Top 10 things to do with kids in Harrogate
Top 10 things to do with kids in Harrogate!
Known for its healing spa water and award-winning flowers, Harrogate is also a very child-friendly place to visit. Located on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales, the town has an abundance of activity to offer to kids of all ages. Here’s our top 10 things to do with kids in Harrogate:
1. The Stray
Not every town can offer 200 acres of open green space – all free to use for picnics, sports and letting off steam. Wrapping around the majority of the town, The Stray is protected by law and whichever way you walk, you aren’t far from shops, toilets and public transport. This has got to be one of the best things to do with kids in Harrogate!
A 17-acre council park, with an extensive playground, cafe and ice cream shop. Crazy golf and tennis can also be hired by the hour. Weekends usually bring some form of payable bouncy castle. The Valley Gardens runs alongside The Pinewoods – a small woodland on a gentle slope that is home to several themed activities throughout the year.
Membership of RHS isn’t compulsory for these beautiful and inspiring gardens – you can pay on the door. There is an extensive children’s activity programme that runs throughout the year and it’s not all weather dependent. Pop into Harlow Carr’s Betty’s for a famous Fat Rascal (a large, mixed fruit scone)
Not a place for pushchairs, but active older kids will love this natural rock form formation. Offering spectacular views over Nidderdale, the boulder-shaped rocks are great for some (carefully supervised) climbing. The rocks are local hotspot for watching sunsets.
England’s older visitor attraction has been open since 1630. Home to the famous prophetess Mother Shipton, the cave is located in Knaresborough, a short drive or bus ride from Harrogate. Kids (and adults) will be fascinated by the petrifying well, in which objects are slowly turned into stone. On the park, there’s also an adventure playground a museum and a wishing well.
6. Birchfield Ice Cream Farm
A 15-minute drive out towards Pateley Bridge will bring you down a steep dusty track to Birchfield Ice Cream Farm. A longstanding family favourite, the farm has events throughout the seasons, including the late summer ‘Maize Maze’. There’s a great number of farm animals to see, plus outdoor toys for the kids and a cafe with delicious Birchfield ice cream.
7. Harewood House
Between Harrogate and Leeds (and on a well-served bus route), Harewood House one of the Treasure Houses of England and sits on 100 acres of exquisite gardens.
The house is home to a colony of Humboldt penguins, with daily feeding sessions (March-Oct) that can be booked via the website. There’s also an open air cinema, regular talks and guided walks.
A short drive out of town is this Grade I listed building, with a 100-acre park that runs a seasonal ‘Adventure’ programme. The Adventures are elaborate and therefore popular, so early booking is advised. The park has indoor play and craft areas, plus a gift shop and cafe.
9. Fewston and Swinsty Reservoir
Eight miles out towards Skipton, this is a favourite for locals to go walking, when the weather permits, Fewston and Swinsty reservoir is a gorgeous place to picnic, feed ducks and enjoy a low-level walk in natural surroundings. There’s a toilet block in the car park, picnic benches and the Washburn Valley Tea Room is open for a few hours at weekends (check website for times)
10. Ripley Castle and Estate
On the outskirts of Harrogate is picturesque Ripley Village, home to Ripley Castle and Estate. The estate is over 700 years old and has always been owned by the Ingilby family. As well as the ground’s tea rooms, Ripley Village has a shop selling hot and cold snacks, as well as traditional Ripley ice cream.
This ‘Top 10 things to do with kids in Harrogate’ guide was kindly contributed by Gill Bruce.
Gill Bruce is a freelance writer and marketer, based in Harrogate. With two children under five, Gill is usually found in one of the area’s many child-friendly places. Gill runs a local lifestyle blog, North&Soul