England,  U.K Destinations

Things to do with kids in Yorkshire


There are loads of things to do with kids in Yorkshire – after all, it is England’s largest county!

The historical county is divided into four administrative regions – North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire. 

This post will cover things to do with kids in York, the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Moors and the north Yorkshire Coast. 

You can read about things to do with kids in the rest of Yorkshire here. 

 

50 Things to do with kids in Yorkshire

 

The City of York

 

1. York Minster

 

It may surprise some that a Gothic cathedral can be a family friendly attraction but York Minster has worked hard to cater for younger visitors. 

Children can borrow free ‘Little Explorer’ backpacks with age appropriate trails and activities for children to complete, a mirror for viewing the ceilings, binoculars, a torch and a compass.

There are tours of York Minster specially for children every Saturday though our children equally enjoyed the ‘normal’ tour available several times each day. 

The beautifully decorated Chapter House hosts craft activities for kids during the school holidays. Check the York Minster website for details of upcoming events.

Things to see include the Great East Window (the largest expanse of stained glass in the world), the eerie Crypt and the Undercroft museum where kids can dress up in historical costume.  

Plus, adults and children over 8 can climb the 275 steps of the central tower for an incredible view of York. 

Cost – £11 for adults, up to four children under 16 enter free with each paying adult. 

Duration – 2 hours

 

2. The National Railway Museum

 

The National Railway Museum is one of the best museums in York (and one of the best free days out in Yorkshire)!

It spans two sites and is packed with gleaming engines and carriages of every shape and colour, several of which children can climb up to or enter. 

There is a Eurostar nose cone under an enormous section of the Channel Tunnel, a Shinkansen carriage (the only Bullet Train outside of Japan) and the famous Mallard, the fastest steam engine in the world.

There are free, daily science shows, a small playground and miniature railway on site. Kids will love the outdoor balcony where they can wave at passing trains. 

Cost – Free (yes, I did say free!)

Duration – 2 hours + though many families stay all day

 

3. York City Walls

 

York city walls are the longest city walls in England. The two mile walls are entered/exited at the four medieval ‘bars’ or gateways. 

Children will feel as though they have stepped back in time with the wall’s cramped staircases and turrets.  Don’t miss the portcullis, archer slits and murder holes in Monk Bar. 

Most of the walls are not fenced and due to entrance steps and steps along the route, the walls are not pushchair friendly. 

Cost – free

Duration – 1 – 2 hours

 

4. The Shambles

 

Kids will love the atmospheric The Shambles which was home to York’s butchers shops in medieval times. 

The Shambles is a short, cobbled street packed with lopsided, overhanging buildings. It looks like a film set and is said to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter movies. 

Cost – free 

Duration – 1 hour max

 

5. York Chocolate Story

 

York chocolate story explores the long history of chocolate making in York. 

An engaging guided tour with occasional treats will help to sustain kids concentration! 

The tour culminates with the chance to make your own chocolate lollipop.

Cost – £13.50 for adults, £10.95 for children. Family tickets are available. 

Duration –  2 hours +

 

6. Jorvik Viking Centre

 

One of York’s most popular tourist attractions, the Jorvik Viking Centre showcases artefacts found on this very site. 

Kids will learn how Vikings lived and died in York and can see the remains of Viking streets and homes beneath the glass floor of the museum. 

The highlight of the museum is a historical ‘cab’ ride through a life size Viking settlement which evokes the sights, sounds and smells of the Viking era. (Our kids still talk about the toilet section)!

Cost – £12.50 for adults,  £8.50 for children. Family tickets offer savings. Book online in advance to avoid long queues.

Duration 1- 2 hours

 

7. The River Ouse

 

The River Ouse flows through the centre of York and its leafy riverbank is popular with strolling or cycling families. The paved riverbank offers a chance to escape the busy city centre. 

Enjoy a relaxing 45 minute or 1 hour cruise on the Ouse with City Cruises who offer leisurely, commentated cruises up and down the river. These trips are a great way to see York from a different perspective.

Or be your own captain and hire your own boat for one hour from the Little Red Boat Company. 

Cost  – City Cruises Adult £10.50, children £6, family of four £27

              Little Red Boat £30 for one hour, max 8 people

Duration – 1 hour

 

8. Museum Gardens

 

One of my favourite spots in York, the free to enter Museum Gardens are a perfect location for a picnic, runaround or rest! 

Nestled in the landscaped grounds are the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, the 15th century Hospitium, a 19th century observatory and the third century Roman era Multiangular tower.

All of this in addition to the excellent, fee paying Yorkshire Museum! 

Cost – free

Duration – as long as you like! 

 

You can read about other fantastic attractions to visit in York with kids here.

If you want to discover free attractions in York, click here. 

 

The Yorkshire Dales

 

9. The Forbidden Corner

 

One of the best places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales with kids is The Forbidden Corner; a quirky Yorkshire attraction that is great fun for all the family.  

We have visited the 4 acre site several times and there is always something new to see. 

Families receive a basic map with key features marked but the map does not tell you how to get to the sites. What you will see depends on how hard you are willing to search for it!

Be prepared to dodge water spouting statues, seek out hidden underground chambers, explore dark tunnels and narrow staircases and crawl on your hands and knees! 

There are curiosities and follies around every corner including the car park and toilets.

Cost –  Family of four £46

Duration – 3 hours + though there is no time limit.

 

Waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales

 

There are so many waterfalls in the Dales; these are some of the best to visit with kids.

 

10. Aysgarth Falls

These iconic Yorkshire waterfalls are three separate waterfalls plunging over three limestone steps on a one mile stretch of the River Ure. 

Upper Force, Middle Force and Lower Force can be viewed from a pushchair friendly path that winds in and out of woodland alongside the river. 

You can access the edge of Upper Force and riverbank at Lower Force but the riverbank is not fenced so keep children close. 

Aysgarth Falls are spectacular after heavy rain.

Cost – Aysgarth Waterfalls are free to view and walk but there is an hourly fee for the public car park. There are toilets and an information centre in the car park.

Duration – 2+ hours

 

11. Hardraw Force

Hardraw Force is the highest single drop waterfall in England and lies on private land near Hawes.

The 100 foot drop fall is spectacular (and noisy!). A pushchair friendly path leads to the base of the waterfall. 

Alternatively, climb the steps to the circular path that runs across the top of the falls and through shaded woodland. This is a beautiful 1 hour trail and well worth doing. 

Cost – Adults £4, children £2, family ticket £10. There is a car park, pub, picnic area and toilet on site. 

Duration – 1 hour for the lower walk, 2 hours if you do both. 

 

12. Ingleton Waterfalls

This scenic 4 ½ mile hike visits six pretty waterfalls of varying sizes.

The path is easy though slippery at times and involves a lot of steps;  it is not a suitable route for pushchairs. Good gripping footwear is essential.  

There is a car park, toilets and a cafe on site plus a well placed ice cream hut half way round the trail.

Cost – £7 Adults, £3 Children

Duration – 3-4 hours depending on walking speed

 

Caves in the Yorkshire Dales

 

The limestone landscape of the Yorkshire Dales is riddled with caves.

The Dales are home to England’s largest cavern (in Gaping Gill) and England’s deepest cave (part of The Three Counties system). 

Families can tour a show cave or join an adventurous organised trip into one of the caves. 

However, none of the showcaves are pushchair or baby carrier friendly due to steps and uneven roof height. Wear good gripping footwear and pack a jumper; the caves are a consistent cool temperature year round.  

 

13. White Scar Cave

White Scar Cave near Ingleton is the longest showcave in England and is explored using a mix of metal walkways and earthen paths. 

Don a hard hat and descend 97 steps to enjoy the thrill of an underground waterfall and curiously named formations such as The Witches Fingers.

Most of the cave is head height but adults will need to stoop in places. Plus, there is one vertical squeeze that kids will love. There is a car park, toilets and a cafe on site.

Cost – £29.50 for a family ticket.

Duration – 80 minutes

 

14. Stump Cross Caverns 

Stump Cross Caverns near Pateley Bridge is estimated to be 500,000 years old.

After fitting your hard hat, descend the 65 steps into the cave to see unusually colourful stalactites and stalagmites.  

Reindeer and wolverine fossils have been found here and there is a fun fossil trail to complete. 

There is car parking, toilets and a cafe on site. 

Cost – Adults £7.50, children £4.95

Duration – 1 – 2 hours

 

15. How Stean Gorge

 

If you are looking for something more adventurous than a showcave but not as challenging as a professionally guided trip, try the family friendly activities on offer at How Stean Gorge in Nidderdale. 

The short gorge offers gorge walking, caving and has a child friendly Via Ferrata course.

Cost – see How Stean website for details. 

Duration – 1 – 2 hours depending on activities chosen 

 

16. Brimham Rocks

 

The National Trust owned Brimham Rocks is an elevated plateau packed with tall, unusually shaped rocky towers created by a fast flowing river 100 million years ago.

The rock formations are riddled with alcoves and tiny caves for exploring and the elevation of Brimham Rocks provide fantastic views over the Yorkshire Dales. 

Challenge your kids to find rock shapes such as The Dancing Bear or The Gorilla or to crawl through The Smartie Tube.

Though you may see people scrambling over the rocks, climbing is NOT advised here and we have seen people sustain injuries here.

There is a picnic area cafe, toilets and an information centre on site. 

Cost – Free entry, £6 for parking (4 hours), free to National Trust members

Duration – 2+ hours

 

17. Studfold Adventure Trail

 

One of the best things to do in Yorkshire with toddlers and younger children is the magical fairy trails at Studfold Adventure Park.

Children are encouraged to bring their own sparkly wings for the trail but Studfold kindly lends wings to forgetful fairies. 

Search for tiny fairy doors and hidden fairy houses along Studfold’s attractive woodland paths, enjoy a story from the Giant’s Storytelling Chair or test your family’s team building skills in the den building area. 

Download the free activity trails in advance of your visit. Also, drop your picnic at the entrance to the trails and the helpful management will deliver it to you when you reach the picnic area.

There is a small playground, toilets and parking on site. 

Cost – £22 for a family of four. 

Duration – 2- 3 hours +

 

Family Hikes in the Yorkshire Dales

 

There are accessible hikes in the Yorkshire Dales for all ages and abilities and no one should visit this stunning landscape without completing at least one walk! 

The National Park centres at Hawes, Aysgarth, Malham, Grassington and Reeth can provide information on walks to best match your family. 

Please respect the rules of the countryside and only park in designated areas.

Few hikes have facilities so carry plenty of snacks and water and be prepared for weather changes. 

These are some of our family’s favourite walks in the Yorkshire Dales. 

 

Malham Cove 

Malham Cove is a natural amphitheater whose curved stone cliff is 230 feet high. There was once a waterfall plunging over the top of Malham Cove that was higher than Niagara Falls!

There are several, free to access hikes in this area that are manageable with kids. 

 

18. Easy walk at Malham Cove

The shortest walk follows the pushchair friendly path from Malham village to the base of the cove where steep stone steps climb to the top of the cove. 

If you choose to climb to the top with your kids you must keep them close to you; the flat limestone top of Malham Cove (pavement) is uneven with knee deep crevices and the sheer drop over the cove is not fenced. 

Harry Potter fans will recognise the pavement of Malham Cove as Harry and Hermione’s camp site in ‘The Deathly Hallows’ movie. 

Duration – Return trip from Malham to the base of the Cove 1 hour

 

19. Medium walk at Malham Cove with kids

This walk leads from Malham village to pretty Janet’s Foss Waterfall and beyond to Gordale Scar.

Initially, the path is loose gravel but becomes uneven once you begin the shaded woodland path that leads to the waterfall. 

If little legs are up for an extra challenge, extend this walk a little further to visit nearby Gordale Scar, ¼ mile further on.

Gordale Scar is a rugged, imposing gorge whose size can only be fully appreciated by walking into it.

Duration – Return trips to Janet’s Foss 2 hours, Gordale Scar 3+ hours

 

20. Challenging walk at Malham Cove

From Gordale Scar, follow the signposts to the top of the plateau to hike to Malham Tarn. This is one of two natural lakes in the Yorkshire Dales and is an ideal picnic spot to break your hike.

From here, the walk continues to the pavement of Malham Cove from where you descend to the village and starting point. 

The walk is not technically challenging (there is one steep hill to climb and another to descend) but it is a long, 13 kilometre route.

Duration –  4-5 hours +

 

I think a trip to Malham Cove and surrounding area is one of the best days out in Yorkshire as it provides a glimpse of everything Yorkshire has to offer – great views, dramatic gorges, pretty waterfalls and lakes.

 

21. Nidd Gorge

 

Nidd Gorge lies on the edge of the charming market town of Knaresborough and is one of Yorkshire’s hidden gems. 

From the small car park, a trail leads through woodland to run alongside the gorgeous River Nidd.

The earthen and boardwalk path winds through the wood, past a weir, all the way to Knaresborough. The trail includes sheltered bays and stretches of sand.

Nidd Gorge is a quiet, lesser known location which you may have all to yourself! 

Cost – free

Duration – 2 hours +

 

For a comprehensive collection of short walks (including pushchair friendly walks) see this excellent guide from the Yorkshire Dales National Park. 

 

22. Bolton Abbey

 

The Yorkshire Dales is dotted with abbey and monastic ruins and one of the best sites to visit is Bolton Abbey, part of a private estate owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. 

Bolton Abbey is a fun, value for money family day out in Yorkshire. Families can explore the atmospheric ruins of the Priory Church and Augustinian Abbey and enjoy easy paths in gorgeous Strid Wood. We try to visit every Spring when the woodland is covered with bluebells and aromatic wild garlic. 

Visitors must cross a river to access the park and choose between a wooden bridge or Bolton Abbey’s famous stepping stones.  

Kids will love hopping across the 60 stones; most adults find them hard to resist too! 

I have never seen anyone fall into the river but consider packing a change of clothes for your kids, just in case. If it is a hot day, you will want to go for a paddle anyway!

Picnics and ball games are welcome and there are toilets and a cafe on site.

Cost – Entrance is free, £10 charge for parking. 

Duration – half – whole day

 

23. Bolton Castle

Bolton Castle is the best preserved medieval castle in England and is owned by the same family who built the castle 600 years ago! 

Families can tour furnished castle rooms depicting life in the medieval era such as the nursery, dungeon, kitchen and Queen’s bedroom. Kids will enjoy the daily archery display in the castle courtyard. 

The landscaped grounds of the castle contain a maze, herb garden, a bowling green, vineyard and rose garden. There is a daily Bird of Prey and Falconry display and families can pre-book their own Falconry experience or ‘hawk walk.’

Cost – Castle and Gardens – Adults £9, Children £ 7.50, Family ticket £ 35

Duration –  half a day. Check website for seasonal opening times. 

 

24. The Dales Countryside Museum

 

This small museum is housed in a Victorian railway station in Hawes. 

The museum has a rolling programme of events with a chance to try traditional Yorkshire Dales crafts. 

Click here to check current activity programmes. 

Don’t miss the nearby Wensleydale Creamery, home to Wallace’s favourite cheese (from the Wallace and Gromit movies).

The creamery hosts an interactive exhibition and daily cooking demonstrations to show you how this delicious Yorkshire cheese and butter is made. 

You won’t be able to resist buying some!  

Cost – Museum tickets £4.80 adults, children under 16 free. Wensleydale Creamery is free.

Duration – 1-2 hours

 

25. Thorp Perrow Arboretum and Bird of Prey Centre

 

Thorp Perrow Arboretum near Bedale is a 100 acre park ideal for a good runaround!

The arboretum contains 5 National Plant Collections and 51 Champion Trees (trees of rare size or nature). 

Children can complete fun trails or enjoy the adventure playground on site. 

There is also a Bird of Prey and Mammal Centre with daily falconry displays.

Plus the site is home to animals ranging from meerkats to lambs. Kids will love a wandering through Wallaby Wood hand feeding non native wallabies. 

Cost –  Adult £10.95, Children aged 4-16 £7, Family of four £34.10  

Duration – 3+ hours

 

North Yorkshire

 

26. Fountains Abbey

 

Another location to visit for a multi generational family day out in Yorkshire is Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden near Richmond as it offers something for all the family. 

The impressive 12th century Benedictine ruins of Fountains Abbey are the largest monastic ruins in England and kids will love exploring the atmospheric ruins to find hidden steps and alcoves. Don’t miss the multi arched cellarium, perfect for a game of hide and seek. 

Try your hand at a traditional country craft such as weaving at The Grange or run off excess energy at the adventure playground, one of the best in Yorkshire. 

A grass riverside walk links Fountains Abbey to Studley Royal Water Garden which contain ornamental lakes and moon ponds, summer houses, statues and several quirky follies for kids to find. 

These unusual and beautiful 19th century gardens have achieved World Heritage Status. 

Cost – Family ticket  £42, free entry for National Trust members. 

Duration – half to full day

 

27. Ripley Castle 

 

Ripley Castle near Harrogate is a stately home with a deer park, landscaped grounds, a small children’s play area and a pretty walled kitchen garden. 

Unlike many country estates, Ripley Castle offers 45 minutes tours specifically aimed at children (there are adult tours too)! 

Families can also pre-book activities in the castle grounds like archery, kayaking or a high ropes course. 

After an energetic visit to Ripley Castle reward yourself with a trip to Ripley Ice Cream shop in the small village opposite the entrance to Ripley Castle. 

Ripley Ice Cream is THE best ice cream in Yorkshire and people (like us!) drive to Ripley just for the ice cream! 

Cost – Check Ripley Castle website for current prices

Duration – half a day 

 

28. James Herriot Museum

 

Fans of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ books and tv series should visit the James Herriot Museum near Thirsk, where the ‘Yorkshire Vet’ is also filmed.

The museum was Herriot’s home and veterinary practice in the 1940’s and introduces children to all things farming.

In addition to the recreated room of the house and practice, see a recreated farriers workshop and vets dispensary.

There is a fantastic hands-on interactive gallery and kids will love the chance to put their hand up a cow’s bottom! (Not a real one though my son still talks ‘about that time’)! 

Cost – Adults £8.50, children £5.00, Family of four £24

Duration – 2 hours

 

29. Harrogate 

 

Charming Harrogate is a 19th century spa town that retains much of its Victorian appeal. 

Visit the Royal Pump Museum to discover the history of Harrogate’s well being status and join one of the three daily tours to see the potent sulfur wells, the strongest in Europe. 

Grab a Fat Rascal from Betty’s Tea Rooms to enjoy in the landscaped grounds of the Valley Gardens, a large park in the middle of Harrogate. 

The Valley Gardens has a skate park, tennis courts, pitch and putt and an excellent adventure playground among its landscaped borders and ponds. 

Top Tip – You can also buy Ripley Ice cream in Valley Gardens!

Cost – Royal Pump Museum Adults £3.50, Children £2, Family £10. Valley Gardens are free.

Duration – half a day

 

30. Harlow Carr

 

Harlow Carr is a 40 minute walk from the centre of Harrogate or short drive.

The Royal Horticultural Society gardens have worked hard to attract families with child friendly trails, craft activities and a fantastic woodland tree house. 

Highlights include a Scented Garden, an Alpine Garden and the Kitchen Garden.

As a keen but untalented gardener, I like the Teaching Garden! 

Cost – Harlow Carr adult ticket £13.50, child 6.75

Duration – ½ to full day

 

31. Newby Hall

 

Newby Hall near Ripon is a stately home with attractive child friendly gardens and one of the best family days out in Yorkshire. 

The privately owned estate offers separate entrance tickets to the historic house and to the gardens so you can choose which attraction to visit depending on your child’s age and level of interest. 

The landscaped grounds are suitable for children and are divided into several themed sections such as The White Garden or The Rose Garden. There is a child friendly exhibition about teddy bears in the aptly named Bear House. 

Reluctant walkers can take a 1.4 kilometre trip around a portion of the garden on a miniature steam railway.

Newby Hall is best known for its enormous adventure playground which offers climbing frames, pedalo boats, boat swings, an aerial slide and a sand pit in addition to the usual climbing frames and swings.  

There is a popular dancing water fountain which is impossible for kids to resist on a sunny day. Bring a change of clothes or pack a swimming costume! 

Cost –  Adult £14.50, children £11, family of four ticket £48 (gardens only prices). Additional £2.80 for the miniature railway.

Duration – Half to full day

 

32. Ripon Tree Top Trek

 

This is one attraction in Yorkshire for kids where adults are guaranteed as much fun as the kids!

The Tree Top Trek is a series of elevated trampolines, nets, slides and tunnels for anyone aged over 3. The 4 metre high netted sides to the activity means no harness is required. 

Cost – £20 per person over 5, under fives £13

Duration – time 2 hour entry

 

33. Flamingoland

 

A great day out in Yorkshire for all the family, Flamingoland is a theme park with an on site zoo – or the other way round?!

The zoo has animals ranging from Red Pandas, Giraffes and Alpacas to Wallabies and Warthogs. 

There are farm animals, birds and reptile sections and the zoo offers daily keeper talks and meet and greets as well as pre-bookable Zoo Keeper Experiences. 

You could easily fill your day just at the zoo but Flamingoland also has a large theme park on site with thrilling rides for all ages and nerves. 

My favourite ride is the Lost River Ride but be warned, you WILL get wet! 

Cost – current zoo only tickets cost £20 adults, £15 for children aged 4 – 15 years. 

Duration – full day

 

34. Castle Howard

 

Castle Howard is an impressive, privately owned 300 year old estate that featured in the TV series ‘Brideshead Revisited.’ 

Families can complete a children’s spotter trail as you tour the fully furnished rooms of the grand house- the volunteer room guides make children feel welcome at Castle Howard.

For me, the highlight of Castle Howard is the elaborately decorated dome of the Great Hall. 

Allocate plenty of time to explore Castle Howard’s landscaped gardens and fountains. There are pushchair friendly lakeside paths, a woodland trail, temples, monuments and a walled garden to explore – all with lovely views of the surrounding Howardian Hills. 

Kids will love the woodland adventure playground and the newly opened Skelf Island.

Skelf Island is an exciting tree top adventure consisting of rope bridges, nets and slides and is included in a gardens ticket. Even adults get to join in at Skelf Island! 

Cost – A garden only  ticket costs £12.95 for adults, £ 8.95 for children and £34.50 for a family. Combined house and garden tickets available. 

 Duration – 3 hours + though you will easily spend a whole day here.  

 

35. Beningbrough Hall

 

Beningbrough Hall is a Georgian era stately home just outside the city of York. 

The National Trust owned estate has scenic woodland trails alongside the River Ouse, a great adventure playground and a lovely walled garden that is overflowing with vegetables in Autumn. Watch out for the ‘ha ha’ in the garden! 

The hall runs regular ‘Artrageous’ family workshops and there is a restaurant, toilets and parking on site.

Don’t miss the fantastic farm shop; their scones are amazing!

Cost – Free to National Trust members, check website for current prices. 

Duration – 3 hours

 

 

The Yorkshire Moors

 

36. North York Moors Railway

 

An easy and fun day out with kids in Yorkshire is to ride the historic steam train on the North Yorks Moors Railway. It is a fantastic, car free way to explore the Yorkshire Moors. 

The train crosses the Moors between Pickering and Grosmont. Passengers can purchase a return ticket or a freedom  ticket that allows you to  ‘hop on hop off’ the train, breaking your journey at several stops on route.

A non stop trip from Pickering to Grosmont takes 65 minutes but if you want to break your journey, arrive early for the first departing train.

Stop at Levisham to see the Hole of Horcum, a natural amphitheatre 400 foot deep and ½ mile wide or to walk the windswept landscape of Levisham Moor, an area littered with Bronze age archaeological remains. 

Request a stop at Newtondale Halt to enjoy a tranquil woodland walk with great views of the railway line. 

At Goathland you can visit locations that featured in the hit tv series’ Heartbeat.’ 

Kids will be thrilled to visit Goathland Station which doubled as Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter movies. 

In Grosmont, you can hike the Rail Trail back to Goathland which was Geroge Stephenson’s original railway line. The 3 1/2 mile walk overflows with bluebells in late Spring. 

From Grosmont, rail travellers can catch a connecting train to Whitby.

Cost – Adult Freedom Ticket £35, children £17.50, family of four £72

Duration – Make the most of the ticket price and explore the Moors using several short train rides. 

 

37. Dalby Forest

 

The Dalby Forest on the eastern edge of the North York Moors is a giant playground! 

There are 13 hiking trails (including pushchair friendly walks), 6 cycling trails, a high ropes Go Ape course and 2 adventure playgrounds. 

By day, the forest is abundant in wildlife but at night, Dalby Forest’s Dark Sky designation allows you to marvel at the Milky Way. The forest regularly hosts art installations and child friendly literary trails. 

Dalby Forest Visitor Centre provides maps and information about the forest and there is handy bike hire on site. 

Cost – The forest is free to enter but there is a £9 parking fee in peak season

Duration – at least half a day

 

38. Sutton Bank

 

This western part of the North York Moors National Park is known for its hiking and cycling trails, The White Horse and its Dark Skies status.

The ‘bank’  is a steep hill which leads to an escarpment formed by ice age glaciers. 

The Sutton Bank National Park Centre provides walking and cycling maps as well as information on how the escarpment was formed. 

Cycling routes range from beginners trails (3 miles) to challenging 17.5 mile trails. Families can hire bikes and helmets from the on site Sutton Bank Bikes including bikes with child carriers or tagalongs.

 

39. The White Horse at Sutton Bank

 

An easy, family friendly walk with great views is the linear walk along the escarpment to visit The White Horse. 

The sculpture was built on the side of a Kilburn hill in 1857 but, unlike the more famous ‘white’ sculptures in the south of England, this horse was cut into limestone rock, not chalk. This means that the 314 foot long and 228 foot high horse requires regular whitening with chalk chippings in order to stay white! 

The escarpment path is manageable with a pushchair and provides fantastic panoramic views of the Vale of York but the edge is not fenced so keep children close!

Watch for gliders taking off overhead at the Sutton Bank Gliding Centre. 

Cost – Hiking and cycling trails are free to use. Check Sutton Bank Bikes for bike hire fees. 

Duration – The White Horse walk is one hour round trip. Returning a circular route via the woodland trail takes two hours. 

The Yorkshire Coast

 

40. Whitby

 

Whitby is a popular seaside destination; it is a charming harbour town with a  long, clean, sandy beach. 

Wander the cobbled streets of Whitby’s old town, visit the Captain James Cook museum and  climb Whitby’s picture perfect 199 stone steps to the ruins of Whitby Abbey. These ruins, perched on a cliff top overlooking the town are an iconic Yorkshire landmark.

Or just spend the day playing on the beach, rounded off with a famous Whitby fish and chip dinner! 

Cost –  Whitby Abbey Adult ticket £10, children £6, family of five £26. English Heritage members free. Captain Cook Museum adult ticket £6.50, children £3.50, family of four £15.50. There will be a fee for car parking in Whitby.

Duration – Full day with beach time! 

Scarborough

 

This is the beach to visit if you like arcades and fun fairs. But Scarborough has more to offer than just candy floss and cash draining arcades! 

 

41. South Bay Beach

 

South Bay is a sandy stretch of beach backed by arcades and is the safest location in Scarborough for swimming and paddling. 

Nestled among the flashing lights of the arcades is Scarborough’s funicular railway. The 87 metre railway was the first funicular in England when it opened in 1873.

Cost – Return adult ticket £1.60, children £1

 

42. Sea Life Centre

 

Kids will love Scarborough’s Sea Life Centre known for its colony of cute Humboldt penguins and large walk through ocean tunnel. 

Visit the Otter River, Bay of Rays and the country’s only Seal hospital.

There are educational talks and feeding sessions daily. 

Cost – Adult ticket £15.20, children £13.20. Book online in advance for best prices. 

Duration – approx 3 hours

 

43. North Bay Heritage Railway

 

Families can visit the Sea Life Centre using the North Bay Heritage Railway, one of the oldest miniature steam railways in the world.  

At the railway base there are the additional attractions of a high ropes Sky Trail, Water Chute and pedalo boats. 

Cost – Heritage Railway day pass adult £4.20, children £3.20. See website for additional activity costs. 

Duration – a trip to the Sea Life Centre takes 15 minutes each way

 

44. Alpamare Water Park

 

Kids will love this enormous aqua complex – I love it because it is heated!

The park includes four exhilarating water slides, an infinity pool, heated outdoor pool, wave pool and splash zone for non swimmers. There is also an onsite spa. 

Cost – A timed entry ticket costs £21 for adults, £17 for children, £66 for a family of four.

Duration – Tickets are valid four hours

 

45. Scarborough Castle

 

Climb (or drive) up to the ruins of Scarborough Castle, which dominate the town’s skyline. 

Families can explore the ruins of the 16 acre site or simply relax with a picnic and savour the fantastic elevated views.

There is an interesting exhibition with artefacts explaining the history of this 3,000 year old site, the castle and the town. 

Cost – Adults £7.90, children £4.70, family of five £20.50. Free to English Heritage members

Duration – 2 hours

46. Boat trips around Scarborough

 

Brave the North Sea with a boat trip from Scarborough!

There are angling trips, thrilling speed boat trips and leisurely cruise trips along the North Yorkshire coast to see the coastal scenery of local bird colonies.

Families should consider The Hispaniola, a pirate ship which takes visitors on short trips around South Bay. 

Cost – The Hispaniola cost £3 per person

 

47. Robin Hoods Bay

 

Robins Hoods Bay is one of my favourite days out with kids in Yorkshire, whatever the weather. 

It is a quaint, atmospheric, car free fishing village that feels like you have stepped back in time.  

Families can wander the maze of cobbled lanes and alleyways lined with old, tightly packed together cottages. There are a couple of restaurants and cafes, two pubs and a traditional, old fashioned sweet shop. 

The free to enter Old Coastguard Station provides a fascinating insight into the geology and history of the village. 

The highlight of Robin Hoods Bay is the bay itself. A long sandy beach blissfully free of car parks, arcades and cafes. 

 The bay forms part of Yorkshire’s Jurassic coastline and fossils such as ammonites, belemnites and Devils Toenail can be found in Robin Hoods Bay. Avoid going too close to the base of the cliffs as rock falls occur.

Visitors must park in the designated car parks at the top of the village and walk down to the village and beach. As a result of this walk (especially the uphill return trip!)  the beach is usually very quiet. 

Cost – free to access, there is a fee for parking.

Duration – you can visit in one hour but relax and stay the day! Even better, stay overnight in one of the village’s cosy cottages. 

 

48. North Yorkshire Coastal Path

 

The North Yorkshire Coastal Path is part of the greater 109 mile long Cleveland Way National Trail.  

The path is not technically challenging but it is undulating with lots of steep ups and downs. It is at  high elevation and the edge is unfenced; don’t approach the soft cliff edges. 

Whichever section you hike, the coastal path is fantastic with sweeping views of the dramatic Yorkshire coastline, secluded sandy coves and rocky bays. 

My favourite section, which is manageable with kids, is the 7 mile hike from Whitby to Robin Hoods Bay, which passes Whitby’s squat white lighthouse on route. Tired legs can catch a bus back from Robin Hoods Bay to Whitby. 

Alternatively, hike the scenic 7 mile circular trail starting in gorgeous Runswick Bay to the tiny village of Staithes. 

Keen bird watchers should walk the 8 mile circular trail from Flamborough around Flamborough Head. 

 

49. North Yorkshire beaches

 

There is a beach to suit everyone in Yorkshire! 

For funfairs, souvenir shops and arcades head to Scarborough and Bridlington. 

If you prefer a quiet beach visit Hunmanby Gap and Reighton Sands. Watch the tide times on these beaches as the high tide reaches the base of the cliffs. 

Surfers should head to windy Cayton Bay and for old world charm visit Robin Hoods Bay and Staithes. 

Families will love the sandy beaches and facilities at Runswick Bay, Sandsend and Filey.

Animal lovers should visit the seal colony at Ravenscar and England’s largest nesting colony of seabirds at Flamborough Head. 

 

50. Bempton Cliffs

 

The Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve is a bird lovers paradise.

Half a million seabirds nest here between March and October on Bempton’s iconic chalk cliffs (including our family favourite, the Puffin).

There are six viewing platforms, self guided trails and hikes to explore. Children can borrow ‘Discovery Backpacks’ containing binoculars, a bird book and bug pot. 

From May to September, families can join seabird cruises departing from nearby Bridlington Harbour for close up views of the seabird colony. 

Cost – Nature Reserve tickets; Adult £6, children £3 with first child free. 

Duration – half a day

 

So there you have it, a comprehensive list of 50 of the best things to do with kids in Yorkshire – and we still haven’t covered the other three regions yet! 

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