Mumbler Reviews York

Days Out Reviews

Real parent reviews of days out with kids in York

Strawberry Picking, PYO at Spilmans: A Mumbler Review

Summer has well and truly started for us! We went along to Spilman’s Farm to pick our own strawberries last week. Find out how much fun and see how many strawberries we picked in our review.

We’ve been to Spilmans for the Pumpkin Festival but this was our first time for PYO. It was an absolutely gorgeous day weather-wise and we went straight from school.

Enjoy visiting a working farm

The girls were super excited! It’s so good to be doing things again and was great to be outdoors after they’d been in at school all day. How is it that kids have a bundle of energy when you pick them up from school?!? We arrived around 4pm and it felt instantly chilled out. It’s a real working farm at Spilmans and that authenticity comes through in spades. Having said that, it was superbly organised and really easy to pre-book your slot.

Book in advance

The format is that you book a ticket online before going (£10 per car) which is then used as a credit to spend anywhere on the farm. You need to make sure you arrive within your designated hour slot and last entry to the PYO fields.

🍓 There are multiple time slots per day and dates are released a week in advance
🍓 There is a booking fee of £1.50
🍓 Allow 15 minutes to park and enter the fields.
🍓 On arrival follow signs directing you to the strawberry fields.
🍓 You will receive an order confirmation email as proof of your ticket entry which is a £10 credit to spend anywhere on the farm during your visit (the PYO Fruit Shop, our Farmshop or the Take Out kiosks). Have this ready on arrival so it can be scanned.
🍓 You can pre-book Pick You Own at Spilmans here.

More than just strawberry picking 🍓

The soft fruits at Spilmans are grown uncovered in the fresh air and ripen naturally in the sunshine. The farm is spread across 15 acres, there is plenty of space for everyone.

At Spilmans they grow strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries, potatoes and sunflowers that are ready to pick from June – September at various different times. Check out the Spilmans website to see what’s available for picking when you plan to visit and to pre-book your entrance.

As you can see from the photos there were LOADS of strawberries when we went, so the girls had a brilliant time picking them. Plus we really enjoyed eating them once we’d washed them when we got home.

Enjoy an ice cream or snack

When we’d finished strawberry picking as it was such a lovely day, we needed to cool down so what better way than ice cream! There is a great selection of delicious Yorvale ice cream flavours available, plus snacks and hot and cold drinks.

Kids Zone: 3 & 4 July 2021

If strawberry picking and ice cream wasn’t enough fun, a Kids Zone is coming to Splimans for selected dates during the PYO season, so you can have a full day out!

The Kids Fun Zone offers 2 hours: Unlimited Rides, Bouncy Castles, Crazy Golf, Giant Slides, Garden Games and much more for children. It is £8.99 per session per child and adults charged at 50p (booking fees also apply). Find out more information, dates and book tickets here.

Useful informationSpilman's Farm Strawberry Picking

📍 Spilmans, Church Farm, Sessay, Thirsk, YO7 3NB

🚗  Driving distance from York: Approximately 20 miles/40-minute drive

⏰  Wednesday – Friday 10am-4pm, late night Thursday til 6pm, Saturday & Sunday  9am -4pm

🛒 The small farm shop sells fresh seasonal produce, eggs, milk, cheese, meat, freshly baked cakes and much more! Open Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm.

☕️ A takeaway kiosk is located in the farm shop building and is open for take-out hot & cold drinks, sweet treats, snacks and ice creams.

🧺 A picnic spot is available

🚻 There are toilets available for customers with baby change facilities

🗺 A map of the farm is available to download here


Disclaimer: York Mumbler was invited to Spilmans for an honest review. No amount of strawberries and ice cream would ever be enough for us to write a dishonest review, therefore this review contains our honest views and opinions and we would only recommend something we genuinely enjoyed.

All prices and details correct at time of publication (June 2021). 


Rainbows Ceramics: A Mumbler Review June 2021

Mumbler, Jenny, went to capture a memory of her new daughters tiny hands at Rainbows Ceramics last week . See what she thought to it all here…

Rainbows CeramicsIt was a real treat to finally be able to go out last week and we took the opportunity to visit Rainbows Ceramics on Bootham. 

I visited with my 5 week old baby and my 2.5 year old daughter, along with my mother-in-law for an extra pair of hands. 

Arriving

On our entry to Rainbows we were shown to a table straight away. This is usually the case, but in busy periods you may have to wait a few minutes or pop back (they’ll tell you roughly when they expect to have space). Bookings are currently only taken for groups of 6+. We were provided a booster seat and an apron for my toddler which were both much appreciated. We were given a brief introduction and then we were sent off to choose our items to decorate.

There is a real variety of items available to decorate which start from £10; my daughter chose to paint an ornamental squirrel for Father’s Day (he’s going to be thrilled!); my mother in law painted a plant pot and I occupied myself with a tile with my baby’s footprints on, and a Christmas bauble along the same theme (I was very impressed that they had these available in May). 

Painting

Once we had chosen our items to decorate, we were given a talk explaining all the information we needed to know, including the different painting techniques, how to practice and make things neat and what to do if we made a mistake (as a not particularly artistic person, I was relieved to be told that errors can be sorted by the staff). We were also shown about the changes in paint colour once an item is fired. This information is, as I rapidly discovered, important to explain to children as my toddler was initially a bit cross that the colours she was painting were all a bit pastel/dull compared to the ones she could see on the example wall.

There are lots of examples of beautifully painted products around for inspiration and  also “stamps” that you can paint and then print onto your item for the less artistically minded of us. There are a couple of bits of painting that the staff will do for you; for example baby/toddler hand and foot prints. This was a huge relief as I had no idea how to get a squirmy baby to remain still enough to place his foot carefully onto a tile, let alone a bauble! They paint the baby’s hand/foot (depending on age/size) and then carefully place it so it prints onto your chosen item, before wiping the paint off the child with a wipe and then allowing you to decorate the rest of the item.

TOP TIP : If you have a young baby I’d recommend timing your visit to coincide with either a feed (if that leaves them chilled out afterwards) or so they’re ready for a nap so they allow you some hands free time to work on your artwork! 

For a small fee (and depending upon how busy the staff are), they will also draw an outline/template on your item for you to paint over or even paint the more difficult aspects of your design. They do, however, encourage you to do your own painting as it adds to the experience. 

I found it surprisingly relaxing to paint my items, with the quiet atmosphere and rare silence from my toddler and a napping baby it was easy to get lost in my artwork. All in all it was a very calm visit; be careful as you may want to spend longer there than you initially think, so consider that when paying for your car parking! 

Facilities

In terms of practicalities, there is access to a toilet and they also have a baby changing table in there. The shop is not huge but there is room for a few prams even with tables spread out to meet Covid restrictions; however I’d recommend using carriers where possible, especially if you go in a group. 

Rainbows also offer the chance to purchase a selection of hot and cold drinks and a small range of snacks/treats while you paint. Once you have finished painting, you leave your items there to be glazed and fired and collect them a week later. Alternatively you can paint with acrylics and take your items home immediately – ideal for any visitors to the city. 

Our Works of Art! 

A week later I picked up our items which have now been glazed and fired and I’m thrilled with how good they look. My toddler is extremely proud of her squirrel and the finish on both the tile and the bauble is excellent- you can see every detail of my baby’s footprints and they will be treasured mementos for a lifetime. 

Overall, our visit and the whole experience with Rainbows Ceramics was fantastic. It was an activity which was suitable for all ages and abilities and a surprisingly relaxing morning for me with a toddler and a newborn in tow. We will definitely be back! 


Askham Bryan wildlife park: Mumbler Review May 2021

It was lovely to be able to go back to Askham Bryan wildlife park now that it has reopened after lockdown.

I visited with my partner & my 8 & 7 year old daughters. As arrival times have to be pre-booked, this ensures that it is not busy. Face masks need to be worn in the entrance & hand sanitiser is available. A one way system has been put in place to ensure social distancing can be maintained.

Indoor animals

We had lots of fun looking at the reptiles, fish & nocturnal animals. New lizards have arrived during lockdown which we were excited to see. The girls always enjoy watching the terrapins swimming & sunbathing on the rocks. We loved seeing the armadillos & chinchilla’s too.

Outdoor animals

We loved going to see the meerkats as soon as we got outside, as well as the lemurs, monkeys, racoon dogs, porcupines, goats, giant tortoises, alpacas & birds just to name a few! The tiny monkeys were our favourites & are not to be missed. All of the animals are happy in their spacious enclosures & are clearly well looked after in the wildlife park. They all seem to enjoy eating their fresh fruit & vegetables & seem to enjoy having the visitors back.

The wildlife park also offers an amazing display of flowers, plants & rare species of trees to look at. We took part in a competition to take a photograph of a flower, plant or tree & upload it onto the Askham Bryan wildlife park Facebook page.

Playground

We enjoyed playing in the playground which is fully open. As the playground is spacious, it is easy to socially distance from others. The playground offers various sized play equipment including swings, slides, tunnels, climbing frames, basket swing & an assault course & so is suitable for all ages, from babies right up to older children. My girls particularly love the assault course & climbing equipment.

Bear family

Make sure you visit the the wooden bear sculptures which are great for a photo opportunity!

Word trail

Seven letters are hidden around the wildlife park to found. These spell out a mystery word when unscrambled. If you can work out the mystery word, children can choose a sticker on leaving the wildlife park.

 

Gift shop

The gift shop is open & is situated in the entrance to the wildlife park.

Cafe

The cafe is currently open for takeaway food & drinks. This is located in a separate building accessible from the car park.

Picnic tables

Picnic tables & benches are situated around the wildlife park & in the playground. There are plenty of picnic tables & so it is never difficult to find one.

Wildlife talks/handling sessions

These are currently not available due to covid restrictions.

Opening times

Opening times are 10am-5pm but tickets must be pre-booked on the website with an arrival time. Once you are in the wildlife park, you can stay there for as long as you like.

The wildlife park is open on weekends, during school holidays & on bank holidays.

Prices

Adult

£6.95

Concession

£5.95

Child (3-15)

£5.95

Child (2 and Under)

Free

Family (2 Adults, 2 Children)

£22.50

 Season tickets are also available:

Adult 

£20

Concession 

£17

Child (3-15) 

£17

Child (2 and Under) 

Free

Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) 

£65

As we love Askham Bryan wildlife park, we have a season ticket which offers great value for money. I would highly recommenced a visit if you haven’t been!

Toilets

The toilet facilities are open as usual. They are situated in the entrance to the wildlife park.

Useful links

https://abcwildlifepark.co.uk/


The York Dungeon Walking tour – A Mumbler review April 2021

The York Dungeon Walking tour – a new and covid safe concept for York. Advertised as family friendly and fun for all ages it didn’t disappoint.

We met outside the Dungeons just before our designated tour time of 12 noon and were greeted by a friendly member of staff who checked tickets and gathered everyone up to provide information relating to the tour. Masks were not essential but were advised in busy areas, to keep to the paths where possible etc. 

There were 12 of us in total on the tour ranging in age, however my 5 year old was the youngest. Also in tow was my 15 year old teenager. The walking tour is all outdoors so sensible shoes are recommended along with a coat if it’s a little chilly. We were lucky that the sun was shining and spirits were high as we were introduced to the Black Jester and Smedley who burst out of the door in full character and confidence, full of laughs and banter that captivated us immediately.
 
We began our tour without delay and headed off towards the river Ouse where we took a quick lesson on the history of the Ouse Bridge. As we gathered around, we were reminded of social distancing and to keep within our own family pods.
It quickly became apparent that the Black Jester was the sensible one bringing mystery and intrigue to the tales of York’s colourful history. Smedley on the otherhand bought the fun and slapstick comedy to the tour and together they fired off tales and facts about York that captured everyone’s attention regardless of age.
We followed the Black Jester, all the time visible by the placard he held up, to the next stop in the tour, with the group being herded up by Smedley. Both were interacting with members of the tour and also with heckles from passers-by that did result in some quick witted humorous moments.
The next stop was St George’s field where we learnt all about York’s gruesome past in public hangings which included a graphic description of the effects a hanging has on the body. This could be deemed quite gruesome for some younger children so discretion is advised.
We followed the Jester across the road to Clifford’s Tower and learnt how to cross the road as a group safely – “look left, look right, don’t be an idiot!” was the mantra that towards the end of the tour we all joined in with at every opportunity!
At Clifford’s tower we learnt about the long and tragic past that it held which unfortunately was slightly spoilt by the fact that we couldn’t see the tower in its full glory – due to maintenance work on the building it was covered in scaffolding and hidden by huge boards. Nonetheless this wasn’t the fault of the tour operators and didn’t ruin it in any way.
After a short stroll across the green, we learnt about York Crown Court and found out about the fate of Dick Turpin, one of York’s most infamous villains. The re-enactment of his public hanging and the loss of his bodily functions could again be a little gruesome for some younger children but my 5 year old didn’t seem to be deterred – Smedley kindly described it as “he basically pooed and weed himself!”…..
We walked onwards and were shown where Dick Turpin was reportedly taken after his death before heading on to the top of Parliament Street where we learnt about the gruesome era of the Vikings, most especially in terms of the death of King Aella. If you’ve watched the Netflix series ‘The Vikings’ you will already be familiar with the gory scene of the Blood Eagle and we weren’t spared any of the torture and bloody details in this tour. Interestingly my son has been learning all about the Vikings at school and knew about the Viking God Odin and the great halls of Valhalla where the vikings would go after death. Smedley did disguise this in an innuendo that went totally over my youngest’s head but raised a chuckle from the grown ups.
Onwards we went to learn about the fate of Margaret Clitheroe – as a York girl born and bred I was aware of her tale, however did not know that one of her hands remains in York in the Bar Convent. You learn something knew every day!
We walked down The Shambles in two covid safe groups and merged at The Minster where we found out about Constantine the Great before heading off to the church of Michael le Belfry and the place of Guy Fawkes baptism. This is where the tour ended and the group dispersed.

In all the tour took around an hour and I gauged that everyone enjoyed it and learnt something knew. We overheard that this was only the second weekend of operating the tour and I would certainly recommend it for children (and adults!) that want the history but not the frights and screams that go with the York Dungeons themselves….

Adults £6.50
Children  (5-15) £5.50

To book online, please click here.


Piglets Adventure Farm – A Mumbler Review – April 2021

Sarah & her daughter Lillan, age 1, visited Piglets for the first time since it re-opened this year. See what they thought below…

As soon as I heard that Piglets was reopening I knew I had to grab some tickets when they were released so I could finally take my 1 year old daughter Lilian! She absolutely loves animals but during lockdown has had to make to with looking at dogs and pigeons on our daily walks so I knew she’d love a real farm – with added fun! 

I’ve been a regular visitor to Piglets since my now 5 year old was small and we love it there!  Obviously with the current COVID rules, there were some changes this time round. Firstly, you need to prebook online and there’s only a limited number of people allowed each day to aid with social distancing. Then of course, all the indoor areas are currently shut inline with current guidelines. This includes the cafe and small soft play, and the play baaarn (and therefore no tractor rides to the barn either). However even with these areas shut there is more than enough to do as luckily the majority of Piglets is outside!

We were blessed with a sunny day, and arrived within our allocated time slot (to avoid queues when entering) and headed straight to the Farmyard Trail. The only change here is that there’s a one way system to walk around the animal area. You need to pop a mask on when you walk inside the covered area where the guinea pigs, goats and piglets etc are, and there’s no animal petting sessions at the moment. As usual there are hand washing facilities to use on exiting this area.

Once we’d looked round the animals and had a quick play on the fantastic playground equipment, we decided to get some food. There were two outdoor kiosks open for purchasing food, which included toasties, pizzas, ice creams, hot and cold drinks and various snacks. I decided to treat us to a pizza as they always look so tempting and it was delicious! There was plenty of picnic tables around to use, as well as a couple of covered areas for eating as well if the weather wasn’t so good. You’re welcome to bring your own picnic!

After lunch we had another explore of the play equipment. As well as the lovely little playground areas, the bouncy pillows, sand pit and ride-on tractors were all available, with signs reminding people of how many children/families could be in each area. The fairy trail was closed for maintenance when we were there.

We then headed to my favourite part – the beach! It was all still open as usual and you are still able to hire a beach hut for the day for an extra cost too. The water play was up and running and buckets and spades were available in the sand (I know other places have removed them). Me and my little girl had fun making a boat out of sand ….. well, mainly I had fun doing it!

We spent nearly 4 hours at Piglets but would have happily stayed longer if I didn’t have a tired baby on my hands! The gift shop is also open which I was happy about because I love their selection of toys, and treated Lilian to a little tractor, as it’s one of her favourite words at the moment. We ended our visit like always – with a climb on the old tractor that sits just outside the entrance. It felt so good to be back, and I would definitely return again even with some of the areas still being closed as I think there’s still so much to keep little ones amused, and tickets are so reasonably priced during the week!

For More information about Piglets see our listing HERE


Hello, I’m Sarah and I’m a mum of two – Teddy who is 5 and in reception, and Lilian who is 1.

I’ve lived in York all my life and absolutely love living here.

We love going on family friendly trips out in York and beyond.

You can see more of our day to day adventures over on our Instagram page


Peter Rabbit Activity Trail at Beningbrough Hall: A Mumbler review December 2020

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Jane

York Mumbler Jane and her 7-year-old daughter visited Beningbrough Hall to complete the Peter Rabbit Activity Trail last weekend. Find out what they thought about it in their review. 

Beningbrough Hall is a hosting Peter Rabbit Activity Trail around its gardens. A goody bag is only £2 per child (card payments only) whilst stocks last. You get an activity sheet, pencil, certificate, badge and play pack.

The trail has been created in partnership with Penguin Random House UK and their support helps the National Trust continue to look after Beatix Potter’s legacy in the Lake District.

A fun trail for all ages

We had great fun on this trail around the gardens and grounds of Beningbrough all which is suitable for children of all ages. My daughter is 7 and had really enjoyed it. There were 10 characters to find, and additional questions to find out the answers to from reading the boards. Plus a little fun activity, like ‘hop to the next board’ was included on each sign. We also saw plenty of toddlers really enjoying looking for the clues whilst jumping in muddy puddles, so it works well across the age ranges.

The Beatrix Potter characters are nicely spread out throughout the grounds but also fairly easy to discover – we have done a couple of National Trust trails where we walked around A LOT trying to find everything, so on a chilly winter day I was quite thankful not to have to walk around in circles for 3 hours! 😂

The completed trail!

There is a nice touch at the end where you can take your photo to congratulate yourself for finishing the trail!  Or in my daughter’s case, an opportunity to pose! The pack is really great too and who doesn’t love a badge!Peter Rabbit Activity Trail at Beningbrough Hal

Useful links & information

  • You must pre-book Beningbrough Hall, even if you are a member to avoid disappointment
  • The first floor of the hall, play area, toilets and cafe are open
  • Opening times: 10am – 3.30pm Saturday and Sunday plus Monday 28 December and Friday 1 January 2021
  • Find out more information here
  • Given the time of year, wellies or walking boots are recommended!

Piglets Summer 2020 – A Mumbler Review

Mumbler, Fiona, visited Piglets since it re-opened – see what she thought here… 
We are huge fans of Piglets in this mumbler family so were chuffed to be back visiting the adventure farm this week. If you wish to visit this Summer you will need to prebook. The website is easy to navigate and you can book e-tickets in advance which you scan contactless on arrival. Members will also need to prebook slots and places are released on a weekly basis. There are timed entry slots to the venue to allow for social distancing and we received a very warm welcome on arrival with an explanation of the changes that have been made inside.

Covid Adaptations

We eagerly followed the pink trotters spacer markings on the floor leading us to the separate entrance and exit to begin our adventure! Piglets have done a fabulous job of adapting the venue. There are plenty of foot operated hand sanitizers dotted about, covid awareness signage is abundant and equipment is regularly sanitised by staff – They are easy to spot cleaning in their bright pink tabbards. Marquees and tunnels have been erected to provide cover from the elements when queuing.

Food & Drinks

The infamous “piggy pizza” is still available as well as the usual ice creams and hot/ cold drinks but the cafe is closed so there no other food options available. Payment is by contactless card only. There is an abundance of picnic tables very well spread out if you are needing to eat and want to bring your own food. We didn’t see a single wasp which was a bonus! Toilets are open but operating at reduced capacity.

The Attractions

We had a fab time visiting the animals, the updated fairy trail and the beach area where you can still hire a hut for the day. The maze has had a covid revamp and is now one way. It has a “follow the rainbow” scavenger hunt and “spot the animals” for little ones. It was very well thought out and social distancing was possible. Piglets have really tried to keep as much of the park open as possible. My mini mumbler even got me jumping on the bouncy pillows!
Prepare your little ones if they have been before as the popular play barn, piggy barrel rides, petting area and tractor rides are closed. We did miss these attractions but had a great time nonetheless.
A reminder if it’s been raining or the ground is wet to bring wellies and if you plan on spending time in the beach area a change of clothes, splash/swim suit and/or towel is highly recommended. There is no facility to wash after playing in the sand so you may end up bringing a fair bit home in your car like we did.
Visitor numbers are limited and there is plenty of space to socially distance. The attractions have been set up for this and it is visitors responsibility to adhere to the guidelines. We actually went twice this week, once on a cold drizzly day and once when it was super hot. It definitely felt busier on the hot day and attractions such as “the beach” were understandably more in demand so did feel a little crowded at times.
Overall we had a great time and felt very safe during our visit. We shall be back!

Piglets Adventure Farm is only 15mins from the centre of York on Towthorpe Moor Lane, between Strensall Road and the A64, North of York. For Sat Navs use YO32 9ST.

01904 499700
info@pigletsadventurefarm.com
pigletsadventurefarm.com/

More Details HERE


Stockeld Park: A Mumbler Review

Our sister site Hull Mumbler visited Stockeld Park for the first time recently and below is her review to explain their excellent safety measures and how much fun they had!

Today we had a family day out to Stockeld Park near Wetherby, our first time visiting. I’ve heard so many good things about it and it’s been on our ‘to do’ list for ages so we finally went – and realised why everyone raves about it!

The first thing to say is a massive thumbs up to all the staff at Stockeld for doing such a good job of the re-opening after lockdown. It was incredibly clean. There were not just lots of hand sanitisers but also full hand wash stations with soap and water available throughout the park and next to play areas, all were fully stocked with soap and sanitiser and I felt our hands were super clean all the time. The staff were regularly closing play area sections to fully disinfect them and all staff were in masks and aprons. Out of all the places we have visited since lockdown was eased this is the place I have felt safest and that has put the most effort in to keeping the attraction fully sanitised. It’s advance tickets only so it wasn’t too busy, there is a one way system to follow and most people were being great at keeping distance and keeping their children a safe distance from others. Even for lunch you just scan a QR code to see the menu then order at the kiosk so you don’t need to touch menus! Every detail seemed to have been thought out and planned.

We arrived at 10am (in the rain!) and headed off to explore, starting in the first play area and on the go-karts, my son’s favourite thing of the day.

Then we entered the Forbidden Forest and tried out all of the various play areas. I loved the surprise of not knowing what you were going to find next; we found a lot of awesome play areas and things to spot!

After a full circuit around the forest we headed back to the main entrance area for lunch. The car park was right next to the entrance and handy to nip back to the car for our picnic bag and to dump the wet weather jackets as the sun had come out. There were lots of benches, all spaced out, or you could put your rug down on the grass. With a few black clouds still looming we chose a bench under cover but with open sides and felt very safe sitting there. We got coffees (very good coffee, I am a snob about coffee when we go out!) and ice creams from the kiosk afterwards. Then we went back to the main field area to try the bouncy pillow, bouncy slide and bouncy assault course which had all been dried and cleaned down.

We then went back through the forest for a second time to visit the play areas that had been closed for cleaning on our first trip through and to re-visit favourite sections. With one last go on the go-karts it was somehow 4.30pm and the day had flown by! We headed home and it took around an hour to drive back to Hull.

Overall I thought it was a fantastic day out. There were play areas ideal for all ages and both of my children (age 6 and 9) really enjoyed it. I really was very impressed by the level of cleanliness and the measures in place for covid19. If you are still a little anxious about days out then this is an ideal place to start. There were lots of staff making sure everyone was going the correct way and making sure people were safe, even the toilets were staffed and they told you when you could enter safely.

We are definitely going to be back again soon!

Please note info from Stockeld for Summer 2020: Some facilities such as indoor play, the maze, boats and skate won’t be available, as we are unable to safely open these activities while adhering to social distancing measures. This is reflected in the reduced ticket price for the Summer Adventure. The indoor cafe will be closed but there will be outside catering (contactless payment only) and toilets. Pre-booking of tickets required.


Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton – A Mumbler Review

Local Mumbler, Dawn, Went along to Murton Park so read here how she found it in the post lockdown world…

It was great to get back to the Yorkshire Museum of Farming again now that it has re-opened. On arrival the new coronavirus measures that have been put in place were explained to us. Hand sanitiser was available in the entrance & the test & trace system has been put in place. Staff are wearing PPE equipment. We arrived at 10am when it opened (on a week day) & were the first group of people to enter the museum.

The Museum

The museum building has just re-opened & a one way system has been put in place & hand sanitiser is available in the entrance to the building. You can walk around the downstairs of the building to see the various tractors & farming equipment & then you need to exit out of the door at the back. To access the war memorabilia displays upstairs, you need to re-enter the building through the main door & then go up the stairs. It is not possible to access the stairs without exiting & re-entering the building due to the one way system that is currently in place. The museum was really quiet & we had the luxury of having the place to ourselves & it felt extremely safe. The only section that remains closed is the small soft play area.

Viking & Roman villages

The Viking & Roman villages are open as usual. We had lots of fun exploring in the houses, buildings & seeing the Viking longboat. Again we had the whole of the villages to ourselves and so we did not feel at all rushed when exploring in the villages.

Farm animals, Fairies & trolls

We loved going to see the animals! We were able to stroke the very friendly sheep & see the rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks & various breeds of hens. They all seemed happy to see visitors again!

We enjoyed looking for fairies & spotting the various fairy doors that have been decorated. We also looked for trolls when crossing the bridge!

Playground

The playground area is open as usual but entry is only through a small section close to where the animals are located. Hand sanitiser is available in the entrance & only one child/family group is permitted to use each piece of play equipment at a time. This seemed the most popular & well used part of the museum. The children had so much fun playing in the sand pit & playing on the climbing equipment, swings, slides & in the play house. The ride on tractors are not currently in use.

Derwent Valley railway

This is currently closed.

Lunch

Picnic tables are available outside & are spaced out to maintain social distancing.

The cafe is now open for take away/eating outside from 10am – 2.30pm with social distancing measures in place.

Opening times

Opening times are 10am – 4.30pm (last admission is at 3.30pm)

Prices

Adults: £8.00
Concessions: £7.00
Children: £7.00
Family: £25.00*
* 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children (under 2s are free)

Prices are extremely reasonable as tickets are valid for a year (except for when the museum is closed during the winter months).

Toilets

The toilet facilities are open as usual. Extra measures are in place such as disinfection to clean the toilets before/after use.

Visit the Murton Park Website Here


Askham Bog for Kids – A Mumbler Review

York Mum, Rebecca, went to explore Askham Bog recently with her girls – you can see what she thought of it here…

I arrived at 12pm on Wednesday 3rd June armed with water bottles and sandwiches, and with the pushchair in the boot as it was unusually hot, and having read how accessible the walkway was, I thought it best to be prepared in case either of my girls needed a rest. In fact, they would have made it as the board walk itself is short enough for little legs, but you may like to explore as we did, the forest in the interior or the boards and the fields surrounding it. We spent almost two hours there, but you could happily spend less or more time- no limit or charge on parking.
As I approached the area and car park from the ring road, I had a hunch I was in the right place but as there was no visible sign I blindly followed the sat nav instructions which took me (unnecessarily) through Copmanthorpe and around the loop to enter the car park from the other side, which was signposted, so if you can avoid this- great, but it might be the sort of mistake you don’t notice like me, until you do the loop and do notice it! It only added 5 mins to the journey however so no major problem.
The car park was less than half full which I took to be a good sign. It was clear to see where the journey began and ended and fortunately for us there were no crowds or groups of people to dodge. A sign telling us which species to look out for was a helpful welcome.
My girls loved the board walk and found it safe and easy to follow. The metal netting around it made it non slippy in wet weather and extra safe for wheelchairs. Before long we came to a crossroads which we later discovered led to a loop around the big area whichever route you chose, so you can’t really go wrong! There were little styles into long grown fields dotted around which provided access to mysterious natural enclosures. These weren’t any good for the pushchair but there was so much to explore that we felt more than happy.
On a warm June afternoon the canopy of trees offered a welcome break from the sun’s rays and it was surprisingly cool and fresh in the forest area. It drew us off the boardwalk and into the privacy of the woods where my girls quickly became inspired to play in role as explorers, fairy finders or bear hunters. They creeped and crunched a path through the natural habitat of wildlife seeing many species of birds, butterfly a some squirrels busily scuttling up the tree barks.
Not far from the very safe boardwalk into one area of woods was the shell of a shelter or ‘branch house’ as my 3 year old described it aptly. We loved exploring this and considering how it was made, likely by some previous visitors.
We all had a fantastic time and would love to go back and share our discoveries with friends and families at any time of year.
The air was exceptionally fresh and the walk we found to be very relaxing; the whole experience earthing and inspiring, a very welcome change to our usual pavement walks and dry meadows.
Highlight of the trip: watching hundreds of electric blue Emperor Dragonflies hover over the bog area. The contrast in colours with the many lushious greens was really amazing and my girls were transfixed! Worth a trip just to see this for the first time in their little lives.
Rebecca

The Blue House Bookshop, York: A Mumbler review by Awesome Books Club

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Amy of the Awesome Books Club

York Mumbler Amy and her two children recently visited the Blue House Bookshop, Bootham, York.  Find out what they thought about it, along with lots of useful information in her review.

Here at Awesome Books Club we never need an excuse to go to a book shop! I was really excited when asked by York Mumbler to go and visit the newest independent bookshop in town. The Blue House Bookshop at 10 Bootham in the centre of York specialises in children’s books from birth up to young adults. From the outside, it looks incredibly inviting to any children’s book lover with a beautiful display of children’s books and gorgeous coloured lights.

A warm welcome

The Blue House Bookshop, York outsideOn entering the shop Karen, the owner of the shop was instantly lovely and welcomed us with a warm smile. The shop was easily accessible with a pushchair from the street to the downstairs. My two mini Mumbler’s aged (1 and 4) soon made themselves at home finding some books and taking them off the shelves and Karen was more than happy for them to sit and look at the books on the child-sized colourful chairs available for them.

There was a huge variety of children’s books on offer for every age range both fiction and non-fiction. There were some classics such as Peter Rabbit and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to some less well known. Karen informed me that she really enjoys finding new books to stock the shelves with and encouraging young children to come into the shop and get excited about reading. It was apparent that it had been Karen’s lifelong dream to own a book shop and this became clear as you started to browse what is on offer.

You can tell the shop is stocked by someone with a good knowledge of children’s books and with an understanding of the importance of reading for children. When you continue upstairs there are books for older children to young adult age again you a greeted by more wonderful books and there are more chairs to sit on and read! What a lovely way to encourage children to pick a book and delve straight in!

Look out for weekly story sessions coming soon…

The Blue House Bookshop, York windowIt was no wonder finding out from Karen that some of her working background was in retail and window dressing. It really showed, how she displayed the books with such love and care. Karen also shared that she has lots of exciting ideas in store such as weekly story sessions (possibly going to be on a Tuesday morning so watch this space). Karen also shared that she is hoping to get local authors in to share their latest books and carry out signings. If you are looking for a new book or want a gift of a book for a child, you know I really would recommend a trip to Blue House Bookshop as there are a great variety of books to choose from and plenty of help with recommendations. Karen mentioned that if they don’t have a book you would like in the shop they are more than happy to find it for you.

Children are very welcome

The fact that my mini Mumbler’s didn’t want to leave all the wonderful books on offer at The Blue House Bookshop means it was a hit for my children (we might have stayed all afternoon if we didn’t have a party to get to!). At Awesome Books Club we love children’s books and we are so excited to find anywhere that helps spread the joy of reading to children.

The Blue House Bookshop would be a great place to visit if you have children who love to read already or if you want to encourage more reading. There are so many different books on offer in this absolute treasure of a book shop that it would be hard for them not to find one they would like! The fact that children are welcomed to look at the books and you don’t have to worry about them touching anything is always a plus when you have little ones.

Useful links & information

  • The Blue House Bookshop is open Monday –Friday from 10am -5pm
  • Saturdays 10am-4pm and Sundays 1pm-4pm

For more information see the Blue House Bookshop on facebook.
For more Mumbler reviews of things to do in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Awesome Books Club logoYou can follow Awesome Books Club on Facebook and Instagram for lots more book & reading recommendations!

Don’t miss Awesome Books Club post on the Top 10 Children’s Books for Christmas.


Christmas at York Castle Museum: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Lisa

York Mumbler Lisa and her family recently went to the Castle Museum in York to the Dickensian Christmas and to see Father Christmas. Find out what they thought about it in their review. 

Castle Museum YorkThe Castle Museum is always a unique and interesting attraction to visit, entertaining and educating mini Mumblers of all ages. In the festive run-up, the museum is transformed into a traditional Christmas experience, inspired by Dickensian times.

This Christmas Experience features a fantastic and engaging adaptation of the Dicken’s classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’ followed by an entertaining and interactive opportunity to meet the main man himself…Father Christmas.

There’s plenty of entertainment while you wait…

Whilst waiting for the Festive Experience to begin, we were entertained by a brilliant magician, in character from Victorian times, as well as a trip to the sweet shop on the recreated Victorian Street. A great idea to bribe and cajole mini Mumblers into good behaviour!  Our two boys ate their chocolate and sugar mice and we were entertained by Fagin trying to persuade them to join his gang.

Enjoy an immersive one-man show of ‘A Christmas Carol’

The atmospheric recreated Victorian Street Kirkgate provides the perfect backdrop for a very professional and entertaining adaptation of the classic ‘A Christmas Carol’.  Audience members are invited to take part in some of the key roles in the story.

Props were dispensed to the audience to get into character and then the classic tale of festive self-enlightenment and redemption began.  With one innovative actor, and the use of clever props and different areas of the street, Scrooge’s story was faithfully recreated through an abridged version, that will entertain people of all ages.

Meeting you know who 🎅Father Christmas at Castle Museum York

No Christmas experience is complete without the presence of the man in red and the Castle Museum offered a unique and interesting twist on the standard Santa meet and greet experience.

We were ushered into an atmospheric Victorian parlour room and each child was provided with a Christmas card to decorate and write their name and Christmas list on.

The festive atmosphere was built up with an outstanding rendition of the classic festive poem, ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ by a charismatic actor who managed to bring it alive to both excited children and parents alike.

All the cards were hung on the mantlepiece and, following some excellent sound effects, Father Christmas duly appeared down the chimney, to the audible delight of all the young believers.

He did not disappoint and had the most traditional and detailed costume you could imagine.  Every child was given a special present for Christmas and the opportunity for photos and to get on the nice list, before the big day.

It is truly magical!Around the Christmas Tree at York Castle Museum

The Castle Museum has managed to create a truly magical Christmas experience that plays out in the atmospheric Victorian Street.  As well as being thoroughly entertaining, it also provides culture and education by transporting children back to Victorian times, immersing them in classic Dicken’s, as well as of course giving the opportunity to meet Father Christmas.

This experience adds to the deserved reputation York has built up as one of the most festive of places in the UK.  As the museum is located in the heart of the City, you can also immerse yourself in everything that the ever-popular St Nicholas Fair has to offer on Parliament Street has to offer to finish off a truly unique Christmas family trip.

Useful links & information

  • The Christmas Experience runs until 22nd December with extra week dates including Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th December
  • Time slots are 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm
  • Online bookings must be made for 10:30am, 11:30am and 2:30pm sessions
  • £8.50 per child plus museum admission (Universal Credit Child over 3 £4.25)
  • A child ticket for Father Christmas includes free admission of two parents/carers, but they do need to pay normal admission to York Castle Museum

For more information about the Christmas Experience at the Castle Museum, York see the full details on York Mumbler.

See more information about the Castle Museum, York here.

For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.


Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given free tickets for A Dickensian Christmas at the Castle Museum York in exchange for an honest review.


Spilmans Pumpkin Festival: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Vicky

York Mumbler Vicky recently went to Spilmans Pumpkin Festival near Thirsk with her friend and four children. Find out what they thought about their day out in her review.

Getting a wheelbarrow at Spilmans

Getting a wheelbarrow at Spilmans

Spilmans Farm is about a 20-minute drive from York, a couple of miles off the A19. It’s a family-run, working farm. The parking is on-site and spacious but in a rather muddy field due to the rainy weather we’ve had recently… be sure to take your wellies!

On arrival, we were greeted by a variety of witches and ghouls! We grabbed a wheelbarrow and headed to the pumpkin farm. The pumpkin field is huge with a large selection of pumpkins to choose from (including some white pumpkins which are called ghost pumpkins – who knew!).  There are plenty of wheelbarrows to carry your pumpkin selection to the pumpkin shop.

How much does it cost & what else is there to do? 

Entry to the farm is free, and on festival days includes a free tractor ride around the farm. You pay for your pumpkins after picking by wheeling them to the shop.

Watch out as the pumpkin pricing structure isn’t clear until you have picked your pumpkins… the bigger the pumpkin, the higher the price but it ranges from £1-£10 so there is something to suit all budgets, (I might have steered my boys away from the biggest they could find if I had realised!).

In the pumpkin field, there is also a straw bale mountain, a corn maze (£3 per child) and a corn cannon.

Busy carving at Spilmans

Busy carving at Spilmans

After paying for the pumpkin you’ve chosen,  you head to an outdoor area to wash them off (again wellies and mud proof clothes needed if the rainy October continues!) then head into the carving barn.

In the carving barn 

The carving barn has to be booked in advance. It costs £5 per child and there are two carving sessions per day. There are long tables set up for you to carve your pumpkin with the help of some on hand experts and a variety of tools and stencils. The best bit is you get to leave all of your mess behind!

Within the carving barn there is other entertainment on hand. There are singing pumpkins, a spooky walk through some decorated farm buildings and a less spooky walk for little ones and a spooky cinema.

Useful tips and information from Mumbler Vicky

  • Wellies are essential as the pumpkin field gets very muddy
  • We didn’t eat at the farm but the BBQ type food in the marquee looked good as did the farm shop
  • The pumpkin pricing is on the website
  • Pre-book your pumpkin carving slot

To sum up Vicky thought… 

Spilman’s offers a unique day out as long as you don’t mind a bit of mud. If offers the chance to carve the pumpkin you have picked from the field where they were grown. Plus some expert carving assistance, great carving kits and no mess at home!

Useful links

Pick Your Own Pumpkins are available every day in October (open 10am to 4pm). Halloween Festival Dates are weekends at October Half Term (23rd – 31st)

There is more information about Spilmans Pumpkin Festival here.
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.


Trainmaster, York: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Tanya

York Mumbler Tanya and her three-year-old recently went to a Trainmaster session in York. Find out what they thought about it, plus lots of useful information in her helpful review.

If your child loves trains, these sessions are for you! Enjoying the ride on train at Trainmaster York

What could be more fun for a train-loving toddler than a Trainmaster session? My three-year-old was so excited to walk into a room full of toy train tracks and couldn’t wait to get stuck into the session. Although we have train track at home, that’s nothing compared to the amount provided by Trainmaster.

There was lots of train track already set up plus extra to add on and more than enough trains to go round everyone. There are also bridges and tunnels on various parts of the track for added interest. The Holgate session at Poppleton Memorial Hall was mainly busy with toddlers, however, children (and babies) of all ages are welcome at the sessions. What makes Trainmaster York even more fun is the two mini ride on trains that go round their own track –  these were a big hit with everyone. My little boy waited patiently for his turn and loved being a train driver for a few minutes. A craft table is also available with things to colour in if anyone wants a break from the trains.

How much does it cost & where is it?

Trainmaster is currently running every month until December offering two timed slots for hourly session at Poppleton Memorial Hall and Pocklington Scout Hut. It costs £6.50 for children and adults go free. Trainmaster also offer a saver ticket for four sessions priced at £20. Plus siblings, multiples and group discounts are available.

Useful tips & information from Mumbler Tanya

  • There is some car parking available at the Memorial Hall but spaces are limited. However, there is plenty of on-street parking available and we had no problem finding a space.
  • Tea and coffee are available for the adults (donations welcome).
  • There are chairs around the room to sit and chill or chat with a cuppa while the kids play.
  • I had a chat with a few parents and many of us remarked how calm the session was and how there were very little disagreements between the kids.
  • Having lots of trains helped and the track was big enough so that if any little ones need their own space there was plenty of track for them to do their own thing.
  • We left via a trip to the child-friendly toilet, the small toilet was an added bit of novelty for my son.
  • Baby changing facilities are also available.

The Trainmaster York session was a really enjoyable way to spend an hour with my little boy and it was nice to walk away knowing I didn’t need to tidy away all the train track! My little train enthusiast can’t wait for the Trainmaster session next month.

Useful links

For more information about Trainmaster, York, see their website. 
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.


Ravin Rascals: A Mumbler review

Review by Helen Goodwill

Ravin' Rascals Logo transparentThe last time I went to a rave was in 2001 with my then boyfriend (now husband) and I spent most of the night waiting for a song to come on that I could sing along to (it never happened!).

Fast forward eighteen years and we’re off to another rave, this time accompanied by our 7 and 5-year-old daughters. This family friendly event, hosted by Ravin’ Rascals, promised bubbles, face painting and glow sticks and did not let us down.

The music was much more up my street this time with dance classics like Rhythm is a Dancer combined with more modern songs like Paradise by George Ezra and the irrepressible Baby Shark song!

The free ice cream halfway through the two-hour session went down a treat as did the bubbles which came on intermittently throughout the afternoon. I had a slight concern about how slippery the floor was becoming, but as soon as the bubbles stopped a member of the team could be seen mopping up the residue to ensure no slips or falls.

The UV paints and accessories all added an element of fun that the adults could get involved with and the entertainers interacted with the children enthusiastically, providing energy and dance moves for the children to copy!

The event was well organised and the mix of entertainment, bubbles, ice-cream and competitions ensured that the two-hours flew by and we all had a great time!

For more information about Ravin’ Racals visit their facebook page HERE


Woodland Adventure Company – Gruffalo’s Child: A Mumbler Review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Jo Neill

Woodland Adventure Company

The woods at the Woodland Adventure Company

Find out what local Mumbler Jo thought about the Gruffalo’s Child session at the Woodland Adventure Company in Stamford Bridge in her review of her recent visit.

We went on a great adventure into ‘the deep dark woods’ with the Woodland Adventure Company recently.  We booked onto the Gruffalo’s Child session which is aimed at 2 -6-year-olds. It is set in beautiful woodland just outside Stamford Bridge and this 90-minute session includes craft making, a hunt through the woods, marshmallow toasting and free play.

About the session 

The session began with each child making their own stick man out of whatever they could forage from the woodland floor and the results were brilliant. The children then took the stickmen on an adventure through the woods to find the characters from the Gruffalo storybook series.  The group included children ranging from 2 to 6 years and the session leader skillfully involved all of them. They made sure they each got to take part in the hunt, find the clues and stroke the animals when they found them if they wanted to.

The hunt through the woods was great fun, with clues that were carefully strewn about and some lovely special effects. The idea of walking through the deep dark woods and actually finding the familiar creatures from the stories worked so well – for Gruffalo fans and newbies to the story alike, it was lovely to see the children’s imaginations really fired up. I won’t spoil the surprise but the ending of the trail is an absolute highlight and safe to say something I’m sure they will all be talking about for a long time to come.

The route through the wood was pram friendly and not too far a walk for little legs to manage.

Back at base, the campfire was lit and the children got the chance to watch popcorn being popped over the fire, toast their own marshmallows and wash it all down with hot chocolate. The base itself is a great area with dens, seating around the fire, a self-service café and woodland toilet.

This was a special school holiday session. The 90-minute session was £10 including the refreshments.

For a magical experience, a great way to get kids enjoying the outdoors and a picturesque walk I would highly recommend booking up. We will definitely be back.

Useful links

More information about the Woodland Aventure Company summer sessions on York Mumbler here. 
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.


National Railway Museum, York: A Mumbler Review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Jo 

Mumbler Jo and her two children recently visited the National Railway Museum. Find out more about it and all the amazing things you can see in her brilliant review.

The summer holidays and rain was threatening so I decided to visit the Railway Museum with my 2-year-old daughter B and 4-month-old baby.

Entry to the Museum is free

Peeking into the trains

I was surprised to find it wasn’t too busy. Entry is free but donations are asked for at the entrance desk and some activities, like the miniature train and mallard simulator, are ticketed at £4 and £3 respectively. However, there was so much to do – far more than we realised – even without these additional activities.

We worked out that the museum is split over two sites. Nearest the main entrance is the old Station Hall with train platforms housing historic carriages and engines, fabulous railway signs, old posters and some great paintings.

Experimenting with the Magnets

On the other side through a link tunnel is the enormous Great Hall where modern and historic engines sit alongside each other and – absolute highlight of the visit – a working toy model railway. A lift at each end of the link tunnel allows pram and wheelchair access but at busy times be prepared for quite a wait. Both areas have a buggy-friendly baby change, although they do double up as the disabled loo as well.

Enjoy the storytelling session

We arrived at 11.30am, just in time for the storytelling session which takes place at platform 6, in an empty railway carriage – so far, so Harry Potter. The storyteller did a great job of corralling 20 under 6’s into collectively telling the story of an imaginary train journey.

Why not take a picnic along

We took a picnic for lunch and I was glad I had and it’s great to have this option if you’re watching the pennies over summer. The cafe can be a bit pricey although the seating area in the Station Hall nestled between historic carriages on platform 4 is fun. We found a table to eat at without any problem, with space for the double buggy and plenty of highchairs for little ones. The Great Hall also had a spacious café with a good selection of cakes and a kids lunch box option. According to NRM website, the kids sandwich box starts at £5 and their hot kids meal option is £5.75.

Under 5’s play area

Trainspotting

B discovered the working model railway just off the Great Hall and, along with several other kids she had a fantastic time waving at the trains and running from case to case to see them come out of the tunnels. Near the model railway is an under 5’s area where, be warned, there are two rides on Thomas the Tank Engines. Another highlight of this area was a wooden toy train set which provided hours of fun. At 2pm a pop-up busking scientist – pulled out their Science cart and kids of all ages flocked to try out the different experiments – all for free.

Overall thoughts about the National Railway Museum

One of the great things about the National Railway Museum is the space and sheer scale of it all. Plenty of room to manoeuvre a double buggy and for a toddler to run around in between the giant engines.

This is a fantastic wet weather option, a great space for a coffee and cake and a memorable experience for children to explore the enormous engines. I have one happy and newly converted model railway fan.

Useful links & information

For more information about NRM over the summer holidays see here.
For more information about the NRM over October Half Term see here.
For more information about the NRM over Christmas see here.
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.


Piglets Adventure Farm, York: A Mumbler Review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Nikki

Find out what Mumbler Nikki thought about her recent family day out to Piglets Adventure Farm near York. 

Piglets Adventure Farm commonly referred to as simply ‘Piglets’ is a guaranteed fun-filled day out for all and is where we headed to on our family day out.

Open throughout the majority of the year with lots of appropriately themed seasonal activities, we purchased tickets for their ‘Summer Fun’ adventure. These can be purchased in advance on their website at a discounted rate of £9.95 per child and £8.95 per adult with free entry for children under 1. Concession rates are also available with proof provided on the day. Tickets on the door have a slightly increased cost of just £1 per ticket.

Make the most of it and get there when it opens

We arrived as the doors opened at 10am to a fairly empty car park and a day of drizzle! We accessed through the small but well-stocked shop and were given a map and timetable of the day’s activities.

In an attempt to escape the rain, we headed straight for the Tractor and Trailer ride which would take us to the indoor Play Barn. There was no queue so we jumped straight on board and within a couple of minutes arrived at the barn.

Enjoy the indoor fun, especially if it’s raining

The kids (aged 4 & 13) were in their element with three indoor slides, a ‘foam block pit’, and a rope swing. My youngest particularly enjoyed the ride on tractors & spent ages riding around through the hay bales.

We purchased a coffee from their in-house coffee shop & sat on one of the many indoor picnic benches watching them play. We noted they also sold a range of cakes and other snacks including pizza made fresh on site all of which seemed reasonably priced. It’s also worth noting if you’re the parent to a young child who ‘can’t hold’ they now have permanent toilets in the barn which were clean and in good order, with baby change and toilet training facilities available!

After an hour or so, the rain seemed to stop so we rounded up the kids to go back to the main farm area. With regular return journeys, we didn’t need to wait long for the tractor ride back, passing a couple of open fields and stys full of baby piglets on the way much to my youngest’s delight.

Explore all the activities outside

Back at the main area, the kids (or rather, my eldest) took charge of the event timetable & proclaimed we were heading to the Barrel Train. Due to the rain, it was typically wet and muddy but it all added to the fun as both kids climbed on board and enjoyed being bumped around the track. The queues were short and the ride quick so they had a couple of go’s before heading over to the go-kart track where a selection of both single and double go-karts were available. My eldest spent a good 10 minutes racing around the track with her brother bouncing around beside her.

Watch a live-action show

An announcement on a microphone system cut short their fun as it was declared the ‘Magic Hatter’ show was about to start in the seasonal show tent. We headed over and were pleasantly surprised by the large gazebo filled with banquet chairs in front of a small stage. The kids gathered around on the floor and were kept well entertained by the renowned Magic Hatter. As an adult, I could see the use of audience participation and slapstick comedy was a sure-fire hit with the kids, as were some of the puns with the adults!

Time for lunch

The kids at this point announced they were starving, so we grabbed one of the many picnic tables on offer. Whilst we did spot an inside seating area filled with tables to bring your own picnic or alternatively sit and eat from ‘The Trough Cafe’ we had however bought our own and enjoyed the sunshine which was now beginning to make an appearance.

Don’t miss the pig racing!

The tannoy made another announcement just as we finished lunch & we noted a herd of people heading towards the ‘Pig Racing Arena’. We followed the crowd & sat down on the edge of the grassy bank to hear the staff gearing up the crowd to cheer on the release of their pigs who were to race around a paddock to the sound of the crowds cheers. As an added bonus, the kids got to run around the outside following their favourite pig. In case you were wondering, our family favourite ‘Boar-us Johnson’ came in second!!

With time to relax before the next animal feeding session at 2.30pm, the kids let loose on the play equipment in the middle of the park. This included a build and play sand pit, bouncing pillows, Olympigs obstacle course, a Truffles farmhouse & barn play area & yet more ride on tractors. With all this going on, we didn’t get chance to try out the seasonal ‘Water Wars’ or the Crazy Golf course….

Feed the farm animals

With the kids sufficiently fed an hour or so ago we headed to the animal barn, a short walk across a pond via a wooden bridge and past a field with a few animals present. Dodging the chicken that decided to cross our path as we entered the busy barn, we were met with a variety of typical farm animals all eagerly awaiting their lunch. A scramble ensued as the buckets were bought out filled with fresh vegetables, however the staff did ensure that each child got a go at feeding the animals whether it be the goats, rabbits or Guinea pigs. Whilst there, we popped into the ‘Piglets Maternity Ward’ to find a mother and her baby’s suckling happily in their pen. Due to the crowds gathering, we didn’t stay for the animal handling session immediately afterwards but are sure it was worth building into your stay if you have time.

Get lost in the maize maze

We headed towards the Maize Maze and immediately regretted our decision after getting lost within the first few minutes! We decided to do the ‘timed run’ (not compulsory) having a small mobile device that you ‘plug’ into each find within the maze. This was a great concept as it meant no cheating but after about 10 minutes started to work against us. Needless to say we quit having reached 7 out of the 8 targets….

Even have a trip to the ‘beach’

We then headed off to the newly built ‘Beach area’ & I must say this is where Piglets shine. As explained previously, Piglets is a near all year round experience and each time we go, there is something new. The beach didn’t disappoint.

A row of pretty painted wooden beach houses greeted us along with a large sand and water play area & a small coffee shop. The beach huts were available to hire for £20 a day but worth considering for a full day’s use. The weather was playing ball so we sat down for another coffee while the kids played. Looking around, you already get the feeling that this extremely new area is already set to expand shortly….

End the day with a foam party!

The highlight of the day & the one the kids were looking forward to the most was undoubtedly the Foam Party at 4pm. We gathered around the closed off area and after about 10 minutes of ‘warming up the crowds’, thanks to the over enthusiastic staff doing a conga line through the spectators, the foam was released! The kids were in their element!

We left not long after the foam party finished although the park was open for another half or so. Both kids were wiped out as we picked up an ice cream on the way out from the Ice Cream Parlour & had a quick look around the gift shop on the way back to the car. For just £1, my youngest was able to buy 3 small Pick n Mix plastic animal figures to add to his collection at home which he was very proud about! The eldest was simply content with her ice cream and a sit down in the car after a long and busy day.

Useful links & information

Piglets Adventure Farm, Towthorpe Grange, Towthorpe Moor Lane, York, YO32 9ST
See more details for Piglets here.
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.


Murton Park – Yorkshire Museum of Farming, York: A Mumbler Review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Fiona

York Mumbler Fiona and her tractor loving toddler are frequent visitors at Murton Park. Find out why they love it, plus lots of useful information in her review.

Parenthood has brought many unexpected things into my life, including a new-found expertise in vehicles.  Being a mum to a tractor-obsessed toddler means that I am now very familiar with a wide variety of construction vehicles, trains, and especially farm machinery.  As a result, the Yorkshire Museum of Farming has almost become a second home to us this summer.

More than just tractors

Situated at Murton Park just outside York, the Farming Museum is a brilliant place for your little tractor fanatic to let off a bit of steam.  There are several real-life tractors and other farm machines to marvel at, as well as ride-on tractors to borrow in the yard. The play area is well equipped with climbing apparatus, slide, rockers, seesaw, swings and a playhouse; and there’s a clean spacious sandpit with plenty of sand play toys. The select number of farm animals (chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, guinea pigs) kept my toddler entertained, although it’s not a petting farm as such. The entire site is nicely laid out for a casual wander outdoors.

Older children and adults with an interest in early history may also enjoy the recreation Viking village, Stone Age village, Roman fort and Tudor Farmhouse. There are themed historical activities in the school holidays.

Take a trip on the Derwent Valley Light Railway

As a bonus, on Sundays and Bank Holidays the Derwent Valley Light Railway runs a little train every half hour or so along a length of track from a platform outside the museum. Rides are unlimited and at no extra cost (Santa Special events excluded). My little boy enjoyed getting on the train, giving his “ticket” to the guard, and riding the train for the short journey through the fields.

Fiona’s top tips

  • The on-site café (open 10-2pm on weekends and school holidays) offers simple lunch and snack options, including a child’s meal deal of sandwich, Pom Bears and juice carton.
  • There are also a few picnic tables outside if you want to bring your own lunch.
  • It is best visited on a fine day to enjoy the outside spaces.
  • If it does start to rain then there are exhibits to see in the indoor galleries, as well as a small enclosed indoor soft play area
  • You are allowed to bring your own picnic to eat in the covered atrium area.

Useful links & information

  • The 2019 entrance fee is a reasonable £7.50 for adults and £6.00 for children, with under 2s going free. A Family Ticket is £21.00.
  • What makes this an absolute bargain though is that admission prices give unlimited return visits for 12 months – this makes it a brilliant option to just dip into for the odd hour at the end of a day, at no additional cost.
  • Open from Easter until the end of October, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm (last admission at 3.30 pm).
  • Free on-site parking.
  • Baby change table.
  • Accessibility: Some of the outdoor areas outside the main yard (such as the short nature walk and Viking village) can be a little tricky to negotiate with a pram or wheelchair due to the nature of the terrain.

See all the details of their summer activities here.
See all the details of their October half term activities here.
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

 


York Maze: A Mumbler Review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Vicky 

Find out what local Mumbler Vicky and her family thought of York Maze when they visited during the school summer holidays.

On one of the hottest days of the year so far I visited York Maze with my two boys aged 5 and 6, along with 2 mum- friends with a total of 5 other children ranging from 2 years old to 6.

How to find York Maze

York Maze is easy to find, straight off Elvington Lane and has plenty of parking. We visited on one of the first days of the school holidays and it was busy but not ridiculously so and busyness did not impact our day at all as it was easy to find a parking space and there were no queues to get in.

It is not a cheap day out, tickets are a little cheaper booked online up to midnight the day before, but expect to spend £60 for entry for a family of 4, under 3’s are free.

What is there to do? 

There is SO much to do! This place is definitely a full day out, we arrived at opening, stayed until 5.30 pm and did not manage to see and do everything.

Attractions include a huge sandpit with a climbing frame in it, a huge bouncy pillow, The Popcorn Pillow, (which, unlike many places, is not a free for all and children get a very orderly 10 minute session on it with some sessions just for smaller children- I liked this!) Huge tube slides called ‘The Corn Snake Slides’, the ‘Volcorno’ slide which is a unique climbing structure and slide, a bouncy castle obstacle course (the Cobstacle course’) again run in a very orderly way, not a free for all, the huge maize maze, mini-golf, reptile displays with handling sessions throughout the day (my boys now want an African Giant Landsnail…!) a mural wall for painting, a climbing wall (The Cornwall) various other mini maizes, an interactive tractor ride (which is more of a show with live actors popping out on the way round as you hunt for the baddy- The Crow King !)

Then there is pig racing at various intervals throughout the day- again an interactive live show and KerNoels House Party which is a very funny and well-delivered comedy show. And loads more things to do.

There are live characters wandering around for meet and greets- Mrs Sweetie and Kernel Corn (or something like that) which is a nice touch and gives the place a ‘theme park with a twist’ feel to it!

The corn/maize theme is strong and could almost get a bit much with everything named after corn or maize- so you need to go with good humour and embrace it. The loos are clean and plentiful and there are loads of places to have a pic-nic including a large covered barn, so best to take a good pack-up and save some money, we had pizza for dinner there before we left for home after a picnic lunch and found the catering to be is good but pricey.

In summary, it’s a full-on day out!

Overall I thought York Maze was a great, full-on day out, so much to do we stayed all day and didn’t manage to squeeze it all in. There is something for all ages of children, plenty for older ones, but the younger ones in our party (twin boys who were 4 recently) did get very tired by mid-afternoon on a hot day and had to go home and perhaps didn’t get the same value as the older ones so I would say it is aimed at school-age children rather than toddlers.

It was great to visit on a sunny day but wet weather would not have spoiled it as many activities are covered.

We will definitely visit again!

Useful links

See the York Maze listing for more information
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.


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