Category: Family Days Out

Family Day Out at Milky Way, North Devon

Milky Way Day Out North Devon During our holiday in North Devon we had the pleasure of visiting The Milky Way. This is a family day out with a variety of attractions located near Clovelly.

Our kids (aged 3 and 7) loved it here. There were rides, indoor and outdoor play areas, a maze, a train, live sessions (owls, magic, Science), Sci-Fi memorabilia and loads more.

I was not sure what to expect from this place. Having read reviews online I was a little concerned about the fun value. However there was loads to keep our kids entertained and provide a really fun day out.

When we first arrived it did seem a bit of a small scale family run affair. This is not in any way like Alton Towers or one of the big theme parks. However this is part of the charm of the place. There is so much to do for young kids. We were constantly moving ours along to the next thing as they could have spent all day in the indoor play gym or the outdoor play area or the maze.

Milky Way Indoor Sessions/Shows

There were indoor sessions throughout the day including birds of prey, fun and educational shows.

We saw Merlin (Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist). He did juggling, magic and illusions.

He later did a Science session, which maintained the attention of the kids. We had a chat with him after the show and he was a really nice guy.

My girls particularly enjoyed seeing the owls session. This was run by a lovely lady who welcomed lots of questions.

Milky Way Rides

The familiar Caterpillar ride is always a winner with young kids. My three year old went on several times with her grandparents.

Whilst the Cosmic Typhoon roller coaster was a real hit with our 7 year old (minimum 1.2m tall). She loved going on this larger ride and it was perfect for her.

The Clone Zone was the first thing we experienced as we entered the Milky Way. After quite a queue, we followed a guide round this alien-themed walk-through. This was finished off with a short ride and a squeeze through a tight exit. My eldest was quite scared and afraid of the unexpected alien encounters. However my youngest thought it was great and wanted to go on again. The grandparents joined in too and survived the experience! There were also some bumper cars, but we didn’t try these.

Indoor Play Gym

Our kids had a great time in here. They could have stayed all day. We all enjoyed the big slide with sacks to ride. Whilst the kids were too scared, Daddy couldn’t resist the death slide, which was quite a big drop. I didn’t see many kids try this one.

Food and Drinks

We brought some and bought some from the cafe.

Picnic areas are dotted about and the food we bought was ok, reasonably priced and as you’d expect from a day out.

Overall we all had a great day out. I thought it would be busier, but we fell lucky as there was a large agricultural show that day, which may have affected the number of visitors.

As a family of young kids, parents and grandparents we all enjoyed the day. It helped that the weather was generally pretty good. There were lots of things to do indoors and outdoors, however it would have been a shame to miss the rides and the maze.

If you are interested in Sci-Fi the Milky Way has a large area dedicated to models and memorabilia.

The gift shop is reasonably priced (refreshing) and well stocked.

If you would like to find out more about The Milky Way and book tickets, the go to the website at themilkyway.co.uk .

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.

Top 10 Family Days Out In Cornwall


We have recently returned from a family holiday in Cornwall and we had a really great time. So I thought I’d share our top 10 family days out in Cornwall (and within reach of Cornwall) based on our experiences and with a little insider knowledge from some of the lovely local people of Bude in Cornwall.

1. Eden Project, St Austell

If you are interested in plants and wildlife then this is a great day out. If you or your kids require a bit more excitement and entertainment then this may not be the best day out for your family.

Our kids loved it here. They liked the rainforest biome which includes loads of unusual plants, including cocoa, coffee, bananas and pineapples as well as many colourful plants.

They enjoyed the canopy walkway and a bridge, which forms a cloudy mist every few minutes.

There is a Rainforest Lookout which is an aerial platform overlooking the tropical canopy below. The platform is at the top of the 165-foot-high Biome. We climbed the steps along with our kids, but you can’t carry children and it might be too scary for some. We managed quite well, but it was a little bit wobbly at times.

The restaurant offered a range of lovely home cooked meals and I really enjoyed my Moroccan lamb meatballs.

The website claims there are activities and events for families throughout the year, but we discovered that these are mainly focused on school holidays. Because our half term was different to the local schools, there was not a lot to offer beyond the general walk about. We discovered a craft activity 10 minutes before they packed up, but there was no mention of this on the activity list when we entered, which was a shame.

2. Boscastle

We felt this small village was well worth a look round.

It is probably most famous for the flooding issues suffered in 2004 then further flooding in 2007.

It is very pretty with a couple of tearooms, pubs and hotels. There is a stunning harbour and a lovely view out to sea. We stopped on our way back one evening so we just had a brief look around.

There is a youth hostel and a museum of Witchcraft, as well as a few shops including a pottery shop, but we only stopped for a quick wander so we didn’t get to experience these.

3. Bude

We really liked the town of Bude.

The staff in the tourist information centre are really helpful and friendly and they have a file detailing local events that you may not otherwise be aware of as a visitor.

We enjoyed a nice lunch at the Castle, which includes some local artwork. We watched a little projection film showing a sea life animation using artwork from children at the local school. I enjoyed sampling a bottle of the local cider along with a Ploughmans lunch, while looking out at a beautiful view.

The beach is lovely with lots of rockpools to explore and there is an outdoor swimming pool, which had people swimming in it both times we visited during our stay in February.

I imagine that Bude is packed during the summer holiday period and there are lots of facilities aimed at surfers, but it was nice and peaceful during our visit.

4. Beaches – take your pick

We went to a lot of beaches during our stay and all of them were beautiful.

Our kids just loved collecting pebbles on the beach and wandering about through the rock pools.

Our favourite beaches that we discovered in Cornwall were Sandymouth, Bude and Duckpool, but there are beaches all over that are gorgeous.

I cannot imagine what they are like during the crowded summer holidays, but we were really lucky to see them at their most peaceful during February. We even had a sultry mist to add to the atmosphere on a couple of days.

5. Bike Trail Camel Trail (Wadebridge to Padstow)

Following the recommendation from a lovely local lady we hired bikes in Wadebridge and we cycled into Padstow along the Camel Trail. It was a great day out. Our kids loved it. The views were pretty and it took us about an hour each way to leisurely ride there and back.

We stopped in Padstow and locked up our bikes. We then had a good wander round the beautiful town of Padstow. There are lots of lovely places to eat and we settled on a  fish and chip restaurant, which was great. We loved the Cornish pasties and the ice creams and we were lucky enough to stumble across a food fayre where we bought some chutney and cheese.

There are lots of companies to choose from, but we used Bridge Bike Hire and we were very happy with the bikes and the service. Click on the link to see the website and arrange a booking – Bridge Bike Hire, Wadebridge

6. Cream Tea – choose a venue

I had really looked forward to this before going down to Cornwall and lots of people had told me to try the scones with cream and jam. I think we picked a dodgy venue as ours wasn’t as good as my Mum’s, but maybe we are spoilt by her scones. I am sure that a tearoom would have a better offer than the seaside cafe we tried. It was nice to enjoy a cup of tea and a scone with a beautiful view of the sea.

7. Eat Proper Cornish Pasties – loads of places to find these beauties

I love a cornish pasty and we were not disappointed. We had a few of these during our stay from a bakery, a restaurant and a fish and chips restaurant and they were all great. There are bakeries all over the place selling Cornish pasties. We must have spotted about ten in our short wander around the town of Bude. My favourite was from one of the bakeries in Bude, where we also bought a lovely croissant with cherry jam and almonds.

8. Coastal Walk (Sandymouth to Duckpool)

There are loads of walks around the Cornwall coastline.

We headed off to Sandymouth beach one day and picked up a path and followed it.

It was a great walk with stunning views of the beaches and rocky coastlines. Our 6 year old managed well, our 2 year old relied on lots of carries. We were there in Winter so it was wet and muddy in places. The kids were fine in their wellies. Our trainers were less suitable, but we managed. We walked to Duckpool.

I think we took in some of the South West Coastal Walk. We brought picnic with us and had the most amazing view as we sat eating our sandwiches.

9. Try the Local Cider

There are lots to choose from. I liked the Orchard Blush cider. Somebody recommended the Rattler Cloudy Cornish Cyder, but they also warned it was quite strong so I stuck to a refreshing bottle of Orchards.

10. Milky Way Adventure Park, Bideford, North Devon

We were advised to try this place for some family fun, including rides and indoor play as well as shows including birds of prey. There are specific areas for little ones, including a show for under 5’s. We never made it to this adventure park, but we would have gone if we had managed to fit it in. Maybe next time. Click to see the website for Milky Way Adventure Park.

Bude Tourist Information Centre

The staff in the Tourist Information Centre in Bude were really friendly and helpful. They keep their leaflets up to date and they have a file to look at with all the local events that you may not otherwise discover.

We stayed in a lovely caravan park in Sandymouth, which was beautiful and it had fantastic facilities. I have written a separate blog post with tips for going on a family caravan holiday.

 

Alnwick Castle

We visited Alnwick Castle during our stay in Northumberland last year and we had a great fun-filled day. I thought this would be an hour or two of entertainment, but we spent the whole day there and there was lots to do. Our eldest daughter who is six loved it here and she reminded me today what a great time she’d had.

We bought a family ticket which can be validated for 12 months allowing us to return at some point if we visit the area again.

There were several activities and attractions throughout the day including tours of the castle, wizard demonstrations and crafts for the kids. It is best to plan what you want to see so you can book yourself on if necessary. I believe different things are on offer at different times of the year, so our day may or may not be typical for the activities available.

As you enter there is a board on the wall showing the activities and times so you can easily plan your day. We wanted to do Broomstick Training, Dragon’s Quest and a tour showing how the castle has been used as a location for many films and television programmes. Alnwick Castle is particularly famous for being the location for filming of Harry Potter. There are many references to the castle being Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Broomstick training was very popular so you need to be early to guarantee your place. We arrived at opening time and had to queue to book onto the Broomstick lesson.

Dragon’s Quest

Alnwick castle

This was a 10 minute walkthrough attraction, which my girls both loved (aged 2 and 6).

It involves dragons and swords and fire, so perfect for little adventurers. However I have heard other people say it was too scary for their kids, so you may wish to consider this before going through. There is a short film at the start and you can probably gauge whether your kids will like it from that.

BROOMSTICK TRAININGBroomstick Training

This was a great activity run by two funny ladies. They teach you how to summon the broomstick and then you learn to mount it and ride it. Then you have a little time to master your technique and take photos. We just about avoided the rain as this would have spoilt it a bit. Others were less lucky on the day we were there.

Our two year old was a little restless, at times, but she did get involved. Our six year old loved it and it was fun for the adults too. I would definitely recommend this.

As mentioned earlier, you do need to get there early to book onto the Broomstick training and avoid disappointment. You may well see and hear the Broomstick training throughout the day so it would be a shame to miss it if your kids would enjoy it.

Crafts

Our girls loved making things with clay. I  was pleased to see this was included within the entry price as I thought we may have to pay extra. The lady running the clay session was lovely and patient with all the kids.

You can collect your piece as you leave and we managed to keep ours intact and take it home.

Alnwick Castle is not open all year round so it is best to check the website before you go. Normally it closes the last weekend in October and opens again at the end of March. You can save 10% on admission if you book in advance.

Alnwick Castle Website

We stayed in a holiday cottage in Embleton when we visited Alnwick Castle. It was a short drive, about 20 minutes to get to Alnwick. Please click on the link if you’d like to read my post about our cottage in Embleton.

Stockeld Park, Wetherby

Stockheld Park MazeStockeld Park is a great family day out a couple of miles from Wetherby on Harrogate Road.

We have had some great times at this attraction and each time we go, we do something different as the options change depending on the time of year and the weather will usually determine the best way to spend the day.

Our most recent visit was during the Christmas holidays and while it was cold and a bit damp, we were lucky to get a dry day.

Enchanted Forest

Thanks to the dry weather, our kids spent a lot of time walking round the enchanted forest and playing in the parks and fun stops on the way around. Jessica wore an all in one snow suit which was perfect as she could jump about and roll around in the forest parks without worrying about getting muddy or wet.

Maze

We also enjoyed the maze, which is really tricky and we always need to check our photo of the map to finally find our way out. There are different stations to look out for as you go round, including a couple of Doctor Who police boxes with linked up speakers, a noughts and crosses game and some drum seats. There is also a central globe which includes buttons to press revealing various facts.

Ice Skating

My six year old loved the ice skating and we did this three times throughout the day. She was a little too big for the penguins that you can borrow for little ones. Previously she used one of these which made it a lot easier for her to get around. There were some snowmen for children with special needs. From a very slippy, scary start she improved significantly and grew in confidence. By the end we were skating together as I held her hand. The boots were a bit uncomfortable and I personally found the orange boots to be more comfortable.

Stockeld Park Enchanted ForestCross Country Skiing

Now I’ll be honest, whenever I have seen the cross country skiing at Stockeld Park, I have thought that it did not look like any fun to me. However our six year old decided she wanted to try it. I was not very hopeful and expected some serious moaning with me carrying her and/or the skis around the forest and back to the hut.

However, I was totally wrong. She loved the Nordic Ski Trail and she did really well. She followed the ski path round with her dad and I pushed the buggy round the main path. We were always within sight of each other, although she managed to go a bit quicker than us as we stopped to look at a couple of the displays, including the Mermaid in the Lake. She fell a couple of times, but got straight back up again and continued without any complaining.

There is a hut where the boots and skis are given out. They have boots from a junior size 10 up to an adult size 13. Skiers have to remove their shoes to wear the boots and then they place their boots into the skis. There are different sizes available and the staff help with putting on the skis and have a quick chat to explain how to get about. David and Abigail quickly got the hang of it and made their way

Restaurant

We ate our lunch in the cafe/restaurant and we also had a warming up drink and snack in there later in the afternoon. I feel that the food is excellent and a lot better than many of the children’s attractions we have visited. It is not an extensive menu, but the usual favourites are there for the kids including picnic boxes with sandwich, drink and snacks and hot meals including chicken pieces and chips or fish fingers. For adults there are jacket potatoes and paninis with wedges as well as a few larger hot meals.

Overall, we had a great family day out at Stockeld Park and I am sure we will be back for another fun-filled day.

You can pay for individual activities or get a band for everything for the whole day. We have always paid for us all to do everything and the price of entry is quite expensive, however you do get to fill a whole day with non stop fun once you are in. By the time we leave, I have always felt the price was well worth the day out. Children aged 2 and above are charged full price, which I think seems a bit unfair. Our little one cannot join in with skating or skiing, but we bought a family ticket to cover everything as that seemed to be the best option. You can get a discount if you order tickets online in advance, but we generally prefer to check on the weather and how we’re feeling before committing to buying tickets.

The park is only open during school holidays so it is best to check the website before you go.

Click on the website below for more details:

Stockeldpark.co.uk

Where to Eat Fish and Chips in Seahouses

When we stayed in Northumberland last year (click to read post about Embleton, Northumberland) my Mum suggested we get fish and chips in Seahouses. She said she there was a lovely chippy and we should check it out. We all love fish and chips and one miserable, grey day we decided to head out for our lunch. So I Googled “fish and chips seahouses” and was surprised to see that there are at least three fish and chips restaurants in Seahouses. It is quite a small town so you wouldn’t expect to stumble across three of them there, but it is right by the sea and a fishing harbour.

I do like to research before making a decision about food or fun so I decided to check out the Trip Advisor reviews to see which one was rated best with the general public.

According to the Trip Advisor reviews all three were generally pretty good, with mainly positive reviews from customers. However there were some slightly negative comments (as you would expect) on each of them. What amused me was the responses to the comments from one of the restaurants. A quick check on Trip Advisor turned into a long session of me laughing out loud at the comments made on behalf of the restaurant. The restaurant is Pinnacles in Seahouses and I had spotted that the Hairy Bikers had endorsed this one, which made me think it must be pretty good.

Click on the link below to read reviews of restaurants in Seahouses:

Trip Advisor – Seahouses Restaurants

After much reading of reviews – and responses, I decided we had to go and see Pinnacles for ourselves.

Unfortunately Pinnacles was closed that day. So we went to the Neptune restaurant opposite. It is a cafe style fish and chips restaurant. We all enjoyed our fish and chips. We sat inside and the staff were really friendly and it was a really good meal. I can certainly recommend Neptune Fish restaurant for a good hearty fish and chips meal for the family.

We went on a boat tour that left from Seahouses and you can read about that by clicking on the link to Farne Islands Boat Tour.

Farne Islands Boat Trip from Seahouses, Northumberland

During our stay in Northumberland we went on a lovely boat trip over to the Farne Islands. We sailed from Seahouses with Billy Shiel’s Boat Tours and we travelled out to the Farne Islands. There were a few trips to choose from and we felt that a couple of hours would be about right with two young kids. If you have a child that struggles to sit still, then this might not be the best trip for you, but ours were pretty good.

We saw lots of seabirds, including Guillemots and Razorbills and we saw hundreds of Grey Seals. The guide was friendly and enthusiastic. He pointed out many different types of birds and he told some interesting stories along the way. Some of the seal pups had been born within the last day or two. Despite the poor photograph (apologies), we were incredibly close to hundreds of Grey Seals during the boat trip, however with a rocky boat and trying to keep hold of a couple of young kids, it was really tricky to get a decent photo. If you look closely, you will see some black animals in the water and these are the Grey Seals. Our two year old could see them clearly. She insisted they were doggies, but they are definitely Grey Seals.

The boat trips run all year round, but it is best to check the website before going to be sure. We were there in Autumn, which is the best time to see the seals, but if you would like to see the huge numbers of puffins then May, June and July is the best time to see them.

Our kids were 6 and 2. Our six year old daughter enjoyed the trip and loved seeing the wildlife, particularly the seal pups. We would like to return to see the puffins if we are there in Summer.

Our 2 year old was a little restless at times, but we could sit inside with her and we had plenty of snacks to keep her occupied. The boat did sway about a bit, at times, so we had to keep hold of the little one. There was a small toilet on board at the back of the boat, which was fine for our 6 year old.

Billy Shiel’s Boat Tours Website