William’s Den Ice Cream Launch : The Mumbler Review
By Fiona Brook
You may know about East Yorkshire’s adventure play wonderland William’s Den, but did you know that they produce their own ice cream? This week marks the launch of the new ice cream Sundaes and Shakes menu at the Den, and my little boy Wilf and I were lucky enough to attend their recent evening reception on behalf of York Mumbler to try it out for ourselves.
The attraction is set in beautiful countryside on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds, and it was a glorious summer evening when we visited – perfect for ice cream sampling. Wilf has only just turned 2 and so I was keen to see what the Den could offer someone his age and physical ability. Initial impressions were good – he made a beeline for the enormous outdoor sandpit and spent a happy half hour playing in the sand and using the various chutes and scoops. The wooden frames and branches for den building also looked like fun.
Then onto the main event – the ice cream! Eight “favourite flavours” are on offer, plus the newly-launched Sundaes and Shakes. The menu has been developed to appeal to all ages – from the lilac swirled “Unicorn” ice cream with multicoloured sprinkles that will certainly catch the eye of younger customers, to the more indulgent “Den Millionaire” sundae, which sounds like Millionaire’s Shortbread re-imagined in ice cream format.
William’s Den co-creator Tor Carver spoke passionately about her own childhood memories of ice cream and the careful development of their ice cream range, and it’s clear that quality and provenance of their food offering is integral to the overall Den experience. All of their ice cream is made on site using locally sourced milk and cream brought in from St Quintin’s Creamery in East Yorkshire. It may have been easier to buy in ice cream from another local producer; but Tor explained that the William’s Den ethos is that they strive to make as much of their food as possible from scratch, and to know exactly where their ingredients are coming from. As she explained – food memories are such an important part of childhood and they’re keen to get it right for their customers.
We sampled two flavours – Strawberry for Wilf and Coffee for me (parents of sleep-allergic toddlers will know that you get your coffee fix however you can!). The ice creams were deliciously creamy and good natural flavours – it certainly got the toddler seal of approval from Wilf, who declared it “yummy” and demolished it quickly, barely pausing for breath.
After polishing off our ice creams, we returned to explore the main indoor play area, which is an impressive wood and rope network of climbing nets, suspended rope tunnels, platforms and slides, giving the impression of being in a vast treehouse. Below is another huge sandpit, with a water feature running through the middle. It certainly captured my imagination as an adult, let alone a child. Prior to visiting, I’d wondered whether the attraction would have much to offer a 2 year old; however, Wilf seemed to love it, although he needed a lot of help to use the climbing apparatus. We will definitely be returning when he’s a little bit bigger though!
William’s Den – Castle Farm, Wold Hill, North Cave, East Riding of Yorkshire HU15 2LS