A day at Chester Zoo

At the end of our trip to Harrogate we tagged on (a bit of a massive) detour to Chester Zoo. We’d watched the BBC show ‘Our Zoo’ and thought it sounded awesome and although it was a little out of the way, we knew we wouldn’t be that far north for a while so decided to make the most of it.

I can safely say it was well worth the detour. Huxley’s little face when he saw the elephants was the best thing I’ve ever seen. We’re talking pure joy. As a parent, it doesn’t get much better than that. Hux has been able to make an elephant noise for a very long time now and it’s one of the few animals he’s always been able to recognise with no prompts. There aren’t any elephants in any of the zoos down south so it was worth the trip just for them. They even had a baby elephant! In fact, you don’t even need a ticket into the zoo to see the elephants!

Baby elephant at Chester Zoo

Elephants at Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo elephant enclosure

Elephant statue at Chester Zoo

I suggested going in the butterfly house and Nick laughed at me and told me it was too boring but that he’d humour me by going in anyway. Turns out, Huxley loved it. The butterflies are free to fly around the room so you often get bashed in the head by fluttering wings and Huxley was giggling his little head off every time one of them came near him.

During our visit we also saw a lion, a bear, a baby giraffe, a baby rhino, a red panda and tons of monkeys. Nick’s already declared it the best zoo he’s ever been to and we know we’ll definitely go back one day when Huxley is older.

Giraffes at Chester Zoo

Baby giraffe at Chester Zoo

Bear at Chester Zoo

Tropical room at Chester Zoo

Red panda at Chester Zoo

Rhino at Chester Zoo

The zoo is massive. We were there from 11-3.30pm and there were some bits that we missed out and some bits that we rushed round so it really is a whole day out. And on top of that, in June, they’re opening a whole new section called ‘Islands‘ which looks AMAZING. It’s the biggest zoo project in history (the size of 7 football pitches!) and features a monsoon forest (the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK), a recreation of 6 South East Asian islands and a 15-minute boat ride. So you’ll probably need 2 days to get round the whole zoo when that opens!

Family

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Exploring Brimham Rocks

One of the places we were most excited about going when we were in Harrogate was Brimham Rocks. I can’t remember how I found out about it, I seem to vaguely remember seeing an article on a newspaper website about places to explore in the UK as I remember someone comparing it to Yosemite.

It’s not really anything like Yosemite but that’s okay because it’s still awesome. The car park was £5 for 4 hours and I can see how you would easily spend 4 hours running around here, especially if you had kids. On this occasion I had two kids with me. Nick suddenly reverted to an excited child and ran off to climb the highest rocks in sight.

National Trust site Brimham Rocks

Nick

Brimham Rocks is a collection of rock formations. The National Trust website describes it as ‘nature’s playground’ and that couldn’t be more true. Nick has already insisted that we return when Huxley is older so they can have a proper game of hide and seek and race each other to the top of the rocks.

Brimham Rocks, National Trust

Hux

Brimham Rocks

Huxley was in muddy puddle heaven. (We’d decided at the car that it wasn’t muddy enough for wellies. Big mistake.)

Hux3

Here’s me looking like an ACTUAL bag lady. Bring on the spring!

Emma

Being National Trust, there’s a gift shop, food kiosk, toilets and plenty of picnic tables so you could easily spend the whole day here when the weather is nice.

National Trust, Brimham Rocks Yorkshire

Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire

The rocks sit on top of a hill that overlook one of the Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale and I can imagine that the view on a clear day is absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately it was quite overcast when we went so we couldn’t see far. (Also, it’s SO hard to take good photos when the sky is bright white).

Brimham Rocks near Harrogate

Brimham Rocks outside Harrogate

Nick thought it would look cool to take a picture of Huxley up against a rock because it would make a really interesting background but this picture just cracks me up because it looks like Nick is going to mug him. I wish I could have gotten one from further away too.

Hux4

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Tea & cake at Betty’s Tearooms, Harrogate

When we first decided to go to Harrogate one of the things I was most excited about was having tea and cake at national institution, Bettys. As it happened, our hotel was so close that we could see it out of our window. There was a permanent queue out the door.

Bettys Tearooms in Harrogate

When we joined the queue, we realised that it was all for afternoon tea and we only wanted tea and cake so were shown straight in. You can actually just go in the bakery and buy cakes to take away if you don’t fancy sitting down or are short for time. They’ve got some lovely bits and bobs to buy. I was quite taken with a tea caddy and mug set but at £20 and no house to put it in at the moment I decided against it.

Inside Bettys Tearooms in Harrogate

Chocolate brown bettysWe sat down and got Huxley settled in a chair with a magazine (which you can see he takes very seriously!). We ordered a pot of darjeeling tea each, a praline chocolate eclair and a frangipani slice. There was a sharp intake of breath as we heard the price…£17. But we were on holiday and it’s a special place so it was okay.

Hux

T-shirt: Curious Wolves

Praline chocolate eclair from Bettys Harrogate

Frangipani tart from Bettys Tearooms Harrogate

Pouring tea at Bettys Harrogate

UK lifestyle blogger in Howies tshirt at Bettys Harrogate

T-shirt: Howies

Nick

T-shirt: Howies

Now, I feel I have to be completely honest here. I was a bit disappointed. Maybe it’s because I’d hyped it up too much in my head or maybe I’ve just been spoilt with the bakeries in Paris and San Francisco but I just wasn’t overly impressed with anything. Don’t get me wrong, the cakes were delicious, but they weren’t the blow-my-mind delicious that I was expecting.

The tea was the main disappointment for me. I’ve had darjeeling many times before and it’s usually refreshing and light. This one tasted ‘hard’ and was extremely bitter. We’d poured it as soon as it arrived on the table so we hadn’t over-brewed it. It was so bad that I couldn’t even bring myself to finish one cup – and that never happens!

I wouldn’t say that I’ll never go to Betty’s again because I would, but I think next time I’d just buy the cake to take away and go and have a cheaper cup of tea somewhere else.

To be honest though, there’s a farm shop/deli just outside Harrogate called Fodder which did sell blow-my-mind delicious cakes. I had a millionaire’s shortbread the size of my face for £1.75 and it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. We went to Fodder a couple of times during the week we stayed and it was never a disappointment. We had an incredible sausage roll there, a cookie sandwich and a gluten-free millionaires shortbread and it was all amazing. My mum is going to Harrogate in September and I’m giving her some money with strict instructions to bring me back some more!

When we’d finished at Betty’s we thought we’d better go for a little walk. It was warm enough for me to wear my new shoes that were kindly gifted to me by Clarks. It’s strange because I’m not usually a pink person but I was oddly drawn to these. They are super comfy too.

UK blogger outside Bettys tearooms in Harrogate wearing Clarks Glove Puppet shoes in dusty pink

Scarf: Zara | Jumper: Jigsaw (in the sale!) | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: c/o Clarks

Clarks Glove Puppet shoes in Dusty Pink

Hux2

Harrogate

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