The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire

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 from other bloggers too. Let me know if you have any to add to the list.

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire



The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - Whitby 


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 (I recommend the Magpie Cafe or Trenchers) 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 - Scarborough 


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.

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

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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.

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire - The Fairy Garden, Filey 


The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire  - Fairy Garden Filey

The Fairy Garden is a little bit of a hidden gem near Filey. Hidden on a campsite, you'll find a magical garden filled with fairies and serving up delicious cakes, snacks and drinks. We loved our visit to The Fairy Garden a few years ago. The Fairy Garden is not always open so please check their Facebook page before visiting. It's a lovely place to stop for a drink with kids before venturing into Filey (which has a lovely beach and gardens). 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire - 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'll be using our Merlin Annual Pass to visit York Dungeons at some point this year so look out for a review soon. Harry visited with school a few years ago and loved it. Check out this post by Yorkshire Wonders if you fancy it. 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 - Harrogate 


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. 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire - 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.  

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire - Flamingoland 


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. Harry visited with school last year and has been asking to return ever since. 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 


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. 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire - 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.

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire - 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. 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire - 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. 

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire - 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. 


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


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

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The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire




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4 comments

  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!

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

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  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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