Visit Harrogate?

Visit Harrogate, you say? Most definitely, we say! But just for the day….

Relax and unwind at the Turkish Baths, have a mosey round the shops, afternoon tea in Betty’s. Maybe take in a show at Harrogate Theatre or The Royal Hall, have dinner in The Ivy.

But the surrounding area has so much more to offer than Harrogate itself.

Brimham Rocks, Newby Hall, Fountains Abbey, Studley Royal Deer Park, Howstean Gorge, Lightwater Valley Theme Park, Ripon Cathedral, Beningborough Hall, Swinton Park Country Club and Spa, Hackfall Woods, The Black Sheep Brewery, The Coldstones Cut, Ripon Workhouse Museum, Ripon Market, Markenfield Hall, The Druid’s Temple, Grantley Hall Luxury Spa Hotel, Ripon Races, Jervaulx Abbey, Ripon Prison and Police Museum, the market towns of Masham and Pateley Bridge, Ripon Spa Gardens, The Seven Bridges Valley Walk, The Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park, Ripon Walled Garden – all of these fabulous places and attractions are actually closer to, or in, the beautiful Cathedral City of Ripon.

So why not stay in one of the many holiday cottages, hotels or B&Bs that Ripon has to offer? With plenty of fantastic places to eat and drink too, you won’t be disappointed.

Valentino’s (it’s all about the base)

After a last-minute cancellation of our Saturday night plans (damn you, Coronavirus), we found Ripon to be unusually busy due to it being the final races day of the year. Fortunately for us, Valentino’s managed to squeeze us in for an early dinner.

A family favourite for us because we are BIG fans of a thin and oh-so-crispy pizza base, Valentino’s have never let us down. We started with a bruschetta, a caprese salad and some chicken wings, followed by a pizza each – of course.

Valentino’s Pizza

A pizza is a very personal thing, and everyone has their favourite toppings. It’s difficult to dislike the Valentino’s Pizza however, as it has a little bit of everything, separated into its own individual sections for a real taste explosion.

Oh, it would be wrong not to mention the traditional Italian dessert Affogato, with ice cream, espresso and a shot of Amaretto. And it would be wrong of Valentino’s not to finish it off with a couple of wafers and their trademark parasol.

The newly refurbished Valentino’s still has all its original charm but with a fresh new look. Moving the toilets to the back of the restaurant has enabled them to create some gorgeous bedrooms upstairs, so they are now offering a bed and traditional Italian breakfast service for their guests.

It’s worth noting that Valentino’s also offer a collection / takeaway service. Just give them a call on 01765 604201.

Well done, Valentino’s. We will continue to return.

Continue reading “Valentino’s (it’s all about the base)”

Claro Lounge

On opening day, we called in to Loungers’ newest cafe/bar directly on Ripon’s market square. A fabulous setting overlooking the obelisk with quirky decor and a cool vibe. The staff were dapper and attentive, the music was just the right volume and the atmosphere was perfect.

We ordered the All-Day Lounge Breakfast and the Bang Bang Chicken washed down with a cold glass of Chardonnay, and we were not disappointed.

It’s fair to say, this will not be our last visit to Claro Lounge.

Visiting with young children

Children love this area!

They can watch lambs being born at Birchfield Farm, then follow up with an ice cream.

They can play at a huge adventure playground at Newby Hall, zip wire, pedal a boat around the lake (it’s not as easy as it looks though!) and take a ride on a mini train.

They can spend hours in soft play centre The Laughing Giraffe at Roecliffe.

You can tire them out walking round Fountains Abbey whilst educating them on Medieval life. There’s also a lovely playground and a brand new wooden “watch tower”. In the school holidays there are lots of activities for the whole family to get involved in.

Speaking of tiring them out, Brimham Rocks is a favourite for all ages – who doesn’t love climbing a rock and singing “I’m the king of the Castle”!?

Oh, there are tons of Geocaches too, if that’s their thing.

Brimham Rocks Adventure Farm is also fantastic for younger children, as it’s very interactive and they can pet and cuddle small animals.

Around 40 minutes from Ripon is Billy Bob’s Diner, an American diner and ice cream parlour with amazing rope swings in big hay barns, and a fantastic outdoor play area.

We haven’t forgotten Lightwater Valley! A theme park with fabulous rides for all ages, just a 5 minute drive from Ripon.

Most of the cafes in Ripon and Pateley Bridge are child friendly and very welcoming.

There’s lots of fun to be had playing mini golf at Spa Gardens.

And not everything has to cost money! There are at least 5 play parks around the centre of Ripon to keep little ones entertained for days!

We hope you have lots of fun, whatever you get up to!