Thanks Catherine for sharing your version of our Beverley trip (Day 26 to Day 28 in our summer holiday posts), and onward visit to Woolsthorpe Manor.
“Our trip to Beverley was our first time in a youth hostel as a family of five and to be honest, we weren’t really sure how much sleep any of us would get sharing a room with a 2-month-old. In the event we needn’t have worried as Papoose was perfectly well behaved and even managed a lie-in on a couple of mornings so we could eat our breakfast in peace. It helped that our 5-bed room was next to the kitchen and the dining room so we could keep an ear out for him while cooking.
There was a lovely space overlooking the front garden with two substantial picnic benches, a perfect spot to gather after breakfast and discuss plans for the day ahead. We loved the quirky rooms at this hostel. The upstairs lounge with its old beams and huge stone fire was a particular favourite (especially with the dads and their keg of beer!) and it was nice to have a quiet snug off to one side for reading or studying (or a glass of wine away from the children and the men!)
Being able to keep the character of this old friary while converting it to a hostel must have been a balancing act and while some elements worked really well, others left a bit to be desired. My one criticism would be the size of some of the toilets. The one in the downstairs annexe had a door that was tricky to open once inside as it was so close to the toilet. And the one upstairs was practically touching a radiator, which could cause a bit of a burnt bum in the winter! There were two larger cubicles behind the staircase in the middle of the building though.
The lady who checked us into the hostel will go down in family legend, I think. She came out with some cracking one-liners, including telling the husband that the sight of him coming out of the shower wrapped in a towel was enough to put her off her breakfast! But that aside, the volunteer staff at the hostel were very kind, phoning another family to ask if they would mind swapping rooms with us so we could stay in the one with the double bed to make it easier with the baby. All the other guests at the hostel were chatty and polite and there was a friendly atmosphere throughout our stay, with a good mix of families and individual travellers of all ages.
Beverley itself is a lovely medieval town full of charm. On our first full day, we visited the minster and the Treasure House, where the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition was on loan from the Natural History Museum. We all had a good look at the photos and chose our favourites. It was fascinating to hear which Pippin and Poppet enjoyed and why. Papoose is a bit young to have an opinion just yet! The trip to the Treasure House was my highlight of the weekend and I would recommend a visit if you’re interested in local history or wildlife.
Pippin enjoyed the huge sand sculpture of St John of Beverley that was at the back of the minster and had survived from a sand sculpture trail around the town last year. It was certainly not what we expected to find in such an ornate building! But an interesting way of commemorating the founder of the minster.
That afternoon we visited the Potting Shed pub for a pint while the children ran around. The terrace overlooks a big playing field next to the leisure centre which has a skate park in one corner. There’s no play equipment, but there is a small play area in front of the cinema in the Flemingate Shopping Centre.
Also at the shopping centre was Inflatanation, which we had visited the previous afternoon when rain had prevented us exploring the town. The boys really enjoyed climbing around the inflatables and playing in the ball pits and were asking to go back. At £10 per person for one hour, it’s not a cheap option though.
Instead, we chose to visit Let Loose, an adventure playground with a variety of activities like archery and high ropes just outside Beverley. Entrance is £9 per child or £5 per adult. But if you book an activity such as the climbing wall for £10, entry is included. There’s also a discount if you have a Kids Pass. You can stay all day and enjoy the playground, a water play area and various ball sports outside. Inside a dome was an inflatable course for age five and above and a soft play with ride-on toys for age six or younger. It certainly provided enough to keep our group of youngsters aged between 5 and 8 entertained for almost 6 hours, so was good value for money. Poppet particularly rated the Big Leap, which involved climbing a tall tower and jumping off onto a massive air cushion as many times as you liked in an hour. Even Dad snuck on to have a go with the kids!
On our way home from Beverley, we called in at Woolsthorpe Manor, the home of Sir Issac Newton where he is said to have discovered gravity underneath an apple tree in the garden. The property is now National Trust and we were able to get free entry with our Art Passes. It was a fascinating spot to while away a few hours while breaking our journey. We enjoyed the activity barn with its range of hands-on toys such as jigsaws and magnets.
Inside the small manor house, most of the rooms are presented as they may have been when the famous scientist was born there on Christmas Day in 1642. One room upstairs currently has an exhibition explaining how Sir Isaac’s work paved the way for a better understanding of our solar system, which eventually led to the moon landing 50 years ago. There was also a Lego Soyuz space capsule for children to play with in one of the barns and an exhibition about various elements of the solar systems. The heavens opened while we were in the house but we could see the spot of the famous apple tree from the front door. The original tree came down in high winds in the 19th century, but the current tree is said to have grown from its fruit. We escaped the rain in the tea room, which doubles as a science centre where all the exhibits demonstrate elements of Newton’s work. There was an excellent volunteer science educator who explained some of the laws of motion using something akin to an air hockey game. The boys were quite happy to explore the centre for half an hour while we enjoyed a quiet cuppa and fed the baby. Upstairs in the hayloft there are activities exploring light and the visible spectrum. There is a covered seating area in the courtyard where some children were playing with wooden blocks but no playground at this property. However, as we left, I spotted the village playground which seemed to have new equipment at the end of the lane, which would be within easy walking distance of the manor and its car park. As a small property, there was no problem with popping in and out several times to collect rain coats, picnic bag etc from the car. A lovely place to end an enjoyable long weekend away.”
Thanks again Catherine. I have to agree about the lady at the hostel’s comments, and it’s good to learn Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day and discovered gravity under an apple tree.
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