A few days camping in beautiful Yorkshire
by Fiver29 on June 25, 2009
LocationFangfoss camp site is located just outside York, to the east just off the A1079. The nearest village is Pocklington, which is about 4 miles away, and it’s about 10 minutes from the York park and ride car parks, which are about 10-15 minutes from York.FacilitiesThe park has 75 pitches on hard or grass bases for caravans and tents, all of the pitches have electric hook ups. There is a block of toilets and showers, the website emphasises that the hot showers are free (although I would tend to think that it should be a given), and the lady’s shower area has a hairdryer point, whilst the men’s has a razor point, which seems a little sexist as I’m sure there are plenty of men who dry their hair with dryers nowadays. There’s a small kitchen area, with a sink, washing machine and a dryer. The washer and dryer are coin operated, the sink is free to use. You can also iron your clothes here.The shop and reception has a small selection of essential groceries; bread, milk, etc. They also sell calor gas bottles and newspapers. In the corner there is a selection of leaflets about attractions in the local area and there’s a PC which you can hire for internet access.Dogs are welcome, but they must be kept on leads in the park, and obviously any mess must be cleaned up.There’s a children’s play area as well, which consists of wooden climbing frames and a grassy area.PricesI’ve copied the prices from the website for ease.Price includes two people and electricLow Season -1st Mar - 30th April, 1st Sept - 29th Nov (excl Bank Holidays & Easter Holidays). Per Night (or Euro equivalent)• Caravan £12.50• Motor Caravan £12.50• Trailer Tent - up to 4 people £18.00• Family Tent - up to 4 people £18.00• Tent (no electric) £10.00High Season - 1st May - 31st August (incl. Bank Holidays and Easter Holidays) Per Night• Caravan £14.50• Motor Caravan £14.50• Trailer Tent - up to 4 people £20.00• Family Tent - up to 4 people £20.00• Tent (no electric) £11.00Extras Per Night• Awning - standard £2.50• Extra Person £1.50• Extra Car/Daily Visitors car £1.50• Season Pitches £1075.00 (Until 31st October)• Monthly Storage £30.00Our ExperienceFinding the park was simple enough, we used a map printed from the AA router finder by using the postcode on the website, and it led us straight to the road where the site is situated. There's one of the brown tourist road signs pointing to the entrance a you drive down the road. We arrived at the park mid afternoon; the shop/reception wasn’t hard to spot as it’s the only brick building on the drive into the park. I say shop with some trepidation because it was basically a couple of shelves on the wall and a domestic fridge in the corner.The owner was behind the desk, and was very pleasant. He showed us a map of the park and the pitches that were available and asked us which spot we’d like. I should have given it an extra few seconds thought, but I was a little stressed at the thought of putting up a tent by myself in public, so I immediately plumped for one close to the children’s play area, thinking it’d be ideal for the kids to go off an play, and I’d still be able to see them.We’d booked the nights in advance and paid the extra charge for electricity, so after showing us on the map where the pitch was, the owner said he’d be down in a couple of minutes to show us where to plug the transformer thingy in.Driving down to the pitch I noticed that there weren’t any other tents there, all the other pitches were filled with caravans. Still we parked next to the pitched and set to unloading the car and putting the tent up (which went rather smoothly, even if I do say so myself). The owner came down about an hour later and showed us where the hook ups were; unfortunately even with a massive cable on the transformer it still wouldn’t reach, so he went off to get an extension. Once the extension was put in place we were all plugged in and ready to go.It had been a long drive, with lots of hold ups and road works, so I didn’t really feel like cooking on our little one ringed stove. So I went to the reception to ask where the nearest cafe or restaurant was, the owner’s wife was working, and even though she was friendly enough, she wasn’t particularly forthcoming with information, and trying to get details about the local area was like milking a gnat. I also asked for directions the next day, and she didn't seem to know the area at all, because she had to go and ask someone else where the place was.By the time we got back it was dark, so we settled ourselves in for the night. The park is lit at night, but not so well that it would interfere with your sleeping, it’s also very quiet because there are no major roads close by. There was some noise from the people in the caravans who had little areas for sitting out attached to their vans, but it wasn’t too intrusive. At this point I have to mention the toileting facilities. The toilet and shower block is more or less in the centre of the park, the door has a combination lock which you are given when you book in. Unfortunately this was a little too high for my daughter, meaning I had to go with her every time she needed a wee. Walking into the toilet block sent me whizzing back in time to my school days and the dreaded shower block in the gym. The entire block was decorated with plain cream tiles and it had a tile floor, also in the cream colour. Unfortunately I don’t think the floor nor the walls had seen a drop of bleach since they were put in, because they were absolutely manky, you could tell they’d had a cursory wipe down, but no serious cleaning had been undertaken for some time. Worse was yet to come, the toilets were every bit as unclean, and there was even faeces on the walls, I can’t say I studied it that well but it didn’t look like anyone had made an effort to clean it off. There was plenty of hot water for the showers, but although it sounds absolutely ludicrous I had to keep my sandals on when showering, because I couldn’t bear the thought of my feet touching that floor. There were a set of wooden steps for smaller children to use to reach the sinks.As I mentioned earlier the majority of the occupants of the park were in caravans, and several of the caravans had children in them. Naturally my kids started chatting as they were playing in the park, and it turned out that the park is somewhat of a home from home for travellers, and most of them had been there for a couple of years. Most of the kids were fine, although there were a couple that scared my two and stopped them playing in the park. This is when I realised my mistake in choosing that plot, because they would shout over to my kids, and not in a friendly way. A father and son had pitched a tent next to ours on the second day, and his son got the same treatment. His father was braver than me and a little more vocal, so the other kids disappear off. Unfortunately the father decided he wasn’t going to stay and they packed up the next morning.The shop was not really a shop, and what they did sell was extortionately expensive. I thought we’d have bacon and beans for breakfast and get into the spirit of traditional camping fare, so I sent my son to the shop to buy the bacon; he went with £5 and came back with a pack of 8 rashers and £1 change! Needless to say I didn’t bother buying from them again.I had booked and paid for a 7 night stay at the park, but we only managed 3, apart from the fact my kids didn’t like it because of the other kids shouting and intimidating them, I couldn’t stand the dirt in the shower block, and I was quite prepared to lose the money we'd paid just to feel clean again.I couldn’t recommend this place unless it seriously cleans up its act, literally and figuratively.
by Fiver29 on September 21, 2009
York Minster is a Christian church in York. It was at one point a Catholic church, but became part of the Church of England after Henry VIII broke away from the church way back in 1534.As well as being a tourist attraction this is also a working church with regular Christian masses, it is also a Cathedral, which means it is the seat of the bishops for the York Diocese.However, you don’t have to be a Christian or attend mass to visit and enjoy the Minster. You can visit just to take in the magnificence of the building.Opening Times and Prices (Taken from the website for ease)Monday - Saturday: open 9.00am (9.30am November- March); last entry 5.00pm Sunday: 12.00 noon - 3.45pm No sightseeing on Good Friday and Easter Sunday or on Sundays before 12.00 noon ____Entry into the Minster Adult: £6.00Senior (60+)/student: £5.00Children with family (16 and under): Free ____Entry to the Undercroft, Treasury & Crypt Adult: £4.00Senior (60+)/student: £3.00Child under 16: £2.00 ____Entry to the Tower:Adult: £4.00 Senior (60+)/student: £3.00 Child (age 8 to 16): £2.00 ____Minster Plus Ticket: Entry to the Minster and Undercroft, Treasury & Crypt or Entry to the Minster and Tower.Adult: £8.00Senior (60+)/student: £7.00 Children 16 or under with family: £2.00 each____Do Everything Ticket:Entry to the Minster, Undercroft, Treasury and Crypt and TowerAdult: £9.50Senior (60+)/student: £8.00Children 16 or under with family: £3.00 eachChildren under the age of 8 may not climb the TowerAttractionsAttractions might be the wrong word, because it conjures up images of theme parks and similar, but whilst the Minster might not be as exciting as a theme park, it certainly has a lot to attract people to it.There are far too many items to mention here. So I will just try to select a few things that I enjoyed.The Rose WindowStarting at the front entrance, the first thing to see is the Rose Window. This is a magnificent example of a stained glass window. It commemorates the joining of the houses of York and Lancaster, which any good Englishman knows caused quite a few ruckus’s in the past. The ScreenThis isn’t like any screen I’ve ever seen, it’s a marvellous screen with statues of 15 English kings, from William I to Henry VI.The Great East WindowThis is dated between 1405 and 1408, and it is the largest piece of medieval stained glass in a single window. The window depicts the beginning and the end of the world, with scenes taken from the Book of Genesis and the Book of Revelation.The Chapter HouseThis is a circular room off the North Transept. Here you’ll find some wonderful carvings, and children will also enjoy the mini hunt they have. Which gives them clues to finding the carvings, so whilst the children and hunting, parents are able to read up on the information boards around the room.The Great West WindowI couldn’t mention the Great East Window without mentioning its counterpart at the other side of the Minster. This window is also known as the "Heart of Yorkshire", because there looks to be a heart in the centre. It dates from 1338, and was paid for by Archbishop Melton. St Peter stands underneath the window, well not literally, but his statue stands there, St Peter of course is the Minster’s patron saint.Jesse WindowThe last of the windows I want to mention is the Jesse Window, this is close to the Great West Window and depicts the family tree of Jesus, showing Jesse, King David, Mary of course amongst other prophets.Undercroft, Treasury and CryptAs you will have seen by the pricing section, you have to pay extra to go down into the Undercroft, but it’s well worth it. Underneath the main Minster area you’ll find the remains of a Roman fortress, and there are also Viking and medieval carvings.The TowerAgain this is an extra on the entrance fee, and I would love to tell you about it, but unfortunately as under 8’s aren’t allowed to climb up the Tower we weren’t able to visit. Although I’m sure my knees were quite pleased about that.My ThoughtsThese are just a few of the wonderful things to see in the Minster. Even if you’re not religions you can’t help but marvel at the work and detail that has gone into everything in this church.I always recall on school trips the teacher drumming into us to ‘look up’, and you certainly need to do that here, there are so many things that you would miss if you didn’t look skywards. The ceilings are amazing, and all around the nave are carvings and shields.There was a bit of restoration work going on when we visited, but you can expect that really, it must be hard work and take a lot of money to keep the Minster in good order, and the items in the church are certainly worth preserving.Being a church it was nice and peaceful, and it was nice to just sit for a while and take in the surroundings. Even my children, who aren’t the most patient of kids, managed to sit and soak in the spirituality of it all.You can either wander around by yourself, or you can take one of the guided tours. Or like us you can do both, take the tour and then spend more time in the areas you like the most.You can probably tell by my choices of attractions that I love the stained glass windows, and they were my favourite part of the Minster. My children both enjoyed the Undercroft the best.
by Fiver29 on October 13, 2009
I can't say I was particularly impressed with the York Dungeon, I had heard really good things about the London Dungeon, and I thought it'd be very similar, but this turned out not to be the case.==Finding the Dungeon==Firstly it took us a while to find the place. The directions we had and the signposting around York weren't the best, and we almost gave up. It was only because we'd bought the tickets in advance that we persevered.The dungeon address is York Dungeon, 12 Clifford Street, York, YO1 9RD, which is a little back street well away from the centre of York.==Opening Times ==The dungeon opens at 10.30 each day, and closes between 4 and 5.30 depending on the time of year, it closes earlier in low season, and later during the school holidays.== Prices ==Adult: £14.00/ Child: £10.00/ Student: £13.00 / OAP (60+ yrs): £13.00Booking online makes it cheaper, for example booking one adult and 2 children online means you can save up to £10.20. It is 'up to' that amount because the prices vary during the day, and early morning and late afternoon prices are cheaper. The only problem booking this way is that you are limited to a 2 hour slot, I'm not sure what would happens if you miss this slot.The price is for the tour, and it lasts about 1 hour.== My Thoughts ==As I said earlier we struggled to find it, because it was on the corner of a little back street, in fact we only really noticed it because we saw a bunch of people loitering on the pavement. When we got closer we realised that this was the queue for the dungeon. There was a member of staff dressed as some sort of ghoul trying to entertain the queue, but he wasn't being very successful.The major drawback to this attraction is the party size, they allow far too many people in at one time, and whilst this helps to keep the queues down it also means that the rooms are packed, with people shoulder to shoulder. It also means that children can't really see what's going on, because there are too many adults in front of them and unfortunately in today's society adults won't move aside and let children to the front so they can see.On the tour you move from room to room, and the staff are dressed in different costumes, and they tell the tales of Dick Turpin, Guy Fawkes, the Black Death amongst others. There's also a mirror room that is supposed to represent the Labyrinth of the Lost Roman Legion, where you wander around a mirror maze.During the Dick Turpin talk you sit on benches whilst the story is being told, then when Dick is hanged the benches drop a whole inch or two, which I presume is meant to be the thrilling part of the tour, but it fell completely flat.There's also a mock 17th Century court room, where one staff member dresses up as a judge, and randomly picks people out of the audience to humiliate in the dock. Whilst this was slightly amusing, you could see that the people who were selected were extremely uncomfortable and embarrassed by the situation.Unlike the London Dungeon there's no ride at the end, so basically you're paying a lot of money for an hours walk whilst being squashed in with a lot of sweaty strangers.I can't really recommend it, I found it mildly interesting, but the kids didn't really enjoy it, mainly because they couldn't see half of what was going on. And a lot of the time they couldn't understand what the staff were saying, because they were putting on strange cackling voices to try and create a more horrifying atmosphere. Because I knew the stories they were telling I could just about work out what they were talking about, but because the kids had never learned of the Black Plague or Dick Turpin at school they struggled to understand what they were saying.
by Fiver29 on September 26, 2009
York Maze is based just outside York, it is a Maize Maze, it’s not open all year because the maize has to be fully gown to create the maize.== Opening Times == From July until Sept it is open 7 days a week 10am to 6pm==Prices == £7.95 Adults £6.95, Children(Under 16) £7.45, OAP's £28.00, Family (2+2 or 1 adult +3 kids), Disabled go free (carers pay,) Under 3 free== My Thoughts == It was a hot day when we visited the York Maze and it was absolutely stifling inside the maze, outside wasn’t much better because there was no shade anywhere at all. There is a cafe, but it was impossible to keep an eye on the children properly from there.The main maze is large, but we actually preferred the smaller maze of illusion better, I think after 15 minutes of walking around just seeing maize the children found the bigger maze rather dull. Even though there are statues and talking sculptures in the maze, they were few and far between and not enough to hold my children’s interest. The maze of illusion though has different pictures or items at the end of each row, the pictures are optical illusions like this one http://files.sharenator.com/illusion_Optical_illusions-s300x369-13681-580.jpg of the old hag or beautiful young lady, or ones like this that look like they’re moving when they’re not http://www.opticaliillusions.com/Optical_Illusion_2.jpg. The kids were very impressed by the pictures and spent ages looking at them.There’s a crazy golf maze as well, but we didn’t try this, as you have to pay extra for it, and I think the entrance fee is high enough.The play area is excellent and the water bomb fight arena was a great idea for cooling down on a hot day. There’s also a wooden climbing zone, jumping pillows, a huge sand pit that has running water and diggers for the kids to play with (not full sized diggers, just kiddie ones), there’s a quad bike track although this costs extra and there’s an inflatable maze.I found the play areas were fine, although there were far too many children unsupervised whilst their parents were off elsewhere. This meant on things like the jumping pillows, smaller children were being pushed off by the older ones. Luckily one of the staff members must have noticed this too and sent all the older children off for 15 minutes to all the youngsters to play.A little way off from everything else is a field with some pigs and cows, they do regular pig races in this field.The Ivy Store sells a range of souvenirs, including a lot of optical illusion type puzzles, a lot of the souvenirs were very expensive, and my children found there was very little they could afford. The cafe sells sandwiches, cakes and hot or cold drinks, which are reasonably priced.
by Fiver29 on September 27, 2009
Beningbrough Hall is located just outside York near the small village of Beningbrough. It is 8 miles north-west of York, and 2 miles west of Shipton along the A19.Admission and PricesAs with most National trust properties opening times aren't simple as they could be.Grounds/shop/restaurantMost of the grounds, a shop and restaurant are open 11 until 330 Monday to Wednesday, and at the weekends. During the high season March until early November they are open until 530, and during July and August they are also open on Friday.HouseHouse opens later in the year, (March rather than February) and until mid-March is only open at the weekends. From March to November it is open Monday to Wednesday and weekends from 11 until five. And again as with the grounds during July and August it is also open on Friday.GalleriesThe galleries are open all year round, but they are only open in from 11 until 330, and their only open at the weekend.PricesAdmission pricesGift Aid Admission (Standard Admission prices in brackets) Summer: £8.40 (£7.60), child £4.20 (£3.80), family £20 (£18). Groups (£7.30). Winter: £5.50 (£5), child £2.60 (£2.35), family £14 (£12.50). Groups (£4.40). Again as with all National trust properties the admin prices include a gift aid donation, but you can pay the standard admission if you do not wish to pay the gift aid.What to seeHouseHouse is a 1716 Georgian mansion, which can be visited all the several floors.The upper floors house the galleries with some interesting interactive galleries. In one gallery you can take a picture of yourself and superimpose it onto an 18th-century portrait and then e-mail copy to yourself. In another area you can dress up in Georgian clothes (although they are not full outfits, they are specially made outfits which will hook over your shoulders).There are also rooms which have puzzles for children to do.Some of the ground floor rooms and some of the rooms on the first floor don't have any electric light, so if you are visiting out of high season then the best time to view these rooms would be around midday, as the natural light may be too dull early in the morning or later in the afternoon.A lift is available to all floors from East Courtyard, for anyone using a wheelchair. There are also five wheelchairs available from the reception building.GroundsThere are lots of lovely gardens to see, one of which is a fully functioning garden which supplies lots of the produce used in the restaurant.Also in the grounds you'll find a wilderness area, which is a large play area for children which incorporates lots of wooden climbing frames and other activities based around a large wooden fort.For cyclists there are two miles of National trust permitted cycle routes, which are available to use.Some of the paths in the grounds and gravel are paths, so wheelchair users may struggle at these points. But mostly the grounds are accessible to all users.RefreshmentsThere is a restaurant called the walled garden restaurant which sells a variety of hot lunches, snacks and cakes. It also has a selection of hot and cold drinks including alcoholic beverages. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available, as is the children's menu.You don't want a sit-down meal you can also use the kiosk window to buy snacks.ShopsOn-site you will also find a National trust shop, selling the usual variety of National trust souvenirs, there's also a small plant centre and a second-hand bookshop.My thoughtsWe really enjoyed our trip to Beningbrough Hall, the interactive galleries really made all the difference for my children; it turned what could be a dull trip around a musty old house (in their opinion) into a fun day out. Being able to e-mail the fruits of your labour to yourself is also a great idea, and it means you can have a laugh at yourself when you get back home as well.The gardens were really beautiful, and of course the children enjoyed a wilderness area which is suitable for children up to around 11 or 12.The food in the restaurant was very nice but it was rather expensive, and had we thought about it in advance I would probably have taken a picnic to eat, and then just bought a couple of tea and perhaps a cake for a mid-afternoon snack.
England is not known for its great weather, but one day while we were on our trip to York the heavens decided to open.On this particular day we'd been around York Minster, had a short walk around York town centre, and a lovely horse-drawn carriage rides around the centre, and we decided to eat out at Pizza Hut.So there we were in Pizza Hut, we had ordered our meal and were sitting by the window watching the world go by. Gradually the skies became darker and darker and all of a sudden the rain came pouring down, within minutes the roads were flooded, people were racing to get back to their cars (it just happens to be just after 5pm so people were on their way home from work), and the people in the bus stop looked like drowned rats within seconds.I was sat there thinking I hope that they take their time in our pizza because I don't want to go out in that, and luckily this seemed to be the case. Approximately 20 to 25 minutes after we have placed our order one of the waitresses came to our table to ask if we had received any food. Obviously we haven't so she went off to find out what had happened. She came back very apologetic, and said that somebody had ordered the identical meal to us, and they had accidentally been given our meal, she said our meal would be with us within about 10 minutes. She also said that she would ask the manager if she could knock something of our meal.Sure enough our meal arrived within the next few minutes, a meal which we thoroughly enjoyed it and was well worth the wait.After we'd finished our meal the manager came over and again was very apologetic, she insisted that this sort of thing didn't happen very often and as compensation she would knock 50% of our meal. This was far more than I'd imagined, I thought at the most she might knock off a couple of pound.By the time we finished our meal the rain had eased up outside, so not only did we get our meal for half-price, we managed to stay dry in the process.So a good time was had by all.
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