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Kids Party Ideas – A birthday bonanza at Billy Bobs Diner in The Yorkshire Dales

By Lyndsey Thomas | 3rd September 2019

I decided on Billy Bob’s Diner in Skipton on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales as the venue for Ferne’s 5th Birthday Party. Those of you who have a 5-year-old know how big-a-deal turning five is – it’s their first year at school and the pressure is on for every parent to pull something pretty awesome out of the party-planning hat. It’s only a 25-minute drive from our house, the American-diner-style food is always a big hit with my kids, and from what I’d seen of the venue’s dedicated party room, it looked like a terrific setting from a birthday party bonanza.


Billy Bob’s Diner is always in the ‘TOP 3’ when I ask my brood where they fancy going. You can bet your bottom Dollar that they’ve chosen their ice-cream flavours and settled on their toppings before we make it off the drive. Secretly, I get a bit excited about a visit to Billy Bobs too. From the outside, the large wooden structure building doesn’t look too out of place slap-bang in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales, surrounded by rolling green hills, grazing Friesians and dry stone walls.


But step inside the joint and you’re transported to 1960’s Americana and the era’s memorabilia is everywhere you look; reg plates, duke boxes, coca cola bottles and a great collection of old-school metal advertisements adorn the walls for everything from 7Up, Root Beer, Reeses Caramel Cups, bubblegum and more. Pankcakes are a flippin’ and shakes are a shakin’ – all that’s missing is an appearance from John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.


Sadly, all of these genuine relics shipped in from the U.S of A, talk of Danny and Sandy, and the authentic ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ vibe is wasted on most youngsters – it’s the well thought-out wooden outdoor play area, the huge play barns and the ice-cream counter that gets the little nippers excited, and combined with a good-sized private party room which easily accommodates 15 children with room for parents to hover, the foundations are most certainly laid for a triumphant birthday bash.


15 of Ferne’s friends joined her at Billy Bob’s Diner one Thursday afternoon after school. The place was surprisingly quiet for a warm summer’s day, a far cry from the scenes I’ve been met with on many a weekend at Billy Bob’s. It can get pretty crazy over the weekend and in school holidays and I’ll admit, I was a little apprehensive at the thought of 15 five-year olds, 14 of which didn’t belong to me, being let loose in Billy Bob’s rather extensive grounds.


The party kicked off at 4pm in the self-contained, all decked out and trimmed up party room with easy access to the toilets and the large outdoor play area. All I needed to bring was the birthday cake and party bags – every other party detail was taken care of, and when the girls clocked the wooden ice cream van at the far end of the party room, their anticipation and excitement at having the opportunity to create their own ice-cream sundaes from the large variety of ice cream flavours, sprinkles and sauces provoked squeals of joy.


The young, energetic party team were on hand from the word go, and Alex, our dedicated party coordinator was all smiles and sparkle right to the end. Alex had 15 little girls under complete control, leaving the mums who joined us to natter and enjoy a coffee outside in the south-facing outdoor seating area. Alex and I poured the orange and blackcurrant squash and passed huge plates of crudities and bowls of diced cheese and crisps around the table for the little ladies to tuck into.

Hotdogs followed, but not those God-awful-out-of-a-tin frankfurter things. They were clearly decent quality sausages. The icing on the birthday cake was, of course, the ice cream truck, and once the girls had finished their hotdogs, Alex somehow managed to get all 15 of them into an orderly queue at the van behind the birthday girl, before they were let loose on the ice-cream, sprinkles and sauces.


It was a messy affair – sprinkles and sauce everywhere – they loved every minute of it. If that wasn’t enough food and fun for the £11 per child it had cost me, whilst they were all tucking into their sundaes, A waiter called Oli, who appeared out of nowhere, brought out a huge jelly – how clever of the management team to provide some (eye) candy for the mums too…


Once the party tea was complete and we’d all sung happy birthday and presented Ferne with her cake, the little ladies were let loose in the under 7s play barn for an hour. (For older children, there is an over 7s play barn). Caked in ice-cream, jelly and sticky sauces, they got to roll around in the hay-filled barn and let off some steam before the party came to a close at 6pm. Ferne’s announced to everyone as her party came to a close that it was ‘The best party she’d ever been to… ever!’


The booking process was super easy. After a friendly conversation with the folks at Billy Bobs Diner, I was asked to fill out a short form online with different party food options – choices include hotdogs, burgers or sandwiches, and I could have ordered extras such as corn on the cob and fries at an extra cost, although you really don’t need to – the quantity of food was more than enough. I was also asked if I wanted to open a drinks tab for the parents upon booking, to prevent any hassle on the day.


Billy Bob’s Diner in the Yorkshire Dales ticks every possible box for a terrific birthday party venue for the little people. And at only £11 per child, it’s great value for money too. My advice would be to book your party during the week when the venue is much quieter.


With thanks to Billy Bob’s for hosting Ferne’s party. And thanks to Oli for making an appearance too ????

With love

Lyndsey x

For more information on booking a party at Billy Bob’s click follow this link > https://www.billybobsparlour.com/

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