Thursday, 22 July 2010

Scarborough Open Air Theatre

The Scarborough Open Air Theatre, which is impressively the largest open air theatre in Europe, has reopened. They have a spectacular opening gala tomorrow (July 23rd) with two major stars, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Jose Carreras. I think if you are very lucky you might grab a ticket, otherwise they've got a varied programme of events coming up, including Justin from CBeebies! That is something of a contrast of styles if you ask me! The theatre is situated in Peasholme Park, right on the coast in Scarborough and the stage is set on an island in the middle of a lake with fixed seating for the audience opposite.

And if it is raining...there's always a good film and a bucket of popcorn

A friend mentioned that Vue cinema in York has a good offer on for morning films at weekends where it costs just 95p per child's ticket. This also seems to apply to half term holidays but I can't work out if it is for summer too. There's also an offer where you buy a family ticket and everyone pays child's prices. Anyway, check out the offers on Vue's website.

Meanwhile at Malton Cinema films showing are Shrek Forever, Twilight Saga Eclipse, The A Team, Toy Story 3 and The Reader in the lounge.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Agricultural shows round up and the holidays begin!

With many schools finally breaking up this week, this weekend sees the start of summer holiday events at a number of places. As I'm away in Holland next week I thought I'd just pick out some ideas of what's on over that period and then will do a weekly round up when I'm back.

The first of the summer shows kicked off last weekend with the Malton Show. If you missed that one here's some alternatives taking place over the holidays:

The Ryedale Show is on Tuesday, July 27th at Welburn Park, Kirbymoorside. Advance tickets are available from Cundalls in Malton. This show advertises itself as 'probably North Yorkshire's biggest and best one day agricultural show'. We went to this one last year and had a good day out.

I think this year we'll try the Thornton le Dale Show which is on Wednesday, August 4th from 9am-8pm. Sheepdog, falconry, gun dog and mountain bike stunt displays are just a few of the events going on.

Boon Hill Show at Newton upon Rawcliffe is on Saturday, August 14th starting at 12 noon. Tel 01751 472410 for details.

Rosedale Show is on Saturday, August 21st. Tel 01751 417740 for details.

Farndale Show is on Monday, August 30th.

Otherwise, here are a few other events happening over the next week or so:

Love in Shakespeare is a medley of Shakespeare's most popular plays and will be performed outdoors by Heartbreak Theatre Co. at Mount Grace Priory on Thursday, July 22nd at 7.30pm. Gates from 6.45pm.

Cheer on fully armoured knights as they head into mounted combat in a medieval jousting event at Scarborough Castle on Saturday and Sunday, July 24th & 25th from 11am-5pm. We went last year to this event and the kids really enjoyed it. The castle is well worth a visit even if only for its unique location. It boasts breathtaking views across Scarborough's two bays and the old town with its lovely Georgian architecture is the town's hidden gem.

Time Travellers Go....Pirate Academy is on throughout summer at Whitby Abbey from Saturday, July 24th to Friday, August 27th from 11am-5pm. Again, we must have been doing the rounds of English Heritage properties and events as we also ended up at one of their pirate events. The kids got to take part in sword practices and see real canon fire.

Time Travellers Go....Medieval Knight and Princess School takes place at Scarborough Castle weekly throughout the holidays but not weekends from 11am-5pm.  Kids can undergo some squire training, arts, crafts and storytelling and try on some knight's armour.

Rievaulx Abbey has a Herb Hunt, a children's trail around the ruins. Again this is a lovely place to take a picnic and the kids seem to spend hours enjoying themselves discovering all the different areas of the ruins.

An Ideal Husband is Heartbreak Theatre Company's open air performance at Helmsley Castle on Wednesday, July 28th at 7.30pm. Doors at 6.45pm.

Fighting Knights is on at Scarborough Castle every weekend from July 31st to Bank Holiday Monday, August 30th. See a pair of fully armoured medieval knights embark on hand to hand combat with sword and poleaxe plus other medieval-themed events.

The Dinosaur Coast team at Scarborough Museums Trust which includes the fantastic Rotunda Museum has a great range of events on including Dinosaur discovery days, Fossil hunts and Evening strolls. Events are £3 each. My husband took the boys on one of their fossil hunts last year and they all really enjoyed it. The leader explained what to look our for during the hunt and they were able to break open rocks with hammers to find hidden fossils.

This year the team has divided their days up into areas starting off with Middle Jurassic in The North York Moors National Park from Monday, July 26th to Friday, July 30th. Then comes Upper Jurassic in Scarborough and Filey from Monday, August 9th to Friday, August 13th.
Finally there's Lower Jurassic in Whitby from Monday, August 23rd to Friday, August 27th.

Ryedale Folk Museum is holding a Yorkshire Archaeology Weekend and Yorkshire Day on Saturday, July 31st & Sunday, August 1st.

Scarborough Art Gallery has 'Mog' themed workshops throughout the summer from Tuesday, July 27th. Mog's author, Judith Kerr, will visit the gallery on Sunday, August 8th to read one of her favourite stories. The events tie in with their current exhibition, From the Tiger who came to Tea to Mog and Pink Rabbit - A Judith Kerr exhibition. This runs until September 17th.
The art gallery is such a charming place. It is slightly shabby, a bit crumbly in parts but well worth a visit if you are in Scarborough. There's a dressing up area for kids and basic refreshments on offer. They really do put on some impressive exhibitions too. You can get a joint ticket for the Rotunda which is next door too.

National Parks Week runs from July 25th to August 1st with events at the centre at Danby and Sutton Bank. There are a number of events to coincide with this including art and crafts, woodland walks, archaeology tours, climbing events, archery, fossil identification, pot making, candle rolling etc.

Mini Beast Mayhem is at The Bridestones on Wednesday, July 28th at 1pm. Meet at Dalby Forest car park. £2 each. Booking essential on 01723 870423.

If there is anything else you see going on that you would like me to include please leave me a comment.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Dangerous Dave and the antics of Mr Punch

Beverley Puppet Festival
We headed to the Puppet Festival on Saturday and spent a full day enjoying the variety of events on offer, many of them free. It's the second time we've been to this biennial event and it seems to get better each time as more shows are added to the programme. If Sooty and Sweep springs to mind when puppet shows are mentioned then the Beverley Puppet Festival will certainly give you an alternative interpretation. This age-old form of entertainment is definitely not just for kids and is as creative as any other theatre event.
This time we booked tickets for The Ugly Duckling, a beautiful musical adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's classic tale, performed by Sea Legs Puppet Theatre. Both children loved the show which had some really clever props including a lamentation of elegant soaring swans and a clever puppet theatre farmyard. The festival spreads across Beverley so there's also lots of street theatre and free shows to enjoy. We saw a traditional Punch and Judy (courtesy of the acclaimed Professor Robanti's Punch and Judy World who takes his squabbling husband and wife duo on globe-trotting tours) show with all the non-politically correct dialogue still refreshingly in tact!
Another show that had us all in stitches was Dangerous Dave by Noisy Oyster, a show you've got to witness to appreciate. The Dave in question is a small scantily-clad rag doll who performs some very silly stunts helped by his hapless sidekick, Herbert Lemon. The miniature superhero fought his way out of a paper bag dampened by Herbert having discreetly relieved himself using a clipboard to preserve his modesty - as you can imagine this had the kids screaming in delight especially when he shook the excess over those seated at the edge of the stage. Don't worry, we suspect it was liquid from a concealed water bottle.  Dave went on to climb the slippery pole of peril and plunged into a food processor, escaped from a jar of pickled eggs and finally became a human cannon ball. This show is the sort of alternative entertainment you'd get up at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival so to get it for free in Beverley was a real treat.
Added to the festival itself you've got the setting of Beverley, which is one of my favourite places to visit and is arguably one of the loveliest towns in Britain. It's got lovely Medieval and Georgian architecture, a beautiful minster, boutique shopping, a great Saturday and  Wednesday market and plenty of nice little cafes to while away the time in. Panizzi  is a lively Italian style deli and wine bar on North Bar Within and is well worth a visit day or night. The ice cream factory next door is a good choice if you have children with you. Nearer the minster are a couple of other nice little cafes with outdoor seating at the back. Browns department store opened earlier this year which was a bit of a coup for the town and will surely pull in more visitors. All in all this place gets a big thumbs up from me whatever the time of year.

And here is the man himself - Dangerous Dave with his sidekick Herbert Lemon.

Please leave a comment if there is anything else going on that you would like me to include.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Festivals and Shows

Depending on the weather we are either heading up to Rosedale Abbey on a camping weekend or going to see a couple of shows at the Puppet Festival in Beverley which is a lovely enough place to visit anyway. I've written a preview below. If we do go camping, I'm planning to do a round up of local campsites as a couple of people have been interested in knowing where to go.

Otherwise, here are a few events that are going on this weekend:

Ryedale Festival is on from July 16th - August 1st.  The festival offers a varied programme including soloists, orchestras, chamber music across several venues in Ryedale.

The Malton Show takes place in Scampston Park on Sunday, July 18th. Agricultural attractions, farm exhibits and class entries.

The Ryedale Folk Museum is having a French Day on Sunday, July 18th. Cooking, dancing and lessons in the school room.

Love in Shakespeare at Mount Grace Priory. Enjoy an evening of Shakespeare's most popular plays.

The 1812 Theatre Company are performing 84 Charing Cross Road from Weds, July 21st to Sat, July 24th at 7.30pm at Helmsley Arts Centre.

Twenty 20 has just opened at The Stephen Joseph Theatre from July 13th - September 11th. A one-act play taking the audience on a whistlestop tour of today's short attention span world. The Mikado continues until Sept 4th. Midsummer Night's Dream continues until July 31st.

Malton Cinema is continuing with The Twilight Saga Eclipse for Twihards who have yet to catch it. Also in the lounge is The Reader, a wonderful film which finally gave Kate Winslet her Oscar last year. The cinema has imminent plans to go 3D. I'll keep you posted once I get a firm date.

Beverley Puppet Festival
July 16th -18th
I know Beverley is not Ryedale, Moors and Coast but this is the sort of event that I would travel to see. We went to Beverley Puppet Festival a couple of years ago and were really impressed with the shows. The shows are mainly geared up for the infant year age group of primary school. We saw a couple of shadow puppet shows, Alice and The White Rabbit by Indigo Moon Theatre Company and Little Red Riding Hood. These cost us just a few pounds for tickets but the traditional Punch and Judy show outside was free. This year's shows include Pinocchio, Chicken Licken, The Ugly Duckling, The Story of the Willow Pattern Plate. There's also a performance by Edinburgh Fringe sell outs, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre for 12 + to adults.

If there is anything else you would like to include please leave me a comment.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Fast forward to the school hols!

It seems that a lot of children have broken up already. We've already had phone calls from kids feeling fed up with the rain on day one of their holidays. It's a bit odd for us as we are still in that end of term frenzy when everything from fancy dress parties, picnics, bring and buy fundraisers and end of term shows are all  featuring heavily on our calendar. Anyway, it has focused my mind on school holidays and what we might do ourselves once school's out for summer for us too. I have gathered some information about various clubs going on that older children might enjoy so I thought I would include them here as some need to be booked.

Ryedale Extended Schools has a programme for all ages. Some are family activities where you stay with your child and others are clubs that they go along to on their own to. I went to one last year with my son, then aged six, which was a music workshop. It was a great morning with two professional musicians working with the children and introducing them to a variety of unusual instruments.

Activities this summer range from the sporty, like canoeing, rugby, golf, skate boarding and mountain biking, to arty days including theatre workshops (at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), film-making and art and crafts. There's also lots of outdoor activities like bushcraft, playrangers, archery and go wild events.

There doesn't seem to be a website to direct you to but here are the contact details.

Contact details: Northern Ryedale Extended Schools Coordinator, Kate Asquith on 01653 628839 or email or Central Ryedale Extended Schools Coordinator, Melanie Hutchinson on 01653 692582 or email

For anyone with younger children, the Children's Centres in Norton and Pickering have a great programme for toddlers and babies. Contact the team on 0845 0349586 (Norton) or 0845 5213902 (Pickering) for a programme.

The other place worth a look is the St Alban's Centre, Ampleforth, where there a plenty of activities for children aged four years plus and family activities. Call 01439 766740 for their programme. Alternatively, there are the two North York Moors National Park visitor centres that have a a huge selection of activities going on. Also have a look at York Playspace for weekly clubs where you can also just do a morning or afternoon.

If there is anything else you know of or want to publicise please leave a comment.

Monday, 5 July 2010

An Owl Safari, Tractors and Engines and a favourite cafe

Here are a few pointers for your week ahead. I hope you find something to enjoy. I'm not sure how far we will get as I have a four-year-old's party to organise for Saturday so will be frantically cake baking and planning party games.

Wind in the Willows which had its debut at Helmsley Arts Centre last weekend is on at Terrington Village Hall at 6.30pm on Thursday, July 8th.

Ryedale Folk Museum is holding a Tractor and Engine Day on Sunday, July 11th and to celebrate Bastille Day next Wednesday, July 14th, there's a picnic from 6-9pm.

Join an Owl Safari at The Robert Fuller Gallery on Saturday, July 10th from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. There is also An Introduction to Dragonflies and Damselflies on Sunday, July 11th in the morning and afternoon. Booking details on 01759 368355. Tickets £7.50.

There's a Vintage Vehicle Weekend on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on Saturday and Sunday, July 10th & 11th where classic and vintage vehicles will be on display along the railway.

If you're up this way and looking for refreshments I can highly recommend the lovely Grosmont Gallery and Jazz Cafe. The building has seen life as an undertakers, a joiner's workshop and a petrol station but now has its walls adorned with art, comfy sofas and plenty of space for a cappuccino, cake and a look at the artwork. We've been here with kids. It's big enough to absorb them and their noise especially with the bribe of a cake! Their new exhibition, Blue Bay Watch, featuring local artists including Ian Mitchell, runs from this weekend to August 8th. The cafe is open from 11am-5pm, April to October.

The original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car is at Nunnington Hall this weekend, July 10th & 11th.

The Hidden Gardens of Hovingham. On Sunday, July 11th several homes in Hovingham are throwing open their garden gates. The event runs from 1pm-5pm. £4 on the day.

The English Lavender Festival takes place at the award-winning Yorkshire Lavender in Terrington on Saturday and Sunday, July10th & 11th. There will be a chance to learn about lavender for cooking as well as for health and beauty and its therapeutic benefits at one of the most beautifully situated gardens in the area.

The Mikado, which opens at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on Thursday and runs until September 4th, has already had some good previews in the national press. Director Chris Monks has this time set the Gilbert and Sullivan masterpiece on the cricket pitch.

Ryedale School's Wind Band and Jazz Band are at Helmsley Arts Centre with a repertoire of classic and contemporary music on Sunday, July 11th. The band is made up of pupils in years 7-11. By the way, the arts centre has its own blog which is worth a look at to find out what is going on behind the scenes.

Artsmix is holding an arts and crafts fayre in Malton on Sunday, July 11th from 11am-4pm. Artsmix aims to showcase emerging artists and there will be art, jewellery, textiles, ceramics and more on sale.

Malton Cinema is showing Letters to Juliet, Shrek Forever After, Twilight Saga Eclipse (both of these are best to book ahead for), and in the Lounge there's The Reader and A Single Man, which I reviewed last week.

Helmsley Arts Centre is showing Remember Me on Wednesday, July 7th at 7.30pm.

If there are other events you know of or would like me to include, I will happily do so. Just leave me a comment.

Botton Village Open Day Review

Botton Village Open Day
We headed up to Botton Village up in the North York Moors yesterday afternoon for their annual open day. I have only ever been to their Christmas Fayre before which was a very pleasant experience with plenty of festive activities going on. It was also a great place to buy original gifts, many of which are made on site - handmade nativity figures, lovely wooden decorations and continental breads and cakes etc.
Botton is the largest Camphill Trust community, offering people with learning disabilities the opportunity to thrive in a wider community with other adults for support and a place where they can also learn new skills. The village itself is nestled in Danby Dale, in beautiful rolling countryside inland from Whitby. It has five farms and a Waldorf Steiner school as well as the accommodation in the village.
The open day is a great day out for anyone with kids. Ours were able to partake in candle dipping, wood sawing, and watch a puppet show. There was also felt making that the girls seemed to be enjoying. My eldest son, having seen a couple of his young friends whizzing across on the Flying Fox, a fairly lofty zip wire across a beck and small (but equally intimidating) ravine, decided to try it for himself. It was lovely to see how proud he was of himself after he'd successfully whizzed across it. Botton holds its open day every year on the first Sunday in July but in the meantime there is the Christmas Fayre around November time. My youngest son is hoping that he is big enough to try the Flying Fox next year so I'm sure this summer event will be back on our calendar.