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1. Go for a walk in the woods

Moorland Nature Reserve (Skelton, York)

This is a fairly flat circular route that is ablaze with colour in spring. Snowdrop, primrose, daffodil and bluebell form a backdrop to a succession of mature rhododendrons, azaleas and maple. Younger visitors will enjoy the points of interest as you walk round with sculptural wood carvings on tree trunks, verses on benches and intricate carvings that make up part of a nature trail. It is free and open everyday. N.B dogs are not allowed. Visit Moorlands

Nidd Gorge (Knaresborough)

Nidd Gorge is made up of five woods: Coalpits Wood, Bilton Banks, Spring Wood, Scotton Banks and Gates Wood. In springtime, the woodland floor is scattered with bluebell, wild garlic, celandine, and clumps of delicate, purple-veined wood sorrel, especially south of the river.

Younger family members can spot animal sculptures as well as the face of Guy Fawkes carved on a tree trunk. Did you know he lived near here as a boy?

With its dramatic landscape, wealth of wildlife and plants, intriguing history and wide network of paths, a visit to Nidd Gorge is a great day out for all the family. It is free but donations are welcome. Visit Nidd Gorge

Dalby Forest (Thornton-Le-Dale)

Cycle routes, Go Ape! Tree Top Adventures, Segway forest trails, paintballing, family strolls or a Gruffalo orienteering course will keep you busy. Take a journey with the Highway Rat and all the characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story (activity packs available from the visitor centre for £3). Visit Dalby Forest

Whilst you’re enjoying a walk why not print out some nature hunt templates. Here’s a good one*

Source: https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/printables/nature-scavenger-hunt-free-printable/

2. Have a day out in Knaresborough

Why not visit Knaresborough, there’s lots to do for free. Here’s just some ideas;

Conynham Hall

Visit Conyngham Hall. It offers leisure activities plus woodland and riverside walks. Outdoor games are available mid March until November and include tennis, pitch and putt, crazy golf, adventure trail and woodland sculpture walk. Some activities charge a small fee. Visit Conyngham Hall

Knaresborough Castle

Visit the castle grounds for free. There’s beautiful views and plenty of space to walk around. The castle was originally built around 1100 but was destroyed in the 17th century. There is a museum attached to the ruins, with entry £3.40 for adults and £1.90 for children if you want to learn more about it’s history plus tales of local characters including Blind Jack, Guy Fawkes and Mother Shipton. Visit Knaresborough Castle.

Bebra Gardens

Bebra Gardens is a small, attractive park close to the castle. This hidden gem, which provides a haven from the hustle and bustle of the town centre is named in honour of the town’s links with Bebra, Germany.

The gardens are on a steep slope and there are sloping, meandering pathways leading through mature trees and conifers. The paths lead to the paddling pool at the lowest point and onto Waterside below. This is a great spot for a walk or a picnic.

Knaresborough Riverside

Why not have a walk along the riverside. From paddling in the river to enjoying the riverside cafes or boat hire, you can find lots to do every day of the week.

Complete “The Great Knaresborough Treasure Hunt”

This is a free treasure hunt game on during the summer holidays. It involves finding hidden bases on a map, scanning the QR code at each base on your phone and recording the passwords. What a great activity to keep the kids busy whilst you get to see lots of this lovely town. They have a Facebook group here https://m.facebook.com/groups/tgkth

3. Take a trip to the park

We have so many fantastic parks in North Yorkshire, here’s just a few:

Valley Gardens (Harrogate)

The Valley Gardens, is a 17-acre English Heritage Grade II listed garden in Harrogate. It is a fantastic park with something for all the family. There’s lots to do for free (playground, skate park, paddling pool, boating pool) but if you want there are also paid for activities including; tennis, pitch and putt and crazy golf. For refreshments, there’s a café and ice cream stand where you can sit and watch the miniature boats on the boating pool. Visit Valley Gardens

Peasholm Park (Scarborough)

Peasholm Park is open all year round, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Entrance to the Park is free.

Peasholm Park is a great place to walk around with lots to look at. It has a lake with boats to hire. There is a bandstand in the middle of the lake and music concerts which are free of charge. There are two cafes where hot and cold food and drinks can be purchased. Plus there are plenty of places to sit and have a picnic. There is an island in the centre of the lake and a bridge leading across to it allows the visitor to explore the island with a path leading round it or by climbing up to the top with its impressive pagoda. Peasholm Park

St Ives Estate (Bingley)

The St Ives Estate is home to over 500 acres of stunning Country Park with woodlands, open moor, and a wildflower meadow, and paths throughout. The Adventure Playground is fantastic and you can feed the ducks at the pond. Visit St Ives Estatefor more details.

Roundhay Park (Leeds)

This is one of the biggest city parks in Europe. There’s the “castle”, lake, gardens, boathouse and much more.

Golden Acre Park (Leeds)

You can walk round the pond, there’s grassy areas for ball games, ducks to feed and a cafe.

Play park (Thorp Park —Wetherby)

We stumbled across this park on our way to Crazy Tykes and thought it was lovely.

Temple Newsam (Leeds)

There’s a great park here. If you park by the park (turn left when you drive into the ground) rather than by the house, it’s free to park and you can access the grounds and a fab park. Perfect for a play and a picnic.

Clifton Park (Rotherham)

We had a great day here recently. It’s a fab park with several play areas and a free splash park. Here’s my review.

Rowntree Park (York)

A 20-acre park in York, featuring children’s playgrounds, tennis courts, bowling greens, basketball court, skateboarding area and general areas for picnicking.

Homestead Park (York)

A beautiful 14-acre garden in Clifton, York. You’ll find a children’s play area, pop-up café and picnic area.

Also in York is the Museum Gardens in the centre of York which has lots of space to run around and the beautiful medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey. The Gardens are a great space to meet friends and family in the city centre. While you’re at the Museum Gardens there’s FREE entry for Kids at the Yorkshire Museum as well as the York Castle Museum and York Art Gallery (with a paying adult). There’s lots of activities on during the holidays.

4. Go on a bike ride

The solar system in York (York)

The Solar System is spread out along 6.4 miles of the old East Coast main-line railway. Along it you can find scale models of all the planets in our solar system as well as models of the Cassini and Voyager spacecraft. It is a lovely flat route with the majority of it away from roads. Visit York Solar System

The Nidderdale Greenway (Harrogate)

The Nidderdale Greenway is a 4-mile path that runs between Harrogate and Ripley in North Yorkshire, England. It uses a former railway line that ran between Harrogate and Pateley Bridge as its course. It is a traffic free route which finishes in Ripley where you can visit the famous Ripley Ice-cream shop or Ripley Castle. The castle has a lovely tearoom for replenishing your energy, as well as the castle itself. There is an area to leave your bike in the castle courtyard before you go and explore the grounds, so don’t forget your bike lock. Visit Nidderdale Greenway

Dalby Forest (Thornton-Le-Dale)

There’s a fantastic family route called the Green Ellerburn Family Cycle Route. This 2 mile trail is a multi-user pathway for disabled cyclists, walkers, and wheelchair users. Plus watch out for The Gruffalo. Dalby is free to enter but there’s a parking charge per vehicle.

5. Venture further afield (don’t worry it’s still in Yorkshire)

St Ives Estate (Bingley)

The St Ives Estate is home to over 500 acres of stunning Country Park with woodlands, open moor, and a wildflower meadow, and paths throughout. The Adventure Playground is a fantastic feature for the children, and Coppice Pond offers both fishing opportunities, and a chance to feed the ducks. Visit St Ives Estatefor more details.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (Wakefield)

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is free but you do have to pay for parking. The car park charges contribute significantly to the running costs of YSP which is an independent museum and registered charity. Even though there is a charge to go here (due to the parking) it is such an amazing place. They change their exhibitions regularly and there’s lots for families. For more info visit YSP

Bradford City Park (Bradford)

The mirror pool is the largest urban water feature in the UK. It is a bubbling, squirting, popping and splashing fountain display that kids can go wild in.

National Coal Mining Museum (Bradford)

One of the top 5 things to do in West Yorkshire according to Trip Advisor. Children of all ages are welcome across all areas of the site. I believe it’s £5 to park and £5 if you want to do the tour but this is optional.

They have stables, adventure playground, indoor play for under 5’s, original mining equipment and buildings and more

Clifton Park (Rotherham)

We had a great day here recently. It’s a fab park with several play areas and a free splash park. Here’s my review.

The Arium (Leeds)

This is a garden centre was an amazing outdoor play space. There’s ride on toys, giant sandpit and coffee pod. Read more here.

Royal Armouries (Leeds)

Right in the city centre and completely free.

Anglers Country Park (Wakefield)

This park features an adventure trail inspired from Julia Donaldson’s Room on the Broom books. The trail is free to enjoy and is about 2 miles with lots of characters from the books to see along the way. In the park, there is also a cafe and playground.