Climbing Roseberry Topping with Kids

This post was published in 2019. 

Steve and I are both overweight and definitely not the fittest of people but we try not to let that get in the way of our adventures and really enjoy exploring the great outdoors with the kids. 

A few weeks ago, our sense of adventure took us to Newton-Under-Roseberry and the Tees Valley and if you followed our weekend on Social Media, you'll know we packed loads in.

 I was really impressed with just how much this area has to offer adventure-loving families and if you like to keep active with the kids in tow, I'd recommend planning a similar trip.

You can watch highlights from our trip over on my Instagram stories here. 

Where We Stayed : The King's Head Inn, Newton-Under-Roseberry

The King's Head Inn is a gorgeous traditional pub with rooms sitting right underneath Roseberry Topping. It's a perfect base for enjoying the North Yorkshire Moors, Coastline and Tees Valley.

Everything is furnished to a high standard but it's the staff who are a real credit to this place. Every single member we came into contact with was chatty, helpful and provided useful info on walking routes and even laminated maps to help us on our way.

They'll even clean your walking boots for you! The customer service we received really was impeccable.

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - Accommodation garden
Accommodation Terrace at The King's Head Inn

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - Children's Play Barn
Children's Play Barn at The King's Head Inn

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - Double bedroom in the family suite
Double Room in the Family Suite at The King's Head Inn

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - Rington's Tea Tray
Tea Tray with Rington's Biscuits at The King's Head Inn

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - Family Bathroom
Bathroom in the Family Suite at The King's Head Inn

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - in-room sleep kit

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - kids bedroom family suite
Kids Room in the Family Suite at The King's Head Inn 

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - kids bedroom family suite
Kids Room in the Family Suite at The King's Head Inn

The King's Head is in the running for 'Best Family Pub' in the National Great British Pub awards and I can see why they have made the cut. Facilities for children include:
  • Homemade children's meals 
  • A new children's covered play barn with adjoining family terrace (where no smoking is allowed)
  • A family suite which sleeps up to 5 
  • Free WiFi 

 Our family suite was lovely with a dressing area, large family bathroom (with bath and shower), a double bedroom and a triple bedroom.

Each room had its own TV so the kids were happy and one little touch I really did appreciate was that our tea tray had been stocked with 5 packets of Ringtons biscuits.

I can't tell you how many times we stay somewhere and only receive the standard two packets which inevitably leads to fights. The King's Head Inn's mantra seems to be happy kids, happy parents and it definitely shows.

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - breakfast room
Breakfast Room at The King's Head Inn

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - waffles for breakfast
Breakfast Waffles at The King's Head Inn 

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - sausage sandwich for breakfast
Sausage Sandwich at The King's Head Inn

The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping - Full English Breakfast
Full English at The King's Head Inn

After a wonderful night's sleep we enjoyed breakfast in the pub. We could help ourselves to toast, fruit, cereal, juice, coffee and yoghurt and then order from the menu.

I was chuffed to see waffles on there (as was Heidi) and I have to say, the boys' sausage sandwiches were of epic proportions and really set them up for their day of adventuring. It's worth noting that breakfast (from a menu) is available to non-residents from 9:30am-11:30am.

Climbing Roseberry Topping with Kids

Roseberry Topping is the first proper hill we've ever climbed as a family. Described as 'challenging', I was immediately put off when I saw it in real life.

It looked so steep and daunting to an amateur hill walker like me. My lovely Facebook readers assured me that it was fine though and many mentioned that their young kids had managed it.

With this in mind, we decided to take on the challenge. The lovely staff at The King's Head Inn helped us with maps and gave us some pointers on the best routes before we set off so do pop in ask them if you're stuck - you can't beat local knowledge.

There are basically three main routes - a steady route (turn right at the gate), an adventurous route (straight ahead) or a slower route (turn left at the gate).

We went with the steady route (with a little diversion) and it took us around 2 hours in total with plenty of stops to take in the views (that's what we tell ourselves anyway).

Climbing Roseberry Topping with Kids - view from the car park
Roseberry Topping from the Car Park 

Apologies for the lack of photos from our climb but I really didn't want to keep getting my phone in and out of my bag every two seconds and just wanted to focus on the job in hand.

As we set off from the car park ((TS9 6QR) and past a farmer's field. There was a tiny incline here and I was already starting to worry......

Here is a peek at the route we decided on (in blue). We followed the exact same route on the way back. The reason I like this route is that it involves a flat walk around halfway up which is a good chance to get your breath back.

Climbing Roseberry Topping with Kids - our route and map

Climbing Roseberry Topping with Kids - view from the summit
Views from Roseberry Topping Summit 

The first part of the walk was fine. It's mainly uphill through woodland and not *too* bad.

I imagine it gets fairly muddy in wet weather but it was fine on the day of our climb. Once you've climbed through the trees, there's a seat right at the top and you can take in the beautiful views.

At this point we walked horizontally along the base of Roseberry Topping before the real challenge started.

The next part of the climb is up a fairly steep stone/rocky path. You do need shoes with good grips for this part and it can get a teeny bit hairy if you look down.

You are pretty high up at this point. We took it slow and steady and for me, concentrating on where I was putting my foot next rather than the surroundings really worked best. The kids were absolutely fine and pretty much ran up.

Climbing Roseberry Topping with Kids - family photo at the top
We made it! 

I made the mistake of sitting down on the rocky steps for a drink of water when I had around 1/8 of the stone path left to go.

Wow the views were gorgeous but then I started to panic that I couldn't make it the rest of the way. The path was getting pretty steep at this point and involved actual climbing and I was really scared I was going to fall over or not be able to do it.

I started feeling sick, shaking and was on the verge of tears. I told everyone else that I would just wait for them as they took on the final part but they weren't having any of it.

Climbing Roseberry Topping with Kids - walking along the summit
Roseberry Topping Summit 

Bless Heidi, she should be some kind of motivational speaker. She encouraged me to climb a few more steps and then have a rest and see how I was and stayed by my side for the rest of the way up offering encouragement the whole way up.

She was never judgemental or forcing me to do it but just gently motivating me. Anyway, there was no way I could let her down so up I went.

Climbing Roseberry Topping with Kids -  kids at the top
Kids at the top of Roseberry Topping 

The summit appears before you know it and you do have to assume a vertical climbing position for a couple of steps but it sounds a lot worse than it is.

During our trip, the grass up there was infested with Miner Bees which was a concern for Jack but I knew they were docile and unlikely to do any harm and he coped with them well.

Well reaching the top was more than worth the climb. The views are some of the best I've ever seen but it was the sense of achievement that really did it for me.

We did it! All of the family were in really high spirits and we treated ourselves to a Mars Bar as a reward for our efforts. I really needed the sugar to be honest as I was experiencing a huge mix of emotions.

Climbing Roseberry Topping with Kids - selfie at the top

We climbed back down the way we went up and climbing down was much harder on the old knees and toes.

Your feet are continuously pushed to the front of your shoes and the boys complained more on the way down than the way up about their feet hurting because of this. I am not the steadiest of people on my feet and did need to go down a few of the steps on my bum. Oh the glamour!

Top tips for climbing Roseberry Topping:

  • Roseberry Topping is a good entry-level hill to climb with kids ( I would say ages 6+ but it completely depends on the child. Some toddlers manage it just fine, I think you can judge how your child would manage)

  • Take a map (you can pick them up from The King's Head Inn) or plan your route using the National Trust Website

  • Roseberry Topping is 1049 feet high with diverse terrain, uneven surfaces and some steep gradients 

  • Pack water and a snack/picnic/flask of coffee for the top (The King's Head Inn are part of the National Refill Scheme and will refill your bottle free of charge)

  • Take change for parking and visit the loo in the car park before your trek (toilets open daily from April - October and weekends November-March)

  • Proper, supportive footwear is a must 

  • It wasn't too bad on the day of our visit but it can get windy at the top. I spotted toddlers climbing up without any problems but you do need to keep a close eye on young kids as there are some sheer drops 
  • Head to The King's Head Inn for dinner/drinks afterwards. I can't begin to tell you how good a pint tasted! Walkers and dogs are more than welcome 

  • Both Steve and I are overweigh and if you're the same, don't let it put you off. There were SO many people like us climbing the hill together and everyone was supporting each other. It doesn't matter if you need to stop for a breather every 10 minutes, go red in the face or people overtake you.

    We didn't feel out of place or like people were judging our fitness levels once. Even if you take three hours, you're still doing more than those sitting on the sofa at home

  • The National Trust run ad-hoc events at Roseberry Topping. This summer you can abseil down the summit for £15 (aimed at beginners aged 8+). This sounds like a real adventure! Sessions have sold out now but if you have adventure-loving kids, it's worth keeping an eye on their website for future events. 

  • My kids aren't fans of 'going for a family walk' but all really relished the challenge of hill climbing. I think if you try this walk with your family, even with reluctant walkers, you may be surprised by their positive reaction. 

  • It takes most people 1.5 hours to complete to climb up and down again - I'd allow 2 hours from start to finish which will give you plenty of time (less if you're more experienced / fitter) 

Dining at The King's Head Inn

The King's Head Inn is right at the foot of Roseberry Topping and where we headed straight after our descent. 

The 'inn with rooms' is super welcoming with a beautiful family terrace outdoors and a warm, friendly atmosphere inside. Although the evening was mild and lots of people were dining al fresco, we decided to sit indoors - I think we needed that extra comfort.

San Miguel from The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping

You order food at the bar at The King's Head Inn which I always prefer - I hate hanging around for the bill at the end of the night with kids. We ordered some drinks straight away and took a seat to browse the menu. Wow that first pint tasted like the best pint I'd had in my life. Much needed after our walk.

Due to diary constraints, we could only stay over at the inn on the evening before our climb. We both mentioned how we wished we'd been able to stay for two nights though as that would have been perfect.

I would have loved to have stayed in the pub for a few more drinks and then just crawled upstairs for a bubble bath and early night. If you get the chance, a two-night break is definitely what I'd recommend.

Onto the food......

The kids have a decent choice here - Harry went with the Kids Burger which was huge and Heidi the Kids Pizza (also a decent portion).

I also love that they have a 'smaller portion' menu here for smaller appetites and Jack ordered the Fish & Chips (minus mushy peas) from this one. I was really impressed with the quality of the kids' meals - the portions were good and everything looked like it had been freshly prepared.

Harry's burger was lovely and juicy and the chips were homemade too which reminded me of the old-fashioned kind like my mam used to make.

These seem to becoming more of a rarity these days as pubs either opt for frozen chips or a stack of chunky chips instead. The kids finished their meals with ice cream.

Kids Pizza  from The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping
Kids Pizza at The King's Head Inn 

Kids Burger and Chips from The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping
Kid's Burger at The King's Head Inn 

Small Fish and Chips from The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping
Small Fish & Chips at The King's Head Inn

As well as the quality of the food, I loved the little touches like sauce already being on the table, children's meals being brought out with our starters (a delicious mozzarella and tomato salad) and the fantastic play barn outside which kept Jack entertained as he waited for his food.

I decided to go with a chicken parmesan - a bit of a local delicacy and one I can never resist. To those who aren't from the North East, it may sound a little weird but if you're ever in the area you have to try one. Basically, it's fried chicken covered in white sauce and cheese.

This kind of comfort food was just what I needed after a very busy day and despite having two chicken breasts and a huge portion of chips on my plate, I cleared the lot. The King's Head Inn's version of the chicken parmo is perfect and I'd definitely recommend.

Steve can never resist gammon and chips and was delighted that this classic was served with both a fried egg and a perfectly charred pineapple (it annoys him so much when he has to choose one or the other). Again, his dinner was spot on and something he'd order again and again.

After a hearty meal, we decided to skip desserts. Wish we had room but we were more than satisfied and ready for bed by this point.

Chicken Parmo from The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping
Chicken Parmesan at The King's Head Inn 

Gammon and Chips from The King's Head Inn Pub near Roseberry Topping
Gammon and Chips at The King's Head Inn

Also in the Area : Guisborough Forest 

During our stay at The King's Head Inn, we already had a pretty busy itinerary (we climbed Roseberry Topping, the kids completed Air Trail Tees Barrage and we visited RSPB Saltholme) but a lovely reader messaged me to say that we must visit Guisborough Forest as it was so close.

A quick google and it was less than 2 miles away so we jumped in the car after breakfast and popped over for an hour.

Well what a find! It only costs £1 to park for a few hours, there's a lovely cafe/visitor centre/picnic areas, there's a ZOG trail (read all about the trail over on Freckled Mum of 2 here), fab play park, ropes trail in the wood and a pond and bird hide.

We were only there for an hour so didn't see it all - I bet there's even more if you have a little longer. If you climb Roseberry Topping or stay at The King's Head Inn, it's definitely worth popping to Guisborough Forest too. Postcode TS14 8HD.

Guisborough Forest Pond
Guisborough Forest Nature Pond 

Play area at Guisborough Forest
Guisborough Forest Play Park 

Train play area at Guisborough Forest
Guisborough Forest Play Area Train 

Zog Trail at Guisborough Forest
Guisborough Forest Zog Trail 

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  1. What a gorgeous pub! It sounds like a wonderful place for families. The rooms look like they have everything they need and the children's play area outside is a nice touch.
    Well done with climbing Roseberry Topping. It is quite the climb!

  2. Ahhh how incredible is Heidi? I remember being quite nervous before we climbed it and then everyone saying how easy it is ... that last little bit when you feel like you're climbing up a vertical rock face definitely doesn't feel easy. I had a few "I can't do this" moments and in the end Simon had to drag me up the last bit, I was pretty terrified!

    The Kings Head Inn looks great, next time we decide to do the climb we'll definitely stop there for some food after!

    The views at the top make it all worth it doesn't it? Absolutely beautiful!

  3. Every long walk deserve a pint at the end, well done Sam!

  4. Well done for doing it and not giving up so close to the end. Lee and the kids are always off on walks on the hill at the nature reserve (nothing as big or steep as Roseberry Topping) near where we live but I never go as I am so unfit, I really should join them next time x


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