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Take part in your biggest ever game of hide and seek on your visit to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. Hide in all corners of the large abbey ruins before following the river to the water garden. Race around the moon ponds, see the swans swimming and discover the winding dark tunnel. Emerge from the tunnel to find three fun buildings called follies along this woodland path.
Be sure to have a playground adventure. There are things to wobble along, jump over and climb on…you’ll find a wooden abbey, a woodland house, scramble nets and posts, swings, fireman’s poles, a slide, a roundabout, a gigantic rope bridge and a huge zip wire for the most daring adventurers of all.
Have a well-earned sit down with a seasonal meal in the newly refurbished restaurant, tuck into tea and cake with a lakeside view at Studley tea room or a sweet treat at Mill Café.
If there’s still oodles of energy left visit the deer park. Admire the views down to Ripon Cathedral and see if you can spot the deer. There are three different types from small fallow deer to the largest of them all: red deer.
There’s lots to do but don’t worry if you can’t fit it all in this time – we’ll be here another day! Become a member on your first visit and come back for free as many times as you like. Plus, get the feel-goods about it as every time you scan your membership card, you’re contributing towards the essential conservation work we do.
Fountains, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY
Photos by Chris Lacey
Area: North Leeds
Car Parking: Car parking at Golden Acre main entrance (can get busy)
Amenities: Not at Dam itself but Golden Acre not far away
Opposite Golden Acre Park, Adel Dam has been open to the public since it became a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve. The circular fern-lined path, winds in an impressive loop through the wet and dry woodlands, where you’ll have the chance to see badgers, roe deer, foxes and kingfishers to name a few.
The route is great for little legs, the paths are level and easy going up until the first hide (Marsh Hide), this section is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The remainder of the circuit is a more natural uneven surface, including steps, bridges and narrow points. Some areas do get boggy so suitable footwear required and you are required to stick to the paths.
Dogs not allowed.
Entrance via Golden Acre Park
Car Park: Plenty of car parking, charges apply
Amenities: Cafe, toilets and adventure playground next to the Visitors Centre
Large country park that is great for walking, children’s biking and picnics. It also has a children’s adventure playground and The Room on the Broom trail. You can purchase activity packs from the Visitor’s Centre for £2. From the centre you’ll follow the trail, find sculptures, look for animal footprints, trace rubbings and have fun doing activities along the way.
At the visitor’s centre you can hire running buggies and bikes for the whole family including bike trailers for the tiniest!
Haw Park Lane, Wintersett, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 2EB. Tel: 01924 303980
Car Park: Pre-booking is required for all cars. National Trust members park free.
Amenities: Cafe, toilets, adventure playground
Just eight miles north of York is beautiful Beningbrough with its glorious gardens, sprawling parkland and hands-on art galleries.
Whether it’s swinging from heights or climbing the wall up the pyramid tower in the popular wilderness play area, fun and games on the lawn, borrowing a bike to ride around the gardens or dressing up as royalty in the hall, Beningbrough is a fantastic family day out.
Beningbrough, York YO30 1DD Tel: 01904 472027
Car Park: Pre-booking is required for all cars. £10 per car.
Amenities: Cafe, toilets at numerous locations.
Enjoy a picnic, build sandcastles have a little paddle in the river or simply relax and take in the view of the Priory. The 60 stepping stones offer a fun and challenging experience, but there is a bridge offering a safe and dry passage. There is a large beach area popular with visiting families. Seasonal events take place throughout the year, including the famous Welly Walk (end May – November). Read our review here.
There are various walks, all routes can be viewed here.
Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD236EX. Tel: 01756 718000
Car Park: Parking is free for National Trust members.
Non National Trust members, car parking charges £6 for 4 hours, £9 per day.
Amenities: Toilets and catering facilities are located 550 metres from the car park, baby-changing facilities
Dramatic moorland rock formations. Explore Brimham Rocks and have a great day out at nature’s playground. This amazing collection of weird and wonderful rock formations makes a great day out for families, climbers and those wanting to enjoy the simple pleasures of fresh air and magnificent views over Nidderdale.
There’s no admission charge at Brimham Rocks.
Summerbridge, Harrogate, HG3 4DW. Tel: 01423 780688
Car Park: Various car parks. See more details here.
Amenities: Plenty of picnic areas, see map above for locations of cafe and toilets
Collect your free map and wildlife spotting guide from Otley Library or The White House Café, then set off on one of two walking trails.
Chevin Forest Park is located in the Wharfe Valley and overlooks the market town of Otley. There are various routes, some of which are buggy friendly. A few of our favourites are:
Geology Trail, – Eight stone carvings make up the 3km geology trail helping to explain how the Chevin’s steep slopes and gritstone crags and boulders were created.
The Surprise View and Otley Chevin walk starts at a free car park just across from The Royalty
Fairy’s, Gnome’s & Borrower’s have moved into Paul’s Pond and the surrounding woodland! Can you find all 91 hidden doors?! Find out more on the trail in the Facebook group here Cookridge Hidden Doors
We would recommend creating a sheet to take with you with the numbers on then the children can fill in the names on the doors as they find them.
You can access Paul’s Pond from both Cookridge, Bramhope and Golden Acre, more details here
Bramhope, Leeds, LS16 7AN
Curious About Leeds is a journey of discovery: an exciting glimpse into what makes this fabulous city what it is.
The two unique walks can be enjoyed separately, or joined together to form one longer walk, depending upon available time and energy! They will expand your knowledge, entertain and challenge you, and help you to stay mentally and physically fit! Walks typically take 1 to 2 hours each. Visit website for more information.
Starts at Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AA, England
Dalby Forest, managed by the Forestry Commission, offers over 8,000 acres of woodland to explore, enjoy and discover, including the Grand Father Oak play area for children, family BBQ and picnic areas, adrenalin activities for the thrill seekers and walking and cycling trails for all.
Admission free, just pay to park (£9 per car)
Dalby Forest Visitor Centre, Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire, YO18 7LT. Tel: 01751 460295.
On the outskirts of Leeds, the route on this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) runs alongside part of Eccup Reservoir and across the dam. You’ll have the opportunity to see varied wildlife including wintering wildfowl and from an observation area on the dam the spectacular red kite. The route is 3 miles long. Download the Yorkshire Water Kids Activity Pack here to do on the walk
Difficulty: 1 out of 4 (Easy access, parking)
Set within the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, this World Heritage Site offers a great day out for all the family. Hidden within the Skell valley, you’ll find the magnificent ruins of the once great Fountains Abbey and a Georgian pleasure ground to delight your senses. This breathtaking landscape is also home to a Jacobean Manor House, Medieval Deer Park, Victorian church and Cistercian mill.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Estate, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY
Tel: 01765 608888
Friends of Roundhay Park (FORP) FREE adventure trails in Roundhay Park have been designed by local children!
The trials are free to use by all park visitors, with clue sheets being accessible in the Lakeside Cafe, Tropical World and the Mansion art gallery. You can also download the trail sheets here forp.org/little-friends-trails/
There are two trails, the first is an imagination trail called The Magical Fountains of Roundhay and is aimed at under 6s.
Designed for pre-schoolers this trail route is fully accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs. The route is split into 3 sections (ranging from 1km -1.5km in length) which can all be done together or split over several visits – children will need your help to read and understand what to do. Imaginations at the ready
The second is an adventure trial where older children (6+) have to solve The Secret of Roundhay Castle by undertaking various tasks.
Designed for children of ages 6 and older, this trail is longer and more challenging. The route is split into 3 sections (ranging from 1.5km – 2.5km in length) which can be done together or split over several visits.
FORP are encouraging children to undertake the trail and upload a photo to social media with the hashtag #littlefriendstrails. The answer sheets, certificates of completion and further information can be found on the FORP website – forp.org/little-friends-trails
This popular park is renowned for its wonderful gardens, popular tea rooms and circular lakeside walk. Ideal for a family walk, scooter/pushchair friendly (on paths) and a great place to feed the ducks, play ball games and have a picnic
Off Arthington Road, Bramhope, Leeds LS16 8BQ Tel: 0113 261 0374
Area: Scarcroft, North Leeds
Car Parking: Limited roadside parking available.
Hetchell Wood Nature Reserve is a great place to explore as a family, there are lots of paths to follow through the woods and some great opportunities for a game of hide and seek! There is a tree swing and a lovely little stream to paddle in or have a game of ‘poo sticks’.
You can do a nice circular route from the car park, if you follow the path down to the stream, hang a right and follow the path around in a loop. Suitable for younger children distance wise but not buggies. More walking route details here.
A favourite place with my Mumblers and you can call off on the way home for ice cream at the Milk Churn!
If approaching via the A58 Leeds-Wetherby road, to reach the main entrance on Milner Lane take the turn right signposted Thorner at the New Inn pub crossroads at Scarcroft. Keep left at a triangular intersection and the nature reserve entrance is on the left, 0.5 miles further on. There is also a public footpath (parking for a few cars) from the side of the A58 at Bardsey.
Milner Lane, Scarcroft, LS23 6NA.
Simon Dowling with the help of the local community has created two Fairy Door walks in Horsforth! There are 50 doors in Hunger Hills woods and 49 in Hawksworth wood. For more details join the Horsforth Fairy Doors Facebook group.
Hunger Hills – Park in the car park nearest the children’s playground at Hall Park and cross over the road and walk up the footpath entrance there. The doors are all in one specific area near the rope swing.
Hawksworth Woods – Park near the Bridge Inn and cross over into the woods there. The doors are along the footpath
From meadows of bluebells and woodlands of oak, birch and willow, there’s loads to see at this delightful 2.5 acre reserve. Bring a net or a jar to go dipping in the ponds, or watch the many butterflies and dragonflies
Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve, 110 Commercial Road, LS5 3AB
Enjoy a fantastic day out at Lotherton Hall, a charming Edwardian house and country estate with extensive grounds, bird garden zoo, Red Deer Park, nature trails, gardens, café, shop and two children’s play areas. Themed events run throughout the year. Accessible site. Admission fee applies.
Lotherton Hall, Collier Lane, Aberford, LS25 3EB. Tel: 0113 378 2959.
Area: North Leeds
Car Parking: Plenty of free car parking at Green Road Entrance
Amenities: Cafe, Toilets and Playground at Green Road Entrance
Starting from the main bottom car park there is a playground and the lovely Three Cottages Cafe. From the car park, there is a range of extensive walks for various abilities.
You can follow the beck (opportunities to paddle) to the waterfall and back, or turning left up into the hollies, or venturing right into the woods where you can stumble across fairy doors hidden within the trees. There is also a rope swing in the cavern which has some old ruins of houses.
Further along into these woods you will come across The Myrtle Tavern pub with a great children’s play area and a good beer garden. Also over the lane there is a perimeter walk around the housing estate which can lead into the woods if you choose and another playground along the way.
The Meanwood Valley Trail runs from Woodhouse Moor to Golden Acre Park
Green Road, Meanwood, LS6 4LE
Covid Update: Currently open Wednesday and Saturdays 1-5pm
Rodley Nature Reserve is designed to bring wetland wildlife back into the Leeds area.
Lots of activities for families: quiz trail guide, pond dipping (April – Oct), mini beast hunt, bird watching, moth trapping….and if the weather should spoil itself colouring sheets and quizzes are available in the Education Room at the Visitor Centre.
The Visitor Centre is open every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and most Bank Holidays from 10am until 4pm.
Rodley Nature Reserve, Moss Bridge Road, Rodley, Leeds LS13 1HP. Tel: 0113 2040441
During lockdown a local family have transformed Rodley Park by adding BRILLIANT fairy doors to the park and surrounding woodland. Each door is individually named, numbered and hand decorated, you really need to visit to understand how great the decorations to each door are.
You can download a sheet to tick the doors off as you go HERE.
They have also created a “Community Tree” where children and families can add their own fairy magic.
For more details join the Fairies of Rodley Facebook Page.
You can find out more about the family that set up the trail in the Yorkshire Evening Post article here.
I would recommend wellies at the minute as it is a bit slippy underfoot in places.
Rodley Park, LS13 1HP
The Room on the Broom trail takes visitors across Anglers Country Park on a special themed walk.
Starting from the Discovery Centre, the trail follows a route around the lake giving youngsters the chance to see sculptures of Witch, Cat, Dog, Bird, Frog and the terrifying Dragon! For extra fun and games along the trail, purchase an Explorer Pack for £2 from the Discovery Centre before you set off. As you journey along the route look out for the wildlife that call Anglers Country Park their home.
Some parts of the path may be muddy so sensible footwear is advised. Suitable for bikes and pushchairs.
The Adventure Trail and Country Park are both open all day, every day with free entry. There is also a great outdoor play area at the end of the trail.
Haw Park Lane,Wintersett,Wakefield,WF4 2EB. Tel: 01924 303980
Roundhay Park is one of the most popular parks in Leeds due to its size, grandeur and array of things to see and do. Roundhay Park covers over 700 acres of rolling parkland, lakes (great for duck feeding), woodlands, formal gardens and contains several cafes, two playgrounds, the popular visitor attraction Tropical World and much more.
Parking available at both the upper and lower parts of the park.
The park is great for scooters and bike riding but there is also a train (weekends and BH’s) which takes you from the upper and lower parts of the park for £2 a person.
Mansion Lane, off Princes Avenue, LS8 2HH
St Aidans RSPB reserveis managed by the RSPB for visitors and wildlife, on behalf of Leeds City Council.
Visit our new visitor centre with cafe, shop & toilet facilities. There are 12km of trails, plus the transpennine trail which passes the nature park on the southern side. The main trails take you amongst a variety of habitats including reedbed, wetland, meadows and woodland.
See website for directions and facilities – accessible from Woodlesford, Methley and Allerton Bywater. Suitable for bikes and pushchairs.
The Forbidden Corner is a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises created within a four acre garden in the heart of Tupgill Park and the Yorkshire Dales. A tourist visitor attraction unlike anywhere that you have been before, ideal for the adventurers and those young at heart!
Tupgill Park Estate, Coverham, Middleham, Leyburn, DL8 4TJ Tel: 01969 640638
You can walk from the bottom entrance at the Pump room museum right up through the valley gardens and pinewoods to Harlow Carr and either loop round or come back along Otley Road (Via the play park!) and either Coldbath Road or Cornwall road.
Lots of fishing, and sailing on this tarn, but essentially an easy walk for children, good for bikes etc.With ducks to feed. A very good children’s playground near the carpark. A Planespotters paradise.
Cemetery Road, Yeadon, Leeds LS19 7UR
On a nice day, there isn’t a much better way to see the beautiful city of York than walking around the walls.
Children can enjoy following the route via the golden disks on the floor and remember to take some paper and crayons so they can complete the map rubbings at each of the bars.
The walls go most of the way around the city, just having to get down to street level a couple of times. Not strictly buggy friendly but I know many who have managed it fine. Always a friendly visitor or local on hand to help!