Our Half term holiday to North Yorkshire.
Updated: Oct 22, 2018
As October half term was fast approaching I realised we had been too busy in the summer to even think about holidays, We decided to stay in the UK and go somewhere that means a lot to us and somewhere the boys just love being. North Yorkshire.
That night I picked up my laptop and started searching for accommodation for the week. After searching and humming and hawing we agreed on a Log Cabin five minutes drive from Pickering, I have to admit i've never actually stayed in a log cabin before and for some reason was expecting a shed like structure, cold, cramped and damp. Boy was I wrong!
After booking we decided to sit down and let the boys choose what we did on our days out and, as my boys are all history buffs, I knew that they would choose wisely. Skip forward to the night before our trip and I had so much to sort out.The oldest dog had to go to the boarding kennels (which i will review a in another post) and she doesn't travel well so taking her is just a big no no! I had to pack 7 of everything plus extra for Elliot as he is super messy especially when eating, if only you could pack a shower!
We also packed board games and bedtime bears. We chose not to take any books with us that way we could go buy more from the boys favourite book shop in Pickering. The boys left behind all tablets and video games too as we really wanted to relax, I have to admit I was really looking forward to getting away for a week and switching off for a while. It's been way too long since we had a break.
Friday finally came and we loaded up the car and off we went, I know for some people with kids, a 3 hour car journey can be horrifying but over the years we have made up games to play in the car. The one game the boys really enjoy is something called the Morrisons truck spot. They have various versions of the toy trucks and they have different pictures on the side, some have tomatoes, fish, strawberries etc and everytime they spot one of theirs they get a point. I'm not too sure why they find it so thrilling but it sure is the one game we can count on to keep they from killing each other in the back seats. We made a quick toilet stop at Sutton Bank, which i've always found a tad scary when you get stuck behind someone doing a tortoise impression and you are almost on their roof... You get some great views from the top of Sutton bank. Unfortunately I couldn't get any good pictures due to the thick fog.
Thirty minutes later we arrived at our destination and I was really shocked and very pleased that the cabin wasn't a "shed". We opted for a three bedroom which sleeps 6 people and pet friendly too. The cabin we stayed in was Sycamore Lodge farm at Cropton and we stayed in Millie's lodge but they do have another named Chloe's lodge which is just as nice ( I may have peeked through the window). Here are some picture from the beautiful Cabin.
It came with absolutely everything you could ever need to make your stay comfortable. The kitchen was well supplied with good quality utensils, mugs, glasses, cutlery etc. The info pack was well informed with everything from instructions on how to use the cooker to what day and time the local fish and chip van stops in the village. Lots of leaflets for ideas on days out including some vouchers too.
After we excitedly ran around exploring the cupboards and outside space we unloaded the car and then we took the five minute drive into Pickering to grab the necessities and some food to take back to the cabin we put it to the vote and pizza was top of the list so we grabbed some food from Bits n Pizza in Pickering. The food was ok (i'm not a huge fan of pizza). We settled down on the comfy sofa and made a list of the activities the boys wanted to do for the week and then it was time for some beauty sleep. Elliot pulled the longest straw and slept in the other "big bed" while Adam and Toby slept in the twin room which I have to say was a bad idea because they lay awake talking for hours.
We all had a good nights sleep, ready for our busy start to the week.
Eden Camp -Malton
The boys decided that the first stop would be Eden Camp, which is somewhere we have been before and you can go many times spotting something new each time. I'm pretty sure the last time we visited was when Elliot was still in a pushchair! We spent around 4 hours here but could have easily stayed longer if the playzone was open and Elliot didn't start moaning that he was bored and his legs hurt after the first few hours. Lots of reading to be done here and plenty of exhibitions to browse. We also had lunch whilst we were here which was reasonably priced and tasty.
All in all it was a great way to spend a morning .
As we only spent 4 hours here and we were leaving just after lunch, we decided to head into Pickering so the boys could choose books from Yorkshire Quality Paperbacks. We visit this book shop so many times each year and we always get some great bargains here.The boys LOVE the place and would happily buy each book if I let them! Elliot choose his 7 bedtime stories for the week and the others got some great reads too. We must have left with around 30 books and only spent £25 for the lot. I highly recommend this store to anyone passing.
After our trip to the book shop, we made our way back to the cabin and took Iris for a nice long walk through the woods round the back of the cabins. It was so pretty with the leaves starting to change colour and once we hit the end, the view was totally unexpected. You could go even further but it had been raining heavily and it was a tad slippy so we turned around and went back.
After our very nice relaxed walk we headed back to the cabin to get some food on the go. Craig loves to cook so he made us all a really scrummy curry.
For the rest of the night we snuggled up on the huge sofa and watched Harry Potter and played board games. All in all Saturday turned out to be a really perfect day. Thankfully Elliot decided he didn't want the big bed and wanted to sleep in the twin room with Toby, probably because he thought he would be able to chat most of the night away but he was in fast asleep mode by the time Toby went to bed so we all had a peaceful night's sleep. Yippie!
Dalby Forest - or so we thought.
The boys found out about some of the great trails available at the moment in Dalby Forest and were dying to get on one. I asked for advice from one of the rangers on which walk he thought would suit my family best ( Elliot little legs and Toby who has a few conditions that can cause pain in his joints which I will blog about in another post) We decided on the James and the Giant Peach trail. I don't think i have ever met a kid who didnt like Roald Dahl and as he is a favourite in our house it was a must!
Before we got to the trail we were greeted by a nice man who was showing of his falconry skills and raising a bit of cash for the R.S.P.B. He spoke to the boys in great detail about some of the birds and answered Toby's questions straight away ( he has a habit of asking every little detail about something!) They got the chance to hold a bird of choice and have a picture taken too!
Once they had done that, we set of on the hunt for James and the giant peach!
We purchased 3 James and the giant peach adventure pack which was £7.50 and i have posted a pic of the contents so you can make your own mind up if you think it's good value for money.
We headed off on the trail which started with quite a steep hill I wondered if the ranger may have given us the wrong directions, but once we spotted a woman with her child going round the opposite way we doubled back in case we missed something. Luckily we hadn't so we turned around and went back to the start but as we were walking i felt a sharp pain hit my ankle and a shooting sting kind of pain go up my leg. I reached down way too scared to look and grabbed something that was on my leg and threw it, I now realise that was a stupid thing to do but I honestly was terrified I would see a spider or snake or something sucking on my leg!! I thought I was ok so we carried on walking. I started to feel a little light headed and my leg was now so painful to walk on so Craig made us go back to the rangers office and he had a quick look but just advised me to head to A+E, which was a good idea as I suffer from Anaphylaxis and carry an Epipen for stings .Other than the pain in my leg I was feeling ok so my pen wasn't needed, but I still headed to the hospital just to be safe. Luckily I was fine but i felt really bad that I had to take the boys away to spend the morning sitting in the hospital and I know it wasn't my fault but it did feel like that at the time. We had already grabbed lunch to take with us from Pickering so we ate lunch and headed into Scarborough after the amazing staff from Scarborough A+E, who were all so helpful and also rushed off their feet.
Unfortunately I only managed to take a few pictures on the trail. I hope one day i can bring myself to go walking again in Dalby Forest, but I think the boys are a little bit nervy of the place now too.
We arrived in Scarborough quite late in the day, I think it was around 3pm and took the boys to the North Bay Railway, On the way we bumped into a lovely family who had just been on the train and offered us there family tickets to ride all day as they were finished I thought this was a lovely thing to do and of course I asked them if they wanted something for the tickets but they refused, so we got a free journey on the train! I can just about remember riding when I was a child with my grandparents and Craig did with his too, so it was nice to take the boys down memory lane.
We then took a stroll through Peasholm Park, and came across some rather friendly squirrels.
Unfortunately it was too late to take a boat ride so we just walked around the park, which I have to say is super clean and tidy! We then headed back up to Pickering because the boys were dying to try the Cantonese restaurant, so that's where we ended up next. The food was Delicious! I think it is on the top of the list for the nicest I have tried and the the portions were huge! We did order quite a lot of food and it came to around £115.
Then it was back to the cabin so I could finally put my foot up and play board games with the boys for an hour.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
A big favourite of the boys and for Craig too. Craig spent many days with his family when he was a child riding the steam trains and exploring. I actually don't mind trains. I find it fascinating how they work, especially the older ones. We paid for the Pickering to Grosmont family + extra child to ride up and down all day. First stop was Goathland. We explored the shops and then hopped back onto the train to Grosmont, where the boys had a wander around the engine sheds and watched the filming for the new tv series for channel 5. (I hope i'm not on it!)
Quick pop in the shop so Toby could eye up some badges, ( he collects them ) and then we headed back to the station. Unfortunately the Steam engine had failed so we had to jump onto the diesel engine which was fine as it was a nice engine. We decided as no more Steam engines were going to pull we would just go back to Pickering. We upgraded to First Class this time which was an extra £4 per person, but the inspector only charged us for the adults so £8 (we put the extra in the donations box).
(see my review to find out what made me angry when we stopped at the ticket office)
We thought we would take the chance to go and look around Beck Isle museum, but for some reason it was closed when it should have been open. Instead we went to see what bargains we could find in the "Hidden" Market, which I absolutely love by the way and they have the most amazing selection of womens scarves. I do admit I have quite a few now but I do wear them all!! Almost. Elliot was delighted that he found some Mr Men books as the book shop had sold out. Toby got himself two collectable cars and Adam didn't get anything as he likes to save his money ( He still has birthday money from years ago in his tin!)
After that it was still too early for tea, so I took the opportunity to visit one of my favourite places at this time of the year... The pumpkin farm. I was in pumpkin heaven at The Whole Hogg not too far from Pickering, this year they had it set it all up differently. You had to walk down the walkway they created with small pumpkins into the large field, full of beautiful orange boulders.
We headed back up to Pickering to grab some food from Potters Mill fish and chips, as we have had food from here before and it was nice. We had a feast. There was so much food to go around and the onion rings were delicious. Fish and chips x2, fish bits with chips x3, and 2 portions of onions rings that I simply couldn't get enough of, which came to around £33.
We then broke out the Jumanji board game and then coloured some pictures with Elliot.
Today was the day the boys were really really excited because Flamingo Land is flipping exciting! We currently live in Scotland and the school holidays are slightly different to those in England, so we were lucky to almost have the place to ourselves. The boys had a light breakfast because the last time we were here they threw up on the pirate ship one after the other and I certainly didn't want a repeat of that again, so this was for the best. The first stop was one of Elliot's favourite rides which is called Zoom! Which is a suspended plane ride that makes a swooping sensation, and he just loves it. He went on this 4 times throughout the day!
Check out my Flamingo Land review to find out which rides we went on, and what we thought about them.
After the pirate ship, several times, we headed for Zanzibar burger and ice bar, which we found to be quite good value for money at around £5 for a child's burger, fries and juice, although the juice went into my backpack because the boys had a slush for a treat. They then had Ice cream which was so scrummy and the portions were pretty big too. After lunch we headed up to the zoo. I'm not a huge fan of zoos, but I have to say I think the zoo here is fantastic. The animals are well looked after, the keepers are all knowledgeable and will answer your questions, and the enclosures are more than big enough. I really adore big cats but again failed to see the lions. After all of the times we have been here I dont think I have ever seen them. Do they even still have them? I did however get an amazing picture of one of the tigers which seemed very photogenic, or it was eyeing up the jump across to have a munch on me and my family... After wandering around the rest of the zoo and Craig and the boys having a race around FL1, it got to around 4:50 and as the park closed at 5pm we headed around to the Splash Battle ride so the boys could get a good soaking, which would have been fine if silly mum had remembered to pack extra clothes! Whoops! Off I ran to the shop to buy t-shirts. We were starving by this point so headed along to the Coach Inn for some tea, however upon entering a horrific stench of toilet hit us so we decided to leave because we couldn't eat with that smell in the air.
On our way out the Pirates of Zanzibar show was taking place and it was blooming fantastic! The all dancing all singing pirates get the crowd up and joining in the kids seem to love it.
Then they stand on each others head and get into strange contortions. When the Pirates had finished the show we went back to the car and thought about tea (seems like its all we think about ha!)
We voted for a pub close to the cabin called The Buck Inn. A nice little old fashioned, homely pub. We were welcomed in straight away and seated. We ordered 3 hunters chickens which came with a mountain of salad and chips and sausage mash and peas x 2, which must have been tasty as the boys ate it all. We decided to try some of the puddings on the specials board, so we ordered waffles with ice cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce x 2, apple and blackberry pie with custard x 2 and a syrup cake with custard. The food was absolutely delicious and we will be back at some point in the future. This plus 10 Glasses of Pepsi came to a reasonable £97.75. We then rolled ourselves back to the cabin to relax and let our bellies deflate.
The boys wanted to do a number of things in York so we made a day out of it and our first stop was Jorvik - Viking Centre.
We have been to Jorvik in the past and enjoyed it, but this time was slightly different as all three boys now own all of the Blue Peter badges you can get (except the gold, they haven't saved anyone's life yet) It was the first time visiting since they renovated the museum after it flooded a few years ago. The boys sat in the front three seats of the ride and thoroughly enjoyed it, or most of it except some of smells which were horrid!
After the ride, you are taken to the museum part of the experience, which we always take our time in no matter what museum we visit. I've never understood people who pay to get in then do an impression of the Flash and complain that they were only in it for 5 minutes. Anyway, we had a good look at the viking goodies on display and I have to say, one of the staff members who was walking around was amazing with the boys and gave them a mini history lesson on a viking poo they found outside of the bank.
Pictures were taken from the Jorvik Facebook page as for some reason I didn't actually get any!! :(
Next up on our York fun trip
The Castle Museum
We have been here quite a few times. By the time we got here it was almost lunch time so we grabbed sandwiches from the Cafe which I have to say were awful and so overpriced. We had a nice slow walk around the museum looking at the exhibitions which were really interesting and we all thoroughly enjoyed The 1914 - When the world changed forever exhibitions. I thought it was really in depth and the boys thought so too, although it was quite warm. We quickly scurried through the Vivienne Westwood shoe collection because, let's face it, what young boy wants to look at them!! (Words out of Adams mouth).We then made our way to Kirkgate the Victorian Street, and wandered around the shops, some of which you can go into. We took a seat in the Cocoa room and listened to a story from one of the staff members. We then took a stroll down poverty street alley which is new and really detailed. When we were finished we decided to take a walk around the Shambles market, which isn't as good as it used to be with repeated stalls of knitted hats and vegetables. Some of the shops are amazing but why on earth are there 3 Harry Potter shops next door to each other selling the same things. This made me angry because Elliot wanted to go in all of them.
I have always been amazed by this fantastic building. It's huge and so much detail to gaze at. We went inside. You do have to pay to go in now but it's not too expensive, so we didn't mind. We walked around slowly. Looking up at the amazingly high ceilings and the boys were on the hunt for the hidden dragons one of the staff members mentioned. We just sat for a while taking in the quiet.
Craig had always wanted try a restaurant he spotted on the way into York called Jinnah. It was very pretty inside and we had really high expectations. We were seated right at the far end of the restaurant with good views and then we were offered the Buffet or a la carte menu. We chose the Buffet because our kids can eat and eat and eat. The waiter brought out an appetiser selection, but we had no idea what they were as they didn't tell us, even when we asked he just said it's nice....Then came 5 Huge poppadoms followed by the starter which was a big plate of meaty things. Again no idea what it was. We were then told we could go over to the Buffet and get as much as we wanted. We got one plate each and then left because it was such a disappointment. The curries looked like they had been in the pot all weekend, and tasted of nothing. So we paid £68.60 and cut our losses. We were extremely tired by this point so we just wanted to relax and headed back to the cabin to unwind and just read stories together until sleepy time.
Thursday Our Last Full day :(
Today was our last full day on our holiday. So we put it to the vote
Scarborough or York. Again to do some of the other things the boys love.
The votes were in and we set off for York
Yorkshire Air Museum
This is our second time visiting.
The boys, especially Adam, have always shown a great interest in our history. So many amazing planes,great displays. You can start anywhere you like and work your way around the place and if you read absolutely everything and look at everything you can easily spend a full day here. My favourite part of the whole museum is the "Against the odds" and the "Pioneers of aviation" exhibitions. Some of the planes are open so you can go inside and look around a "Live" plane that is ready to be used if needed and i don't why I just find the Nimrod absolutely fascinating. It's such a smart plane and it is absolutely huge. I spotted a man with a zimmer frame struggling to open the doors and I hurried along to help they guy out which led to a conversation sparking up and him telling me all about his experience with the air raids and his younger years. He seemed like such an interesting chap! He thanked me again and then off he went. We had already treated ourselves to an all you can eat breakfast at the local breakfast at the Toby Carvery, so we didn't bother with lunch and instead went into the cafe for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. The cake was the only disappointing part as it was very dry. I just love this place and i know we will be back so many times over the years to come.
After a great morning spent gazing around the Aircraft museum, I just knew what the boys had chosen next was one of the favourites on the list and just a typical boy thing to do too..
The Railway Museum
Craig has spent many years of his childhood visiting here, so it was a given when we had kids. I must admit the first time we did visit was when Adam was one year old and I thought it was going to be boring because I had never been before but I was wrong! I love this place just as much there is so much history all under one roof and kids always have lots to do here.
Craigs favourite is Mallard but I think I really like Queen Victoria's carriage. It's so elegant and full of the "best". The only issue I have with this place is the cafe they charged £5 for two small bottles of Coke and this is just ridiculous. We spent the rest of our day here and wandered around both buildings in and out of the trains and outside in the work sheds. This time they had the miniature steam railways running, so we jumped on for £13 for the 5 of us and we went around a few times. The driver then offered the boys the chance to sit in the driver's seat for a picture.
We grabbed some food from Pizza hut. Then I wanted to get back to the cabin so we could have one last wander around outside and then start packing, so we could just get up, clean up, and go home.
It was a really great week and it was much needed. I have already booked a week in 2019 in the cabin because we loved it so much.
Where are your favourite places to go in North Yorkshire? We need ideas for 2019!!
Even Iris was waiting at the door to get home to her cosy bed.