The Hull Daily Mail is looking for child models to feature in a series of City of Culture photo shoots.
The paper wants children of all ages who will be photographed at different City of Culture events.
The winning children will be invited to one of several fun photo-shoots throughout the year.
The first photo-shoot will take place with the Blade in Hull’s city centre and will be used as the cover photo for the ‘Hull Daily Mail – Family News‘ page.
The photographs will be used to illustrate stories in print, and will also be used on social media, including on Twitter and Facebook.
It is a great opportunity for children who like having their photo taken and would like to see themselves in the paper. At the end of the year the paper will feature all children who have taken part in a celebratory feature in the paper.
How can I enter?
Entry is via Facebook only. To enter your child, you must first ‘like’ the new ‘Hull Daily Mail – Family News‘ Facebook page. Then like and share the child models post on that page and comment by posting a picture of your child or children.
The paper is only looking for a few families and winners will be chosen at random. The closing date is Tuesday, January 31, at 4pm.
It snows every day at Gulliver’s Kingdom in Matlock Bath during the festive season.
The children who had gathered for the little Gully show were asked to close their eyes and cross their fingers and make a wish for snow – then, as if by magic the white stuff fell from above and the music began to play.
As soon as that snow began to fall the children who had been mesmerised by the characters could not run over to it fast enough.
Obviously it was fake, but it was white and fluffy and they had the best time playing in it.
Seeing my children stood there wishing for snow then watching their faces as it began to fall was truly magical.
Straight after it was our turn to see Santa. Gulliver’s Kingdom – a theme park which is aimed at children aged three to 13 – is the only place we’ve seen him this year and not had to queue. We were able to walk straight through the lovely winter wonderland during our time slot and admire the displays, then were taken straight to Santa by his friendly elf.
It wasn’t the best grotto we’ve ever seen, or the most enthusiastic Santa – but the kids did love being invited into his workshop afterwards where they were able to choose their present themselves. They loved searching through the shop and it’s nice as a parent to say you can have anything you like – absolutely anything – and not have to worry about the price!
Seeing Santa is included with all tickets during the festive season and despite it not being in the height of summer, there was plenty of rides open, including the log flume!
The wide range of rides and attraction – from the Western World and pirates play area, to the log flume and Drop Tower – makes Gulliver’s Kingdom one of the best theme parks in the UK for children which is why we didn’t mind the 90 minute journey from Hull.
Children shorter than 90cm go free, yet can still go on 11 of 23 rides and enjoy all of the shows, play areas and interactive experiences.
The theme park is set on a stunning hillside which gives fabulous views over the main street in Matlock Bath. Make sure you’ve got your comfortable shoes on for walking up the hills though! However there is a travellator for one of the steepest hills you can hop onto and also a char lift to transport you from the bottom of the park to the top.
With that in mind I’d say it’s best to start at the top and work your way down to the bottom of the park.
If you want to keep the costs down, picnics are allowed in the park. I was really impressed there’s a warm indoor picnic area upstairs in the party house where adults can also get a hot drink.
But it’s downstairs where the real fun happens! The huge house has everything from a cinema room to rides, a massive sandpit, indoor soft play, ball pools, pedal tractors and interactive games. You could actually spend hours in the party house alone, I’ve not come across anything quite like it anywhere else.
Mrs Christmas’ Kitchen is also inside the party house where you will find a very welcoming Mrs Christmas. Due to it being so cold, we spent a long time in the party house and we still had to drag the kids out.
The entire park is decorated very festive and if like us you leave when it closes at 4.30pm it will be dark so you will be able to see all the twinkly lights which light the entire park up.
I loved the fact there wasn’t a teenage crowd at Gulliver’s Kingdom too. It’s very family orientated, there are no bars and no alcohol is permitted. Unlike other large theme parks, you won’t come across groups of teenagers, as not one guest who isn’t part of a family can enter.
My six year old son loved Western World, where you can explore little buildings, including a bank, a church and a jail. He also loved operating the diggers, which surprisingly didn’t need extra money to operate and my three year old daughter liked the outdoor play areas and the magic carpet.
There’s also Gulliver’s parks in Warrington and Milton Keynes so no doubt we will be trying them next!
My children’s eyes almost popped out of their heads when they were handed more chocolate than they could carry when we arrived at Cadbury World.
It really is a dream come true for youngsters to visit what my two affectionately called “chocolate land”.
We chose to go on the self-guided tour first. You are given a time slot and can do the other activities (panto, Santa show and park) either before or after your tour.
It starts in Bull Street – a full-scale replica of the original street where John Cadbury opened his shop in 1824. From there, live character actors set the scene and you learn the history of how Cadbury became so successful.
Once on the tour you’re free to discover the 13 different zones. I liked Advertising Avenue the best, where you could watch adverts from years gone by. I’d forgotten all about the themetune: ‘Thank you very much for feeding William, thank you very, very, very, very, very, very much!’
In manufacturing, you can find out how brands are made at interactive video stations.
The kids enjoyed the Cadabra ride, where you get to step into a beanmobile and enjoy a gentle ride through a chocolate wonderland full of characters.
The chocolate-making zone is really interesting as you get to see the talented Cadbury chocolatiers demonstrate traditional chocolate-making skills on handmade items sold in the shop. If you want something personalised you can pre-order before you go.
In this zone, you’ll also get to sample a pot of warm, melted Dairy Milk and choose your toppings.
My favourite part of the day was watching the 4D cinema. You get to ride the Crunchie rollercoaster and dive into liquid Cadbury Dairy Milk. There’s a whole host of Cadbury characters that come to life on the journey.
As well as the tour there’s also a huge outdoor adventure zone that is open all year round.
Throughout Christmas, there’s also the Santa show where every child gets a soft toy and a 25-minute Cinderella panto that really got the kids laughing.
We made a mini-break out of it and stayed at the Premier Inn in Stourbridge.
THEY SAY: Offers holiday cottages and cruisers for hire on the Norfolk Broads.
WE SAY: Look no further than Ferry Marina if you’re looking for day boat hire or a holiday on the Norfolk Broads.
No trip to Norfolk is complete without visiting the broads and the only way to experience the famous waterway is by boat.
We hired the most fabulous day cruiser from Ferry Marina whilst staying in the area during the school summer holidays and the experience was one of my children’s favourite days out.
Horning Ferry Marina is situated alongside the River Bure in the heart of the Norfolk Broads and is a perfect base from which to explore Norfolk’s rivers, villages and broads.
Ferry Marina has a great range of day cruisers but also provides accommodation, from apartments to spacious new luxury cottages and holiday cruisers.
We hired the admiral day boat which was new for 2016 and holds up to 12 people.
It looks rather impressive from the outside and inside is just as fabulous with its sliding roof and sound system.
We were given a very detailed and friendly tuition before setting off on our adventure and handed a map so we could choose where to go.
There was plenty of room onboard with a large table in the centre kitchen area, seats and an electric toilet at the rear and comfortable driving seat area.
The kids loved taking a turn at driving and in-between there was plenty of space for them to walk about and sit comfortably. Meanwhile Mum, dad and I enjoyed sharing a bottle of Prosecco as the sun shone through the open roof.
The kids also loved creating our own boat party by using the ipod docking station to play their own music.
All the day cruisers at Ferry Marina have galley, toilet and cabin and many of the boats have been built on-site by the companies craftsmen.
Pets are allowed on board and the fuel is included in the price too, plus there’s free parking.
The waterways of the Broads are safe and easy to navigate, with over 125 tranquil, lock-free miles to explore.
So much of the Broads can’t be reached by road, with hidden places, perfect fishing spots and close encounters with wildlife at every turn.
Horning itself has several riverside pubs and restaurants; and a range of shops all within walking distance of Ferry Marina.
After cruising for a day we’ve definitely got the bug and would love to spend more time on the waterways.
We passed the riverside holiday cottages which Ferry Marina hire out and saw the laid back lifestyle people were enjoying so might try one of those next time.
There’s also the holiday cruisers if you want to stay on a boat which have all the comforts of home onboard.
Afterwards we visited the Ferry Inn pub which is right next door to where we dropped the boat back off. The beer garden sits alongside the river and there’s a huge play area for the kids including a bus which has been transformed into an indoor play area.
Need to know…
LOCATION: Horning Ferry Marina can be reached from the popular village of Wroxham. Use postcode NR12 8PS.
THEY SAY: The legendary stomping-ground of Robin Hood, this 450 acre country park is now part of the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve.
WE SAY: Free outdoors day out. Bring a picnic and explore.
A great day out with the family doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
On the hunt for some family fun, my children and I, along with mum, my sister and her two children, we headed to Sherwood Forest.
Kids love nothing more than pulling on their wellies and being outside, hunting for sticks and making dens.
And the royal forest, famous by its historical association with the legend of Robin Hood is the perfect place to do it. Admission to the country park is free with a £3 car parking charge.
Sherwood attracts almost one million tourists annually, many from other countries. Visitor numbers have increased significantly since the BBC’s Robin Hood television series.
At the entrance to the country park is Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre with an exhibition on Robyn Hodes Sherwode, two shops and the Forest Table Restaurant.
We choose to take the circular walk through the forest and the kids loved spotting the fairy houses and carvings along the way.
Half way around is the famous Major Oak tree, which, according to local folklore, was Robin Hood’s principal hideout.
The oak tree is between 800 and 1,000 years old and, since the Victorian era, its massive limbs have been partially supported by an elaborate system of scaffolding.
The Major Oak was crowned England’s Tree of the Year in 2014, in a public vote run by the Woodland Trust.
The kids enjoyed an ice cream and a rest and then we were back on the track again, playing a game of hide and seek along the way.
The walks are accessible for prams and wheelchairs and are colour coded so you don’t get lost!
There’s also a small park, and during the school holidays a small paid-for fun fair.
Each August the forest hosts an annual, week-long Robin Hood Festival.
This event recreates a medieval atmosphere and features the major characters from the Robin Hood legend.
The week’s entertainment includes jousters and strolling players, dressed in medieval attire, in addition to a medieval encampment complete with jesters, musicians, rat-catchers, alchemists and fire eaters.
THEY SAY: Short break including hotel and tickets to THREE attractions in Leicester and Leicestershire from just £149.
WE SAY: We saved at least £100 overall booking these days out and the hotel as one package. Can’t be beaten.
IT sometimes feels like you spend more on hotels and days out tickets on short breaks in the UK than you would a package holiday to Spain.
So I was quite excited to discover the Stay Play Explore website, where you can get a night in a hotel and tickets to three of ten attractions of your choice for just £149.
Run by tourism organisation Leicester Shire Promotions, the offer includes a large selection of hotels in Leicester and Leicestershire and the prices are fixed for all hotels, whatever the weather, so you won’t be stung once you’ve chosen your dates.
Booking was incredibly easy – you just choose your hotel and dates and then the days out tickets are emailed to you.
There’s a choice of ten attractions to choose from, with everywhere from Twycross Zoo and Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre to Stonehurst Family Farm and Swadlincote Ski Centre. (See bottom of this post for a full list)
It seemed perfect for our family because visiting new places and making memories is what life is all about for us. The deal is for two adults and two children, but extra children can be added for £20.
Just remember to print three versions of the e-ticket off and take it with you to each attraction, where the barcode is scanned.
However, if one night away isn’t enough, extra nights can be added to your short break at the time of booking for a special Stay Play Explore discounted rate.
Our hotel of choice was the Hilton East Midlands Airport Hotel. It’s not small bed and breakfasts that are on offer – the deal includes nice four-star hotels, including brands such Hilton, Marriott and Jury’s Inn, as well as individual spa hotels.
The Hinckley Island Hotel, Sketchley Grange and Hilton Leicester hotels have family rooms to accommodate two adults and three children if you’re a family of five.
We chose the Hilton because it was about halfway between Conkers and Twinlakes theme park – the two attractions we would visit that weekend.
Another good thing about these tickets is that they are valid from your date of arrival until December 31 that year, so you don’t have to visit all three attractions in one weekend if you don’t want to.
We chose to visit Conkers first, which is in the heart of the national forest. There’s a great mix of indoor and outdoor fun to be had here in the 120-acre area of maturing woodlands, lakes and ponds.
We spent ages walking around and enjoying being outside. The kids loved running through the maze and the wobbly bridge was also a hit with the children, who enjoyed running across it once they had climbed up it.
There’s also several assault course-type trails for teenagers and adults to have a go at.
There’s also a little train (at no extra cost), which takes you to a huge outdoor play area. The small water play area and the viewing platform, which you can climb to the top of for great views across the site, were also good fun. If you’re feeling brave, there’s also a barefoot walk where you can experience walking on timber, bark, coal, pebbles, wood and clay.
If that’s not enough, there are several outdoor adventure and experience days suitable for all the family, which can be pre-booked at an additional cost.
If the weather isn’t so great, there are things to do inside, too, with more than 100 indoor interactive exhibits for the kids to get stuck into.
We spent a full day at Conkers and left covered in mud and ready for hot bath!
It wasn’t long before we arrived at The Hilton, which was an ideal base for us. Our comfortable room was complete with a double bed, a single bed and a sofa bed.
The hotel also has a 16m pool and, if you’ve got the energy, a fitness centre.
For tea we went to the Plank and Leggit pub down the road – it’s a Fayre & Square pub with an indoor fun area, so it was perfect for the kids.
The next day, after a lovely Hilton breakfast, we were up and ready for the 30-minute drive to Twinlakes Theme Park in Melton Mowbray for another full-on day of fun.
It’s billed as the East Midlands’ number one all-action, family tourist attraction and, for our children, who range in age from three to seven, it was perfect.
There’s so much to do, we didn’t know where to start and didn’t get through it all in one day.
It’s everything from a farm with falconry displays to a theme park with rides and indoor fun, too. If you’re there on a hot day, the water park is a must. There’s more than half an acre of wet and wild fun with water flumes, lagoons and slides. There’s even sun loungers to laze on – not that we got the chance for that!
The favourites for my children were the rollercoaster, the pirate ship and the huge sandy play area, oh and the boats, they were really good fun.
I even found myself on a ride, flying through the air, lying on my stomach – it was surprisingly relaxing.
The two attractions we chose are full days out in themselves, so we’ve saved our tickets for the National Space Centre and will visit later in the year.
I’ve worked out, for a family of four, the trip would have cost £35 for Conkers tickets, £80 at Twinlakes Theme Park, £50 at the National Space Centre and £80 for a hotel, so a total of £245. That’s a saving of £100 if booked through the Stay Play Explore website.
Reviewed July 2016
NEED TO KNOW…
You can choose three of the following ten attractions:
ATTRACTIONS: National Space Centre, Conkers, Twycross Zoo, Twinlakes Theme Park, Stonehurst Family Farm, Swadlincote Ski Centre, Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre, Bosworth Water Park, Conkers Outdoors, King Richard III Visitor Centre
With my five-year-old son learning about transport at school, it seemed like the perfect time to visit the Trolleybus museum for an educational, yet fun day out.
It’s home to the world’s largest collection of well-preserved trolleybuses and when you arrive you really do feel like you’re stepping back onto streets from years gone by.
The museum is open to the public many times a year for event days, generally between Easter and November, when you can ride on a selection of trolleybuses.
The kids loved jumping onboard and climbing upstairs to take their seat ready for the ride.
The buses drive a large loop around the site, which gave an experience of what it was like when they were in service and, while the bus was moving, the conductor came to collect the tickets with his old-fashioned machine.
We were surprised by what good condition they were all in – from the seats to the paintwork, they’re pristine, and you can hop on as many as often as you like.
The day out is perfect for enthusiasts, but also for families with children who love to explore.
We also enjoyed a half-hour motor bus ride off site around the local area with interesting commentary.
There’s also a number of trolleybuses under shelter to view and climb on – all from different regions.
It’s interesting to see original features, including signs displaying rules such as ‘Smokers are requested to occupy rear seats’.
The museum is a charity and run entirely by passionate volunteers who are more than happy to share their knowledge and help – I can’t remember when I last felt so welcomed at an attraction.
The kids particularly liked the small outdoor play area with slides and swings and we also enjoyed a nosy in the 1950s prefab home.
It’s not somewhere you might spend a full day, but there is a café and picnic areas and plenty of open space.
There’s also an indoor fun room with games and a smaller summer house to play in near the outdoor play area.
Five minutes up the road is the Reindeer Inn, which has a lovely beer garden and kids play area if you want to extend your day out. We had the most gorgeous Sunday lunch whilst sat outside and ended up staying at the pub for a few hours which was a perfect way to round off the day.
I had no idea driving a boat would be so much fun. For my Dad’s birthday I surprised him with a trip to Skipton, to drive a narrowboat for the day, hired from Pennine Cruisers.
We’ve never done anything like it before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I can highly recommend it if you are looking for a fun day out with a difference.
Pennine Cruisers is a family-run company based in North Yorkshire, on the picturesque Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
There isn’t a ripple of the water the family don’t know and they provide everything you need, whether you are an absolute beginner, like us, or an experienced boater.
On arrival, we were given an expert boat-handling instruction on the simple controls on one of their six day boats, so we could head out for the day with total confidence.
The kids loved putting on their life jackets and climbing onboard. My kids are only young too – my four year old was just desperate to help and my 16 month old just loved exploring.
I’d say it’s a trip where the more is the merrier, because it’s not actually as easy as it looks.
Driving the boat is one thing, but when you’ve got bridges to open before you can pass through it’s literally all hands on deck.
Ideally you need a driver, someone to jump off and operate the bridges and then a third person to jump off and tie the boat up once you’ve passed through the bridge while you wait for the person operating the bridge.
First up for us was a swing bridge – we had been warned if we took too long we would cut off an entire village, so speed was key.
My mum was the designated bridge operator in our party and she did a fine job while we sailed through – waving at the traffic we were holding up.
If you are as inexperienced as us, you are bound to get it wrong, but near-misses brought us the amusement.
They say canal life is addictive and I can see why. We had the boat for a full day, but next time we might book a short break because the company also does weekend and midweek boat hire.
Pennine Cruisers has five luxury boats in its fleet for the season and all are available for short breaks, weekly and fortnightly hire.
A holiday onboard one of Pennine Cruisers’ narrow boats includes a top-class and specially built boat with full headroom throughout.
All boats have fully equipped kitchen areas with a full-size cooker, grill, hob, fridge, sink and drainer, storage cupboards, crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils.
All boats have one or two flushing toilets and showers over 4ft baths.
Plus, they all have full central heating and three of them also have traditional solid-fuel stoves.
Full lockside instruction is given to all holiday boaters to ensure hirers are confident in the operation of locks and know how to operate them safely so they can enjoy all aspects of their holiday.
A typical weekend break would take you from the base in Skipton either eastward to Saltaire or westwards to Foulridge and back again.
A week’s hire could take you eastward through Bingley Five Rise Locks to Leeds, or westward through the lovely villages of Gargrave and Bank Newton, through the Foulridge tunnel at the highest section of the canal, and then down into Lancashire towards Wigan.
I loved the fact you are never more than a few yards from dry land, and at lunchtime you can simply moor up and stroll down to the local pub.
The children absolutely loved it, one minute they were helping to drive, the next they were at the front of the boat feeding the ducks, and they also enjoyed being inside in the warmth.
Pets are also welcome on board, too.
If you do decide to make more of a holiday of it, there are many attractions in and around Skipton, including Bolton Abbey Estate, Craven Museum, Embsay Steam Railway and Skipton Castle.
While cruising in the Dales you could also just do some walking, exploring the hills and valleys, taking in the fresh air and beauty.
You can definitely feel yourself unwinding as life takes on a different pace and aspect away from the busy roads in the distance.
The earlier you book the better, to ensure you get the dates you want.
THEY SAY: A small and friendly country style farm park. Set in six acres of Lincolnshire countryside.
WE SAY: Small, but good if you like to get hands-on with the animals.
If you want a hands-on experience, Rushmoor Country Park is the place to visit.
Our on recent day out there – the first time we’ve ever been – my children held everything from owls and rabbits to rats and hamsters.
The family-run business has been open since 2001 and are keen for children to meet the animals.
We were particuarly impressed with the hawk and owl display. Joel, the hawk trainer was very passionate about his role and took the time to explain everything you would want to know, before flying different birds and then letting the children hold a little owl.
The daily displays and handling are included in the entry price and was the highlight of our visit.
TIP: If you arrive before 11am the price is reduced to £5.75 per person.
The country park is quite small – it’s perhaps not big enough for a full day out. We spent a few hours there might have stayed longer if it was warmer.
There’s a lovely cafe with a full menu and mouth-watering cakes on display. Apart from that it’s all outdoors so not somewhere to go if it’s raining.
Directly outside there’s a large field with a bouncy castle which is adjacent to another field with swings and a slide. It’s a shame there’s not more to play on here though.
There’s plenty of picnic tables if you want to take your own food and also a large garden where you can walk around the pond.
The main animal farm area makes up the main part of the attraction. Here you can bottle feed the lambs in Spring and feed the goats. There’s also horses, pigs and sheep.
Children can also enjoy a pony ride. However be sure to check the times on the noticeboard on arrival because they only ran once on the day we visited and so we missed them.
There’s also an indoor hut with smaller animals in which is where my children held the rats and rabbits. It was the first time my children have ever held rats and closer than I’d want to be to them. But my son loved having it on his knee and let it hide in his jacket and even my two-year-old daughter was laughing out loud as it crawled across her knee.
Being fairly small it’s perhaps not somewhere we would rush back to, but if you’ve not been before it’s nice for a change. Parking is free.
Reviewed April 2016
NEED TO KNOW…
LOCATION: Louth Road, North Cockerington, Louth, Lincolnshire LN11 7DY. OPEN: Open every day through school holidays from 10am to 5pm. Oppen Tuesday to Sunday during term time. Closed on Mondays during term time. PRICES: @ £6.75 per person. Children aged two and under enter free. CALL: 01507 327184 VISIT:www.rushmoorpark.co.uk
THEY SAY: One of the East Midlands most popular tourist attractions.
WE SAY: Full day out, plenty to do both indoors and outside.
COME rain or shine, White Post Farm is open 362 days of the year.
While there’s plenty to do outside if you visit on a warm day, you need not worry too much about the weather, because there’s plenty to do indoors, too.
It rained non-stop when we visited in February half term – but we still had a brilliant full day out.
The farm is one of the East Midlands’ most popular attractions and it’s easy to see why.
As well as the farm, there’s mini golf, adventure playgrounds, sand play areas, tea rooms and a walk-in aviary.
Indoors, there’s soft play, the UKs largest sledge run and even a pantomime.
As soon as we arrived, Oliver, Jasmine and Bella ran straight for the tractors to pretend to drive the massive machines.
Next was the outdoor play area, where we had fun on the ride-on tractors, go-karts and trampolines.
When we visited, part of the outdoor play area was under construction and a new adventure fort was being built. However, there was still plenty to go on.
Don’t forget your wellies before taking a stroll around the animal paddocks, where you can feed the goats, reindeer, sheep, cows and llamas, to name a few.
The kids will love using the pulley to send goats some food on goat mountain.
Inside the show barn was our favourite place. It is where the panto takes place and also where the soft play and sledge run is.
There’s plenty of seating for adults to watch because, once the kids get a sledge, it’s almost impossible to pull them away!
Under the same roof, next door there’s also a smaller sledge run for younger children and a lovely play area for under-fives, with summer houses and plenty of toys.
Here, you can get your face painted and also take part in crafting.
One of the highlights of the day had to be feeding the lambs with milk from a bottle in the indoor barn. No matter how many times we do it, the kids love it.
In summer you can see sheep racing and the farm show is also popular. Goat Agility shows off the terrific talents of some of the young nanny goats as they jump, dodge and balance their way around the course.
Parking is free, there are indoor and outdoor picnic areas, smoking isn’t permitted and dogs aren’t allowed.
We can’t wait to return in summer to spend more time outside – this place is now on our favourites list.