You may think that where you live is the best place to bring up children. But you are wrong. Unless you live in Yorkshire.
But if you do live in Yorkshire, you already knew that anyway and didn’t need me to tell you that. After all, ‘you can always tell a Yorkshireman, but you can’t tell him much’, as the saying goes. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that parenting in Yorkshire is the best.
Those of us who live in the White Rose County are fiercely proud of anyone and anything from within these boundaries. Even Geoffrey Boycott. But I genuinely believe that when it comes to experiences and activities for families, we have an edge over the rest of the UK.
You seem doubtful. Let me persuade you.
Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
When they decided on building a national children’s museum, they could have located it in London. They might have chosen Edinburgh. They may have considered Manchester. But they didn’t. Eureka! The National Children’s Museum is, in fact, in Halifax in West Yorkshire. Cunningly enough, it’s easily doable as a day out from Manchester, but it means they have to cross the border into Yorkshire, which must rile them up something rotten.
Eureka! Is fun, educational and hugely hands-on. Kids can run around and pretend to be swallowed by a giant mouth, do their shopping in a mock-up Marks and Spencer (a fine Yorkshire brand) and explore all kinds of innovative digital activities too. It’s relaxed and spacious and it’s impossible to have a bad time. Even the occasion we visited when my daughter ran face-on into a little boy, leaving both with gigantic egg-like bumps on their foreheads, was joyous. Once the magic of juice from the cafe soothed the pain, of course.
The Jorvik Viking Centre
If Eureka! brings science to life in God’s Own Country, there is another location that every Yorkshire parent knows because they definitely visited on a school trip back in the day. The Jorvik Viking Centre allows you to travel back into the time of Viking York and witness the sights, sounds and smells of the time. Ask anyone who has ever been what it was like and they will mention the apparently authentic aroma. I’d put money on it.
My kids were particularly impressed with the model of the typical work-a-day Viking tradesman doing a poo near the end of the buggy journey around the impressive scenery. Still, knowing how a civilisation performed its ablutions is a good way to gain a foothold into learning more about them.
The Yorkshire Dales
Away from the child friendly museums of Yorkshire, we have some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. The Yorkshire Dales is an expanse of mountains, hills, moorland, lakes, rivers, woods and more. There’s always a child-friendly pub en route wherever you wander and the views are spectacular.
There’s a great deal of activities to take part in across the Dales, whether it’s riding on steam trains, exploring waterfalls or chomping down afternoon tea in a pretty Yorkshire cafe. I completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge recently, climbing three mountains on a 28-mile long walk, and saw plenty of teenage kids doing the same with their parents.
My kids are too young to do that at the moment, but I can’t wait to take up a fell or two. They did help a little with my training:
One of the best bits about parenting in Yorkshire is the support you get. We may be bluff and outspoken about our beautiful county, but we are friendly too. We have amazing groups like Leeds Dads who encourage fathers to spend time together, hanging out with their kids and playing together.
They recently put on the Dadtastic Day, the biggest free Father’s Day party in the city centre, where male carers and their kids indulged in music, dance, science, storytelling, arts and crafts, and sport.
We also have a stunning coastline to keep the kids of Yorkshire happy in the summer. Scarborough is your big, brash, traditional seaside resort, whereas Whitby is a cute fishing village with a Gothic past. Bram Stoker stayed for a while and was inspired to include Whitby in his tales of Dracula.
Saltburn boasts Yorkshire’s only pier. We only need one because, naturally, it’s the best. You can also visit the spectacular Flamborough Head lighthouse, the bird-watcher’s paradise of Bempton Cliffs or dig about in the rockpools of Filey Brigg. There’s a seaside holiday for everyone in Yorkshire.
Give Parenting in Yorkshire a Go
You might not be lucky enough to live in Yorkshire, but you can visit. We still allow freedom of movement between our hallowed soil and the rest of the UK. Come and give parenting in Yorkshire a go, you will definitely like it. We’re proud of it, as you can tell: