Days Out Ripon and Nidderdale

Museums, Attractions & Gardens



Featured Listing

National Trust Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden – Ripon

mumblerRipon-2 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.

mumblerRipon-5A winter visit is a must! From late November through December the abbey (pictured above) and trees are beautifully lit and many child-friendly activities are offered.

Location: Fountains, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY

Cost: Free with National Trust membership (non-members, Family: £29.50, Child: £5.90 Adult: £11.80)

Word of caution: if you’re visiting the deer park during rutting season (usually October – November) keep to the footpaths with children and keep dogs on a short lead as the stags mumblerRipon-6can be especially dangerous if approached at this time.

Click here to visit the website.

Featured Listing

Ripon Museums

Featured Listing

Ripon Spa Gardens

Spa Gardens is a beautiful park right in the heart of Ripon.  It’s been recognised for its high-quality maintenance and facilities and has been awarded Green Flag status.

In the centre of the park is a splendid Victorian bandstand, where band concerts take place on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer. For birdwatchers, carefully sited nesting boxes have encouraged many varieties to make a home in the gardens. There’s also a cafe serving home cooked food and cakes, and you can enjoy a round of crazy golf or try playing bowls.

Tree sculpture

The newest addition to Spa Gardens is a series of tree sculptures depicting characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Carroll spent time as choirboy at Ripon Cathedral and is said to have been inspired to create the characters by the cathedral’s animal carvings.

“Chainsaw Mick” was commissioned to create the carvings using the trunks of a cypress tree. As well as a very lifelike Alice, these garden sculptures include the Caterpillar, Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit.


In 2011, the Friends of Spa Gardens worked with us to secure funding for the restoration of the war memorial and the Marquess of Ripon statue.

The war memorial, at the entrance to Spa Gardens, has been named the best war memorial in the town class several times in the Yorkshire in Bloom awards.

Facilities include:

  • Sun Parlour café
  • Victorian bandstand
  • band concerts – Sunday afternoons from May to August
  • statue of the Marquess of Ripon
  • war memorial
  • colourful seasonal bedding displays
  • toilets with disabled access
  • nine-hole crazy golf – more information about games in parks
  • 18-hole putting green
  • flat bowling green
  • three tennis courts in Spa Park
  • tree trail and quiz
  • Green Man trail – more than 30 Green Man plaques are hidden among trees and flowerbeds in the gardens. See how many you can find and record them on the trail sheet
  • refurbished play area in Spa Park

Click here to read more.

Fountains Abbey: Parent Recommendation

Fountains Abbey is a definite favourite for our 5 year old daughter. She loves to explore the ruins, especially what she calls the ‘Princess Tower’ through the tunnel. It’s a really great place to let her imagination shine. She especially likes the hands on experience of grinding wheat to make flour in the old mill and she loves to ring the bell. There is a now a new addition of a great obstacle course and zip slide which can keep our daughter entertained for a very long time. If we’re feeling energetic, we like to walk right through to the deer park at the other side and if she’s wearing her wellies she enjoys wading through the fords under the mini bridges.”

Ali ~ with kids aged 5 and 1

Aldborough Roman Fort

Located 1 mile from car park in centre of Boroughbridge.

Aldborough was the ‘capital’ of the Romanised Brigantes, the largest tribe in Britain at that time. One corner of these Yorkshire defences is laid out amid a Victorian arboretum, and two mosaic pavements can be viewed in their original positions. The site’s fascinating museum has an outstanding collection of Roman finds.

Don’t Miss

  • The on-site museum and uncover 1,800 years of history
  • The two fantastic Roman mosaics
  • Roman and post Roman archaeological finds
  • A section of the original town wall

For more details on opening times and cost visit the website.

Bolton Abbey

Things to do/see: Walk the beautiful grounds, enjoy a picnic on the banks of the river, attempt the famous stepping stones in front of the abbey, explore the Welly Walk (which runs through the summer months and into autumn). It might be a good idea to dress the kids in old clothes as the Welly Walk can get a bit muddy especially through the tunnels section! You can relax at the end of a day of exploring in one of the local tearooms.

Location: Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6EX

Opening Times: Open every day at 9pm

Cost: £10 per car in the car park

01756 718 009

Bolton Abbey: Parent Recommendation

“We loved walking here, even in the rain! We managed to scramble down to the waterfall (follow signs for The Valley of Desolation) which the kids loved. They also have fun scrambling around in the tunnels and on the Welly Walk sections. We warmed up in the tearoom after our walk with a huge hot chocolate! I highly recommend a trip here. Be warned if you have a pushchair though that you might have difficulty getting up some of the hills with it. There are flat areas to walk.”

Alyson, with children aged 8 and 5

Days Of Adventure At Camp Hill

The Woodland Kingdom is open on 10am-5pm weekends and school holidays until November at Camp Hill Estate, Kirklington, Bedale, North Yorkshire, DL8 2LS

Fun family days out in our adventure park with Quad Biking, Segways and Footgolf. Enjoy a Picnic in our Woodland Kingdom with slides, swings, assault course, treehouse fort and more! £5 per car and then £15 per car from 27th May. Free entry to the Woodland Kingdom with pre-booked activities.

Contact Emma on 01845 567788

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

Things to do/see: Ride a steam train!! Well-behaved dogs allowed (though not on seats). Whole ride takes about 1hr. With a wait at the station you travel to about 15-20 mins long included in this time. 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

Opening Times: Trains run every Sunday throughout the year, most Saturdays and up to 5 days a week in the summer.

Cost: Family (2+2) £25, Adults £10, Concessions £9, Children (3-15 years) £5, Children (0-2 years) free of charge, Platform tickets £1.

01756 710614

Harlow Carr: Parent Recommendation

Harlow Carr is one of our favourite places to visit. The Logness Monster Slide and Tree House are always very entertaining for our 5 year old. We always find time to have a treat from the Betty’s kiosk in the gardens too. There are usually little activity trail maps for the children too. There is also an Easter Lindt Gold Bunny hunt. The gift shop has a lovely range of great books, presents and a small selection of toys to treat yourselves”

Claire ~ with kids aged 5 and 6 months

Jervaulx Abbey

Things to do/see: In the Spring and Summer months there are wild flowers galore surrounding the abbey ruins. Tearooms (delicious cakes here!!) and a small caravan site,

Location: Park House, Jervaulx, Ripon HG4 4PH

Opening Times: Abbey – Dusk to Dawn year round Tea Rooms – February – November 10am – 4.30pm

Cost: Honesty box system at entrance

01677 460391


Newby Hall and Gardens

Things to do/see: Adventure playground!! (This is a great place for the kids and includes a water play area and pedalo boats), gardens, house, miniature steam railway (for an additional charge), teddy bear and dolls house exhibitions.

Location: Newby Hall & Gardens, Ripon, HG4 5AE (SAT NAV HG4 5AJ).

Opening times: Gates open at – 11am, last admission – 5pm, garden cleared – 5.30pm. Reopens for the 2018 season: 30th March

Cost: Family ticket (2 adults 2 children) for house and gardens £57


Nidderdale Museum

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.

Location: The Old Workhouse, King Street, Pateley Bridge, HG3 5AT

Opening Hours: Open daily 1.30 – 4.30. 25th March to 31st October  and Saturday and Sunday Nov 1st to Easter 1.30 – 4.30

Cost: £2 for adults. Concessions are £1. Accompanied children free of charge.


Skipton Castle

Things to do/see: Well preserved castle (not in ruins) to explore. Tickets come with tour sheet to guide you around and provide information along the way. Plus tearooms, gift shop, picnic area.

Location: Skipton Castle, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 1AW

Opening Times: Daily 10am (Sundays 11am) Last admission 5pm (October – March 4pm) Closed 23-25th December

Cost: Adults – £7.80, Over 60s – £6.80 Children 5-18 £4.90 Under 5s – FREE


Swinton Park Birds of Prey Centre

Swinton Park Birds of Prey Centre offers a wide range of falconry experiences for families, groups and individuals.

Open to both hotel guests and non-residents.

Swinton, Masham, Ripon , North Yorkshire, HG4 4JN
Call for details on booking: 01765 680900

Thorp Perrow Arboretum

Beautiful gardens with nature trails, a children’s trail, a large lake, picnic area and children’s play area. Includes bird of prey centre.

Opening Times

November weekdays: 10am – 3pm November weekends: 10am – 4pm

December weekedays: 10am – 3pm December weekends: 9.45am – 4.30pm

Closed Christmas Day. Check website for holiday details.

January weekdays: 10am – 3pm January weekends: 10am – 4pm

From February 10th onwards: 10am to 5pm

COST: R.H.S. Members (Free With Card with *, except on Special Event Days)
January, February, July, September and December Only. Arboretum and Bird of Prey Centre:

Child (4-16)
Family (2 + 2)
Family (2 + 3)