Pirate Cove Adventure Golf, Doncaster

I’ve always loved playing adventure golf. The grown up game is far too long and serious for the likes of me, and adventure golf has the perfect amount of silliness to it. When visiting Pirate Cove Adventure Golf, I discovered that the game is just as much fun as an adult, especially at a centre that has been set up with so much thought and detail as this one has.

Ship deck

Ship deck

You enter through a large pirate ship deck, and after you complete the first hole, you cross the water on a raft.

A RAFT. Need I say more?

They're off

They’re off

DSC_0700

HEAVE!

It’s just so much fun. Emilia and her friend Stuee loved hauling themselves across the water to the other side.

Stuee got in trouble

Stuee got in trouble

So much effort has gone into the creation of this place that it’s genuinely exciting to work your way around and discover everything that’s there. (Like a pirate passed out in a hammock, for example.) The course has easy ways to tackle each hole as well as trickier options for older children and adults.

This Pirate might have been on the rum

This Pirate might have been on the rum

Our favourite hole was the snake one. You have to hit the ball hard into its mouth so that it can work its way through the snake and come out of the tail end. Emilia did this over and over again, because she found it so hilarious.

The Ssssnake

The Ssssnake

A happy adventurer

A happy adventurer

After our sea faring golf adventures, we were hungry. Lucky for us the cafe at the golf club provides well-priced, delicious food, which is all served up with a smile. It’s great value for money there. Sandwiches are about £3.50 and come with a big side salad and coleslaw. I opted for the bacon butty and the bacon was cooked just right for me – nice and crispy, but not dried out, and no flab in sight.

The puddings were a real treat too. Stuee’s Strawberry Sundae was bigger than his head.

Strawberry Sundae

Strawberry Sundae

We had a fantastic time at Pirate Cove Adventure Golf. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a trek from Leeds (about an hour’s drive) but with the cafe being available too it made a great day out for us, and was definitely worth the journey.

Posted in Blogging, Children's activities, Days out, Eating out, Feature, Review, Trips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments

Grill Like a Gaucho, in Leeds

When asked if I’d like to attend a cooking masterclass at Gaucho, my answer was “HELL YES”. I’d never been to Gaucho before, but I’d heard many things about the amazing steaks on offer there, and any cooking masterclass is right up my street.

Gaucho is an Argentine restaurant that has spread worldwide, and is famous for serving the most incredible steaks. It is a brand that cares deeply about where it’s meat comes from; all the beef served in the restaurants comes from Gaucho’s very own farms in Argentina. The Aberdeen Angus-bred cows are grass-fed, free to roam and are moved around by traditional Gauchos on horseback.

Fernando

Fernando

Once we arrived at Gaucho, we were led into their VIP room and greeted by Gaucho’s beef guru, Fernando Larroude. He trains all the chefs of the company about the background and history of Gaucho, and all about the preparation and cooking techniques for the beef. Fernando talked to us about the long history of Gaucho, it’s Argentine traditions, the rearing of the cattle, and the butchering of the meat. He then revealed a kind of steak carcass to us, before talking us through it (stop looking now if you’re squeamish about where your meat comes from. Try not to be though – know what you’re eating!).

Steak carcass!

Steak carcass!

All the cuts of steak were laid out in the order that you’d find them in the cow. This is really interesting as it explains why some of them are leaner, whilst others have more flavour, or are more tender etc. For example, the ever-popular (and expensive) fillet steak is lean and tender because it’s a muscle that’s rarely used. However, this also means that it lacks flavour, comparatively.

Steak prep

Steak prep

Fernando prepared each cut of steak in front of us, with deft flicks of his knife. Did you know there were two different types of rump steak? There’s rump, and also rump cap, which sits on top of it. We tried raw slithers of the rump steak (which is very tender and full of flavour) with a smattering of chimichurri on it – completely delicious.

Rump steak & chimichurri

Rump steak & chimichurri

Once the steaks were prepped for cooking, we were tasked with making our very own chimichurri. This is one of my favourite sauces, mainly because it’s made of many of my favourite ingredients.

Chimichurri prep

Chimichurri prep

Here’s the recipe:

  • Finely chopped parsley
  • Finely chopped garlic
  • Finely chopped onion
  • Finely chopped red pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Chilli flakes
  • Salt & pepper

Add some of each, then taste and adjust accordingly. It needs more oil than you’d imagine, so don’t hold back.

I'm cheffing

I’m busy ‘cheffing’

After our creations were tested (mine needed more sherry vinegar) we were led through to the grill. And this was a *GRILL*. Super big, and insanely hot.

THE grill

THE grill

Fernando got the steaks sizzling, seasoned with beef fat and plenty of salt. Each cut was cooked medium rare, which is perfect for me. Look at the beef!!!

BEEF

BEEF

We went back and sampled all of them, along with a rather delicious glass of red wine. I’d never tried a the skirt or flank cuts of beef before, but these were two of my favourites, as they were completely packed with flavour. (They’re relatively cheap to buy, as they’re not as fashionable as the others.) Whilst rib-eye remains my favourite cut of steak, my eyes have been opened up to the variety of cuts available, and I’ll definitely be mixing it up from here on in.

Gaucho Anywhere

Gaucho Anywhere

We were given a sirloin steak to take home with our chimichurri. You’d think after all that beef, we’d have had enough, but no! We fried it up for tea, using the excellent cooking tips from Fernando, and it was delicious. Thank you, Gaucho!

Our sirloin steak

Our sirloin steak

Our littlest steak fan

Our littlest steak fan

Posted in Blogging, Eating out, Feature, Food, Leeds, Product review, Recipes, Review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments

Geronimo Festival; a fun day out for none of the family

We’d been excited about Geronimo Festival. Giddy even. Geronimo promised to be a family festival full of Cbeebies stars, and jam-packed with fun things for children from 2-12 years old. Sadly, it was a complete farce and we were fully let down.

I got a sinking feeling as we were sent around the houses to even get in to the festival at Harewood House. After finally entering the estate, we then spent another whole hour queueing on a single track whilst the petrol tank emptied itself and the warning light flashed at me ominously. The kids moaned, the car groaned, and spluttered a bit, and on and on we sat… tick tock, tick tock. “When are we there, Mummy?”. “I have no flipping idea, Emilia…”

FINALLY, we approached the parking area. Two non-plussed individuals got entirely confused about what we were asking them (we had tickets waiting – I was lucky enough to get a press pass for the event). This seemed too much information so eventually they just told us to go through, but they had no idea where we should get our tickets from.

We parked up, and waded through the masses of families, who were (guess what?) queueing again. Finally, we found the ticket desk, got our wristbands and entered the festival feeling somewhat worn down, but still eager and excited. More fool us.

Geronimo Festival

Geronimo Festival

There were random tents all over the place, a central arena (with nothing happening in it), and it all looked a little bit lack lustre and small scale. We were trying to get to the main stage in time to see Cook and Line from Swashbuckle (a firm favourite in our house), but there were no maps, no directions, nothing. Just hoards of people bumping into each other, queueing randomly for who knows what, and all looking a bit cross. It was a family festival, and no one was having any fun.

The stage - taken standing on a bench, with a long lens

The stage – taken standing on a bench, with a long lens

Finally we found the stage and once again, we were disappointed. The scale was completely wrong for the size of the event and for the number of people that were there. The stage was tiny, it was low down and there were no screens, which meant that nobody could see anything at all. Kids were on parents shoulders craning to see, and parents grimaced whilst staring at the ground, counting the minutes until it was done.

Emilia

Emilia

Giving up on the stage, we headed to the rides area. The queue for the Helter Skelter was insane – I heard people had waited for over an hour there. We headed to the Merry-Go-Round, but there was very little merry making. As it slowed to a halt, parents fought to get their tots on horses, pushing others out the way. Emilia and I got stuck, without a horse, and on the high up, wet, steep and narrow steps, and needed a stranger’s help to get us down. It was unsafe, and there was no one there to take control.

Merry Go Round of doom

Merry Go Round of Doom

Feeling cold and miserable and seeing nothing but queues, we decided to save our Sunday and leave.

See that queue at the back, going round? That's half of the Helter Skelter queue

See that queue at the back, going round? That’s half of the Helter Skelter queue

I have never been to such a large scale event that has been so poorly organised. Lucky dip tents all over the place, no maps, no information, insane queues, safety issues, a stage you can’t see, events running late, and misery, everywhere. It’s as if the masses of people were a surprise to the organisers.

On top of all that, it’s such a ruddy expensive event to go to. Luckily I had a pass, but other families will have saved up for this only to have had a terrible experience that gave no value for money. Children came to see their heroes – the stars of CBeebies – and they just couldn’t see a thing. I saw so many disappointed faces, and it’s such a shame.

Geronimo Festival is a thoroughly disappointing experience; it’s poorly organised and shows a complete inability to deliver an event to the scale that was promised.

I contacted the organisers for a comment, and this is their response:

We are aware there were issues with the traffic management getting into Harewood House and this is being addressed ahead of tomorrow’s event. All large scale events experience traffic and delays, and we did open the carpark at 9am to help ease congestion but we know how frustrating this is, especially when travelling with young children.  We delayed the live stage shows by 30 minutes to ensure more people had been able to get in and extended our opening times to 6.30pm.  Unfortunately, several food vendors let us down and decided to not turn up for the festival, which did have an impact on queues during the busy lunch time period.  The terrible weather also impacted on the smooth running of the event, the mobile screen for the live stage, for example could not be installed.

Were you at the festival? What are your thoughts, and is the above response by management enough? Please comment below.

Posted in Blogging, Children's activities, Days out, Feature, Leeds, Review, Trips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments

Leeds Chocolatier on Bake Off Creme de la Creme

I watched the first couple of episodes of BBC 2’s Bake Off Creme de la Creme, and I wasn’t particularly enamoured by it. It’s all very uneasy, jilted and definitely lacking the comfort and charm of the original format. (WHERE ARE MEL AND SUE?!) Also, it has the most unfathomable scoring system ever, and no one gets many points from the snooty, and joyless judges, whatever they do.

BUT, I just discovered that Leeds’ own Stephen Trigg of Lauden Chocolate is going to be heading up a team on the show tonight. You will have seen Stephen’s beautiful chocolate creations at the many food events and farmers markets around Leeds. The chocolates are like mini edible works of art; they’re completely stunning.

Stephen started Lauden Chocolate with his wife, Sun, in 2008. They made the chocolates in their apartment, whilst also working other jobs. The company has certainly come a long way – Lauden now supplies British Airway’s first class cabins, and has many other impressive contracts, which they fulfil from their factory in Kirkstall.

Stephen and Sun

Stephen and Sun

Lauden Chocolate is grown up chocolate; it’s like the fine dining world of confectionery. It will be interesting to see how the judges react to Stephen’s creations on Bake Off Creme de la Creme, and if he uses any of the popular flavours and techniques from Lauden Chocolate (their Passion Fruit chocolate make is sublime).

Stephen’s team mates are Crafthouse’s Stefan Rose, and Michelin Star Pastry Chef, Nelson Barros. Let’s hope those judges crack a smile for them…

Stephen and the team

Stephen and the team

Bake Off Creme de la Creme is aired on Tuesday 26th April, on BBC 2 at 8pm and the team are hoping the city will get behind them on social media to showcase Leeds as a centre of culinary excellence with #teamleeds #cremedelacreme and #GBBOCreme.

I’m going to tune in to support this great Leeds producer of chocolate delights. I hope you will too? #TeamLeeds

Supporters tagging @LaudenChocolate will also have the chance to win a 121 chocolate making workshop with Stephen at Lauden’s Leeds factory.

Posted in Blogging, Feature, Food, Leeds, Local food | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments

The Real Junk Food Project Opens in Horsforth, Leeds

The Real Junk Food Project is a network of ‘pay as you feel’ cafes dedicated to feeding bellies, not bins. They divert food that would otherwise be destined for waste, and use it to create delicious and healthy meals. Its three main aims are:

  • to reduce food waste
  • to reduce food poverty
  • to build community

Horsforth launched its own Real Junk Food Cafe at St Margarets Parish Centre today, and Robin and I stopped by to see what it was all about. Emma Mawer, who’s managing the cafe, was busy in the kitchen preparing meals out of the random selection of food she received this morning; it’s like a large scale Ready Steady Cook challenge. This is what she had to work with today:

DSC_0596

DSC_0592

DSC_0595 (1)

This is her resulting menu:

  • Chicken Fajita or Venison Pate Sandwiches
  • Tuna and pesto lasagne
  • Vegetable frittata
  • Fruit and meringue
  • Assorted cakes
  • Bread & butter pudding

We couldn’t stay for lunch, but had a lovely cuppa, and a good chat with other local people who had popped in.

One of Horforth Cafe's first guests

One of Horforth Cafe’s first guests

Emma is running the Horsforth Cafe every second Monday until July (dates below), 10am – 2pm. If you would like to volunteer to help out at the cafe, please contact Emma directly: emma@cafe.allhallowsleeds.org.uk

Emma Mawer

Emma Mawer

Horsforth Cafe dates:
Monday 25th April
Monday 9th May
Monday 23rd May
Monday 6th June
Monday 20th June
Saturday 2nd July (walk of art)
Monday 4th July
Monday 18th July

Please go along and support this great project in Horsforth. If you could spread the word, that would be brilliant as well.

Posted in Blogging, Drink, Eating out, Feature, Food, Local food, Money saving food ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments

Iberica, Leeds

Iberica is a new Spanish restaurant in Leeds, and it’s a truly special place to visit. Ascending the stone steps, you enter the foyer with it’s glittering chandeliers, before stepping into a truly beautiful dining hall. It’s like stepping into a decadent bygone era, almost like the 1920s. It’s glamorous, but there are details that make it also granny chic (and I mean that in the nicest of ways) such as the enormous lampshades above each of the booth tables. It’s truly stunning; the owners clearly care a lot about the venue they’ve created.

DSC_0586

Light and wall detailing in the main dining hall

I couldn’t quite capture the whole room as it was packed with people dining, and with waiting staff milling back and forth, so this following picture is from Iberica’s website:

This image is from http://www.ibericarestaurants.com/

This image is from http://www.ibericarestaurants.com/

The bar area is sublime too. It’s cosy, and warm, but stylish too, in a classic way. I’d like to sit in one of their armchairs on an evening to natter and drink whisky awhile…

The Bar

The Bar

The staff are attentive in that incredibly professional way; they know exactly what you need, when you need it, without being at all intrusive. Our waiter helped us choose from the menu, and we started with a platter of meats and cheeses that have come from Iberica’s very own deli, found below stairs.

Meats and cheeses

Meats and cheeses

Next up, my friends and I devoured plate after plate of delicious tapas dishes, and we also shared a couple of the mains dishes, for good measure. There was so much food that I can’t mention it all, but our highlights include the following:

We ordered the calamari as it’s a firm favourite of many of us, and it’s very hard for busy restaurants to get right, so it was a bit of a test. BUT, Iberica got it spot on – it was perfect.

Calamari

Fried fresh squid with alioli sauce

The asparagus toast was Lorna’s firm favourite, and deservedly so. It comes with manchego cheese, onion confit and truffle oil. A beautiful dish.

Asparagus toast

Asparagus toast

My friend Liz and I haven’t ever seen razor clams on a menu outside of Spain, so we made the most of these delicious beauties.

Sautéed razor clams

Sautéed razor clams

The hake dish looks simple, and the menu description doesn’t give much away, but it’s stunning. The fish was perfectly cooked, and the sauce matched it well, without taking over in flavour. If you’re thinking of ordering it, DO.

Hake with green sauce

Hake with green sauce

Liz finished her meal with the gently spiced Spanish rice pudding, and loved every mouthful of it.

Caramelised Spanish rice pudding

Caramelised Spanish rice pudding

Jen opted for the textures of chocolate. If you’re a chocolate lover, this one’s for you. Very rich, and very indulgent.

Textures of chocolate

Textures of chocolate

After our completely delicious dinner, we were invited downstairs to the deli and wine bar. This area has an entirely different feel to it. It’s much more rustic and homely, and it has a magnificent deli store within the old lift.

Deli shop, in a lift

Goods Lift Only – hah!

The Master Carver (there’s a Master Carver!) brought us a plate of meats, and also some cheese, to sample alongside glasses of sherry. If you’re in any doubt about what to order, ask the staff. They’re so knowledgable about the food and drink they serve, and they can match your preferences perfectly.

Downstairs Deli

Downstairs Deli

We had an amazing evening at Iberica. Fantastic company was equally matched with amazing food and wine from the generous and charming people at Iberica. The building and decor are completely stunning. It’s very sophisticated, but also has a happy charm about it; there are certainly no stiff upper lips.

I haven’t even mentioned the toilets, and they are a reason to visit all on their own. I shall leave that as a little surprise for you…

Iberica is a must for all the food and drink lovers of Leeds. Go! Go, and enjoy.

Posted in Blogging, Drink, Eating out, Feature, Food, Leeds, Review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments

Preview: Banyan Bar, Leeds

Banyan Bar, Leeds, is opening to the public this weekend, but I was offered a seat at the bloggers table last night for a sneak peek.

Walking through the old Post Office venue, I was impressed with the decor; it’s decadent and plush, in an old-school, library sort of way. More than anything, I love the snippets that you can see through the windows. This building is old and beautiful, and you can catch glimpses of stone figures on the stunning exterior of the building, and of the buildings opposite.

Whatever you do, DON'T BLINK!

Whatever you do, DON’T BLINK!

Porthole window

Porthole window

On arrival, I was handed a Pea and Mint Bellini, which was summer fresh and entirely delicious. We were then brought other cocktails from the menu to share and sample. The Cucumber Cooler (Hendrick’s gin, Giffard pamplemousse, St Germain elderflower liqueur, pineapple and passion fruit syrup and Prosecco) was very light, vibrant, and easy to drink.

Cucumber Cooler

Cucumber Cooler

The Rum and Raisin Mai Tai was quite heavy for me – I think there was a lot of the raisin syrup in it, which admittedly, was never going to be a hit for me.

Rum & Raisin Mai Tai

Rum & Raisin Mai Tai

We also sampled some nibbles from the Sharing Plates section of the menu. The Teriyaki Pork Belly was delicious; I could have sat and happily eaten my way through the platter of it. There’s more sweet than spice on it, but it’s not heavy with fat at all, which pork belly can be if not cooked well.

Teriyaki Pork Belly

Teriyaki Pork Belly

The Crispy Spring Duck Rolls also went down well, and the Tempura King Prawns were huge, and well cooked.

Tempura King Prawns

Tempura King Prawns

The owner of Arc Inspirations (the overarching business, which now operates 12 bars in Yorkshire) Martin Wolstencroft, sat firmly at the head of our dining table and was quizzed by us. I had arrived late (Mr M and I had to do some sort of spy drop / swap of tots mid-way between Leeds and Horsforth… very complicated) so I missed the general information he shared, but something that did make my ears prick up was a question he was asked about what it is that makes Banyan Bar different. What is the brand? Martin’s response was to say that it does “everything” (i.e. breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks…) AND that it does “everything” better than everyone else. I found this quite a bold statement. My concern with delivering everything in one venue is that it could become a little ‘Jack of all trades’. We’ll have to see how it pans out, I guess.

Interior, upstairs

Interior, upstairs

I think that any new cocktail venue in Leeds is going to be closely scrutinised, because there’s such fierce innovation and competition within the city right now. Banyan Bar hasn’t hit the complex heights of Vice & Virtue or The Botanist when it comes to cocktails, but the food I tried was well cooked and tasty. The venue certainly looks impressive, and the sun-trap outside is going to be appreciated by drinkers in the warmer months, so I’m sure it will be a popular place.

Banyan Bar opens to the public on Saturday 23rd April 2016.

Posted in Blogging, Drink, Eating out, Food, Leeds, Preview, Review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments

Online and offline, Horsforth is a Real Community

Ever since Emilia could walk, she’s trotted along the wall on Station Road in Horsforth, nearly every day. This wall-walking is a big part of her 4.5yrs on planet Earth; a big part of her entire world. Once she’d mastered walking it, she was learning to count, so she would practice counting the paving slabs across the top of the wall as she stomped over them. Now she reads the the fish and chip shop sign that is often placed on it, and points out the letters. People have often stopped to say how they remember helping their children walk to walk across this wall more than 30 years ago, so it has a long standing tradition.

On Monday, we discovered that the sacred wall had been crashed into, and Emilia was really upset. I understand that in the grand schemes of things it’s not the most awful thing to ever happen, but to a 4yr old whose daily rituals form their world, it is pretty big. Besides that, it was looking quite dangerous.

The Wall

The Wall

I mentioned it on a local Facebook group that we’re part of, Horsforth Community Group (which has over 7000 members). Now this group has it’s ups and downs. There are the snippy types who love to argue over nothing (but aren’t there always) and there’s far too much discussion over takeaways, but there’s also people who ask genuine questions, or make requests for help, and it is given, gladly.

Clare Smith (one of the organisers of Horsforth Walk of Art) was more proactive than me and actually asked if there was a tradesperson who’d be willing to fix the wall (the owners may not come forward any time soon to do it, if at all). Within minutes, Michael Gwynn offered his assistance, saying he’d look at it the very next day. And he did! It needed more work than originally thought, so he sent down his bricklayer to finish off the job. For free. What an amazing thing to do, for no other reason than someone asked on behalf of the ‘wall-walking tots of Horsforth’.

DSC_0594

One happy wall-walker

Just two days after Emilia’s wall was destroyed, it is now fixed, and she is completely delighted. Thank you so much to Michael and his team. Please head over to his Facebook page and give it a ‘like’, just as a token of thanks for being such a lovely chap.

People often say that the internet is destroying communities and that people never talk to each other any more. I think this example shows just how beneficial the internet can be today, and how people are still talking and do still care, just in a slightly different way to the days of old.

Posted in Blogging, Children's activities, Feature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments

The BBC Good Food Show Spring, Harrogate

I was really chuffed to be one of the bloggers for the BBC Good Food Show Spring this year. I got a bit of an inside peek into the build up, and I also got access to the show itself.

Finding Harrogate International Centre was much harder than it should have been though (my sense of direction seems to be so much worse than I thought). It was meant to be a seven minute trot down from the train station, but I managed to do a full loop of Harrogate, taking a full 40 minutes?!

So I arrived a bit frazzled, and had a quick glimpse about, marvelling at all the people drinking gin at 9am, and then I headed to the Supertheatre to see Michel Roux Jr. I was sent down a fairly mundane corridor, and then stumbled through a doorway into one the most beautiful, ornate theatres I’ve ever seen. It was such a surprise too, as I hadn’t realised that the Supertheatre was an ACTUAL theatre!

The Royal Hall

The Royal Hall

The warm up guys did their thing, and before long Michel Roux Jr was on stage and cooking up some beer soup (very similar to French onion soup, but with additional beer) and some souffles with apricots and cointreau. He was brilliant, as expected, and chatted away, coping well with the cheeky antics from his cameraman, Tony.

Michel Roux Jr

Michel Roux Jr

After this, I went round stall after stall of treats and goodies. There are so many independent producers, and this was a great celebration of a whole host of them. What surprised me, was the amount of gin producers about. There were LOADS of them, and they all gave you a free sample – hurrah.

Daffy's Gin

Daffy’s Gin

My favourite was Daffy’s Gin, which is based up in Edinburgh. They’ve created their gin by “distilling it in the same manner as malt whisky on an ancient single batch copper pot still”, and like whisky, Daffy’s can be enjoyed straight, over ice. It’s also great with tonic though, and they served up samples of this with lime and mint. (The mint matches the Lebanese mint used in the gin itself.) Daffy’s also has an incredible Gin Goddess, who I adore – I mean look at her, she’s amazing. (She’s possibly what people think they look like after a few gins too…)

The Gin Goddess

The Gin Goddess

It wasn’t all about gin though. There was a whole hog to be seen.

Whole Hog

Whole Hog

And there was cheese galore, including one my favourites, Shepherds Purse. Their Mrs Bell’s Blue? Oh my. It’s a blue cheese, but made with sheep’s milk. It’s fresh and light, but rich and strong at the same time, if that makes any sense at all.

Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd’s Purse

I also found Mario from Olianas Gusto Italiano displaying his fine selection of cheese, meats, and doughnuts etc. It’s like a whole deli shop on a trellis table – brilliant.

Olianas Gusto Italiano

Olianas Gusto Italiano

I had a fabulous foodie time at the BBC Good Food Show in Harrogate, and stumbled out somewhat weary, and bleary-eyed to head back to the train station, which I found… after a time.

Posted in Blogging, Drink, Eating out, Feature, Food, Local food, Review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments

Boat Trips and Farm Animals at Harewood House, Leeds

Harewood reopened for spring a couple of weeks ago, and thank goodness that it did. We go there all the time (so much so, we’ve paid for membership), and the winter months seemed long and tricky without our favourite weekend place to visit.

We don’t tend to go near the actual house at Harewood – it’s all about the grounds for us. Having young kids is a bit like having dogs – you need to give them a good run around every single day. Emilia (4yrs) loves it at Harewood. She clambers over the entire adventure playground, and then races around the lake to the Himalayan garden where we eat picnics in the hidden hut, before heading back round to the bird garden. Now that Robin (1yr, 10mths) is on his feet, he’s joining her in the adventures too.

DSC_0593

Capability on the lake

As annoying as the winter closure was, the Harewood estate at least made very good use of the break. They’ve installed a new farm area, cleared trees to make the views over the lake even better, revamped the penguin area, got some new (and much livelier!) penguins, AND they’ve started running boat trips on weekends.

I FLIPPING LOVE A BOAT TRIP!

We were lucky enough to win a family boat ride (they’re normally £3 per person), and we made the most of it last weekend. We waited for the boat called Capability to come in to the jetty and then were greeted by the most lovely, chatty skippers you could hope for.

Capability

Capability

The younglings were bundled into life jackets and in no time at all we were all aboard Capability and setting off round the lake. Emilia was made a great fuss of, and even got to be our Captain for a time.

Captain Emilia!

Captain Emilia!

Robin monkeyed about too, and loved every second of it.

Skipper Robin

Pirate Robin

The views are incredible, and it’s lovely to see the estate and the house from a new perspective. We also saw the flamingos up close, and their home, as well as some nesting geese.

Harewood House

Harewood House

Harewood’s new farm area has been a big hit with us too. Emilia loves stroking the enormous bunnies, and we have a good gander at the pigs, goats and alpacas.

Bunny petting

Bunny petting

We always love visiting the Harewood House estate, but the changes they’ve made this year have made the experience even better. We’re likely to be there most weekends until it closes next winter. If you haven’t visited yet, I think you definitely should.

Posted in Blogging, Children's activities, Days out, Leeds, Review, Trips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments