10 family days out in Yorkshire this Autumn
Yorkshire is the best when it comes to days out for the family. With so many to choose from where do you start?
As we all know Yorkshire can be a little unpredictable with the weather so these family friendly attractions will mean that you don’t get to miss out once the heavens start to open. Although there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing! So pack the waterproofs just in case and head out on one of these great family days out in Yorkshire.
Here are 10 of my recommendations for family days out in Yorkshire this Autumn.
Located near Bolton Abbey, Billy Bob’s American diner and ice cream parlour has you covered whatever the weather. There are 2 play barns; one for the young ones and the other for the over 7s. Straw bales line the barns with rope swings, beam lines, trikes and super fast slides a plenty. There is also an outdoor play area for all ages.
The American diner serves up a wide selection of meals. From breakfast pancake stacks to lunch time Philly steaks, gourmet hotdogs and boudin balls. You will be spoilt for choice! This is also the home of the Yorkshire Dales ice cream with a plethora of flavours to choose from.
Plus… this is the only place around where you can sit and have your lunch on a genuine American yellow school bus!
This October you can visit the Fall and Halloween festival where the décor is off the scale. Think old school American vibes, scarecrows, candy scramble and a friendly witch called Hilda. There are additional costs associated with some of these and pre-booking is a must especially on weekends and holidays.
Hesketh Farm Park
Always our favourite farm. This is our most visited attraction as my little man loves it so much. In a picturesque spot over looking Bolton Abbey estate, Hesketh Farmis open every weekend through September and October plus the half term week before closing for the winter.
With a large indoor area as well as outdoor space you will be safe whatever the weather.
Indoors you can get close to the animals; brush the guinea pigs, scratch the pigs backs, bottle feed the calves and hold the chicks. You may even spot the giant tortoise wandering about. There are ride on tractors, a sand pit, plenty of educational games including my little man’s recommendation of ‘guess the poo’.
Outside there are even more animals to pet, goats mingling around and eggs to collect. Real tractors can be climbed on board, go karts are there to be raced and there are numerous playgrounds and play equipment to keep kids entertained.
The highlight has got to be the tractor ride with farmer Chris though. Bouncing along in the big green tractor over the fields and far away. This extra is one of the highlights.
Lunch and snacks are available from the on site café but there are also huggings of picnic benches so picnics are encouraged.
On the outskirts of Harrogate the Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Harlow Carr are lovely all year round. Open daily, it’s always a relaxing one to wander round in the week. All the paths are accessible which is great for the pram. Tucked away are a number of playgrounds around the grounds including a new one for 2022. The treehouse play area is our firm favourite with the wobbly bridge and obstacle course around. Closely followed by the tunnel and mound which for some reason entertains them the longest.
Who could forget Betty’s either. With a café and shop at the entrance as well as a takeaway stand within the gardens you won’t be able to escape without a coffee and cake (or try their brown bread ice-cream!).
The gardens are meticulously planned and kept. Nothing is out of place. If you are a keen gardener then there are always talks, advice available, even a library. For the amateur gardener you can just enjoy the blooms, the scent, the colourful displays plus the sculptures whilst you weave your way around.
If you are local I would recommend getting an annual pass which does get another adult in free and under 5s are free.
What a fun day out, and when I mean day out I mean a full day out. Turning up at opening time and leaving at closing still isn’t long enough here. The ultimate treat day so save this for a special occasion.
New for 2022 is the Playhive too, one of Europe’s largest indoor play centres. This wooden, scandi feel adventure area has four interconnected zones; space, air, the jungle, and sea. Your imagination will run wild whilst you explore at all levels (some super high) and zoom down the slides. The level of interactive ness is insane too. Technology is built into everything so this really is very current.
The rest of Stockeld Park is also a fab day out. With special events on each holiday you really get into the festivities. This half term enjoy the enchanted forest with a day of the dead theme. Centred around the lake is a woodland walk with many a surprise. 5 playgrounds are hidden amongst the trees plus boats, musical walkway and sand pits. Once around the lake there is another huge playground, jumping pillow, inflatable slide, go karts and a huge, and I mean huge, maze. Be prepared to get lost in there!
There are always some additional extras and this Halloween half term is no exception. Zombie laser quest, escape rooms and a monster mash.
How Stean Gorge
Ever fancied abseiling? Canoeing? Pot holing? Or gorge walking? Well here you can. And what’s even better is that equipment including wet suits are included in the price so it doesn’t really matter what the weathers doing as you are going to get wet anyway! Activities can be booked as groups or individuals and your instructor is there with you. What a perfect way to test yourself and try something new.
Activities are suitable for age 8+ however, there is a general walk that is open to smaller ones (age 4+) which we did this summer. This ‘mini gorge walk’ can be slippy in places so good footwear is mandatory. If your little one is up for a challenge then this is it. The walk takes about an hour. You explore the gorge at your own pace, clambering over rocks, holding on to ropes, descending precarious rock steps, dodging low hanging rock faces before making your way out of the pitch black cave. Don’t forget your torch or you will have to feel your way out!
Afterwards chill and warm up in the café which is an attraction in itself – the floor is glass and over hangs the gorge! So you can sit and eat your dinner whilst watching others traverse the gorge or just take in the beautifully dramatic scenery. Stepping on that floor is not for the faint hearted but I assure you it’s safe!
Bradford Ice Arena
Reminiscent of my youth the Bradford ice arena is exactly the same as it was back then! Why change something that works?!
The ice skating ring located behind the Science and Media museum is a brilliant place to go. General sessions run daily and skate hire is available. Don’t forget your gloves and extra socks though.
For under 5s there is a tots session on every Monday at 1030am where they can get some tuition to gain their confidence. Little penguins are available to use for the little ones, or the big ones who are unsteady on their feet. It
Lightwater Valley Family Adventure Park
Lightwater Valley is the ultimate family day out. With rides for all ages, interests and braveness everyone will be happy. There are so many rides from mini fairground ones to playgrounds to treetop nets to pedalos to water slides. This is a full full day out, expect to be there til they throw you out!
In true Yorkshire style they cater for all weathers. There is an indoor soft play, along with indoor eating areas dotted around the park. Many of the rides are under some kind of cover so showers shouldn’t spoil your day too much.
Our favourite rides were the ladybird rollercoaster, rapids (prepared to get wet!) and of course the jumping pillow. There is even a train that takes you around the park. Top tip is to check the height restrictions before you go so you know which ones to aim for (or avoid if they can’t get on).
The park is open weekends and all of half term with some extras being put on for Halloween. Their hocus pocus event includes a uv disco, character meet and greet and a ghost hunt.
Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, National Trust
Hands down the best National Trust property in Yorkshire. You will be blown away by Fountains Abbey. It is such an incredibly beautiful place all round. The historic abbey is incredible. Perfectly ruined it is the ideal place for the young and old to enjoy.
Studley Royal water gardens and deer park are also included in admission. Expect to clock up quite a few steps here with the general loop being around 6km. There are extra paths to discover so snacks would be a good idea if you are wandering around the full grounds.
An adventure playground plus cafés and a shop are the other facilities on offer. The grounds are accessible with flat tarmac paths so it really is suitable for everyone.
There are a number of events that happen throughout the year but this Autumn don’t miss out on the Fountains by Floodlight event on each Saturday in October (plus Fridays in half term). The abbey will be lit up spectacularly but gracefully. Choir song will be heard between 7-8pm adding to the already unique atmosphere. This event is truly remarkable and a fantastic opportunity to see the abbey as you will have never seen it before.
Harewood House estate on the outskirts of Leeds is a wonderful place to spend a family day. With 100 acres to explore you may need more than a day. The house stands grand overlooking the lake which is a breath-taking view. You can walk round the whole estate on the public footpath or there is a shorter lake side walk which you are able to do by paying entry into the grounds.
There is lots to see and do here. A animal and bird centre with penguins, flamingos, pigs, parrots… a seemingly random mix but it works! Next up is a huge adventure playground. Tyre swings, bridges, slides and obstacle course. Find yourself a seat as you will be here a while.
Situated around the lake are various gardens, from the formal once outside the house, to the Himalayan gardens with an enormous Buddha statue to the walled gardens that I’m sure Mr McGregor has dabbled in. Lots of varieties of plants and flowers flourish in these areas making it awash with colour. Outside the walled garden is a lovely grassed area with picnic benches on the edge of the lake, this is where you should enjoy your lunch.
Between the walled garden area and the animal section is a little ferry that takes you across the lake. Really cute thing to do so make sure you see everything as you are walking round so that you can get the ferry back.
On the other side of the main car park is a huge expanse of lawn where there are various events on depending on the season. In the woodland adjacent to this is a natural playground with willow tunnels.
The house itself also has exhibitions on across the floors but we are actually yet to take a look in there, we always seem to run out of time! There is a lovely café on site plus a few ice cream kiosks too.
If you want the most random, quirky, strange, unexplainable, mystery, funny, confusing, challenging, exciting day out then Forbidden Corner is the one! It’s very hard to actually explain what is there as it is such a mix match of things. On the website is says ‘a labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises’ which does sum it up especially the word surprise! Be prepared for what’s around every corner!
It’s a definitely a day out with a difference suited to all the family, working together to make the right decision and avoid the trickery.
So where better to spend time in the run up to Halloween than here! Open daily til the end of half term for spooky goings on. Make sure you pack your big girl pants as you’re going to need them!