York is one of my favourite cities, whatever time of year – it always looks good, whatever the season. But after a particularly wet spring and early summer, it was even lovelier to visit on a rare sunny weekend and find it bathed in glorious gold.
Rather than staying right in the city centre, we were at Best Western’s Pavilion Hotel, in the pretty village of Fulford, around a mile’s walk along the river. Away from the hussle and bussle but within easy striking distance.
The hotel felt quite grand without being stuffy, and had an olde world charm about it that was very endearing. Our room overlooked a beautiful leafy courtyard, that was perfect for pre-meal drinks in the evening, not to mention a bit of people-watching for my two nosey girls!
We ate our evening meal in the restaurant shortly after arriving on Friday night, and were impressed by the menu on offer.
It was fine dining, with a delicious selection. Our service was polite and efficient, but also really friendly, and put us totally at ease – not something you always feel when eating in a smarter restaurant with young children.
(It was the same at breakfast, where the manager was particularly child-friendly and had our youngsters in stitches each morning.)
The children’s menu also boasted quite a range, and with a good choice, not just the run-of-the-mill chicken nuggets you sometimes get.
The restaurant was fairly busy, with a relaxed atmosphere, and the food was delicious, and lived up to it’s great billing on the menu.
Breakfast the next day was equally good. A great selection of cooked and cold foods, and we headed off to Flamingo Land full-bellied and ready for an action-packed day.
I have to admit it was years since I’d visited, and I was most impressed with the changes. I thought it had a great range of rides for all ages – including a good deal for young children, who often get overlooked a bit at big theme parks, and when we’d had our share of white-knuckle (though we really didn’t head for anything too scary!) it was then lovely to be able to stroll over to the animals and spend a good couple of hours walking through the zoo.
There were plenty of places to eat – we opted for the Coach House, which looked like a lovely country pub, and being right next to the play area, meant we could enjoy a bit of a breather after eating whilst the girls worked off some more energy.
It really is so much more than a theme park, and though we’d arrived as the gates opened, we were surprised to be leaving when it was closing its gates – the day had flown.
My nine-year-old daughter discovered she liked ‘quite-scary’ rides more than she thought – having always avoided them, my husband enticed her onto the Wild Mouse with the promise of an icecream afterwards – next thing she was queuing up for her fourth go when they announced the park was soon to close!
My youngest loved the animals best, especially her beloved giraffes, and we all loved the sea lion show and cable car ride (though that was my white-knuckle moment of the day!). So we left with two thoroughly satisfied youngsters – and happy adults too.
We didn’t quite make it on to the new ride, the Pterodactyl, or any of the number of extreme rides, but we had fun watching the fear on the faces of those who did.
A full day, but we still managed to squeeze in a little bit more, as we were only about a 45-minute drive to the coast, and who could resist a splodge in the sea? (We live in the land-locked Midlands, so it’s any excuse for us …)
We spent a lovely hour or so at Cayton Bay, just along the coast from Scarborough, having a stroll on the beach in the beautiful evening sunshine – my husband’s family were regulars here when he was a child, and it’s a real favourite. We headed back to our cosy room exhausted, and ready for a really well-earned sleep.
After another great breakfast, we spent the next day in York, becoming reacquainted with some old favourite haunts, and finding some new. The children had never been to the Yorvik centre and loved it – we’re still getting facts about how they used to dip their heads in horse wee to get rid of head lice. Nice.
And what better way to enjoy a picnic than bathed in sunshine in front of the Minster, followed by a locally-made icecream. Perfect.
We wondered along the Shambles, watched all the street entertainers, strolled along the walls, and enjoyed a drink along the river.
What we loved
The service in our hotel was exceptional. Nothing felt like too much bother for any of the staff, who were all delightful to the children too. It was extremely comfortable and welcoming
Anything we’d change
The hotel didn’t have any family rooms, per se, but that’s not really a criticism, as they are more than happy to add an additional bed for children, which is all a lot of so-called family rooms in other hotels consist of anyway.
Did we pay our own way?
We were guests of Best Western Hotels, who also provided a family ticket for Flamingo Land.