From whooshing waterfalls to cavernous caves, rolling hills to random rock formations, the appeal of the Yorkshire Dales for families is obvious. But did you know that it also has its own 1950s-style ice cream parlour, complete with diner, indoor and outdoor play areas and an abundance of homemade ice cream options? Billy Bob’s Parlour has become a firm fixture of any visit to the Dales for our family, and here are five reasons why we think it’s worth a visit.
If there’s one thing you don’t expect to see among the dry stone walls of the Dales, it’s a 1950s-style diner that looks as though it’s straight from the set of Happy Days. They’ve really gone to town with it: eat your dinner in a yellow school bus or grab a booth and channel your inner Fonzie, enjoy a soda from the restored 1940s fountain or, if you’re not planning a full meal, order a coffee from the vintage Airstream or an incredible ice cream from the counter. It’s a full-on retro experience that can’t fail to make you feel cheerful.
There’s an indoor and outdoor play area, and children of all ages are catered for really well. All guests can use the outdoor play area free of charge: we spent a good hour there before we ate, and there was enough to keep our 8, 6 and 3-year-olds occupied with climbing, swinging and hide-and-seeking. Families eating in the diner can also use the indoor play barn – an absolute godsend on a rainy day. It’s £2 per child and play’s limited to two hours, but that’s plenty of time to tire them out. There are two areas: one for under sevens and one for over sevens, which is fantastic. Our two youngest enjoyed all the smaller play equipment while our eldest had a more energetic time, and felt more grown up, hanging out with older children on the other side of the wall.
As you’d expect, there’s an all-American theme to the menu, featuring diner favourites like burgers, waffles, pancakes and an array of ice cream sundaes. There are veggie options and a separate children’s menu for under 9s. Ours tucked into macaroni cheese and puppy dogs with mini sweetcorn which all went down a treat: this is not the time to worry about them getting their five-a-day. We adults opted for nachos – really simple but so tasty – and Kansas city ribs which were sticky and delicious. It all arrived swiftly and disappeared just as fast. The prices are surprisingly reasonable compared to other places we’ve eaten.
Mmm, ice cream
In a summer of ice creams, it’s easy to get bored of eating the same old Cornettos. The Yorkshire Dales ice cream at Billy Bob’s is really good: made on the premises, there’s an array of flavours and a variety of options for jazzing them up. Just what you need after a couple of hours of play or to fuel you for your next Yorkshire Dales adventure.
Billy Bob’s is in the perfect spot for combining with a trip to some of our favourite places in the Dales. Bolton Abbey is very close by: park up and walk across the stepping stones, have a stroll along the river or do the Welly Walk. The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway is near, too, and Skipton is a stone’s throw.
Billy Bob’s Parlour, Calm Slate Farm, Halton East, Bolton Abbey BD23 6EU – Visit the website