I have decided to put together our British summer staycation bucket list, as we settle in to our first proper summer holiday. When I lived in the UK previously I was a completely different person. I was a young twenty something in a relationship, basically playing at being an adult, but not really embracing it to the max. Now that I am back living in sunny (for now) Yorkshire, as a mom of two little girls and a bonus daughter. I almost feel like I am somewhere completely new to me. One thing’s for certain, I am a different person to who I was back then.

I am a more confident person, a more secure person. When I lived here previously, I was also a step-mom. Every second weekend my bonus daughter would come stay with us, and it almost felt like I was play acting the role of a mom. We used to try get out as often as we could, but we certainly struggled a lot financially back then.

Being back in North Yorkshire, memories from that time have come back to me. Days out and the fun things we used to do as a much smaller family. Two adults and children, vs the reality now which is two adults, one teenager and two little girls.

Why A Staycation?

As we have just got here, we have no plans to go abroad this summer holiday. For us, this is a new place, and we have all the time to explore our new surroundings and see what there is to see. We’ve already ticked a few ‘must do’ items off our list, Bolton Abbey and Billy Bob’s Ice-Cream Parlour, as well as the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. But there is so much more we want to do.

I have decided to put together a bucket list of staycation ideas that I would love to do with the girls. Either just them and I, or as a whole family when my husband is off work on the weekends. We are based in North Yorkshire so this list includes attractions that are close enough to visit as a day trip.

This is our British Summer Staycation Bucket List:

Piglets Adventure Farm

We used to go there back in the day when it was still known as The Farmers Cart. It used to just be a gorgeous little farm shop packed full of exciting locally produced products, a little tea room, a playground with a few goats, pigs, bunnies etc. It started expanding and the last time we were there they had a Pick Your Own Strawberries, a lovely Easter Egg Hunt trail over Easter, rides on the tractor-trailer, and a lot more animals and activities.

Six years ago, when I came out to the UK on a holiday as a mum of one 15 month old angel (don’t laugh mom), I vaguely remember going there and being amazed at the expansion.

Now however, it is apparently a huge exciting adventure farm. I can’t wait to take the girls and let them run wild and play in a place I have very fond memories of, and a few memories of dealing with a stubborn 4-year-old who never wanted to leave! And that was then. Now their Summer Activity list boasts foam parties, pig racing, a fairy trail and more!

Piglets Adventure Farm, we are coming for you!

Lotherton Hall

Lotherton Hall is the one place everyone in our village has recommended to me. It’s just down the road from us and apparently it is worth buying the annual family pass which then gives you access to the grounds all year round. It is an old Edwardian country home located on extensive grounds, which boasts a deer park, two playgrounds, a bird garden and a whole host of other activities perfect for families and kids. The way I see it, a lump sum payment in advance that provided unlimited access the rest of the year is an investment I would definitely make.

Go Ape at Temple Newsom

Zip Lining in ParysMy girls literally go ape when it comes to Zip Lining – we have done the Keopel Mega Zip in Parys, South Africa, twice, and the first time we did it, my youngest was 4 years-old – she just scrapped by height & weight wise and daddy had to help her carry the equipment!

Go Ape offer high rope tree top course with kids and families in mind. Their newest facility is at Temple Newsom near Leeds and I know this is something we as a family will all enjoy! We will definitely be looking at doing this. The great thing is that it’s something you can enjoy in Spring, Summer & Autumn, I’m not so sure I want to be zipping around in the freezing cold though. Frozen fingers doesn’t spell success when it comes to safety harnesses etc.

The Deep

Again, this is one I have been to in my previous life. The Deep is an aquarium based in Kingston-Upon-Hull and definitely an attraction I know the girls will enjoy. They have been to a couple of aquariums in South Africa, but I don’t know if they will remember them as they were quite young. This will be one of those memorable days out for them that will I can’t wait to give them.

There’s More …

Those are the Big 4 attractions of our staycation this summer holiday. However, there are a number of other things I plan on doing to keep the kids and I busy, some of which have memories attached to them, and others are brand new to me too.

  • Roundhay Park  and Tropical World!
  • To find a local Lavender Field to get some awesome Instagram worthy blogger shots
  • Joining the local library
  • Making use of the local swimming pool facilities.
  • Homestead Park in York run by Joseph Rowntree Trust.
  • Investing in a family summer pass for Gravity at Xscape Yorkshire.

This post is a work in progress. I will be updating it with recommendations so please let me know if there are other MUST DO  activities to do with kids in the Yorkshire area. Here are ones I’ve received so far:

Summer School with Mom!

The girls are around 18 months behind the UK education system when it comes to reading and handwriting, and a little bit on the maths side as well.

I knew this would be the case when we decided on the move, and I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of the girls. There are so many schools of thought (see what I did there). Each of them have their own valid reasoning. One of the major ‘issues’ we have had to face is that in South Africa the kids only learn handwriting and reading in Grade 1 (the year they turn 7, traditionally). In the UK, they start from Reception Year (the September school year after they turn 4 years old). This is a significant difference at this age, but not an insurmountable one.

  • Read – hence us joining the library. Thank goodness both the girls teachers went above and beyond to provide me with extra holiday reading material to use so I am excited to get going with that. Every little bit will help.
  • Times Tables & maths bonds! For both girls!
  • Handwriting in cursive. At our UK school the kids start their handwriting using cursive handwriting. My eldest is picking it up quickly, but my youngest has hardly done any writing at all yet, so we have a lot to do.

We’re up for the challenge! I will do another post specifically about this topic soon, but I too need to get a handle on the subject before I offer more information or opinions.

So anyway, that’s our summer staycation plans for now.

Road Trip Planning!

We might do a road trip before the end of the summer, which I am trying not to get too excited about. So many places to explore, how do we choose? London, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, maybe even further! Distance doesn’t scare us. A family who road trips together, fights, sulks, asks “are we nearly there yet” and takes a billion photos along the way. Well, that’s us anyway!

If you have any awesome family road trip ideas for a family of 5, please let us know. We are wide open to suggestions.

Until then, we will be enjoying our fun-filled staycation this summer.

If you would like your establishment to be included in this list, please get in touch: momof2littlegirls@gmail.com

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