Month: September 2018

Getting Outdoors With the Kids

During the Summer holidays we spent a lot of time outdoors. We enjoyed many cheap and free days out and about close to where we live in West Yorkshire. We went to parks, we picked blackberries and we went for some short walks. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country, but most people can get outdoors to an open space within a fairly short time.

One day we went to an Art in the Park session run by the local council. We all had a lovely morning, despite the cool weather. The session involved collecting things from nature to make pretty artworks and sculptures. It was a sweet idea and all the kids seemed to really enjoy it. It was surprising how colourful the materials were that we found in the woods.

The kids created some lovely pictures and we were advised what we could and couldn’t pick from the woodland area. The session was quite inspiring and I would like to do it again sometime in our local woods. You don’t need anything at all, but we had some card, glue sticks and some charcoal. We collected blackberries, leaves and flowers (as advised by council organisers).

We also looked at some natural sculptures before creating our own. The kids were all very creative, making lovely patterns and structures. Some kids built dens and others made miniature forests and sculptures. My kids made patterns using different colours and sizes of leaves.

As Autumn approaches, I am really keen to get outdoors, as I find we need to make the most of the sunlight that we have. It is tempting to hibernate over the cooler months, but I think we will head out for some Autumnal art at some point. We can easily make sculptures with different coloured leaves or make a picture using natural materials.

Standedge Tunnel Marsden, Canal Boat Trip, West Yorkshire

During the Summer holidays we visited Standedge Tunnel and Visitor Centre in Marsden. It is a simple, inexpensive family day out and we had a lovely time.

Standedge Tunnel offers a boat trip, cafe and play areas in the beautiful West Yorkshire countryside.

There is a free car park at Marsden train station or you can get the train from Huddersfield, which is quick and inexpensive. My kids loved the adventure of the train journey. It only takes a few minutes, maybe 15 minutes and there is a train every hour. I loved the speed and lack of hassle with the train. I have previously driven and it seemed to take ages.

From the train station or car park, it is about a 15 minute walk to the tunnel entrance. It is a nice walk along the canal and you soon feel like you’re in the middle of the beautiful West Yorkshire countryside.

Things To Do at Standedge Tunnel

There is a small soft play area for little ones (up to 5 years) in the visitor centre. It is free to go into the visitor centre. There are some displays about the construction of the tunnel, mainly aimed at adults. There is also an outdoor play area with picnic benches and a trim trail.

We ate at the cafe and I enjoyed a nice hot sandwich with chips, while the kids had picnic lunches (sandwich, crisps, fruit and drink). All for a reasonable price. We later came back for ice creams, which were lovely.

There are two main types of boat trips. We did the half hour tour in and out of the tunnel, which was just right for my young kids. There is a 2 hour trip for those who are really interested and wish to get to the other side.Our tour guide was friendly and informative. You need to buy your tickets in advance and when we were there (school holidays), the boat trips departed every hour.

Standedge Tunnel is one of the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnels in Britain. Standedge is a key part of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and it runs deep beneath the Pennines. It opened in 1811 and is 5,029 miles long, reaching 194 metres underground at its deepest point. The canal tunnel was re-opened in 2001 following a £5 million restoration project.

Overall

For me, Standedge Tunnel offered a chance to do something different with the kids. It was a nice day out and we all enjoyed it. I would recommend it for a family day out and I would allow 2-3 hours for a wander, play, boat trip and something to eat.

Go to the Standedge Tunnel website and you may wish to check the boat rides are running prior to going.

Go Ape in Dalby Forest – Fab Family Day Out

Go ape family day outWe recently visited Go Ape as a family and we had a great day out. Our 7 year old daughter and 6 year old nephew showed no fear as they leapt about and flew through the air on the zip wire. Unfortunately our 3 year old daughter was too short to join in. She is 95cm and the minimum at Dalby is 1m. She seemed happy enough watching from beneath us with Nana and Grandad.

We have previously done the main Go Ape course, but we wanted to include the kids so we did the Junior one. It was a similar experience, but just an hour, which was probably about right for our kids, especially as it was their first time and I didn’t know whether they would enjoy it or freak out. The Junior course offers two different routes and you can make your way around choosing your route for the hour’s duration. There were a couple of girls on the ropes without an adult and one of them was completely freaking out. We helped her round, holding her hand and encouraging her, but I was surprised to see young kids unsupervised.

The Junior course differs from the larger one as you do not have to keep unhooking and hooking yourself onto the course. This was a lot easier with younger ones and took away some of that fear. It always feels strange to me to be fully responsible for keeping your harness locked on.

You need to be prepared for wood chip down your pants as landing on your feet is quite tricky. We all had at least one landing where we ended up on our bum.

The staff were all lovely and very helpful. They encouraged everyone and were sympathetic towards the scared child, helping her to exit the course early.

Food and Other Facilities

We went in the cafe before going on the ropes which was nice for a light lunch. We also enjoyed a lovely ice cream afterwards whilst the kids ran about in the playground. There was plenty of space and the playground was great for the kids. Some people had brought barbecues and were enjoying these in the designated area.Standedge Tunnel Canal Boat Trip

We walked the Highway Rat trail, which was a pleasant 5Km walk through the woods. The familiar pictures on signs maintained some interest for the kids and you can buy an activity pack and get rubbings as you go round but we didn’t see the packs before we went.

There was a car parking charge of £9 which you can pay by card at a machine once in the forest.

I would recommend this day out to anyone with an adventurous side. It feels like a great achievement when you complete it.

Book your day out through the Go Ape website.