Visiting the Donkey Sanctuary, Leeds

January 6, 2016 Leave a comment

If you love donkeys, then you’ll definitely want to visit the Donkey Sanctuary in Leeds.

Nestled in the tranquil West Yorkshire countryside, the Donkey Sanctuary is a lovely haven for lots of donkeys and gives them a great quality of life whilst caring for them.

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Each donkey has their own story to tell, and the staff are extremely friendly and willing to tell you their stories.

We met a donkey who had a lovely life, but his owner had become ill and frail and was unable to care for him properly anymore so he came to live at the sanctuary instead where she still comes to visit him.

Another donkey wasn’t so fortunate and had come to live at the centre due to being mistreated and abused.

The donkeys repay the love they get from the staff by being loving and caring themselves, and the centre does a lot of work with children with additional needs and disabilities,  who come to the sanctuary to interact with the animals and benefit from their calming influence.

As well as an inside building for them, there’s also plenty of room outside for the donkeys to play and exercise.

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My two children loved talking to the donkeys and stroking them.

There’s also an undercover outdoor seating area, for a spot of sitting outside when the weather’s nice.

donkey san seating

There is a small cafe if you fancy a bite to eat, and a gift shop  where you can buy merchandise such as pens, fridge magnets and lovely donkey related items.

The donkey sanctuary is free entry as it is a charity, but there is a box if you would like to make a donation towards helping the work they do.

If you would like to learn more about the centre, the website is here

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Family fun day out at Roxy Lanes Bowling, Leeds

October 28, 2015 1 comment

Many moons ago, when I was a mere teenager, I was a member of a weekly ten pin bowling group.

We used to meet up, once a week, and show off our skills as we sent our bowling balls skittering down the lanes.

So when I got the chance to review Roxy Lane Bowling in Leeds, I jumped at the chance.

Yay, a chance to show off my skills to the small people of the household!

Alas, I didn’t bank on time completely robbing me of any talent I may (or may not) have possessed.

However, even if you don’t win, you can have a great time bowling as a family here.

About a five minute walk from the train station, it’s extremely easy to get to and the venue has four great bowling lanes.

roxy sign

After we’d got ourselves into order of who was going first, we took it in turns to throw the ball at the skittles and hope we could make a strike.

If you are playing with small children, you can choose to have buffers put up so your ball doesn’t go into the gutter. You can also use the  bowling ball frame to angle where you want the ball to go. So the two smalls used these as an aid.

(In hindsight, I  should have used these myself. I definitely will next time. 🙂 )

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Although compact, the lanes are airy, well lit, and have a great atmosphere.

I may not have won, but as I was always told as a child, it’s not the winning, but the taking part that counts.

It’s a fantastic day out regardless of your bowling ability.

There’s also a licensed bar and food menu if you fancy dining out as you bowl.

I was very tempted by the full cocktail menu, but managed to resist!

Instead, we had a gorgeous lunch of pizza.

I chose the meat feast pizza, which had a lovely, thin, crispy base and lots of succulent toppings such as bacon and chorizo.

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The Dad plumped for the roasted vegetable pizza, which he declared a delicious vegetarian option.

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There’s also a full kids menu too, and the two smalls had a pepperoni and a margarita.

The 8 year old, who chose the margarita, when asked what he thought of his, said…

“Deeee-licious – and I like it even more because it has proper sliced cherry tomatoes on the top as well!”

Plus, It’s always the  mark of great food when all the plates are completely scraped clean. 🙂

If you’re looking for a fun, family friendly day out in Leeds city centre, we can definitely recommend Roxy Bowling.

We’ll certainly be back.

We received entry and meal in order to do this review. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are completely honest and a true representation of our day out.

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A day out at Beatrix Potter Museum, Bowness, Cumbria

August 19, 2015 6 comments

If you’re willing to venture out a little bit further than Yorkshire, and love writing, the Beatrix Potter Museum is a fantastic place to visit.

Situated in the beautiful neighbouring county of Cumbria, the Beatrix Potter Museum documents the life of Beatrix Potter whose wonderful imagination brought us the characters of Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggywinkle and others.

beatrix potter entrance steps

Looking at the amazing scenery around Cumbria, it’s easy to see why Beatrix was inspired to write her stories .

Peter Rabbit himself was a little story she originally made up for her friend who she wrote letters to.

beatrix peter rabbit

There’s a lovely Peter Rabbit vegetable garden, where you can easily imagine a cheeky Peter eating all Mr McGregor’s tender lettuces.

beatrix garden

beatrix veg of week

Some of her other stories were dreamt up from childhood pets, into which she gave human characters and brought to life.

We wandered through some very cute and intricate sets of all the little characters and their surroundings.

Mrs Tiggywinkle doing her washing

beatrix mrs tiggywinkle

Jemima Puddleduck

beatrix jemima puddleduck

Jeremy Fisher sitting on a lily pad

beatrix jeremy fisher

All of her stories were depicted in sets around the museum in scenes such as these, so you’re bound to find your favourite amongst them.

There’s also a little screening of her life story that tells you all about her that takes about five minutes, so just long enough to keep the interest of small ones without their attention wandering.

Beatrix centenary clock

beatrix century clock

Statue. Can you spot your favourite character on it?

beatrix statue

photos by @thuntag

After all that, we headed to the café where the smalls had a Peter Rabbit picnic basket, which comprised sandwiches with fillings of their choice, and whatever they picked out of the baskets to add to to it (there were several baskets where you could pick an item out of each such as crisps and fruit.)

A great picnic style lunch, where the grown ups can have sandwiches of their own or a cup of tea.

Brilliant day out for anyone interested in writing, story inspiration, or indeed just know and love the classic tales of Beatrix Potter!

For more information, visit the Beatrix Potter Museum website here

Kids In Tow can be followed on Facebook here for more great day ideas

Visiting Sandal Castle, Wakefield

August 7, 2015 3 comments

It may be small, but the ruins of Sandal Castle in Wakefield make for a great afternoon out in the fresh air and learning about the local history.

Situated in the suburb of Sandal on the outskirts of the city centre, small people will love climbing up to the top of the motte where you have a great view of the local area and across Pugney’s lake.

You can also climb down the steps into the moat, where’s there’s little hidey places such as this arch….

archway sandal castle

Explore the ruins, where signs tell you about the different parts of the castle as you walk round….

ruin sandal castle

Make sure you visit the visitor centre as well, where you can find out all about the history of the castle, and what life used to be like in there.

first castle at sandal castle

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Before you go, make sure to print off a Sandal Castle Activity Trail, with questions, games, and things to find.

The castle is completely free to enter as well.

Take the kids for some fresh air and a history lesson…. they’ll be that busy having fun they won’t realise they’re learning. 🙂

Sandal Castle website here for more information on how to get there and opening times

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A trip to the seaside – enjoying Saltburn by The Sea

May 31, 2015 8 comments

When you think of trips to the Yorkshire coast, you automatically think of Scarborough, Whitby, Filey and Bridlington.

If you venture a bit further up the coast though, you’ll come across Saltburn by The Sea, a lovely seaside resort with a beautiful sandy beach and pretty cliffs.

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If you tire of building sandcastles or paddling in the sea, there’s also plenty of little rock pools to explore.

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Plenty of fun to be had paddling, or finding different shells and pebbles.

(There’s also a great fish and chip place across the road too if you’re feeling hungry.)

We’ve been to Saltburn by the Sea before, but never really ventured further than the beach and the fish and chips.

This time however, we noticed a sign saying “Saltburn Valley Gardens” across from the beach and discovered a fantastic garden with play areas, a stream with stones across the middle that you could jump across, and a trail to walk along.

saltburn valley gardens

Next time you visit the Yorkshire coast, pay Saltburn by the Sea a visit. It’s definitely up there with the best of the Yorkshire seaside resorts.

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Following the Room On The Broom Trail at Anglers Country Park, Wakefield

May 19, 2015 12 comments

If your children are anything like mine, the mere thought of a 2 mile walk would be enough to bring on a case of the dreaded whines.

At Angler’s Country Park, Wakefield, however, even the smallest of small people will have great fun following the Room On The Broom trail.

The Room on the Broom, for those who haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, is a fantastic children’s book by Julia Donaldson, the author of the equally great Gruffalo.

Completely free, it’s a lovely way to spend a day outdoors.

If you like though, you can go to the visitor’s centre before you start, where you can pick up a Room On The Broom activity pack for only £2 to fill in on your way round.

We got a pack to add to the fun value, and it certainly kept them occupied as they went round – from looking for the different animal tracks and marking them off as they found them, to hunting for the statues themselves.

You can also trace rubbings on your way round too.

room on the broom activity pack

It didn’t take long before we saw the first set of footprints, swiftly followed by the witch herself.

room on the broom witch

The trail takes you on a lovely walk around the lake, and you can find the little dog, and the dragon hiding around the woods and lake too amongst the other characters.

We picked a lovely sunny day for it, so had a great time strolling round looking for the footprints, statues and eating an ice cream at the side of the lake halfway round.

A fun way to get the kids out in the fresh air for a nice healthy walk – they won’t even notice how far they’ve gone until they get to the sign at the end of the trail telling them!

To find out more about the Room On The Broom Trail, visit the Wakefield Council website here

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Caribbean fun at Pirate Island, Castleford this Easter

The sun was beating down when we visited Pirate Island Adventure Golf at Castleford, today, which was pretty apt seeing as it’s been transformed into a tropical paradise this Easter.

With palm trees and buckets and spades scattered about as well, you felt like donning a grass skirt and doing the hula.

palm tree

bucket and spade

The summery feel was enhanced by the blue river, which made a change from when we were last there at Halloween and they had a river of spooky red blood and skeletons!

With two different courses to choose from, there’s a choice of holes for everyone to have a go at. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an experienced adventure golfer, or brand new to it, as there’s an easy route to take, and a more advanced one for the more adventurous and brave.

The smallest here was having a go at his best putting…

golf playing

He and his brother were putting me to shame. Although I did manage to win by a whisker. Nearly beaten, but not quite. Ha.

(Competitive, me?! 🙂 )

There was also a hook a duck game, where you could win free golf games for all the family.

If all that worked up an appetite, the ice creams were half price too. Perfect to sit in the sun with afterwards!

Push pineapples, shake the tree, don a grass skirt and head over there this Easter holidays for some great tropical fun to be had whatever your age.

We were given a family pass in order to do this review. All opinions our own words, and our honest true thoughts on our day out.

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