I can’t possibly begin to write/review all the places we have been in 2016. I wish I had started this blog and documented all of it! This post is going to be a mammoth one and I’m only choosing bits and pieces from the year! Let’s get started.
February was the first time we ventured out properly as a family. For my mums birthday, 14th February we went to Nottingham. This was my first day out of Sheffield since having Eric and we had a lovely time.
At the end of February we went to London for a week. It was a really special time; very nostalgic to return back there as both me and ollie have lived in London previously as students and working. It was amazing to go back as a family. We had a truly great time and I can’t put it into words how much fun we had. Me and ollie revisited all our favourite galleries, museums and parks, but also new things we hadn’t done before such as Battersea zoo which was really nice. We stayed in a cheap airbnb in Kensington and used only slings for convenience!
March saw us entering spring and Eric started to take more interest in nature, so we started going to parks more often. Endcliffe park became a firm favourite of mine, and I couldn’t wait until I was returning with Eric when he was old enough to appreciate the playground 🙂 I also enjoyed botanical gardens and walks at Longshaw estate.
March included a trip with my mum to Yorkshire wildlife park for Mother’s Day which was really nice to wander around in, even if a bit cold. Good value for money and I made a mental note to return when Eric was older. We went to tropical butterfly house with family, too, which was lovely. Even though Eric slept for most of it, we- the adults- had a great day! And the tropical butterfly house later in the year became one of my favourite places to visit.
April was Ollie’s birthday and we went to wentworth garden centre. We took my mum with us and prepared for quite a long journey. I love wentworth, the village and the garden centre is a fantastic place for families and really is a lovely day out, but it is so difficult on public transport! Considering how close it actually is. In a car, it takes around 20 minutes to get there from my flat. On Public transport it’s a train and then a bit of a wait for a bus that goes to wentworth. The bus is something like twice an hour (I can’t quite remember) and then a 2 minute walk from the village. It definitely is a bit of a pain and is why, although I love the place, we haven’t been very much.
That aside; it’s a great place! Has a little farm, aquatic centre, maze, lovely gardens with deer and a tearoom. It’s nice to just wander around there; very pleasant!
Another highlight was our trip to filey at the end of April. We booked a very cheap holiday at the blue dolphin haven holiday park. It was £92 for the week! Self catering and a cold, cheap basic caravan but we couldn’t grumble.it included all activities and swimming for 7 nights. We got the train to Filey which meant changing at Worksop and then a bus from filey train station to the haven holiday park. But it was easy enough; no problems. We ordered groceries to the holiday park seeing as we don’t drive and they came straight to the caravan. There was also a bus that stopped right outside the park that went to Bridlington, Scarborough etc so we managed a few trips. It was a great time and we were lucky enough to catch some good weather! One of the best highlights for me was a trip in Bridlington on the land train to Sowerby hall. It was a lovely trip, the seaside was very familiar and nostalgic and we are going back to haven in march 2017.
Going into May, I really welcomed the warm weather. I’m a June baby; and I love summer! May came with nice weather, we went to cannon hall museum and farm (including soft play) for the first time and was very impressed. So much to do there. We also started picnic season with a bang and enjoyed food in forge dam, Clifton park and longshaw estate! Forge dam became a firm favourite of mine and a trail we do regularly is get the 120 to ranmoor, eat the forge dam cafe (always pleasant) then walk down through forge dam all the way to endcliffe park. Cafes and playgrounds at both ends!
It was nice to walk through town and enjoy the peace gardens in the warmer weather, too!
May into June came along, the end of may we went to the great British food festival at harewood house in Leeds. Harewood house is lovely! We didn’t even go inside the house, we spent the day exploring the grounds and gardens; so much to do including an aviary and book shop. We stayed overnight in an air BnB near roundhay park, and also went to tropical world. Tropical world is one of my favourite things to do in Leeds in terms of family attractions. It’s cheap and has an indoor tropical house with animals and a small aquarium. It’s good for wet weather too, it’s really decent for the price.
The beginning of June we went to our local park a few times; Norfolk park. It is actually a heritage park in Sheffield and has a good resources centre with great cafe. The views are great too.
June was a packed full month. We went to Nottingham,where we went to white post farm which remains one of the best farms we went to this year. We had a lot of fun in the farm and the soft play. Back in the centre of Nottingham Me and ollie enjoyed a spot of artistic crazy golf at an art gallery: Doug fishbones leisure land golf! That was an experience! We also went to the new art exchange and did the museums there. We stayed an an airbnb in Mansfield.
We also took a few walks in the countryside, in hathersage and one of the fondest memories for me was bolehill quarry.
Further into June, we discovered Friday’s under 5s at Weston park- a group for babies and toddlers with activities that change weekly. We enjoyed messy play, and the ducks after. We also started enjoying water fun in various parks, our favourites being Clifton Park in Rotherham and Millhouses park.
For my birthday we went to Manchester. We attended a book fair and stayed in a cheap airbnb. We went to the Trafford centre & chill / play factore (essentially a big soft play) it was, you know, a soft play. Haha.
London was great, we went to London zoo with vouchers and had a fantastic time. We stayed in an airbnb in West Kensington and didn’t manage to get as much done as the first time. Eric had changed a lot in age and demand compared to our trip back in February; he was a small baby the first time, and at 9 months old the second time so we had to focus more on entertaining him. He wasn’t a fan of tubes!
An absolute highlight of the trip was the basement “the garden” at the science museum. If you have kids, you must go! Free and sensory heaven, water play and musical instruments. We also did shopping, art galleries and parks. I love London.
August brought us some lovely weather perfect for sand and water play. 🙂
A firm favourite place was chatsworth. It’s always been a place I love, but the adventure playground is fab for kids! Even at Eric’s age; he couldn’t walk when we went, but he enjoyed it a lot. I didn’t go in the house or gardens all summer, just the estate walls (free) and farmyard / playgrounds.
We also loved millhouses park for water play. Eric was happy enough to sit and paddle as there’s loads of water streams and puddles, there’s a pub down the road, and its local. We enjoyed a nice afternoon with friends there.
We went to wentworth garden centre again, this time with sun hats! And had a lovely walk from ladybower reservoir to hope valley via bamford and discovered a hidden gem, bamford mill. You can sit right next to the ducks and the water is up high at the level you sit on the walls next to them. It’s a little oasis. We had lunch just down the road at hope garden centre. Fab walk, and all on bus routes.
More highlights of august (it was a fantastic month) was a picnic down at padley gorge with friends, lots of parks, me and Eric paddled in the rocks in true British spirit, and a trip with friends to tropical butterfly house which Eric enjoyed the water and sand area SO much!
Into September with a trip to York. We went to the railway museum (free and huge) fantastic for all ages, it’s a must see.
We did something different and went glamping in York, we stayed in a glamping pod. It was so cute and a really nice experience.
On the 2nd day we went to creepy crawlies in York which is a big soft play centre with a farmyard and lots of playgrounds / water play / sand play, etc. It was really good and I definitely want to go back.
For the rest of September we clung onto picnic season! We made use of the weather and went for walks. We discovered beautiful walks at lodge moor. I went back to Yorkshire wildlife park with friends and had a wet but very fun day, and also to damflask reservoir with friends.
When I had nothing planned but it was a sunny day I went upto manor lodge and farm. It’s a free place, lots of space for kids, they put out toys on the lawn, have chickens, a pig, ponies and other small animals, and a fantastic cafe. Up at the ruins there’s some steel sculptures to climb and play with.
More in September included a day trip to Leeds where we rode the free water taxi to the Royal armouries (and was very disappointed that the play area was shut) followed by another visit to tropical world in the afternoon.
Turning into October we also went to clumber park (nightmare to get to and very expensive bike hire!) which I will always remember as the definite end of summer as it turned chilly.
We stayed in Nottingham after clumber park (Sherwood arrow) and the second day went to wheelgate adventure park which we enjoyed so much! It’s a theme park but for Little ones. it was very tired looking and run down but we really enjoyed it, there was so much to do for Eric.
September turned into October with soft play, including fish at big Apple in Rotherham. The puddle suit came out for muddy walks in the park with friends at forge dam, and me and ollie went to heights of Abraham at Matlock.
We loved the heights of Abraham and are thinking about getting an annual pass this year! The views are spectacular, we went in a cave, there’s playgrounds, a museum, the cable car ride, a cafe and more.
In October we went to Buxton for the day and really enjoyed the pavilion gardens which is beautiful, the playground is very colourful and ollie went on the land train with Eric. I went to chatsworth again for a lovely walk with friends, and me and my mum went to back to the butterfly house for halloween!
We went out in the countryside for Eric’s birthday and stayed at sandybrook country park, in Ashbourne, which is a 5 star log cabin type of place! It was an absolute treat; we have never stayed anywhere so nice before. The park was so, so nice. We had a lovely cabin with a sauna, right next to the woods. We spent the week relaxing, we went swimming, enjoyed the play cabin, the woods, we cycled the tissington trail, and we walked all the way from our park to Ilam park via dovedale and back which is about 8 miles!! It was definitely in the middle of no where and some would say you need a car but we walked everywhere all week and enjoyed it.
When we got back it was November, the feeling of Christmas was upon us. I did some Christmas crafts with friends, we went to Nottingham again and this time went to the castle, the cat cafe (so cute!) and stayed over in a hostel we like. On the 2nd day we went to Wollaton hall which was wonderful; they had a big natural history museum, gardens, activities for children and playground. It was all free.
November was full of Christmas markets and mulled wine. Another fond memory was the Sheffield Christmas light switch on; we had friends with us and spent the late afternoon / early evening being festival all around town. It was lovely to be part of it as the atmosphere was lovely.
November into December meant lots of Christmas meet ups with friends, my group and family.
I went to chatsworth house twice; one for the markers with friends, and another time for the Christmas decorations inside the house with my mum (so beautiful). We also went to Matlock on a coach trip and enjoyed the Christmas markets. Very festive! The last trip for Christmas activities was of course butterfly house! We got kissed by lemurs and saw Santa. It was wonderful and a highlight of the season. Definitely getting a season ticket this year. I did bauble decorating with my group at Aston springs farm and me and ollie had a chilly walk around damflask reservoir.
I also arranged two Christmas parties; one for my group, and one for the sling surgery I volunteer at. The secret santas were so fun and I really enjoyed them. Both parties were so fun and I’m very grateful for my friends!
And it doesn’t end there. We had a lovely Christmas, the best yet, but was keen to go out again! We have been to elsecar heritage centre and rode a steam train, and been back to Leeds for a day trip in the last week! Those reviews are coming soon!
I really hope you enjoyed reading all of this if anyone managed it; it was for my own benefit really, so I can always look back at this recap. I had a fantastic year and discovered some great places. Let’s hope this year is just as adventurous!