What is it? The Monkbar Hotel, rated with three stars but in my opinion was worthy of a higher star ranking. It’s a Best Western Hotel, advertised as the world’s largest group of fine independent hotels.
Where? York, North Yorkshire
Description: [Yummy_Breakfast.jpg] York is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, but can it provide enough entertainment for a young child during this city break weekend?
This hotel is very child-friendly and welcomes well-behaved children and pets. They have six large family rooms, each one with a double and a single bed. Children are made to feel welcome and can dine till the restaurant closes.
The hotel doesn’t offer any facilities but is within walking distance of all the amenities that York offers.
There was no entertainment, except to dine from a limited “Chef’s selection” menu. There was a television in the room but unfortunately it was above Georgina’s bed so it was difficult to watch in the evening.
No childcare facilities are available although the cleaner, with whom we had a quick chat each morning, said she would have been glad to have looked after Georgina whilst we soaked up some night life.
Local activities: York has a whole host of activities within walking distance. Take your pick from several fine museums, The Shambles for a spot of shopping, or the Ghost Tour of York, which is touted as the most haunted city in Europe. The Tour is just 10 minutes from the riverfront, where you’ll find bars, restaurants and boat trips, the Railway Museum (with free admission), the Jorvik Viking Centre with the new attraction DIG, plus lots more.
Wish we had known: Unfortunately, the river was flooded because of heavy rainfall so we were unable to experience the boat trip which I’d promised Georgina. Be careful what you promise!
Our top tip:
Kids say: Georgina, four, adored the hotel and the attention she received. ‘I especially loved the corner bath in our room, it was so big I could almost swim in it!’
Getting There: Check out www.monkbarhotel.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Monkbar Hotel on 01904 638086. Rates range from L100 – L300 for a single room and L133 – L300 for a double, on a bed and full breakfast basis.
About our stay: The plan was to be in York for 4pm, get settled into the hotel, head over to the local Wacky Warehouse (four-year-old Georgina’s choice), have a gentle stroll back to the hotel to plan the next day’s activities whilst Georgina slept soundly. WRONG! In reality, we left late and had to return home because I forgot some tickets. The weather was bad, traffic was slow, and the directions from Multimap very complicated. Georgina slept, Georgina woke and luckily I had an Olde Picture Map of York with me, so after a stressful 45-minute drive through the centre of town with a tired and hungry Georgina we arrived at the hotel absolutely exhausted. We booked a table for 8.15, and after freshening up we finally sat down to eat. Georgina was made a fuss of and given a children’s pack containing crayons, colouring book, toy and a small jigsaw, which kept her amused – although several pieces were missing! The set two-course menu cost L15 for adults and L6 for kids, not including drinks. Both the food and interaction with the staff received top marks from us all. ‘Yummy!’ was Georgina’s verdict. Because we were sharing a room with Georgina, she refused to go to sleep. As there was no subtle lighting it was either bright lights on or off, so we sat in the room with a gentle glow coming from the bathroom, meaning we couldn’t read or watch television. Early night! Feeling refreshed after a night in, the next morning we sat down to a self-service buffet breakfast before setting off for York. First stop: the Jorvik Viking Centre, which starts in a time machine showing the changes in fashion, style and countryside from now until 975AD. We enjoyed it but Georgina was a bit scared due to the dark – although later she said it was the best part of the holiday! Afterwards we went on the Jorvik tour, where we were seated on a suspended carriage travelling through the Viking era. Hands-on activities followed, such as crayon imprinting on brass and stone, dressing up, and coin making. [National_Railway_Museum.jpg] After Jorvik we were starving and made our way to the Slug and Lettuce wine bar, which has a children’s area, passable food (the chicken nuggets were overcooked, not so yummy) and fabulous service. We walked it off making our way through the maze of streets, stopping at the National Railway Museum, the home of the Stevenson Rocket. Georgina loved looking at the trains and posing for pics, and although there was a wedding reception taking place there, sadly nobody offered us a glass of champagne. Dinner next at Bella Italia, where Georgina had macaroni and cheese, as well as pinching our garlic bread! Next morning she still insisted on going for breakfast, after which we visited DIG, a new tourist attraction owned by the same organisation as the Jorvik Viking Centre. This is another great example of history being brought alive, this time archaeology. Kids of all ages will enjoy digging for treasures that have actually been found on archaeological digs over the past 40 years or so, using different coloured spades and standing, kneeling and sitting in the shallow sandpit-like areas. We’d been recommended to try La Tasca, a Spanish Tapas bar, for lunch. Big mistake. The children’s area is far away and it took 30 minutes for the waiter to take our drinks order, then another 45 minutes to ask what we wanted to eat. The kid’s menu wasn’t particularly good so Georgina ordered Croquettes with Patatas Frites (that’s chicken nuggets and chips to you) and we had to wait another 45 minutes for it to arrive. When it did, it was disappointing, although ours was yummy. [York_Boats.jpg] As the weather was atrocious and our planned trip on York Boats was a ‘no-go’, we headed out of town to the Water Park, which has a selection of slides, a slow running river and a wave machine. If you’re going to get wet you may as well enjoy it, and Georgina loved this. There is plenty to see and do in York but we only had a weekend – and we can’t wait to go back! *Sharon Brimelow is a supervisor at Wacky Warehouse, is a registered childminder and lives in Lancashire with her 4 year old daughter
Created: 2006-04-13 17:50:32.133