than i was expecting, a safe place to watch, although there was only 1 sofa, so if it’s busy be prepared to stand and watch. Cafe Indulge, next door, has lots of seating so you could always escape for a coffee whilst the kids are climbing.
The staff were really friendly and patient and I would have been totally confident leaving the boys to have their lesson – they didn’t actually come over once during their hour-long session.
Although we have been invited along for a free taster session, we would not recommend anything the kids hadn’t enjoyed…….but they loved it (Rory, we will be back!).
There’s lots of kids session on over Half Term and they offer group sessions, parties and the opportunity to work towards national climbing award schemes.
Reviewed February 2018
So, the tricky thing for me writing this is to not spoil the surprises in store at Warner Bros Studios. For any fan of Harry Potter this is a fantastic trip worth every penny. The magic starts from the moment you arrive and the die-hard amongst you will notice that even the cones in the car park are shaped like sorting hats – a great attention to detail! From here on in we were wowed at every opportunity!
Your tour starts with a guide and a short film presentation. At this point anyone with a birthday is invited forward and without saying too much it’s worth having a birthday!!! From then on you are free to wander around at your own speed although there are many staff around to answer questions and impress with their Harry Potter knowledge. You visit various sets from the Harry Potter films and there are many displays of props, costumes and info on how they created such fantastic effects throughout the films. You can do an audio guide if you wish and for children there are lovely passports they take round, hunting for snitches and finding stamps.
There are loads of things to experience too – broom stick flying, wand training, how to work with a green screen and how to look as big as Hagrid! It was great fun for my 2 kids to dress up in robes and fly over Hogwarts. Ok, it was fun for us big kids too and that is what this place has in huge abundance – fun at every corner. Speaking of corners, try your hardest to go into the Forbidden
Forest on your own for waiting around the corner is the biggest (and scariest) surprise of them all. We went through this bit a few times and screamed every time!
This year new Goblet of Fire displays have been added and that’s the great thing about Warner Brother Studios they are constantly improving and adding to it as well as maintaining what is already there so each time you go there is more to experience, hence why my two daughters nag me every day to go back again. Apparently, the average time spent there is 3 and a half hours but we were there 6 so you really can make a day of this place. Our advice would be to bring a picnic or there is a café selling hot and cold food and most importantly the famous Butterbeer. £5 gets you the drink and a cup to take home with you!
Can’t write about a visit here without a mention of the Hogwart’s Express – simply wow, no other words! You’ll see what I mean when you vist!
The final bit of your journey takes you into a room with a model of Hogwarts – I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to spoil this for you but a friend told me in advance that it was spectacular and she wasn’t wrong. If ever you can feel the magic of Harry Potter then it’s in this room.
All in all, we think this is one of the best days out for all ages and good value for money. It’s not overcrowded so you can easily see all the displays and you don’t have to queue long for anything and even if you are in a queue you are surrounded by interesting things to see – they really have thought everything through.
I asked my 10 and 7 year old daughters what their favourite bits were. The eldest said all of it and the youngest said The Great Hall, The Dormitory, The Hogwart’s Express, Diagon Alley, Broomstick flying, Wand training, The Forbidden Forest…….I think she means all of it!! We are definitely planning a return visit!
To find out more or buy tickets online visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website here
Stockeld has always been a firm favourite in the Mumbler household and this Summer’s Adventure doesn’t disappoint!
We went with two 8 year olds but have been in the past with kids as young as 18 months and up to teenagers who have all thoroughly enjoyed them selves.
We started with the Enchanted Fores & Maze which had a knights & shields theme. Our Mini Mumblers loved the trail and finding the different coats of arms & gemstones along the way.
We loved the boats (£6 charge per boat) which they were able to drive themselves, leaving us a few minutes of sitting in the sun by the lake ( very nice!!).
The den building and sand pit areas were brilliant, and to be honest, they could have stayed there all day.
We took our own picnic, but there are lots of options available to buy inside the park, from sandwiches to pizza and, of course the obligatory (delicious) ice cream.
There was also a new food/ice-cream cart near the sand pit area which was very handy for snacks on the way round.
All in all it was a great day (we spent 6 hours there – and could have stayed longer) and will remain a feature on our school holidays calendar every time!!
Don’t forget to book online with our Mumbler Exclusive Discount Code – MUMHARROGATE for 10% off advance tickets.
Although we received free entry to Stockeld on this occasion, no amount of den building, boats, sand pits and brilliant outdoor fun would make us write a dishonest review……. we love it there!!!
Mother Shipton is England’s most famous Prophetess, predicting amongst other things The Great Fire of London in 1666. She was born in 1488, in a cave next to the river Nidd – now affectionately known as Mother Shipton’s Cave.
Mother Shipton’s is located in the beautiful Knaresbourgh, about a fifteen-minute car journey from Harrogate. I took my husband, 19-month-old daughter and my 8-year-old nephew to check out England’s oldest visitor attraction (open since 1630). It was once owned by the late great Paul Daniels – we were expecting magical things and we weren’t disappointed!
Admission is £7 per adult and £5 per child, with under 3s going free. It’s worth pointing out that parking is an additional £2. They provide the kids with a little activity sheet to complete as you go through the park.
The park itself goes from the car park entrance, next to the viaduct, down along Beech Avenue, following the river, ending at the pedestrian exit which is next to Mother Shipton’s Pub. We took a picnic with us and spent a good three hours there. You could probably do the trail in less than an hour, but where’s the fun in that?
There’s plenty of places to picnic within the site. Next to the river, overlooking the viaduct was a popular spot – picture perfect in fact. There are also an abundance of picnic tables around the park –we opted to eat our lunch at the adventure playground, which is probably a good half way point. There’s an ice cream van at the playground and Mother Shipton’s pub that had a decent food menu at the pedestrian exit if picnics aren’t for you.
The adventure playground is brilliant – and HUGE! So much to do for all ages – zip wire for the older ones, and a cute little pirate ship activity den, complete with sandpit, which my daughter loved. The kids were kept amused for a good hour or so, and I’m pretty sure they’d have stayed longer if we’d let them!
From the playground we walked along the river to Mother Shipton’s Cave and Petrifying Well. The walk is on pretty rough terrain and quite steep at places. They do advise you on the website that some pushchairs aren’t suitable, and I’d agree. If you have a non-walking little person with you save yourself the effort and take them in a baby carrier instead. Our little one walked most of it, but got tired towards the end and had to be carried. There are a few sets of stairs leading down to the caves and well area, which could be tricky for some buggies.
Teddy bears, John Wayne’s hat and Agatha Christie’s bag – to name just a few – all hang down from the Petrifying Well so the water cascades over them and eventually turns them to stone – as if by magic! Next to the well is the cave itself where Mother Shipton lived. You can walk round and through both the caves and well – the kids (and us adults) loved it!
We continued down the river to the museum and gift shop. Keep your eyes peeled for all the beautiful woodcarvings along the way. You can then exit the site, cross over the bridge, and walk through Knaresborough back up to the car park or simply turn round and walk back the way you came. We opted for the latter, and enjoyed an ice cream on the way back to the car.
All in all Mother Shipton’s got the thumbs up from us Mumblers! A lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon. They have children themed activities throughout the year including Hansel and Gretel for the May half term and Robin Hood for the summer holidays. Please see the website for further details.
Disclosure: Mother Shiptons gave us a free family entry ticket so that we could review the park however even free park entry bribery isn’t enough to make us write a dishonest review! We really enjoyed our visit and this blog is our own honest opinion.
It’s a tough Job but someone’s got to do it. Mumbler Dads David & Jo were invited to try a snowboarding lesson at the Chill Factore in Manchester, read about their experience here:
“With us both being married to ‘Mumbler mums’ Jo and I are used to having to make sacrifices for the great good of Mumbler. And so once again, we graciously gave up what we feel is the highlight of our week, (looking after our kids on a Saturday afternoon) to go off and review a snowboarding experience. Obviously it was a huge grind but that just the kind of guys we are, always willing to go the distance for others……..
Ok, I realise no-one is going to believe that so let’s just say we said yes quicker than you can say ‘apres ski’ when our wives asked us if we fancied going off on our own for the day to visit Chill Factore (the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope) in Manchester.
So here’s our thoughts on the experience…..
Firstly, getting there. It’s based at the Trafford Centre so it doesn’t matter where you are coming from, make sure you allow plenty of time to get there and by that, I mean anticipate traffic getting from the M60 into Trafford Park itself. We were told to be there 45 minutes before our lesson started so I planned our route accordingly but because it took us so long to do the last couple of miles we only got there 15 minutes before we were due to start. Fortunately, it wasn’t a problem as from the moment we arrived, it was clear that they are running a well-oiled machine. Whilst there was a small queue at check in, there were staff on hand walking the queue to see if we already had a booking in which case we were taken straight through to where you get your clothing. From our experience, all staff were hugely friendly and helpful. No grunting teenagers here!
In terms of gear, if you are like Jo and take your skiing seriously then you can of course take your own gear. Not knowing the score beforehand I’d borrowed some of his spare gear. However, the majority of people who use the facilities don’t tend to own ski gear so your booking includes a set of salopettes (ski trousers), a ski jacket, and a decent pair of thermal gloves which you get to keep which I thought was a nice touch (no pun intended).
There looked to plenty of sizes and they cater for children of all ages. Obviously good clothing is important because out on the slopes it’s -5°C. Speaking to the other students in my group, I can confirm that the provided clothing kept them nice and toastie for the duration of the session. What I also really liked was the fact that the instructors were using the same kit as the students, even down to their snowboards and skis.
As soon as you get your clothes issued, you are signposted through to the changing area where there are plenty of private cubicles. We also noted that there were also group changing facilities (which I assume you can use as a family). Once changed you can then store your personal clothes in lockers which require a £1 coin (refunded when you unlock it). These are big enough to store kit for two people so Jo and I both managed to get all of our kit into a single locker. Following a quick toilet trip (loos were very clean and I noted both disabled and baby changing facilities) we went off to the equipment area.
If you are snowboarding then it’s a very straightforward affair – you just need your shoe size and an indication of your leading foot to determine what size of boots you require. If you are skiing then it’s just a couple of extra measurements to work out what length of skis you need. Once ready we were sent over to a numbered bay where we were able to sit down on benches to await our instructor. It all felt very smooth and well organized. From arriving to being ready to go it took around 25 minutes but I’d imagine with a couple of kids this would take more like 40 minutes; hence why they ask you to arrive 45 minutes before your session begins.
Our instructor for the day was a guy called Danny and he looked and sounded exactly like you would expect (and want) from a snowboard instructor. Think a Mancunian version of the Turtle from Finding Nemo! Danny is a total dude, very easy going, taking the time to learn each of our names and making us all feeling at ease. What made him a great instructor in my view was not only the structured way he delivered the session, (taking into account each individual’s natural abilities and reason for wanting to try snowboarding,) but it was clear from the start that he had a real passion for the sport.
Danny explained that he has been a snowboarder for 12 years, having spent the last 6 years teaching it in Japan, Canada, and the US. What was nice was a little speech he gave at the end of the session about what snowboarding meant to him. It wasn’t a sales pitch trying to encourage people to come back for more, just an overview of what part it’s played in his life and how he feels it can benefit people. He even told us that he’s now got his 3 year old son into it!
Our group of 8 was made up of people who varied in age, physical confidence, and natural ability. For example, whilst Jo’s somewhat of a skiing-pro having been doing it for 30 years and has some previous experience of snowboarding, I myself have only been skiing twice (where both trips I spent more time in the bar than I did on the slopes!) and have never done snowboarding so I was very much the novice. We also had people in our group who had never set foot on a ski slope before. Danny’s work was cut out but he handled it really well and made it fun for everyone in a patient and non-patronising way.
The session lasted around an hour which absolutely flew by, with Danny delivering it in a very progressive and methodical way including an introduction to the equipment along with skills such as sliding on the flat before climbing up and sliding down a small section of the slope. It was pretty basic but this was known as the Snowboard Fun Taster which did it’s job of leaving me wanting more. And this is where the Snowboard Progress Card comes in.
Issued to you at the end of the taster session this record of your learning shows you the various steps to becoming a snowboarding god from beginner level 1 to 3 on the beginner slope, through Improver level 4 to 6 on the main slope, to Development level 7 to 9. It was all a lot of fun and I would say that the best way to get the most out of it whilst speeding up your progress would be to do a session in the morning with a break for lunch followed by another session in the afternoon.
Around our session it was clear that kids of all ages are well catered for. As well as the main slope (which is huge and features a ‘button drag’ style ski lift) the beginner slope (which is shorter and less steep featuring a ‘magic carpet’ style ski lift) was full of children from toddlers to teenagers learning to ski (and doing a lot better job at it then I ever did!). With crash mats in place at the bottom of the slope and good instructor to student ratios it all felt very safe in a fun way.
Away from skiing and snowboarding there were toboggan runs for children and adults (which looked a right laugh), a children’s play area in the snow (Mini Moose Land for children and toddlers under 4 years old), and for those who just wanted to watch the fun from a distance (grandparents for example), a really good viewing balcony which is free to use. Off the slopes there is also a climbing wall, free ping-pong tables, and around Christmas a Santa’s Grotto for the little ones (although I think you have to book this in advance).
All this activity leads to empty tummies so fortunately there is a variety of restaurants and café’s onsite including a Sports Bar (with live sport on the TVs), a Wetherspoons, ice-cream and pizza shacks, and of course, the ever popular Nando’s. Upstairs there is a really cool area which as well as an Alpine style café called Mont Blanc also features a private room called ‘The Eiger’ which looked perfect for kids birthday parties or group / team events.
There is also a good selection of shops including ski and walking gear (Snow & Rock and Subvert), Crystal Ski Holidays (if want to take your skiing seriously and book a holiday through a specialist ski travel agent) and a fitness and sporting goods shop.
Pricing wise, it’s best to check the website directly as it all depends on your individual needs. Speaking to the guy at the front desk they offer all sorts of schemes which change over the year to cater for group rates, kids parties, individuals or family packages, ongoing loyalty and discount packages, etc.
To put it in context, our Snowboarding fun taster session would costs £30 per adult (£27 off peak) and lasts for just under an hour so whilst it’s not the cheapest activity you can do I found it very rewarding and a lot of fun. All in all it’s a great day out either as a couple of mates or a fantastic treat for the family. Given that you can buy vouchers for lessons it might also make a fantastic Christmas present!
7 Trafford Way,
Disclosure: Chill Factore did provide the Mr Mumblers’ with a free session each for the purposes of this review. The opinions that My Mumbler has expressed here is his own and he has decided that he would like to offer his review services to all “Dad” type products and reviews, particularly those which involve beer and days out with mates….