10 of The Best Family-Friendly Attractions in Yorkshire

Looking for family-friendly attractions in Yorkshire?

With its rich history, fascinating cities, beautiful national parks and stunning coastline, Yorkshire is the holiday destination of choice for many. Of course, nature has provided a spectacular array of natural attractions that, weather permitting, make for fantastic days out. However, if you’re planning a trip to Yorkshire with children, you may be seeking things to do in the region that both adults and kids can enjoy in equal measure and will provide lasting memories of fun and togetherness. Luckily, there’s no shortage of award-winning museums, theme parks and quirky attractions in the county so you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to family days out.

To help you plan your Yorkshire itinerary and pinpoint some of the attractions most suited to your family’s needs and interests, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best family-friendly attractions in Yorkshire…

The Best Family-Friendly Attractions in Yorkshire…

Stockeld Park

The Adventure Park, Stockeld Park, Wetherby LS22 4AN

Stockeld Park is set in a 2,000-acre estate comprising parkland, farmland, a private Georgian mansion home and Yorkshire’s largest Christmas tree plantation. In 2013, imaginative adventure play areas, a go-kart track, large inflatable play and an indoor play area were added and the spectacular estate quickly became one of the most popular family-friendly attractions in Yorkshire.

Open to the public during school holidays only, it offers the ultimate family day out, whatever the weather. During the festive season, it also hosts one of the best Santa experiences in Yorkshire.

Explore the Enchanted Forest and discover various adventure play areas hidden in the ancient woodland, enjoy interactive and fun-filled shows at The Stockeld Theatre, take on The Magical Maze, take to the water in the Buccaneer Boats, rest your steering skills on the go-karts and then sit back and relax as the kids enjoy one of Europe’s largest and most original indoor play centres.

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The Forbidden Corner

The Forbidden Corner, Middleham, Leyburn DL8 4TJ

The Forbidden Corner near Leyburn was originally built as a private folly but opened to the public in 1994. The four-acre garden in the glorious Yorkshire Dales is a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and imagination igniting surprises at every twist and turn.

Numerous features have been added since the attraction first opened to the public so there’s plenty to see and discover plus a variety of puzzles to tackle. Allow a good couple of hours to explore this family-friendly attraction in Yorkshire and be sure to test every door and follow every path to ensure you don’t miss any of the hidden surprises! The Forbidden Corner is in a beautiful setting with stunning scenery and a significant percentage of the attraction is outdoors so this one is best enjoyed during fine weather. Kids will love the adventure playground and the whole family can have fun exploring the garden maze before resting and refueling at the onsite cafe.

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Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Hurst Lane, Auckley, Doncaster DN9 3QY

This is by far the best family-friendly attraction in Yorkshire for animal lovers! Built on a former riding school and small farm attraction, Yorkshire Wildlife Park now has over 400 animals with over 70 different species.

With a strong and inspiring mission to promote a wider understanding of the natural world and encourage more people to support and protect it, Yorkshire Wildlife Centre is so much more than somewhere to see animals. The team at this incredible centre for conservation and welfare have rescued numerous animals over the years including 13 lions that were residing in a dilapidated Romanian zoo and four brown bears that were confined to cramped cages at a Japanese museum.

During a day out at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, one can see and learn about the various animals that reside there in groundbreaking reserves and enjoy various educational and interactive animal experiences.

Adjacent to the wildlife park, there’s a recently opened free-admission shopping, dining and entertainment destination which is home to the utterly brilliant Evolution Experience Restaurant.

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Castle Howard

Castle Howard, York YO60 7DA

Castle Howard is one of the most magnificent stately homes in Yorkshire. Its construction began in 1699 but took over a century to complete. Even if you haven’t visited previously, the house and grounds of Castle Howard may seem somewhat familiar due to the stately home being used as a filming location for period dramas, movies and even music videos. Brideshead Revisited, Death Comes to Pemberley, Victoria and, more recently, the Netflix original series Bridgerton all used Castle Howard for filming.

Of course, the house itself with its beautiful architecture and opulent interiors makes for a wonderful day out in itself but if visiting as a family, there are other elements that make this one of the best family-friendly attractions in Yorkshire.

Embark on a nature hunt through the magical woodland paths and peruse the beautiful Walled Gardens before visiting the farm shop and a gift shop to acquire tasty local produce and Castle Howard souvenirs. For children, however, the fun really begins with a land train that runs through the grounds to a lakeside play area and adventure playground. Skelf Island Adventure Playground comprises various treetop nest structures linked by rope bridges, slides, nets and climbing equipment. Once you’ve seen all there is to see and sufficiently tired out the children, enjoy a relaxed picnic by the lake or dine at The Boathouse Kitchen for burgers, loading hotdogs and indulgent milkshakes.

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JORVIK Viking Centre

19 Coppergate, York YO1 9WT

Created by the York Archaeological Trust, JORVIK Viking Centre opened on York’s Coppergate in 1994. One of the most unique museums in Yorkshire, this family-friendly brings York’s Viking past to life through an impressive reconstructed village and a state-of-the-art gallery of Viking-age artefacts.

Unlike many reconstructed streets and villages found up and down the country, the Viking village at Jorvik Viking Centre is a ground-breaking visitor experience. The immersive ride experience takes visitors through the sights, sounds and smells of Viking-age York. On the 12-minute ride, visitors can gain an accurate insight into the lifestyles of those who resided in the city during the 10th Century, peeking inside their recreated homes and watching them partake in everyday activities.

This is one of the family-friendly attractions in Yorkshire which won’t take up more than a couple of hours so you’ll be left with plenty of time to explore York’s beautiful city centre.

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The Deep

family-friendly attractions in Yorkshire
IMAGE: The Deep

Tower Street, Hull HU1 4DP

Housed in a dramatic building designed by world-class architects and overlooking the Humber estuary, The Deep is one of the world’s most spectacular aquariums. It has rather deservingly won numerous tourism awards over the years and in its first year alone, welcomed more than 850,000 visitors.

By exploring the eight unique animal zones at The Deep, you will discover a vast array of animals and learn about their natural habitats. A truly immersive experience that will delight visitors of all ages, The Deep is home to jellyfish, turtles, sharks, penguins and more.

This must-visit Yorkshire attraction operates as an education and conservation charity and through partnerships with various bodies and organisations, is working to make a positive impact in the vital conservation of the world’s oceans. So, in addition to enjoying a thoroughly brilliant family day out, you can leave knowing that your ticket money is going to help protect the futures of the hundreds of species you encountered during your visit.

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Cannon Hall Farm

Bark House Lane, Cawthorne, Barnsley S75 4AT

Another excellent day out for animal lovers is the fantastic Cannon Hall Farm. This large family-run Yorkshire farm attraction near Barnsley is home to hundreds of animals and reptiles including alpacas, ponies, goats, sheep and a beautiful llama named Victor who has resided on the farm since it opened to the public in 1989.

In addition to the many, many animal encounters on offer, Cannon Hall Farm has an outdoor adventure playground and a a fun indoor play centre. Once you’ve met all the colourful characters, learned about their differing needs and personalities then made use of both play areas, there are still things to do!

The White Bull is Cannon Hall Farm’s flagship restaurant and serves a variety of hot and cold meals plus a wonderful Yorkshire afternoon tea. If you’re taking your four-legged family members with you, then a visit to the attraction’s dog-friendly cafe is a must!

Of course, no good day out would be complete without a spot of retail therapy and Cannon Hall Farm boasts a toy shop and one of the best farm shops in Yorkshire.

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National Railway Museum

Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ

One of the most visited and by far one of the best museums in Yorkshire is the National Railway Museum in York. As it’s part of the Science Museum Group, entry is free, making it one of the most affordable family-friendly attractions in Yorkshire.

The National Railway, as one would imagine, tells the story of the railway in Britain and its impact on society through various displays and collections. Regardless of whether or not you have a passion for locomotives, this free attraction is well worth a visit. The huge museum houses some truly iconic locomotives such as the Japanese Bullet Train and the world’s fastest steam locomotive, Mallard.

The museum houses a lovely little cafe serving meals, snacks and drinks but there are also benches scattered around should you prefer to take a packed lunch with you to consume during your visit. End your educational journey with a visit to the gift shop where you’ll find all kinds of locomotive-themed trinkets and treasures.

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Harewood House

Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds LS17 9LG

Some of the finest craftsmen of the 18th Century had a hand in creating Edwin Lascelles’ beautiful county house in Leeds, including York-born architect John Carr and England’s greatest furniture maker, Thomas Chippendale. Now one of the Treasure Houses of England, this magnificent period property is open to the public and offers a truly splendid day out.

Inside, Harewood House is an opulently decorated treasure trove of historic trinkets, treasures and art collections. During a tour of the incredible country house, you can peruse a plethora of elegant staterooms including the breathtakingly beautiful State Bedroom which welcomed a young Queen Victoria in 1835 and three fascinating libraries, which between them house more than 11,000 books.

Outside, Harewood House also has plenty for visitors of all ages to explore. There are over 100 acres of gardens filled with plants from all around the world plus a cafe, ice cream kiosk, picnic areas and an excellent adventure playground. There’s a great farm experience too, allowing visitors the opportunity to meet various animals such as pot-bellied pigs and giant rabbits.

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Mother Shipton’s Cave

Prophecy House, Harrogate Road, High Bridge, Knaresborough HG5 8DD

The birthplace of England’s most famous prophetess, Mother Shipton’s Cave, is a visitor attraction like no other! Hidden in the forest at Knaresborough, this tranquil and captivating site combines natural beauty, 500 years of history and legendary tales of the supernatural to provide a memorable family day out.

Enjoy a scenic mile-long walk through the forest during which you will come across the very cave where Mother Shipton was born. The highlight, however, is of course The Petrifying Well which turns everyday objects into stone as if it were enchanted by Mother Shipton herself. Small teddy bears take just a few months to transform entirely and many are displayed at the site’s museum. They are also available to purchase at the gift shop so you can acquire a lasting and unique reminder of your magical day.

There’s an adventure playground at Mother Shipton’s Cave too, so little ones can enjoy some play time before you enjoy lunch with a view at one of the picturesque picnic areas. Dogs are welcome in all areas except for the playground.

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As with all our articles of this nature, we’ll be adding to this list as and when we discover, visit or are introduced to other businesses and attractions. To recommend your favourite family-friendly attractions in Yorkshire or to discuss advertising opportunities, please email business@theyorkshirepress.co.uk

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