Today we had the pleasure of visiting William’ Den. We visited 4 years ago but have been keen to revisit since as the kids loved it back then.
William’s Den describes itself as the perfect day out, family fun and loads of adventure and it’s really not wrong. There’s so much to do and it’s impossible for the kids to get bored.
One of the favourites has to be the den building area, Toby dragged his dad and oldest brother over to build a huge den, there are sticks galore to make sure you can build the perfect base and don’t run out. In fact there were around 5 dens built or being built in the area.
There is an amazing natural themed indoor play area with water and sand. A brilliant area with so much included into one space, a lot of thought obviously went into designing this place. Toby spent most of the few hours we had in the indoor area because it was a bit cooler out than it has been recently. I think he would definitely benefit from taking a friend which we might do next time as dad and Sam were roped into everything again and had to follow him round. Tobys quite shy so isn’t likely to approach other children to ask them to play.
There is also a brilliant outdoor play area. An enormous space filled with tyre swings, basket swings, zip lines, sand areas, a little adventure play area and more. The whole place is free flow and you can change from indoors to out as much as you please. There are lots of seating areas around, plenty of picnic benches etc. I love the eco friendly natural theme of William’s Den and that is a huge draw for me. I hate to see plastic everywhere so this is perfect.
There is a restaurant on site as well as an ice cream bar area. We didn’t really use either although we did pop into the restaurant for some deluxe hot chocolates which were delicious.
All in all its a fairly pricey but fantastic day out. You can camp also which seems to offer amazing value for money and it might be something we consider in future. My only single complaint, and it isn’t even the fault of William’s Den, so it’s probably unfair, were the wasps. I guess that’s nature for you!
Our older 3 children are becoming more difficult to buy for now and I think its important to include experiences rather than just material gifts. We’ve previously done junior off road experiences so last Christmas (2021) we bought the 2 younger teens the triple sports car experiences and the older teen a four car driving experience.
They were thrilled and couldn’t wait to get them booked. We were directed to the car chase heroes site and after some struggle we finally managed to get the right codes to get to the location/date selection page. This was not an easy task as the cars promised when you buy your package are almost always unavailable. Many of the dates didn’t have the required number of cars available at all. It took numerous visits for us to finally settle on a date in August at Tockwith airfield in York. We didn’t manage to book the cars promised on the bookings but there seemed to be more available and they were all happy with their options.
Fast forward to the day, August 11th. Right in the middle of a heatwave. After a 1.5 hour drive to our location we arrived at the postcode and saw no signs of it being the right place. We left and drove around some before returning to where we originally turned up to. When we came back the opposite way we noticed the smallest sign indicating we were in the right place and to follow the track down the side. The parking attendant was not a bit surprised and said he would mention to those running these events so hopefully in future the signs will be bigger than a 10 pence price. We got to the queue for the event and waited. It was hot. It was only just gone 9am and already it was like being in hell already and was only going to get hotter. The wasps were also up and out early, scaring even the bravest men around us.
We made it to the front of the queue and were asked about the damage waiver fees, essentially if you don’t have £5000 available on a cars then it is £25 per person for the damage waiver incase of any damage to the car you’re driving. This includes if someone hits you. I feel like this is pretty much a compulsory fee and should really be included in the price of the experience rather than being an unexpected extra. We were lucky we could afford it but what if we couldn’t? This wasn’t our only bitter experience as far as extras go.
We made our way to the tent area to pay our damage waivers and found some of the cars booked weren’t available due to mechanical problems. No problem these things happen, we changed them and everyone was happy (until every single car was then seen driving around shortly after). We were asked if we wanted sighting laps. These were £10per person and were described as being like a 1:1 lesson in a separate car before going into the sports cars. I thought this seemed like a great idea to give them chance to learn to use the controls. Turns out the two younger teens went together in the car (sat in the back) and were driven round the track once or twice. That was it. Wouldn’t have wasted my money if I’d known.
We were also asked if they wanted a high speed passenger ride at the end. That was also £10pp. My 7 year old was allowed so we paid for him to join in with dad alongside so that set us back £40. Forty pounds and they all got in together and had one lap, ONE LAP!!! around the track at high speed. I find it absolutely unbelievable that they could justify that charge for that. Don’t get me wrong they enjoyed it but that absolutely does not represent good value for money. Don’t waste your money. We essentially paid £60 for f*#k all.
Photo packages start at £25. We paid for the younger 2 and the eldest paid for his own. I believe they say a minimum of 5 photos and we got hundreds so I don’t suppose that’s horrendous. You are given a lanyard with an sd card in at the start. Between 3 of them there was 2 videos. As video packages start at £40 each we didn’t bother to buy those. To be honest it would be easy enough to sneak those away but were not like that. The photos took the extras on the day up to £160. That’s insane considering the junior driving experiences only cost £59.
We were impressed with the way they run the day though, we had only just paid our extras and finalising the cars when they started calling our kids names to go up. If you’re not available because you’re in a car already they move onto the next person on the list and they come back to you. It meant that although we were later than the 830am arrival time it said in the email that the kids were still called through in good time and the eldest who’s estimated driving time for one car was 330pm got that out the way at around 1030am. It was a steady flow. Everyone seemed happy and nobody seemed to be stood around for long which was good in the heat.
The facilities on site weren’t amazing but weren’t awful. The toilets are portaloos which generally stink wherever they are let alone in the middle of a heatwave. It made me a little bit retchy but that’s nobodies fault. We did see them restocking and cleaning them. There’s a little cafe which is nothing glamorous but was run by some friendly staff/kids and was well stocked. It wasn’t overly expensive which you might expect after parting with astronomical amounts of money when you first arrived. There are lots of good places to sit and watch the track. If you have a decent camera you could easily get your own great track photos and save yourself a small fortune buying theirs. We discovered many people brought their own camping chairs. They’ve obviously been before, this will definitely be a must for us if we do this again as they’re not provided for spectators.
We were relieved to be finished by just after dinner time. Not in a bad way but it was so unbearably hot to be stood about with very few places to go get some relief from the blazing sun. This is in no way the fault of the company running the site. Its a wonder the tarmac wasn’t melting on the track.
To sum it up all 3 had an amazing time. Kaesey (14) is thrilled to tell everyone the first car she’s driven was a Porsche. Sam (20) loved the Supra the most, and Zak (15) loved the Mustang. They’re all still talking about it nearly a week later so it’s definitely had an impact. There seemed to be a bit of inconsistency in the drives in the sense that some instructors told them to put their foot down whereas others were a bit more careful. I don’t think that was necessarily detrimental to their experiences but did leave them wondering where they stood a little bit in the next car they got in. The younger two obviously don’t have driving licenses and so the instructors did the gear changes and clutch controls which meant the kids could just concentrate on steering. They each got 3 laps around the track in each car which isn’t much but also didn’t seem to go too quick either.
I would definitely recommend a driving experience for anyone looking for something new for their kids. Just be wary of the sneaky add-ons and decide for yourself whether you believe them to be value for money for you. I’m sure we’ll do similar experiences again in the future but I will definitely pick my track side spot carefully and won’t waste my money on sighting laps or the high speed laps at the end. Another thing to mention is when booking with virgin experience days there seems to always be a 20% off code floating around. We get blue light discount and they offer 20% too. Who doesn’t love to save money?
This family owned and run farm is one of our favourite places to visit, a half hour drive along the coast to Hornsea and this little gem is set back up a country lane. At around £5-6 each to enter it isn’t bank breaking but offers very good value for money. There is also the option to buy animal and fish feeds as extras and a cafe with seating indoors and out. Our last visit was with Toby’s friend August 2021 and this is a little bit about it.
One of the first areas you come to when you enter the farm is the huge undercover straw bale play area where kids GO WILD. Around the edges are cows, goats and sometimes guinea pigs. The goats are entertaining and greedy. Toby and his friend laughed at them climbing on each other and trying to get through the fence to empty his cup of food. He learned pretty quickly to keep those little fingers tucked in and as straight as he can too. He spent far longer however running around on and within the straw bales. To be honest this would be a good standalone day out for us. He would do that for hours. Kids all seem to automatically join in with each other and make cute little friendship groups.
Next you reach a picnic area and small outdoor play area built into a small hilly area. There are numerous picnic tables around to sit and watch the kids climb the hills and run through the little tunnels. After this there’s a decent size wooded area, there’s a number of climbing frames in there, an aviary, and an infinite amount of swords, wands, den supplies etc. We spent some time in these outdoor areas whilst Toby and his friend attempted to build dens and find the biggest swords. What a wonderful place to be to feed their imaginations.
We moved on from here to a maze area, its not on the scale of other maize mazes but the kids still love it. It’s a lovely nature walk from here around the rest of the farm with opportunities to see and feed fish and sheep. There are also donkeys, who are pretty laid back animals so apart from a quick glimpse we didn’t spend much time with them. We saw geese, ducks and some cute little furry animals in an enclosure but it escapes me what the little cuties are. Before COVID there were horse and cart rides which were such a treat, these were not available on our last visit sadly but if they are on your visit it is most definitely worth doing.
Another smaller straw bale play area signals you have almost come to the end of your walk around the farm. Sit down and let the kids burn off any remaining energy before an ice cream/coffee in the cafe and then home.
If you have time left before going home I suggest a fish and chip dinner on Hornsea seafront, or if you are a bit more adventurous go a little further afield to Mappleton beach to do some fossil hunting. Always check the tide times though as it is possible to get cut off, and watch out for ordnance.
Toby, like probably every other 6 year old in the country loves watching YouTube videos, he has recently come across videos of aquariums after watching shark videos and asked if we could go visit one.
The Deep was our obvious destination, we live around 30-40 minutes drive away and having visited before we knew he’d love it.
It’s currently pre-booking only which was reasonably easy to do on their website and cost us £46 for two adults and one child. The tickets allow us to come back for another visit in 12 months too which is amazing.
Of course as with any day out its the added extras that cost you dearly – £3.50 for the sticker book, £20 for a couple of drinks and snacks in the cafe, £10 for a hammerhead shark soft toy… but is it even a day out with the kids if you don’t spend a small fortune on crap.
There are lots of weird and wonderful creatures to see, some are bloody ugly and others quite beautiful. The display of jellyfish floating around is mesmerising and calming in equal measure. Toby was thrilled to see sharks every single time although wasn’t impressed by the lack of blue whale.
My only complaint about our day out, and I can’t even blame the deep so it’s not even fair for me to mention it was the family behind us with a body odour problem. Seriously if you are leaving the house please get a good anti-perspirant.
There are many interactive displays which would be great but a few of them were not working when we visited. They were a bit old for Toby so it wasn’t really an issue but it could be for others.
I am always excited to see the penguins, they by far are my favourite creatures there but they weren’t putting on much of a show and just stood there for the most part. Still cute though. There was 2 that kept swimming about though and seemed interested in their human audience. Toby found them boring so we didn’t get to stay there for long.
The walls made of ice were a hit. Until he decided he might get frost bite in his fingers and we quickly left.
A nice add on is the amazon rainforest section with a variety of ants, frogs, snakes etc. Not my thing at all but Toby loved it.
We left at 6 when they closed and went to look at the sculptures outside, if you aren’t already walked to death then have a walk along the beautiful path along the Humber.
I’m sure the fact it was a bright sunny day and that the sun was coming down helped to make it look more beautiful. Its also a bike route we have earmarked for the future.
A short walk across the bridge is a variety of bistros and restaurants that I can’t offer any opinion on as we didn’t visit but I imagine you could finish a lovely day with a lovely meal.
We finished the day with Toby telling us he’s going to work at The Deep when he’s older so its definitely made a good impression on him. We recommend with a score of 9/10 (only missing the 1 because or the faulty interactive displays).
Flamborough is one of my favourite local (ish) places to visit. An hour up the coast it is a small village 4 miles north-east of Bridlington.
Flamborough is amazing for outdoor adventure lovers with its interesting rock formations, caves, rock pools to explore, and lots more. It is also home to one of the uk’s most famous RSPB reserves – Bempton Cliffs, where around half a million seabirds, including puffins, gather to breed and raise their chicks between March and October on the colossal chalk cliffs.
We’ve yet to explore so much of Flamborough but here are some of the highlights of our trips to hopefully entice you to visit and show this beautiful area some love.
Simply beautiful wherever you look with stunning views over the vast chalk cliffs and rocky ground, you can’t fail to have your breath taken. You can follow the coastal path along which will bring you on a visit here, or as we did, picked up the coastal path for a short walk to see this little beauty – The Drinking Dinosaur – an amazing natural rock formation caused by years of erosion by the sea. From the right angle it resembles a sauropod drinking from the sea.
We have visited this next section of Flamborough head twice now, accessible by some pretty steep steps it isn’t for everyone. Getting down is much easier than getting back up. But it is sure to bring out the explorer in you. Kids (and adults alike) will love the rock pools that appear when the tide goes out, seals are also a frequent visitor, and there are plenty of little nooks and crannies to explore.
There are so many interesting rocks to find too, these captivate Toby, my 5 year old mini explorer every time. You’ll see in some of the later pics above that his hoodie is stretched from the weight of his favourite rocks that he smuggled up the sheer steps.
This working lighthouse is a magnificent display acting as a waypoint for passing deep sea vessels and coastal traffic. Currently closed due to covid and we have only seen it from the outside but were fascinated nonetheless. We live opposite a lighthouse ourselves but it is no longer active so this was such a novelty. This lighthouse was built in 1806 replacing the previous lighthouse built in 1669 (which still stands down the road).
I absolutely love Danes Dyke, a beautiful nature reserve with lots of scientific and natural importance. It’s earthworks are believed to date back to the dark ages.
We love to park up in the car park and walk through the woods to the stunning coastal vista that greets you at the end but in the past we have walked for some time around the woods, discovering tree swings left behind by others. It’s one of my favourite places in Flamborough and Toby’s too as we don’t have woods like this near us for him to explore.
The pebble beach at Danes Dyke is made up of so many weird and wonderful rocks, the bigger the better when you’re 5, and you can also join the coastal path to admire the entire Flamborough coastline from the cliff top.
Our latest visit to Flamborough saw us investigating the natural arches and hideaways on Thornwick Bay. The first time we visited we arrived at high tide so couldn’t explore like we would have liked but yesterday the tide was out and we immediately set out to see as much as we could before the tide turned and started coming for us.
The rocky beach is accessed by steps and the view that greets you as you descend is sure to get everyone excited.
There are no dog restrictions on Thornwick Bay and you can swim and bathe here also. Sea shoes are a must for the rocky ground underneath.
We started by exploring a beautiful natural arch to the right before venturing under another arch at the other side of the beach round into a whole new beach. It’s a good work out scrambling across the uneven rocks and climbing the rocky steps that take you along the beach. If you do get caught out here by the tide, or just don’t want to walk back there is a precarious staircase that we ascended to take us back to the Thornwick Bay cafe. This path could be dangerous in anything other than dry conditions I think as it appears there’s been some shift in the steps and some are missing, but it was dry yesterday and we managed it easily enough with a 5 year old in tow.
If you are confident you have time on your side you can continue around the coast to discover further. We probably had plenty of time but chose to go back up to visit the cafe for a drink and ice cream.
Parking is £1.50 for the day and there is a caravan park nearby yet the place wasn’t packed with people which is perfect for us.
I’d love to know if you’ve been inspired to visit Flamborough by my post or if you already love the area where is your favourite place to visit? Any secret hotspots for us to discover?
Everyone has been affected by the worldwide pandemic this year, whether its directly by Covid-19 or indirectly. It hasn’t been an easy year, lots of people died, survivors lives changed forever, other people had to work from home, shops closed, kids told not to go to school and people panic bought toilet roll. Nobody would have predicted the events that were to unfold in 2020 this time last year.
At the beginning of the year we lost our beloved Grandad, he was one of the most important people in my life, housebound disabled we visited regularly to help him and my Nan who was his full time carer. We took her shopping every week and our eldest would sit with his Great-Grandad – Grandad-sitting. He never once complained. It hit us terribly, I’m in my late 30s and it’s the first death I’ve experienced of somebody close to me, and they didn’t come much closer. We weren’t even a week in to 2020 and I wondered how this year could possibly get any worse (I definitely tempted fate there!).
Things spiralled again in February, our beautiful Siberian Husky – Spirit, who had been diagnosed just before christmas with Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM) was going downhill. Either his diagnosis was wrong, or the steroid medication he was on had allowed a pre-existing tumour behind his eye to grow uncontrollably. It put so much pressure on the back of his eye that it began protruding from the socket, I was terrified it would pop or come out (probably wouldn’t happen but you just never know). He eventually became blind in that eye. By the mid-end of February the tumour was starting to push past the eye ball and grow onto his face. He was obviously in discomfort and unhappy, it broke our hearts to have him put to sleep. To try give ourselves something to look forward to we booked a holiday to Newquay, Cornwall for the summer. We definitely deserved it.
Unfortunately 2020 wasn’t finished with us just yet. We went into March still recovering from the loss of my Grandad and Spirit when my Dad was admitted into hospital, he was like a super-fighter. He’d been in hospital so many times and we’d had ‘the conversation’ about his chances, and every time he’d pull through. I believed this would be the same. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and I’d missed out on the last possible time I could’ve visited as I had a sore throat and had lost my voice. This was at the time we were being told that if you had a sore throat you should isolate for 14 days as we were learning how serious Covid-19 could be. I couldn’t risk passing it on if thats what I had so I stayed away, planning on going the following day if the ward allowed. Unfortunately he passed away the next morning. A week later we went into lockdown, the measures put in place meant we were robbed of giving our Dad a proper funeral. He was cremated alone, with a late service in August when it was safer. My anxiety was through the roof, I couldn’t imagine every leaving the house again, I ordered garden furniture ready for the summer, we planted fruit and veg and sorted the garden, we bought numerous pools, a swing set, and goodness knows what else. Everything that came through the door was washed to within an inch of its life. Luckily, working in school meant I was home most of the time now. I wasn’t timetabled to return until June, I believe a very nice thought from my senior management who knew I’d need time to recover. The time I spent at home gave me much needed family time, it was a difficult time but seeing my children whenever I needed to helped me to heal, they kept me busy. I would have nightmares, I was sure I was going to lose somebody else, especially going into April. So far we’d had a death a month.
Thankfully we’ve had no more deaths, I’m still terribly sad but I’m learning to deal with my losses. I returned to work, leading my own bubble in school, in June. I was terrified on my first day but once I’d done that day I was raring to go. That also helped me, it gave me other things to think about. We began to talk about our upcoming holiday. There’d been articles that some Cornish folk hadn’t wanted holidaymakers descending on them as they were rightly concerned about Covid. I get it, I really do, I live in a coastal town myself which quickly found itself in the same boat. We were fed up, we needed to get away and we’d done the right things up to that point, for everyone’s sanity we needed to take our holiday, Dad should’ve joined us on holiday which made things a little sad but he’d have wanted us to go, afterall he was looking forward to it himself. We social distanced as much as possible, we wore masks, we booked our slots in the pool, but most of all we relaxed and took in the beautiful sights of the Newquay coastline. It was good for the soul and my only regret was only booking for a week.
This post was mostly for my own benefit but if you manage to read it all and don’t turn into a depressive mess I salute you. I hope it gives you a little insight into why it was important for us to take our holiday, everybody has an opinion on the right and wrong thing to do but we had to do what was best for us and we have no regrets. I’d be interested to hear from anyone else who took a holiday during the pandemic, or if you didn’t why not? Keep it nice. Wishing everyone a wonderful end to 2020
I’ve not posted in my blog for a few months. We’ve had a difficult start to the year and it’s been difficult to find words for anything. Then along came corona virus and lockdown. Schools are shut and we’re all forced into home educating our children. I don’t know about your house but mine is chaos. Kids aren’t doing nearly as much work as I’d like them to but I’m not in the best place to chow at them to make them do it right now.
As a result we’re still learning but just not always the stuff on the curriculum. It’s fun and impulsive and right now it’s exactly what we need.
We had a garden full of dandelions which led to some discussion with Toby (4) about the flowers and bees. He asked if people could eat them and that’s how we came to try dandelion honey!
Dandelions are really nutritious and versatile. They contain lots of vitamins and minerals. It is thought that they can help reduce inflammation and aid blood sugar control. It is also suggested that it could reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. There are lots of studies that have shown many positives of dandelion consumption but I’m not here to tell you they will or won’t help fight one disease or another.
Back to the honey, it’s delicious. It has a slight floral flavour but it’s not overpowering. It tastes surprisingly like regular honey.
The littlies love picking the flowers, it’s even better because we know where they’ve grown and that we’ve never exposed them to any chemicals so they’re completely chemical free. Toby is currently in foundation so we use activities like these to practise counting and to discuss the importance of flowers, nectar, bees etc.
Toby had great fun stirring the mixture and weighing out the many different items in the kitchen that he could find.
After we had made it (it took around 14 hours as you start it in the evening and then leave it to infuse overnight. But there’s nothing overly tricky. Toby had some honey on bread for his lunch and enjoyed every bite.
I’ve added a recipe card that can be saved if you are interested in trying this recipe too.
We’re self isolating at the moment and also home educating all 3 school age children due to the schools closing down. I work in school and I’m now not rota’d in until June which gives me 12 weeks at home to stay away as far away from the rest of the world as I can.
We’re trying to keep it inexpensive, I’m fully aware that so many people are being completely financially destroyed by this virus and it’s made me appreciate even more what we have at the moment.
I like these bookmarks because they’re quick and easy, and hopefully will encourage the kids to read so they can use them.
Here’s how we made them!
There are so many different things you could possibly make with yours. We spent about half an hour on this craft and made these.