25 Family Days Out in North Yorkshire

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We love North Yorkshire and I reckon I've probably visited over 100 times throughout my life. It's not too far from where we live in Northumberland so achievable as a day trip yet it feels far enough away to be an adventure and full day out. In this post, 

I've put together some of our favourite days out in North Yorkshire over the years and added a few recommendations at the bottom of this post from other bloggers too. Let me know if you have any to add to the list.

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire

Please don't get mad at me if one of these places don't fall into where you would class to be North Yorkshire. I have gone with official addresses as per google - if North Yorkshire is mentioned, they're in.

25+ Family Days Out in North Yorkshire 

Looking for a day out in North Yorkshire this year? Here are some of my top recommendations all tried and tested by ourselves. Ideal for a day trip, as somewhere to stop off when driving South or to visit when on holiday in the area. 

There may well be more than 25 days out here now as I add to the list when we visit new places. 
  • Whitby 🐶
  • Scarborough 🐶
  • York 🐶
  • Harrogate 🐶
  • Lightwater Valley 
  • Flamingoland 🐶
  • Richmond 🐶
  • Fountains Abbey🐶
  • Dalby Forest 🐶
  • Deer Shed Festival 
  • Danby Lodge Visitor Centre 🐶
  • The Gaming Hideaway 
  • The Jack and Jill at Scaling Dam 🐶
  • Spilmans Farm 
  • Saltburn-by-the-Sea 🐶
  • Eden Camp 🐶
  • North York Moors Railway 🐶
  • Ryedale Folk Museum 🐶
  • Redcar 🐶
  • Mother Shiptons Cave 🐶
  • Roseberry Topping 🐶
  • York Maze 🐶
  • Kirkleatham 🐶
  • Ormesby Hall 🐶
  • Falling Foss Tea Garden 🐶
  • RSPB Saltholme 
  • Dorman Museum 
  • Brimham Rocks 🐶

Cheap Places to Stay in North Yorkshire 


The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - Whitby

Whitby is one of our favourite family days out in North Yorkshire - there's enough to fill a full day here including cheap boat trips, the chance to go crabbing, a lovely sandy beach and pier to walk along, small arcades and a couple of fairground rides in the summer and of course fish and chips and ice cream. 

If you cross the bridge into town you can browse the quaint independent shops and then climb the 199 steps to the world-famous Whitby Abbey. The views from the top are just incredible. You can read more about what there is to do in Whitby with kids here. 


The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - North Bay Water Chute

Scarborough is my all-time favourite place to visit in North Yorkshire. I used to visit a lot as a child so it holds lots of nostalgia for me. The North Bay (or 'quiet end' is my favourite with loads to do for families

We like to start with a walk around Peasholm Park to see the squirrels, catch the mini train to the Sealife Centre, go rock-pooling at Scalby Mills, ride the vintage water chute or simply chill out on the beach and take a donkey ride. There's also the huge Alpamare heated waterpark which although expensive, receives rave reviews. 

A few years ago, we completed a treasure trail around North Bay which took us right up to Scarborough Castle and down to the Sealife Centre - highly recommended if you're new to the town.

If you'd like to stay in Scarborough, Primrose Valley is a Haven site with a waterpark worth considering. 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - Scarborough Beach

You can walk, drive or catch the seafront open-top bus to the 'busy end' of Scarborough where you'll find lots of busy amusement arcades, boat trips, a fairground, donkey rides, gift shops, a shopping centre, family pubs and karaoke and lots more traditional seaside fun. 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - Peasholm Park Lake Scarborough

If you're looking for somewhere to stay near Scarborough, I highly recommend Meadowside Cottage which is just outside of the town centre. If you're looking for lots of facilities and have younger kids, check out Haven's Primrose Valley, Blue Dolphin or Reighton Sands

You can camp at Blue Dolphin and Reighton Sands which works out pretty cheaply. If you would like to stay in the town centre, we absolutely love the Sands Apartments overlooking the beach at North Bay. Fantastic facilities and gorgeous views! 

If you're on more of a budget, Premier Inn Scarborough is our go-to choice. It's right in the town centre by the funicular and we've never had a bad stay there (I'd avoid the Travelodge as I've heard a few horror stories from the one in Scarborough). Finally, if you're looking for a glamping spot, I highly rate the Ready Camp tents at camping and caravanning club Scarborough - they're fab and come with everything you need.

A Day in York 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - York Railway Museum

York Railway Museum is a FREE family day out in North Yorkshire and 100% worth a trip. The museum is huge with lots of hands on activities and fun. Kids can climb aboard trains, walk under them, discover how they work, learn about their history and more. Check out our review from a few years ago here. I'd recommend taking a picnic.

York centre is just a short walk from the train station and there's lots to keep families occupied. York Chocolate Story is always a hit and how about Jorvik Viking Museum or Jorvik Dig (you can buy a combined ticket). 

We used our Merlin Annual Pass to visit York Dungeons recently and actually think they were our favourite dungeons - so much fun. 

Finally, we love visiting Bettys for cake and a cup of tea, checking out the fantastic Shambles and enjoying a river cruise along the river Ouse - there really is so much to do here. York is even more magical around Christmas time and is a wonderful place to visit in December. 


The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire - Harroagate

Harrogate is a beautiful market town which is perfect for a potter. There are lots of cute little restaurants, bistros and independent shops but the main selling point for us is the wonderful Valley Gardens Play Area which has so much going on including paddling pools, mini golf, play equipment, garden walks, orienteering, boating lakes, a skate park and more. 

You could easily spend a full day here. Beningbrough Hall is a lovely National Trust property near Harrogate and also worth a visit. 

Lightwater Valley 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - Lightwater Valley

Lightwater Valley was our go-to place to visit when the kids were younger and I think it's an ideal 'first' theme park and perfect for under 8s. 

It doesn't feel too big, there are lots of smaller rides and the queues are never too bad at all. I particularly recommend visiting Frightwater Valley over Halloween and we've always really enjoyed their fireworks events which offer fantastic value.  


Flamingoland is somewhere I used to visit every year as a child. Our street would club together and organise a bus trip there every summer. Happy days indeed. 

I haven't been in years but I know lots of you recommend it. The kids have all visited over the past few years and love it. Check out this review by Nomipalony to give you an idea of what to expect and if you're looking for somewhere to stay near Flamingoland, this is the post for you. 


The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire - Richmond

I'll be honest, Richmond isn't the first place I'd think to take the kids but we loved our trip a few years ago and can't recommend enough. Richmond is a beautiful market town with fabulous architecture and family walks, quaint cafes and shops and it's very own castle too. You can find out more about what there is to do with kids in Richmond here. 

Fountains Abbey 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey is a National Trust property near Ripon. It's HUGE and a gorgeous place to spend the day. You can enjoy family walks, try and spot deer in the deer park, play amongst the ruins, enjoy the beautiful scenery and play in the play park too. Read more about our visit last year here.

Dalby Forest 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - Dalby Forest

It's expensive to park at Dalby Forest but the kind of place you can easily spend all day. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Dalby Forest earlier this year and only just scratched the surface when it comes to things to do there. 

You can enjoy one of the many family walks, hire bikes and cycle through the forest, try the ZOG trail, play in the huge play park, paddle in the stream, stop for a coffee at the cafe and more. Dalby Forest also has it's very own Go Ape Course for those who are feeling extra adventurous.

Deershed Festival, Thirsk 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - Deershed Festival

If there's one festival you should take your tweens to in the North, it has to be Deershed. We had the best time last year and had such a varied weekend doing things like laughing at comedians in the comedy tent, riding fairground rides, taking dogs for walks, playing sports, dancing the night away at the main stage, crafting and trying science experiments and chilling out listening to acoustic sets. Read our full review here. 

Danby Lodge Visitor Centre 

Danby Lodge Dragon Sculpture

Danby Lodge Visitor Centre is a fantastic place to visit in the North York Moors National Park. It's FREE entry and there are sculptures, woodland/wildlife walks, an adventure playground, picnic tables, mud kitchen area, star/cloud gazing area, trails, a cafe, indoor exhibition and even a free indoor climbing wall.

We love it there! Check out our video from a visit in 2022 here. 

The Gaming Hideaway 

The Gaming Hideaway, Thornaby

We absolutely loved our afternoon at The Gaming Hideaway in Thornaby. It's a high-tech gaming lounge where you pay a set price for unlimited gaming and receive tokens to spend on their ultra cool VR machines.

Non-playing parents don't need to pay and can chill in the on-site cafe or over 8s can be left with consent. Find out more here. 

The Jack and Jill at Scaling Dam

The Jack and Jill at Scaling Dam Playground

This is such a cute place and I would say worth a drive out on it's own for a relaxed meal or as a stop off when driving South. There is a large tea room with beautiful reservoir views and homecooked food and cakes, an outdoor playground, table tennis and crazy golf. Find out more here. 

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25 Family Days Out in North Yorkshire

Spilmans Farm 

Spilman Farm Pumpkin Patch in Thirsk

Spilmans Farm near Thirsk run several special events across the year including Lambing Live in February Half Term and Pumpkin Picking in October. We always have the best time when visiting and highly recommend checking out their website to keep an eye on upcoming events. 


Mini Train at Saltburn by the Sea

Saltburn-by-the-Sea is such a cute place for a day trip with lots to fill a full day. There are parks, a pier, seaside fun, beach huts, crazy golf, beautiful cafes and restaurants and more. We loved exploring the area during our stay with Saltburn Holiday Lets and you can see what we got up to here. 

Eden Camp 

Eden Camp

Eden Camp is located on a former Prisoner of War Camp and features 30+ different 'huts' which all cover a different aspect of war. This could be women's roles, a re-enactment of the Blitz, food during the more or military vehicles.

A vast amount of information is covered but it's easy to break the day up with traditional games and photo opportunities and a 'military camp' style playground. The museum is dog friendly throughout. Read our full guide to visiting here. 

North York Moors Railway 

Goathland Station with North York Moors Railway

North York Moors Railway is a lovely relaxing day out (dog friendly too) and somewhere we visited during a weekend in Pickering. I loved stopping at Goathland for hot chocolates - it's one of the Harry Potter Film locations and very picturesque. 

Ryedale Folk Museum 

Ryedale Folk Museum

Ryedale Folk Museum is located in a chocolate box village (there is literally a chocolate shop there) and a nice alternative day out. There are many historical buildings spanning a huge timescale (from Saxons up to present day) and lots of points of interest. 

Personal highlights for me were the witch's hut, the apple orchard, the rarebreed farm animals and the traditional games/school house. The museum is fully dog friendly too. Find out more here. 


Lemon Top from Pacittos in Redcar

Obviously any trip to Redcar has to start with a Lemon Top from Pacittos. There is lots of fun to be had in Redcar including a beautiful beach and seaside walks, amusement arcades, Planet Kidz Soft Play, Gabriellas Ice Cream Parlour, Locke Park and the Redcar Beacon. 

Mother Shipton's Cave

Mother Shiptons Cave Storybook

I was kind of worried that this attraction might just be for younger kids but honestly, visiting as an adult with older kids (+dog), I found it to be so magical. We visited during a weekend break near Knaresbrough.

Mother Shipton's Cave is best described as a magical woodland walk based around fairytales. Very sweet! Check out my video of their magic wishing tree here and a video of the petrifying waterfall/well here. 


Roseberry Topping 

The summit of Roseberry Topping

Whenever we pass Roseberry Topping I always feel so chuffed that we climbed it. It's a good entry-level hill to climb with kids and the views are just epic. You can read my full guide to climbing Roseberry Topping here. 

Hallowtween at York Maze 

York Maze during the day is a lovely day out which receives rave reviews but I wanted to share their Hallowteen event which takes place in October and is the only dedicated Halloween event for families with kids aged 10-15.

We loved it so much and it was just the right level of scariness. You can read our review of Hallowtween at York Maze here.


Kirkleatham Owl Centre

There's lots going on at Kirkleatham and it's the kind of place you can spend a full day. Attractions include Kirkleatham Owl Centre, Kirkleatham Walled Garden, Kirkleatham Museum and a playground too. Read our guide to visiting here. 

Ormesby Hall 

Ormesby Hall Outdoor Seating

Ormesby Hall is a gem of a National Trust site and one you should definitely consider visiting, especially during school holidays when they run lots of fun family activities. 

There is a walled garden, woodland walk, nature viewing area, lovely cafe, house, natural adventure playground and second hand bookshop. Find out more here. 

RSPB Saltholme 

RSPB Saltholme Mad Hatters Table

RSPB Saltholme is the cutest nature reserve with welly splash areas, a fab playground, wildlife hides and activities and trails for children. It's a lovely place for a walk. Find out more here. 

Falling Foss Tea Garden

Falling Foss Tea Garden Seating Area

Falling Foss is the cutest little tea garden just outside of Whitby. Expect delicious food and drinks, a stunning waterfall and riverside walks. Dog friendly too. Find out more here. 

The Dorman Museum 

Dinosaur at The Dorman Museum

This museum is free to visit and perfect for a rainy day in North Yorkshire. There are lots of varied exhibits and artefacts mostly showcasing the history of Middlesbrough.

Expect everything from dinosaurs and fossils to a Victorian Style Tea Room. Plenty of hands on fun for kids, museum trails and school holiday activities too. Find out more here. 

Forbidden Corner 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - Forbidden Corner
Credit - This Mummy Rocks

Forbidden Corner is somewhere that has been on my bucket list for years. I'm a little scared to visit if I'm honest but everyone who has gives it rave reviews. 

Perhaps this year will be the year? Tickets must be pre-booked in advance and your adventure will take you around a secret garden with lots of hidden surprises. Prepare to get lost and maybe a little wet! Check out these reviews by This Mummy Rocks and Yorkshire Wonders to give you an idea of what to expect.

Brimham Rocks 

  • Free to visit with no booking required 

  • Perfect for kids and adults who love adventure and climbing 

  • Dogs on short leads welcome 

  • Toilets (including accessible toilets) and kiosk selling takeaway drinks and snacks 

  • Explore weird and wonderful rock formations which were formed over 100 million years ago (before dinosaurs walked the earth)

  • Permanent orienteering route available - ask at the visitor centre 

  • 19 weird and wonderful main rock formations to see including 'dancing bear' and 'smartie tube'

  • Various walks to try including a 1.3 mile easy circular route or a 3.5 mile circular boundary route (see here for maps or collect one from the visitor centre on arrival)

  • There is an accessible route to see the main rocks but there are some steep gradients to be aware of. Mobility scooter hire is available 

  • 80 miles South of Newcastle (near Harrogate) 

  • FREE parking for National Trust Members (otherwise parking charges apply). I recommend checking the National Trust App on busy days (as the car park can fill up)

  • Postcode HG4 3DW (then follow the signs) 

  • We recommend packing a picnic - there are lots of picnic tables / scenic spots to stop for a picnic

New Website Features 

I'm really excited to share some new FREE features which have been added to my website recently. To access them, click the share button / heart in the bottom corner of this post. 

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There will also be a prompt to sign up to my new monthly newsletter which will focus on key ideas for this to do in the upcoming school holidays. I really hope you sign up and make the most of these features. 

If you're looking for somewhere to camp in North Yorkshire, click here > Top 10 Places to Camp in the North East and North Yorkshire

The Rest of Yorkshire 

Here are some lovely places to visit in East/West/South Yorkshire: 

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Where's your favourite family day out in North Yorkshire? 

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The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire



  1. LOVE North Yorkshire, my Grandma was born there and she was always a very fiercely proud Yorkshire Lass - she used to teach us all the sayings and phrases when we were little, I think now she's gone that makes it even more special to me! Love that there's so much to do there and it's so beautiful - we're really hoping to explore more this Summer!

  2. Forbidden corner is amazing! One of the best hidden gems for kids in my opinion x

  3. I was born in Harrogate and lived in North Yorkshire until the age of six (for a very short time really) but my dad was the head gardener for the National Trust and so Fountains Abbey, Nunnington Hall and Rievaulx Terrace are my happy places with lots of lovely memories. I love going back and visiting them all! X


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