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Although smaller than it's southerly neighbour, Bridlington, and less culturally respected than Whitby and Scarborough to the north, Filey manages to keep it's unique character and is happy to remain small, but perfectly formed.
Tucked away on the North Yorkshire coastline, Filey has long been recognised as a traditional
British seaside town. Once stereotyped as an ice cream and stripy deckchairs kind of resort, this
town has worked hard on modernising that traditional image.
Although the Edwardian architecture and quaint gift shops still show an allegiance to the town's
past, the resort can now boast a more ambitious future of amusements, nature reserves and purpose-built holiday parks.
Tourism in the town took a hit in the the mid-80's, as the doors of the iconic Butlin's holiday
camp were closed for the last time. But a more forward-thinking approach to tourism, and a very
successful all-encompassing caravan park have now put Filey back on the map.
The caravan park in question is the state of the art Primrose Valley Holiday Park. Not only are there
hundreds of static caravans for hire in this picturesque coastal park, but the needs of every visitor
are catered for by amenities which are second to none.
The site includes playgrounds, cafés, toilet facilities and numerous activities for kids, as well as
a laundrette and convenience store. This certainly isn't going to be one of those caravan holidays
where you have to make a two hour drive for a pint of milk and some toilet rolls.
The kids activities include football, archery, tennis, and an adventure playground, so if any of your
kids are starting to look a little portly, then a week at Primrose Valley may be the ideal way to get
The crowning glory of the site are the swimming pools (indoor and outdoor, both heated) which
are a sure fire way of keeping even the most demanding kids occupied. There are also Learn2Swim
lessons, and water confidence workshops for anyone who has previously preferred to keep their feet
on dry land.
Guests at Primrose Valley are so well catered for, that many will be happy to spend the majority of
their holiday on-site, but making an effort to explore the town and the surrounding area is a must, as
the attractions on offer these days are really worth a visit.
Filey Museum can be good starting point. Within it's whitewashed walls are a large number of
exhibits which document the rise of the town from a tiny fishing village to a popular seaside resort
which for a period was the proud owner of two train stations such was the demand to reach this
seaside getaway (the second closed along with Butlin's).
An audio commentary directs you through the museum and points out artefacts of particular
interest, and the Museum gardens are also worth a visit on a sunny day.
However, the inscription “the fear of God be in you” which adorns the original plaque on the façade
of the building should be remembered by those with children, as the Museum can be a little dull for
younger visitors, and the last thing you want is a rebellion.
For those who have a passion for fun and energy to expend, a trip to the Funland amusements will
certainly liven up even the most museum-weary.
Funland has managed to create a family-friendly mixture of old and new. The gleaming new arcade
games stand side by side with the old 2p pushers, and the (deeply sinister) coin operated laughing
So while the kids plough several weeks of your hard earned salary into gaudy and brash games
machines, or spend your annual heating budget on trying to win a stuffed Meerkat, you can happily
keep to yourself and enjoy the kind of things that kept you happy as a child, such as performing
terribly at a shooting range, or kicking a coin pusher until the alarm goes off and you are forced to
do a runner.
When the novelty has worn off and the flashing lights are threatening to cause a seizure, the lure of
one of the many fish and chip restaurants may be too irresistible to ignore.
There are plenty of them in Filey, and the quality of the food is testament to the freshness of the
local produce. Even the most energetic child will happily sit down for a while to enjoy some
traditional seaside food.
After lunch (and an inevitable trip to the cash machine) a trip to the Bird Garden and Animal Park is a good way for a family to spend the afternoon. Young children will love the animals, while older
kids will enjoy the adventure trail. Teenagers will hate every moment of everywhere you go, so you
may as well leave them at the arcade.
The miniature ponies and alpacas will be a hit with the kids, as will the hands-on policy encouraged
by the staff. Your youngsters will be able to pat the horses, feed the pigs, and even stick their hand
in a box of mud and worms if they feel the need.
This will give Mum and Dad a chance to have a walk around the ponds, or relax in the gazebo
where you can watch the colourful birds and take in the views of the surrounding area.
The park itself also has a café, so should you require a nice cup of tea with which to relax, or an ice
cream for the kids to wipe all over a pony, you are well catered for.
Those with simpler tastes will appreciate the real reason for a trip to the seaside. The five mile
stretch of sandy beach. During the height of summer, the beach is very busy, but is never in danger
of over-crowding like in some other resorts.
Gift shops along the seafront will sell everything needed to keep a family entertained on the beach,
buckets and spades, kites and inflatables.
For anyone who becomes restless in their deckchair and fancies a wander along the beach, they
can take a stroll to the remains of the Roman Signal Station which was discovered only 150 years
ago by a cliff fall. This won't be to everyone's taste, but those who have an interest in history will
certainly find this to be a welcome find.
Should any Dads be lucky enough to find themselves with a decent amount of free time on their
hands, Filey is also home to an 18 hole golf course. Although negotiating a round of golf will
probably mean having to surrender your wallet to the rest of the family.
Although smaller than it's southerly neighbour, Bridlington, and less culturally respected than
Whitby and Scarborough to the north, Filey manages to keep it's unique character and is happy to
remain small, but perfectly formed.
The mix of old and new will appeal to those who are travelling mixed age groups, while the
remaining traditional side of Filey will make for a relaxing break for older travellers.
With the facilities and attractions on offer at nearby Caravan Parks, you may spend less time in the town
than you would when visiting other resorts, and the time you spend venturing slightly further afield
into the Dales or neighbouring resorts may be reduced, but wherever you venture in Filey or the
surrounding area, you are sure to be made welcome.
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