Category Archives: Days Out

Days Out: The Castle, Bude in Cornwall

Despite the name, The Castle isn’t actually a castle, but a fine building located close to the beach in Bude, Cornwall. It’s more of a heritage centre than anything else; but one worth visiting if you’re interested in the history of the area.

The Castle was built by and was the home of noted Cornishman, Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, who was a pioneering engineer and inventor; surgeon, chemist, lecturer, consultant, architect and builder in the Victorian era. In 1830 he set about building a new house in the sand hills of Summerleaze Beach. The house was built on an innovative concrete raft foundation; making it the first building of its kind in the UK. The house still stands today, though it has been extended and converted into the art gallery and heritage centre.

Days Out: The Castle, Bude in Cornwall

The Castle is free to enter and contains displays and information about Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, shipwrecks and the history of lifesaving in the area. Battles and the English Civil War, the Bude Canal and Railway and the geology of the area. There is a really interesting display bout the second world war too. I really like that the building is packed full of history, right up to the present day. There’s a lot packed in and it’s a fine way to spend an hour or two.

Downstairs there is a large room dedicated to the history of Bude. I especially liked the display which showed how long it takes for litter and plastics to biodegrade. There are also examples of the geology of North Cornwall and my favourite bit, a selection of artefacts from boats which were wrecked in Bude. There’s also a fascinating display about the life of Archie Jewell who was a local boy who worked as a look-out on the Titanic.

Upstairs is the Cafe Limelight; a lovely cafe with panoramic views from its conservatory towards Bude Canal, the harbour and Summerleaze beach. There’s also a good gift shop and two galleries which host an ever-changing exhibition programme showcasing the talents of local artists and craftspeople.

Days Out: The Castle, Bude in Cornwall

It’s a fine place to stop off for a while if you’re visiting Bude. I like to pop in each time I’m in the area for a look around and a cup of coffee in the cafe. It’s obviously a popular hub for local people and the galleries are always worth visiting.

It’s not a castle, so don’t visit with expectations of medieval stonework and tales of kings and queens. What you will find is a good heritage centre full of interesting pieces of local history; a great cafe and a real hub for local artists.

The Castle, Bude is open daily between 10am – 5pm and it’s free to visit. It’s located at The Wharf, Bude, EX23 8LG. For more information, visit their website.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

AD/ Last year the first ever Timber Festival was held in the beautiful and unique surroundings of the National Forest at Feanedock. It was three days of music, arts, creativity and philosophy in the woods. Timber Festival 2019 is returning this year on 5th, 6th and 7th July, and we are excited to be going along for the ride!

Timber is located at Feanedock, a 70 acre woodland site in the Midlands. The woodland has been transformed from a former coalfield to be part of the first forest to be created in England for over 1,000 years. It’s a truly unique site and it’s growing by the day.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

The 2018 Timber Festival was really special; there was a huge moon in the woods, amazing music, storytelling around the campfire; the boy went on adventures, climbed trees, built a den, explored and grew in so many ways. It was an experience we are very keen to repeat, so we’re going again this year.

The festival is divided into eight distinct areas; The Eyrie Stage, Field Notes, As the Crow Flies, Elemental, Halcyon Days, Shivelight, The Canopy and The Common. Each area has its own thing going on, so for example, the Eyrie Stage is dedicated to the best in spoken word and live music and in Halcyon Days you’ll find all kinds of circus skills and woodland games.

If you’re planning on going to Timber as a family with children, then your plan for the weekend will probably be very different to an adult group.  Last year there were a number of really memorable things which we all loved; I’m pleased to see a lot of them back again this year.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

Unmissable things to do at Timber Festival 2019!

Bushcraft Survival – Discover your inner Bear Grylls in these handy workshops!

Visit the Perfectly Edible Binner Table for ‘Binner’. They will be cooking up a vibrant 2-Course Dinner made entirely out of food that would otherwise have been sent to landfill.

Foraging for Modern Humans will show you how to do it safely and ethically and explores why she believes that foraging is still important for 21st century living.

Visit Shivelight and relax with some Laughter Yoga; Tai Chi; Reiki or Forest Bathing; or just chill out with a book in the Woodland Library.

Shimmer in the Elemental area is an immersive diffusion system includes a 12-channel sound experience that uses copper-alloy cymbals as speakers to control the intensity of light to manipulate pattern and shapes.

Families would enjoy the Willow Maze and the Woodland Cinema, both in the Elemental area.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

Inside the As the Crow Flies area, you’ll find storytelling legend, Ian Douglas perched around the campfire telling his tall tales. For a bit of mad science, Dieter Wadeson is hilarious and dangerous in equal measure. If you are around the campfire as the night draws in, get your toes tapping to the Campfire Bands.

Visit the Moth Hotel have a go one the Giant Marble Run. There are also Slacklines to balance on, trees to climb and the ever popular Hammer & Chisel area, where kids can get building.

The Eyrie Stage was a bit of a hidden gem last year. Tucked away in the woodland, this stage was really popular with an eclectic mix of music and artists. This year you can enjoy BBC Radio 3’s Elizabeth Alker curating the Saturday programme; The Coal Tits; The Screeching Bluejays; Woodland DJs; MUHA and The Roots Community Choir.

In Field Notes, you’ll find the best of nature writing, storytelling and cutting edge ideas; from Stuart Maconie talking about writing his book, The Long Road from Jarrow; Gwenno who is Single-handedly raising the profile of the Cornish language and music from Another Sky, Otto & The Mutapa Calling and Cut A Shine.

What to expect at Timber Festival 2019

There are a million more things to see and do at Timber Festival; and new acts are being added all the time. To see the full line up and for more information about Timber Festival, visit the website.

Timber Festival 2019 will take place on 5/6/7 July 2019; at Feanedock, near Ashby de la Zouch, in the National Forest.

Disclosure: We been offered tickets to the Timber Festival 2019 in exchange for a preview and an honest review.

Days Out: Visiting Barley Hall, Medieval House, York

A couple of weeks ago we went to York for the day and we really packed a lot of history into our time there. As well as visiting the JORVIK Viking Centre, one of the things we did was visit Barley Hall; a medieval townhouse tucked away in the back streets of York.

Barley Hall is a reconstructed medieval townhouse which was originally built around 1360 by the monks of Nostell Priory near Wakefield. Later it became a high status residence in York.

Days Out: Visiting Barley Hall, Medieval House, York

The first record of the Snawsell family living in Barley Hall in 1466. The Hall was the residence of someone of a very high status, and William Snawsell was a goldsmith and coiner, and later the Lord Mayor. In his household lived his wife and three children, who were attended to by around 12 servants. Barley Hall was later split into separate dwellings in the 16th or 17th century. Eventually it was bought by York Archaeological Trust in 1987 and restoration work began.

When Barley Hall was restored in 1987, York Archaeological Trust modeled the Hall on the household of the Snawsell family during the reign of Richard III. The Hall has high ceilings, exposed beams and replica furnishings throughout.

Days Out: Visiting Barley Hall, Medieval House, York

Today it is a popular museum for visitors and school children to learn more about domestic life in the medieval period. I really enjoy learning about domestic history, about how people lived and what they ate; so a visit to Barley Hall was right up my street.

The Great Hall is the biggest and most splendid room at Barley Hall. The family would sit at the raised table at the front of the Hall; with lower status people taking their place on the side tables.

Days Out: Visiting Barley Hall, Medieval House, York

My favourite areas were where the servants worked. The dairy and the larder were really interesting to me and I spent some time exploring them. Upstairs Barley Hall currently has a special exhibition – Magic and Mystery. There were lots of interactive activities for children to do, and lots to interest adults as well.

As well as interesting displays, there was a medieval dressing up box; a make your own wand activity and you’re challenged to find the magical properties of plants, stones and wood; plus add the correct stamp in your own booklet which you can take home and keep. I especially liked the section devoted to the uses of herbs for healing and in magic. We certainly learned a few things about medieval magic!

Days Out: Visiting Barley Hall, Medieval House, York

Barley Hall is not huge, but there’s enough to interest and entertain there. It’s great for children as the history is really hands on too. The exhibitions change from time to time, so it’s worth checking before you visit to see what’s on. It really is tucked away in the back streets though, so you might need a map to help you find it.

If you’ve got a little time on your hands and you’re in York, a visit to Barley Hall is an hour or two well spent!

For more information about Barley Hall, visit the website.

Days Out: Visiting Barley Hall, Medieval House, York

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

AD/ This year the Just So Festival celebrates 10 years of festivaling in the UK. The Just So Festival has been a summer highlight for us for many years. Each year the festival gets bigger, better and bolder. They’ve just released their 2019 festival programme, so I’ve picked out slightly more than ten excellent reasons to go to the Just So Festival 2019.

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

1/The Tribal Tournament

Underpinning the whole of the Just So Festival, the Tribal Tournament is an excellent excuse to dress up and buzz like a bumblebee, strut like a stag or flounce like a fox, or a fish. Each tribe picks up points over the weekend and only one team will be crowned kings of Just So 2019.  Pick from owls, foxes, frogs, stags, lions, bees or fish. Dress up, or not, it’s all good fun. We’ve been bees the last two years, will we still be buzzing this year?

2/Campfire Stories with Ian Douglas

For me, the campfire is the beating heart of Just So. It’s a wonderful place to gather around the fire, listening to Ian’s seemingly endless repertoire of stories and chilling out for an hour or so. There’s always something going on around the campfire, see what tickles your fancy and plan a couple of visits there each day, you won’t regret it!

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

3/Silent Disco

The Silent Disco was one of my absolute highlights from last year. Dancing around with our friends and family, all in headphones, all fairly tunelessly singing our hearts out and dancing our socks off. Brilliant fun and genuinely hilarious. Dig out your dancing shoes and get down to the disco!

4/Fire Garden

New for 2019 is the Fire Garden. I’ve seen this at the Timber Festival and it’s an incredible sight. As the sun sets, the new orchard near the Social will be illuminated with an installation of metal and fire. Small cauldrons suspended in wondrous patterns will guide a path through the orchard. It’s a truly wondrous sight, not to be missed!

5/Boutique Camping

We always camp in our trusty tent, but we keep promising ourselves that one year we will push the boat out a little and stay in one of the yurts, bell tents, vintage tents, camping pods or new for this year – a Gypsy bowtop caravan! Although, if boutique camping isn’t for you, camping at Just So is nowhere near slumming it, with hot showers and nice toilets, there’s even a place you can bath your baby!

6/Weleda Treats and Treatments

As a busy mum, I always take time to slip away to the Weleda tent for a pampering hand massage and half an hour of festival tranquility. Visit the Weleda ‘Nice Cream Van’ on the Village Green to discover more about the amazing properties and powers of our native plants.

7/Lantern Parade

Over the weekend, take some time to make your own lantern from willow and paper; then join the lantern parade and light up the woods as you wind through the trees of Rode by night. It’s a beautiful sight and even more exciting if you’re in the thick of it.

8/The Big 10th Birthday Bake Off

Bring your very best homemade cake to the New Curiosity Shop on Friday before 6pm to enter. The best cake will win its baker a family weekend ticket for Just So Festival 2020! All of the entries will then make their way to the volunteer tent, as a special treat for the people who make the festival fabulous.

9/Wonderland

New for 2019 is the Wonderland stage, which first made its appearance at Timber Festival last year. Head into the woods to enjoy author talks, music workshops and night-time DJ sets in the intimate Wonderland area.

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

10/Hammer & Chisel

Wild play rules at Hammer & Chisel, a unique woodland playground. Under the supervision of our forest play experts, create your own world or add to what’s there using pallets, ladders and ropes; help put together a maze of walkways, dens and secret spaces. Pick up your tool of choice and get ready to build in the brilliant Spellbound Forest.

11/Best of the rest…

At the Just So Festival there’s so much to see and do, there are surprises around every corner and try as you might, it’s impossible to see and do everything you’d like to. Given the chance, you should also seek out Hope and Social, Bushcraft in the Spellbound Forest, The Moth Hotel, Circus Skills, Family Yoga, the Rowing Boats, Bollywood Dancing, David Gibb, Ghost Caribou, Bubble Hour, Midnight Feast, Ministry of Games and the biggest ever game of Pass the Parcel!

More than 10 reasons to go to Just So Festival 2019

Tickets for the Just So Festival special 10th birthday are selling fast. To celebrate its 10th birthday, Just So Festival are offering free weekend tickets to ten year olds. For more information or to book visit www.justsofestival.org.uk.

Just So Festival takes place on 16/17/18 of August 2019 at the Rode Hall Estate, Scholar Green, Cheshire.

Disclosure: We been offered tickets to the Just So Festival 2019 in exchange for a preview and an honest review.

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Centre, York

Since it opened in 1984, the JORVIK Viking Centre in York has been a popular place to visit to learn about Viking life. I remember going there on a school trip a few years after it opened. I was really taken with the recreation of a Viking settlement, complete with sounds and smells!

Over half term I took the boy for the day. We were visiting York for the JORVIK Viking Festival and we figured the JORVIK Viking Centre would be a good place to start. We arrived bright and early, which was just as well as on busy days the queue to get in can snake around the square.

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Centre, York

When you enter, beyond the ticket office you walk down a flight of stairs (a lift is available) and enter a large room with a glass floor. Underneath the glass floor you can see the remains of the archaeological dig which the site it built upon. Around the walls there are information panels telling the story of the JORVIK Centre and some pieces which they uncovered during the dig.

A guide dressed in Viking clothes welcomed us and talked us through what we were standing on and what you can see through the glass. He also told us about the 2015 flood which filled the centre with water and closed it for almost two years. The JORVIK Viking Centre reopened in 2017. The closure meant that they could refresh and update the centre; so it’s almost how I remembered it, but more modern and a bit better.

After you’ve explored the room with the glass floor, you join a short queue for the Time Warp. This is probably one of the most famous things about JORVIK. You climb into a car and it takes you back to 975 AD to a Viking settlement. There’s commentary to listen to and it takes you through all the sights, sounds and smells of Viking life. There are mannequins which I’m told are now modeled on the faces of actual Vikings; which makes things feel even more authentic.

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Centre, York

All life is there in the Time Warp, from women cooking and shopping, and children playing; to butchers and fishermen at work. It really brings the living conditions to life and was a real talking point for my son. The old Time Warp which I remember really stayed with me, and this is no different. It’s a really accessible way of teaching Viking history.

From the Time Warp you move to the artifacts room which has over 800 finds from the site; with interactive displays and the chance to learn about life in the 10th century.  There are several Viking guides to greet you and talk to you about life as a Viking. When you enter the room you’re met by displays of two excavated skeletons, the information about them is incredible. There’s even a piece of fossilised poo on display, gross things always excite the children and this was no different.

There’s an interactive screen where you can learn about Viking musical instruments and listen to them being played. You can also watch Viking money being minted; try on a helmet and find out more about Viking combs; (apparently the Vikings were a tidy bunch, bathing weekly and keeping their hair and beards neat and tidy). There are lots of artifacts to look at, it’s fascinating and I would have liked to have really taken my time to look around it.

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Centre, York

Beyond the artifact room is the gift shop, which is excellent. If you manage to leave without buying a Viking shield for an 8 year old, you’re a stronger person than me.

The JORVIK Viking Centre is an excellent way to bring history to life for children. It’s really well done and I’m pleased that it has been brought up to date following the flood. The 12 minute long Time Warp is the real attraction here. It’s the kind of thing I’d like to do twice, just to see the things I missed the first time. I know that visiting the JORVIK Viking Centre will really help my 8 year old’s understanding of the period, and that’s never a bad thing.

For more information about JORVIK Viking Centre in York, visit their website.

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Centre, York

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Festival

Vikings are very much the flavour of the month in our house. We’ve been doing a lot of reading about Vikings, and the boy is learning about them at school. What better way to bring some Viking learning to life than to take a trip to York and visit the JORVIK Viking Festival.

The JORVIK Viking Festival takes place every February, and the start of the festival fell during our half term. This year the JORVIK Viking Festival runs from 20 – 27 February 2019. It’s a family friendly festival and the largest event of its kind in Europe. There are historic encampments, talks, tours, combat displays and much more, all during half term week. This year the festival has a special focus on the untold story of women in the Viking age.

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Festival

We arrived in York bright and early on the second day of the festival. Parking near the JORVIK Viking Centre, we were surprised at just how busy it was so early in the day. Just after 9am there were queues stretching around the courtyard to get into the Jorvik Centre. If you are planning to go, it’s probably an idea to pre-book fast track tickets beforehand.

Visiting the JORVIK Viking Centre is a great place to start. The Viking guides talk you and walk you through the archaeological dig; you go on a time travel ride which takes you through a Viking village and all life within it; and there’s a fascinating artifacts gallery to explore.

During the JORVIK Viking Festival, there are a number of areas within York where you will find Viking goings on. All of the events and activities are listed on the website, but we picked up a booklet which listed everything and had a map, and we found that much easier to follow.

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Festival

From the JORVIK Viking Centre we went to nearby Parliament Street where the Viking Encampment was located. The encampment is set up with Viking stalls, where you can watch craftsmen make wooden bowls, jewellery and Viking combs, as well as blacksmiths at work and even a Viking tattooist. At one end is a large tent where little ones can try their hands at making some Viking crafts. There’s even a Viking long-boat to have a look at. We really loved this area and returned to it several times during the day, the boy and I especially liked watching the wooden bowl making.

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Festival

Before lunch, we visited Barley Hall, which is tucked away in the backstreets of York. Barley Hall is a reconstructed medieval townhouse which was originally built around 1360 by the monks of Nostell Priory near Wakefield. Extended in the 15th century; Barley Hall went into a slow decline and was eventually bought by the York Archaeological Trust in 1987 and restored into the museum we see today.

It’s a really interesting museum, and during the Viking Festival, it is playing host to a number of special events and exhibits. We went along to see the Seers and Shamans: Magic in the Viking Age exhibit. There were lots of interactive activities for children to do, and lots to interest adults. It’s such an interesting museum, especially if you’re interested in domestic history.

Moving on from Barley Hall, we headed over to the St Sampson’s Square Stage to watch a Viking Shield Maiden do battle with a Viking Warrior. This was really interesting and my boy loved watching them battle. They battled and then talked us through each move and why they’d made each move. We learned a lot about how Vikings fought, and it was good to see some axe wielding and sword swinging close up.

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Festival

We’d filled a whole day with Viking Festival fun, but somehow we’d hardly scratched the surface. There was so much more that we wanted to do and we were all regretting not booking a hotel for the night and staying another day. Next year perhaps.

The programme of events for the JORVIK Viking Festival is packed and varied; with something for every kind of Viking enthusiast. If you’re visiting it’s worth deciding beforehand what you can’t miss and what you’d like to see and do. Book ahead for anything the programme recommends you book for and do spend some time on Parliament Street, it’s brilliant.

The full programme of events for this years JORVIK Viking Festival is available at  www.jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk

 

Days Out: Visiting the JORVIK Viking Festival

Read my preview of the 2019 JORVIK Viking Festival here.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

Last week I took some time out, met up with some friends and took a tour of Ordsall Hall in Salford. I’d been once before, during the summer to one of their outdoor theatre events. I’d had a very quick look around, but I knew I had to go back and have a proper look. I was not disappointed.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

Ordsall Hall is a Grade 1 listed Tudor manor house which was first recorded in 1177. Since then, it has been home to Medieval and Tudor nobility, butchers, farmers, and Earl, an artist, priests, mill workers, cows and even several ghosts! It has an incredibly rich history and as a result is a fascinating family museum. There are rooms laid out as they would have been many hundreds of years ago, a cafe and some absolutely stunning organic gardens.

When you first enter the grounds, you’re greeted with the sight of the stunning Tudor manor house. There are quatrefoils (the white motif which looks like four circles overlapping) covering much of the exterior and lots of ancient carvings in the woodwork. The detail carries on inside.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

From the reception area, you walk into the impressive Great Hall, which is a glorious space. The walls are covered with original wooden paneling, the windows include a stunning oriel window which dates from around 1600. There are also two huge but relatively modern windows which were installed in 1897 by the then owner, Earl Edgerton of Tatton.

From the Great Hall, you can explore the Star Chamber, a bedroom with an intricately carved four poster bed and a ceiling covered in brass stars. The bed itself was the wedding bed of Sir John Radclyffe.  The room is quite lovely and thanks to the guides, we learned that the marks on the fireplace were where previous inhabitants had sharpened their swords.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

Upstairs we were led into the Solar Room which would have been where the lady of the house slept and spent her day. As the name suggests, the room is really light and bright. There’s another four poster bed and a wardrobe full of period costume, which visitors are encouraged to try on. This room is very hands on and children especially are encouraged to explore.

Upstairs from the Solar Room what is known as the Coat of Arms Room; this is because there is a huge stone coat of arms above the fireplace. The room was originally where the wet nurse would have slept. Again, it’s a lovely light room which they’ve decorated with wallpaper recreated from a scrap they found when they were renovating the hall. Every room is heaving with history.

Along the corridor from the Solar Room is the Italian Plaster Room. This is not open to the public, but it had a glass door so you can look inside. The room is named for it’s ornate Italian plaster ceiling which dates from around 1380. The impressive geometric plaster ceiling is the work of Venetian artists and it’s incredibly beautiful.

From there we made our way to the kitchens which were constructed in around 1600. The kitchens feature recreations of the cooking implements and the food they would have prepared and eaten. This was an especially interesting part of the building because I’m interested in the history of food.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

Climbing the staircase near the kitchens, you make your way to the attic where the servants would have slept. There’s a noticeable change in the temperature and quality of the original construction. There are two large-ish attic spaces, each with a small fireplace in. They most likely slept dormitory style and would have had very little personal space or privacy.

There are a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions on at Ordsall Hall. It’s well worth visiting the The Frederic Shields Gallery upstairs which has a number of interactive exhibits about the hall, its history and the surrounding area.

Outside there are formal gardens which looked neat and tidy in February, but back in the summer they were lush and very beautiful. There’s a small orchard; a WW1 garden and a lovely lush lawn which is where their outdoor theatre shows are performed.

Ordsall Hall have a full progamme of events for all ages, and regularly run guided tours of the house (£3.50 per person). You can explore by yourself, but going on the guided tour gives you so much more information and insight than you would normally. I found out so much more from the tour guides than I ever would have by just mooching around by myself.

I’m a massive fan of small hidden gems like Ordsall Hall. It’s surrounded by modern houses. If you’ve never visited before, the sight of this Tudor manor house in the middle of a fairly normal looking housing estate in Salford takes your breath away.

It’s also incredibly easy to get to on public transport. I got the tram to Exchange Quay and it’s less than five minutes walk from there. The hall and the grounds are free to visit, and it’s a real treasure. They do rely on donations, so I made sure to put some money in the donations box.

I am wowed by Ordsall Hall. I’m going back over half term with my son to take part in some activities and give him the tour. He’s already excited about the prospect of encountering one of the resident ghosts!

For more information about Ordsall Hall, visit their website.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

Disclosure: Ordsall Hall is free to visit. I have not been compensated for this post; I’ve only written about it because it’s an incredible place to visit. I’m a big history lover. If you love history, you need to visit. It’s free.

What’s On at the 2019 JORVIK Viking Festival

Thanks to my love of the TV series, The Last Kingdom, and my son learning all about Vikings at school, we’ve been reading a lot about life as a Viking. One way for us to learn more about Viking life is for us to visit York for the day and take in some of the JORVIK Viking Festival. The JORVIK Viking Festival happens every February, around half term and it’s a full on festival of all things Viking.

I’ve been wanting to go for a few years, but this year we are going for the day and I honestly can’t wait and neither can my 8 year old.

What's On at the 2019 JORVIK Viking Festival

What’s On at the 2019 JORVIK Viking Festival

This year the JORVIK Viking Festival will be taking place on 20 – 27 February 2019. It’s a family friendly festival and the largest event of its kind in Europe. There are historic encampments, talks, tours, combat displays and much more, all during half term week. So what’s on at the JORVIK Viking Festival?

Have-a-go sword (10am – 4pm daily, Spark:York – £5 per child)

The sword was one of the most important weapons for any Viking warrior, and training in its use started young! Skilled teachers will take children (aged 5 – 12) through basic training in fun battle workshops. Pre-booking is recommended.

Poo Day! (10am – 4pm, 20 and 27 February, DIG – included in entry)

Guaranteed to be germ-free, participants in Poo Day discover how important human waste is to understanding diet and health. Visitors will even have the chance to make their own replica poo fossil!

Little Diggers (10am, daily except Saturday, DIG – £5 per child)

Perfect for the youngest budding archaeologists in the family (ages 3 – 7), each day the Little Diggers team will help them explore treasures from the past, from Viking hoards to food and clothing.

Family walking tour (1pm, daily except Saturday, starts from JORVIK Viking Centre – £5 adult, £4 concession, £15 family)

With 4500 years of history to work with, this family friendly tour is packed with fascinating facts about York’s colourful past; led by one of JORVIK’s own Viking guides! Expect to hear about everyone from Roman Emperor Constantine and Eric Bloodaxe; to Robin Hood and King Arthur in this hour-long wander around the streets.

Viking Encampment (10am – 4pm daily, Parliament Street – free)

The Vikings were a people who liked to travel and they have set up a camp in Parliament Street for the week of the JORVIK Viking Festival. Meet traders and crafts people and get the chance to handle replica artifacts and weaponry in this interactive Norse experience at the heart of the city.

Birds of Prey at Barley Hall (10am – 5pm, 22 February, Barley Hall – included in entry)

Birds of prey featured heavily in Norse sagas and Viking mythology; get up close with these stunning creatures at Barley Hall. Meet a variety of ravens, owls and falcons in the medieval Great Hall, and learn about their significance to the Vikings in the accompanying exhibition. Visitors will also enjoy Seers and Shamans: Magic in the Viking Age, a special extension of Barley Hall’s Magic and Mystery exhibition.

What's On at the 2019 JORVIK Viking Festival

Strongest Viking Competition (11am, 23 February, St Sampson’s Square – free)

Pick your champion and cheer them on in these trials of strength and endurance to find JORVIK’s strongest Viking! This annual competition pits warrior against warrior in a series of challenges that will leave muscles aching for days!

March to Coppergate (1.30pm, 23 February, starts from York Minster – free)

Watch a fearsome Viking army of over 200 warriors dressed in their finest combat gear parade through the streets of York. Watch them form a formidable column of combatants, making their way from York Minster to Coppergate, and on to the Eye of York. 

Annual Best Beard Competition (3.00pm, 23 February, St Sampson’s Square – free)

Natural-grown, woolly, cardboard – young and old; male and female beards of every description are welcome to compete in this annual celebration of fabulous facial follicles! There are prizes and trophies for the best entries – voted by the audience – with participants registering on the day.

Battle Spectacular at Folkvangr Fields (6.45pm, 23 February, Eye of York – £15 adult, £11 concession, £44.50 family)

The biggest event during the annual JORVIK Viking Festival is the Battle Spectacular; featuring drama, music, combat and concluding with a stunning firework finale! Wrap up warm and take your place around the Eye of York, in the shadow of Clifford’s Tower. It’s an unforgettable evening where the forgotten sagas of the most extraordinary women in the Viking world are brought to life by a cast of over 100 warriors.

The full programme of events for this years JORVIK Viking Festival is available at  www.jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk

10 family friendly things to do in Cheshire #ExploringCheshire

Living in South Manchester, we are lucky to have the whole of Cheshire virtually on our doorstep. It’s a beautiful, lush green county, with bags of history, acres of natural beauty and more interesting things to do than you could shake a stick at.

When it comes to days out with the family, Cheshire has a diverse range of options and something to suit everyone. I’ve pulled together a list of 10 family friendly days out and things to do in Cheshire which are ideal if you’re visiting for the day, or if you live there and want to explore the county a bit more.

Days Out: Lymm Historic Transport Day

10 family friendly things to do in Cheshire

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is a world famous attraction; famed for its commitment to conservation, the zoo has a large and diverse collection of animals. It’s also got a monorail and each December hosts The Lanterns, a wonderful night time walk where the zoo dazzles with wonderful light displays.

Delamere Forest

Delamere Forest is managed by the Forestry Commission, there are recreational trails, a visitors centre and a cafe. There’s a nearby train station too. Plus there’s a Go Ape there for the more adventurous members of your family.

Ness Botanic Gardens, Neston

Owned by the University of Liverpool, Ness Botanic Gardens is home to a fantastic horticultural collection which includes show gardens, a Victorian-style potager and an Alpine house and cafe.

Jodrell Bank Discover Centre, Macclesfield

Jodrell Bank is owned and run by the University of Manchester and it is the home of the Lovell Telescope, the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world. It’s open to the public and has a visitors centre, exhibits and gardens to explore, as well as the chance to have a look at the Lovell Telescope up close.

10 family friendly things to do in Cheshire Jodrell Bank

Blue Planet Aquarium, Ellesmere Port

The Blue Planet Aquarium is a marine and freshwater aquarium located by the Cheshire Oaks retail and leisure complex in Ellesmere Port. It’s a fabulous day out, lots of fun and an interesting under-sea adventure for everyone.

Roman Tours, Chester

Take a fascinating walking tour of the ancient city of Chester with an authentic Roman soldier as your guide. Learn all about Roman history in this informative, educational and interactive experience for all ages.

The Ice Cream Farm, Tattenhall

On warmer days, a trip to The Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall makes a refreshing change, with over 40 flavours of ice-cream to try out, children’s play areas, farm animals and quad bikes, there’s no better place to chill out in the summer.

Just So Festival, Congleton

Now in its 10th year, the award-winning Just So Festival is the most wonderful family festival; with weird and wonderful things around every corner, lots to stimulate young minds (and not so young minds). Just So is the highlight of our summer, go for the day, or camp in the grounds of the wonderful Rode Hall. It’s the perfect way to unplug yourselves and let go for a weekend.

Lymm Historic Transport Day

Each summer, the ancient Cheshire town of Lymm is host to the Lymm Festival. Alongside the main festival, the Lymm Historic Transport Day is a real highlight for transport enthusiasts across Cheshire. With steam engines, vintage vehicles, diggers, bikes and even batmobiles; Lymm Historic Transport Day is a real treat, the Spitfire fly-over last year was a real highlight!

Days Out: Lymm Historic Transport Day

Dunham Massey

Cheshire is spoilt for National Trust properties, one of my favourites is Dunham Massey. It’s got long flat footpaths which are great for walking, scooting or cycling on; plus a magnificent hall, beautiful gardens and a deer park. It’s got a fairly new visitors centre and cafes galore. Wrap up for a winter walk, or slap on the sun-cream in the summer. Year round, it’s a great place to visit!

Laurus Homes have created a useful infographic which explores new Cheshire developments, the great things about living in Cheshire and the history of the Cheshire property industry. If you want to take a look, you can click here and download it for yourself.

There’s so much to do in Cheshire; we have friends and family over the border, so we visit often and it’s definitely on our list of places to move to when we retire.  If you’re going on a family friendly day out in Cheshire, where are you planning? I’d love to hear your suggestions, pop them in the comments box below!

10 family friendly things to do in Cheshire #ExploringCheshire

This is a collaborative post.

20 family friendly walks around Manchester

At this time of year, there’s something really nice about wrapping the family up and going for a winter walk. Being stuck in the house all day is a recipe for boredom and I know if I don’t get my lot out at least once over the weekend, chaos will ensue. Finding family friendly walks isn’t always easy, but where is good to go and easy to get to from Manchester?

Having a dog means we are out a few times a day in the park or down by the river anyway, but packing a flask and some treats, clambering in the car and setting off to explore somewhere a little bit further afield can be a fun but budget day out. If you’ve got buggies to contend with too, finding good paths to push a pram along can make all the difference on a country walk.

20 family friendly walks around Manchester

With the help of some other Manchester based bloggers, I’ve gathered a list of good family walks in and around Manchester, each with a little write up or review, so you know just what to expect when you’re planning your walk. Some of them are in and around National Trust properties, so if you’ve got a membership card, it’s worth checking and taking it with you.

20 family friendly walks around Manchester

Abney Hall – a lovely little walk, pond dipping optional. Cafe and free parking.

Alderley Edge – magical walks, huge views across Cheshire and beyond and a little bit of folklore and magic too!

Boggart Hole Clough – is a large woodland and urban country park in Blackley, Manchester

Clayton Vale –  is a natural wildlife habitat and a Local Nature Reserve.

Clifton Country Park – is a local nature reserve in the Irwell Valley at Clifton. Home to a fairytale trail!

Delamere Forest – managed by the Forestry Commission, there are recreational trails, a visitors centre and a cafe. There’s a nearby train station too.

Dovestones Reservoir – is on the very edge of the Peak District National Park and it a gorgeous place to walk with the family.

Dunham Massey – deer park, house and gardens. Lovely flat paths and lots to explore (National Trust).

Etherow Country Park – boating late, flat paths, cafe and good family walks to be had.

Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury – woodland walks, a botanical garden, a nature reserve, a great cafe and walks by the river. What more do you need?

Jumbles Country Park – reservoir, wooded walking paths, a cafe and year-round fishing.

Lyme Park – (National Trust) deer park, hall, mill and a brilliant playground, miles of walks and a cafe!

Lyme Park 20 family friendly walks around Manchester

Macclesfield Forest – lovely woodland walks with views to match!

Rode Hall – snowdrop walks, bluebell walks and a regular farmers market, plus the best cafe ever!

Sandstone Trail, Cheshire – one of the most popular long distance walks in the North West.

Speke Hall – (National Trust) a Tudor manor house with a maze, woodland walk and gardens to explore.

Tandle Hill Country Park – is a large country park with woodland areas, sweepings views and a countryside centre.

Teggs Nose Country Park – explore the meadow, moor and woodland areas around the 380m high hill, ideal for walking and cycling.

Werneth Low Country Park – panoramic views are offered from this grassy hilltop, which also features a country park.

Yarrow Valley Country Park – 700 acre parkland with a lake, waterfall, adventure playground, cafe and a visitors centre.

I’ve made a map with every single walk I’ve mentioned above in it, so you can find everything easily. Just click on the map and away you go!

Don’t forget your flask and waterproofs, this is Manchester after all. Where are you going on your next walking adventure?

20 family friendly walks around Manchester