Tag Archives: Dalby Forest

February Fun Ideas

I always think that the February half term break is a turning point in the seasons, marking the dwindling of the winter months and a taste of spring ahead with tantalising days of blue skies and sunshine – although still with a nip in the air.

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Our three little bantam hens keep hunting out the sunniest part of the garden to enjoy a bit of fun in the sun….

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Whilst indoors I am enjoying some floral colour especially the delicate pink of these lovely tulips, an early birthday bouquet from a thoughtful friend…..

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I am looking forward to a change in routine over the next week. We can be a bit more leisurely without the timetable of the school run and other activities defining our day. I’ve had a glance at what’s on over the half term break in our neck of the woods and we might try and get along to one or two of the events taking place.

In case you fancy an outing yourself, I have put together half a dozen ideas that you might like to share if you’re in the area:

Jorvik Viking Festival – February sees the largest Viking festival in Europe taking place in York. Over the coming week there’s a chance to do some ‘Have-a-go Sword Combat’, watch a dynastic clash in the Combat Arena at York Guildhall or enjoy a performance of Beowulf by candlelight.

Hepworth Wakefield – The Hepworth Gallery is one of our favourite art galleries to visit with the kids. It always has a family-friendly programme of events. As well as their regular gallery trails and crafty art pods, there are printmaking sessions over the holiday to entertain the kids. If it’s fine out there’s an outdoor play area with swings and zip wire plus an indoor picnic area.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park – Just a hop and a skip down the road from the Hepworth Gallery is The YSP. It’s a fantastic 500-acre open-air art gallery with plenty of parkland to explore with its follies, shell grotto and lakes as well as current sculpture exhibitions. The kids will love the current exhibition by American artist KAWS whose voluminous cartoon-like sculptures are on display across the park.

Dalby Forest Dark Skies Festival – The North York Moors offer some of the best stargazing in the country and the Dalby Forest Space Centre is holding a dedicated week-long festival. Activities include night vision using the latest infra-red technology; open telescope sessions; wildlife walks and stargazing; astronomy talks and trails; a solar system scavenger hunt; telescope-making; rocket building and other crafty activities.

Flamingoland – We have had some fun days out at Flamingoland during their winter opening (up to March 6th) when the rides are closed and the animals are the highlight. The sealion show is amazing. I never realised what personable creatures sealions were until I saw them in action. The entry prices are cheaper at this time of year too.

Mini mornings at Vue Cinema – A cinema trip is always popular with my gang in the holidays. Mini mornings at Vue cinemas offer big discounts on tickets costing from only £1.99 (3D £2.79) per ticket for adults and children, every Saturday and Sunday morning and every day in school holidays.

I hope this has given you a taste of what’s on in North Yorkshire this half term. Whatever you do – and sometimes the kids just want to spend a bit of time chilling out at home – I hope you all have a fun-packed break.

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Finding Joy in January: a winter walk

Looking out of the window in January, it is sometimes hard to get motivated to head outdoors. The fire’s in, the kettle’s on and with the papers, a good book, Netflix or the TV remote within arm’s reach, what’s to venture out for?

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Add in one, two, three or more kids who need coats, hats, gloves, wellies locating – snacks for the walk, then the effort becomes that bit harder.

But, hand on heart, whatever the weather, getting out for a walk and returning to the cosy fold of home always makes me feel better than before I left. And that certainly goes for the kids too.

Last weekend it was cold – but sunny and bright, so we headed up to Dalby Forest on the edge of the North York Moors National Park for a favourite walk to the North Yorkshire Bridestones.

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We took a picnic – not a ‘legs stretched out on picnic rugs’ type of picnic. This was a thrown together (sandwiches, cake, flask of tea for us, flask of hot chocolate and a tub of marshmallows for the boys) on the hoof type of al fresco meal.

Ted found a good place to perch on one of the bridestones….

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The sun was warm enough to keep the chill at bay for our picnic before we continued along the circular walk. Joseph and William must have had something fortifying in their sandwiches because with a huge effort they managed to prop up one of the bridestones…!

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The Bridestones are a fascinating sight which always delight the kids. The word ‘bridestones‘ is probably of Scandinavian origin meaning edge stones or brink stones. The rocks are naturally formed sandstone rock formations that have been eroded by wind, rain and frost over thousands of years and were created by glacier movement in the ice age.

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This has resulted in the unusual rock shapes and the indentations that you can see on each rock today.

Standing on the ridge alongside The Bridestones is an exhilarating feeling as you look across the surrounding views of open heather, wooded valleys and grassy dales. And last weekend with the normally heather-clad ridge covered in a blanket of snow the area felt incredibly tranquil (even with three boys in tow!)

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We had to navigate our way down some quite snowy slopes before making our way back through fields to the car park. One part of kit that we hadn’t brought with us was the sledge, not realising quite how much snow there would be here.

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Clambering into the car with faces flushed from the combination of cold and exercise we headed home to the fire, the papers, the book and the TV remote which were all as we had left them – and more appreciated than if we hadn’t ventured out in the first place.