Yorkshire – The Barn, The Puffins & Baby
LB’s first official holiday was with my family to Center Parcs when she was a wee 3 months old. This June was the turn for our first family holiday as a three. Our holidays have changed a bit over the years, less of the roughing it, more comfort and luxury but still based in the UK. I’m no longer a seasoned flyer (I clocked up the air miles as a kid) and the thought of taking a 10 month old on a plane filled me with dread.
Yorkshire has been on the hit list for a while after ticking Outer Hebrides, Derbyshire/Staffordshire, Cornwall, Brecon and Herefordshire off the list over the years. It certainly didn’t disappoint and guess what? it didn’t rain!
While searching for family friendly holiday cottages in Yorkshire I stumbled across the fab Kiddie Holidays blog and their article about 5 luxury baby and toddler friendly cottages in Yorkshire where they mention Burdale Barn.
Burdale Barn is in Fimber, a tiny village in the Yorkshire Wolds half the way between York and Bridlington. We found it a great location for exploring the east side of Yorkshire. The beautiful barn conversion has two double rooms (one can be a twin) and a single room that was perfect size for the travel cot they provided. Our main bedroom had an en suite and views from the juliette balcony over the beautiful rolling green hills.
What we liked was that nearly everything we needed for LB was provided – High chair, stair gates, plastic crockery and even a baby bath if LB hadn’t outgrown it. It was also relatively baby proof (anything that wasn’t could easily be stashed out of reach). It also had an incredibly well stocked kitchen. How may self-catering places have you been to that have different types of potato peelers? Everyone is fussy when it comes to peelers. Come to think of it this is the first place we’ve stayed where I haven’t felt the need to supplement the kitchen with some of my kitchen utensils.
This property is the kind of place you see on one of George Clarke’s programmes and a place we’d love to live in. We were sad to say goodbye to the property and it’s highly likely we’ll return.
Our holidays always involve food. There were two main places on our hit list and essential places if you’re visiting Yorkshire – Bettys in York and Magpie Cafe in Whitby.
York is famous for its bakery Bettys. As we went to York on a Saturday for the food festival we picked up lunch at the festival (kebab from Shambles Kitchen and pizza from Happy Rover highly recommended!) and like most days the line for the main Bettys shop was growing by the second and not suitable for queuing with a 10 month old so we jumped the queue and went to the lesser known Little Bettys down Stonegate to pick up some Fat Rascals and a couple of other Bettys treats without a queue in sight.
After many recommendations on both Twitter and Facebook we went to Magpie Cafe for lunch on our day in Whitby. No queue when we got there at 11:45, about 10 people in the line once we left 45 min later. I’m not a big fish eater, in fact I usually only eat it when it’s from a chip shop so while the menu has a large choice of fish based meals I went for what most people dining there seemed to eat – fish & chips with a side of mushy peas, curry sauce and white bread (essentials). Well it turned out to be the best fish & chips I’ve ever had. I guess it’s cooked in dripping and I think that makes the difference plus you could tell the fish was super fresh, not dry at all. They source their fish from the fish market opposite. Interestingly this is the first place we spotted a menu for babies. LB didn’t get to try as we’d brought a packed lunch for her.
During our stay we also popped to Side Oven Bakery for their Open Farm Sunday. A lovely walk around farm and their elderflower field was fueled by a tasty giant cheese straw from the bakery. This was followed by a hearty Sunday Lunch at The Triton Inn in Sledmere. This is Yorkshire, there was no skimping on portions and they welcomed LB.
National Trust & English Heritage places played a big part on this holiday as we have membership to both. It means cheap days out for us and great to use on our way to somewhere as many of the places have good baby facilities. Also many of the Nat Trust places now offer hip seats, baby carriers and sometimes suitable buggies for hire in their properties making it easier to lug LB around.
One of these properties was on the way up to Yorkshire which wast Beningbrough Hall (NT) where we had a picnic in the beautiful walled gardens and LB’s first taste of ice cream, well it was holiday. A quick nosey around the National Portrait Gallery Royals exhibition to spot an Andy Worhol and a frolic in the woodland playground before we continued our journey to Fimber.
Treasurer’s House is a haven in a busy York city centre. It was lovely and cool on a warm June day and they were really welcoming to LB. Tucked just behind the Cathedral it’s a period property with an interesting history and best of all free posh toilets and baby change if you’re a National Trust member, just watch out for the ghosts!
Hubs & I met as students in Hull so a day out here was a bit of a nostalgia trip for us. Our halls of residence has now been knocked down (RIP Cleminson) and replaced with a posh road of houses. LB was rather unimpressed when we dragged her out of the car mid-nap, in the rain for us to see how much the main campus has changed. Thankfully it hasn’t and the pristine lawns and flowerbeds still bloom. While in Hull we went to The Deep. I visited when it first opened but had no recollection of the inside. Either way this was probably LB’s favourite day. The aquariums were easily accessible for her. She spent ages standing up against the glass watching the fish and colours, though she clearly wasn’t a fan every time a stingray swam past.
During the holiday we took in two abbeys. Whitby Abbey and Rievaulx Abbey. While the Whitby abbey is arguably the famous one and allegedly the most romantic ruin the atmosphere was tempered somewhat by a large primary school party so Rievaulx Abbey won for not only tranquility but also location. I would go as far to say Rievaulx Abbey was my favourite place of the holiday.
It’s unassuming on the map and guidebooks, but as you pull off the main road and drive down a steep tree-lined road to the bottom of the valley it’s almost as if you have stepped back in time. The chocolate box Yorkshire stone cottages are scattered around an impressive abbey ruin. We arrived for when the abbey opened so for a peaceful 15 minutes we had the whole place to ourselves. We were also treated to a couple of RAF fly pasts while there.
I’m no twitcher, but I’ve always wanted to see puffins and you can at Bempton Cliffs near Bridlington between May and July. Naively I was expecting a bank of puffins. It took a keen eye and sweet talking some birdwatchers (quite easy when you have a waving/gurgling baby strapped to your back) to help us spot 3 in among the crowds of guillemots, gannets and kittiwakes.
After Bempton we travelled in to Bridlington. A traditional English seaside resort with a fairground, lots of kiss me quick hats, multiple ice cream options, arcades and a beach that was covered by the tide. LB had already shown her dislike for beaches at Whitby when she got mardy because sand isn’t edible. In true traditional seaside style Hubs won LB a teddy from a grabber machine and we had a gaudy Mr Whippy with not only a flake, but also a good dipping of sherbet and raspberry sauce. This is what visiting the seaside is about.
We had to vacate the cottage by 10am so stopped at Nostell Priory near Wakefield for a picnic on the lawn before driving the last of the M1 home.
Big thank you to everyone on Facebook, Twitter and email who recommended places that helped to shape our first proper family holiday.