Ripon, Nidderdale and the surrounding areas in beautiful North Yorkshire offer lots of fun and exciting things to do with the kids. From National Trust properties to museums, gardens to roam and castles to explore, from train rides to adventure playgrounds, countryside walks and underground adventures we’ve got twenty one of the best places to visit with the kids listed here.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal
The abbey ruins are laid out in a grassy bowl – perfect for kids to run around in or roll down the hill into! There are small rooms to explore and a stream flows past on one side. Fountains Mill is a hands-on museum where you can try your hand at milling and see what life was like on the site many years ago. There are beautiful water gardens, follies, woodland to explore and a visit to the deer park is highly recommended. The new playground is fantastic! Built from timber it is much bigger and more beautiful than the last playground there with a zip wire, rope nets, bridges and climbing walls. After all that you definitely deserve a visit the cafe for a cup of tea! Check the website before going to see if there are any additional activities on offer such as den building or sewing and knitting.
Location: Fountains, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY
Things to do/see: In the Spring and Summer months there are hundreds of beautiful wild flowers surrounding the abbey ruins well worth a visit to see these alone. They also have tearooms on site that provide a wonderful afternoon tea.
Location: Park House, Jervaulx, Ripon HG4 4PH
Things to do/see: Beautiful ancient woodlands with a water feature (gravity-fed fountain that spouts water about every 20 mins), ruined follies to play in and around, waterfalls, numerous footpaths, small beach along the river – great for picnics.
Location: Hackfall is at the Masham end of the village of Grewelthorpe. Nearest postcode to car park HG4 3DE
Things to do/see: Explore this well preserved castle. Tickets come with tour sheet to guide you around and provide information along the way and there are also tearooms, gift shop, picnic area.
Location: Skipton Castle, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 1AW
Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
Things to do/see: Ride a steam train! The whole ride including the wait at the stations takes about 1hr. If you purchase a ‘day rover’ ticket you can get off the train to explore the area around the station and get another train back. The Abbey is a 1.5 mile walk from the train station.
Location: Bolton Abbey Station, Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6AF
Newby Hall and Gardens
Things to do/see: There is a wonderful adventure playground here! It is a great place for the kids and includes a water play area and pedalo boats. If you can drag them away from the playground there are also gardens and the house to explore as well as a miniature steam railway (for an additional charge). Newby Hall opens again for the 2017 1st April, so start planning your visit now!
Location: Newby Hall & Gardens, Ripon, HG4 5AE (SAT NAV HG4 5AJ).
All Three Ripon Museums
Things to do/see: There are 3 museums in the centre of Ripon offering fun, often interactive activities. These are the Workhouse Museum and Garden, Courthouse Museum and Prison and Police Museum. The museums are geared towards adults and children and there are chances for kids to dress up and try hands-on activities such as trying to build an photo-fit of a suspect (pictured).
- The Workhouse Museum, Sharow View, Allhallowgate, Ripon HG4 1LE
- Prison and Police Museum, St. Marygate, Ripon HG4 1LX
- Minster Road, Ripon HG4 1QS
Things to do/see: Local history exhibits, information and displays about life and work in the area through the ages. The interactive Victorian school classroom set up is a draw for children as they can sit at bench desks, draw on the chalk boards and sit in the teachers chair.
Location: The Old Workhouse, King Street, Pateley Bridge, HG3 5AT
Things to do/see: Beautiful rock formations offering the chance for lots of climbing, scrambling through tunnels and small caves, gorgeous views across Nidderdale. There is a visitor centre and refreshment kiosk selling ice creams, sausage rolls, sandwiches, tea/coffee, water, fizzy drinks etc.
Location: Summerbridge, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 4DW 11 miles from Harrogate off B6165, 4 miles from Pateley Bridge off B6265.
How Stean Gorge
Things to do/see: Explore underground caverns over winding pathways and narrow bridges on your own (don’t forget to bring a torch) or book an even more adventurous activity such as gorge walking (for ages 7 and above). Note: this activity includes abseiling and more than a little a dip in the river. There is also a cafe and a small campsite.
Location: Lofthouse, near Pateley Bridge, HG3 5SF
Studfold Adventure Trails
Things to do/see: Set in the beautiful Nidderdale countryside there is lots to do here. Including an adventure trail with fairy garden and giant spider web to climb on, clues to solve along the trail, interactive sculptures, giants chair you can also experience Victorian life in an old barn and much more. There is also a cafe and campsite at Studfold. The Studfold Adventure Trails open for the season 8th April 2017.
Location: Studfold, Lofthouse, HG3 5SG
Things to do/see: Walk from the car park up to the viewing platform through high walls and two winding passages. The walls are part of a sculpture created by Andrew Sabin. Views out over the working quarry and surrounding countryside are stunning. During work days you can often see trucks moving about. Perfect for any little truck lovers you might know!
Location: Greenhow Hill, nr Pateley Bridge, HG3 5JL. On the B6265 between Skipton and Pateley Bridge.
Stump Cross Caverns
Things to do/see: Visit a series of naturally formed caverns. The visitor centre provides information about the caves and the remains of past inhabitants – including a wolverine! Tea rooms, garden seating area and gift shop also on site.
Location: Stump Cross Caverns Yorkshire show cave. Greenhow Hill, Nr Pateley Bridge HG3 5JL
Nidd Falls and Scar House Reservoir
Things to do/see: The waterfalls here don’t actually have a name on the map but they are known locally as Nidd Falls. If you are heading to Scar House Reservoir as many people do, be sure to stop and see these beautiful falls along the way.
Location: nr Middlesmoor, HG3
Thorp Perrow Arboretum
Beautiful gardens with nature trails, a children’s trail, a large lake, picnic area and children’s play area. A great place to explore. Includes bird of prey centre.
Location: Bedale, DL8 2PS Talon Falconry Birds of Prey Centre
Talon Falconry Birds of Prey Centre
Things to do/see: Over 35 birds of prey, watch flying displays, have your photo taken holding one. Experience courses – learning how to fly the birds – are also offered for an additional cost. The centre also has snakes, ferrets, rabbits and rheas. Flying displays currently held at 2 and 4pm. Contact centre for more details.
Location: Talon Falconry (Lightwater Valley Falconry Centre), Ripon, North Stainley, HG4 3HT
Tree Top Nets
Things to do/see: Close to the Lightwater Valley theme park there are walk-ways and trampolines suspended between trees in beautiful woodland. Safely surrounded by netting creating tunnels and meaning no harnesses are required. There are also recently added bouldering walls (like low climbing walls) that are great for kids who want a taste of climbing. A fun and exciting day out!
Location: Lightwater Valley, Ripon, Yorkshire, HG4 3HT
Pateley Bridge Recreation Grounds
Things to do/see: Pateley Bridge recently won an award for the Great British High Street and it’s not hard to see why. The beautiful high street, just a minute from the recreation grounds, has all you need to cater for your day out including tea rooms and the world famous oldest sweet shop in England which is well worth a visit! The Recreation Grounds offer a great Children’s playground, public toilets, basketball court, plenty of grass space for picnics and to run around on as well as a bandstand, host to musical events throughout the summer.
Location: On the B265 between Bewerley and Pateley Bridge, HG3 5HQ.
Birchfield Ice Cream Farm
Things to see/do: Not only do Birchfield offer a variety of delicious ice creams but they also have lots of seasonal activities from pumpkin picking in October to Spring lambs in well, Spring. There are always different things to do and see here so it’s always fun to bring the kids to explore what’s new and experience your old favourites.
Location: Birchfield Farm, Summerbridge, HG3 4JS
For more details on all the places listed here see the Days Out section on the website.