15+ Places To Stop Off When Driving South From Newcastle

I am not the biggest fan of service stations - they are generally soulless places with overpriced fast food, queues for loos and busy outlets. I always try and find a service station alternative where I can and this is where National Trust and English Heritage membership can come into its own.

15+ Places To Stop Off When Driving South From Newcastle

Below are a few suggestions for places to stop off if you are driving South from Newcastle. Prices & info correct as of July 2020. Always check up-to-date information direct before setting off. During the pandemic, a lot of these places will require pre-booking. 

Looking for somewhere to stop off when driving South? Check out these suggestions.

🐢 Dog Friendly (in some areas)
πŸ†“ Free Entry 
πŸ’° Paid Entry 
🌳 National Trust 
πŸ›‘ English Heritage 
  • Thorp Perrow πŸΆπŸ’°
  • Newby Hall πŸ’°
  • Fountains AbbeyπŸŒ³πŸΆπŸ›‘
  • Knaresborough πŸΆπŸ†“ 
  • Mother Shipton's Cave πŸ’°πŸΆ
  • Beningbrough Hall 🌳🐢
  • Fodder Food Hall & Farm Shop πŸ†“ 
  • Wetherby πŸ†“ πŸΆ
  • Stockeld Park πŸ’°
  • Valley Gardens Harrogate πŸ†“ πŸΆ
  • National Railway Museum York πŸ†“ 
  • Piglets Adventure Farm πŸ’°
  • Tropical World πŸ’° and Roundhay Park πŸ†“ πŸΆ
  • Crag House Farm πŸΆπŸ†“
  • Lotherton Hall πŸΆπŸ’°
  • Nostell Priory 🌳
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park πŸΆπŸ’°
  • William's Den πŸ’°
  • Sunnybank Gardens & Yorkshire Ice Cream Farm πŸΆπŸ†“
  • Cusworth Hall πŸΆπŸ†“
  • National Museum of Science and Media πŸ†“ 
  • Bolsover Castle πŸΆπŸ›‘
  • Clumber Park 🌳🐢
  • Wollaton Hall πŸ†“ πŸ’°πŸΆ

Travel Essentials for Road Trips with Kids 

(ad - the links in this section are affiliate links)

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. 

  • A Search Box - Quickly and easily search for posts using this button 

  • Save Posts - Click the heart to save a post to come back to at any time. To find your saved posts, simply click the heart again and select 'my bookmarks' and you can quickly find them all in one place

  • Share Post - Easily share posts with friends and family at the click of a button 

To access all of these features, you do need to 'sign up' to my website which is quick and easy to do the first time you click the button. You should stay signed in once you have signed up. 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. 

Thorp Perrow

Thorp Perrow requires no pre-booking (entry is chargeable). There is a lovely adventure playground, tearoom, toilets and birds of prey centre with flying displays three times daily.  The arboretum is a beautiful place for a stroll. Dogs welcome on leads in most areas. 

Newby Hall
Newby Hall is a house with beautiful gardens, an adventure playground, a miniature train, boat rides, ice cream kiosks & cafe. Their toilets are open Admission charges apply & pre-booking required for 2020. Dogs are not permitted in the house  or gardens but there is a small exercise yard on site. 

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey is a beautiful place for a stroll around the abbey or gardens. Toilet facilities are open and dogs on leads are welcome. The restaurant is open.

There is a park but this is temporarily closed at the moment. Entry is free for National Trust or English Heritage Members (pre-booking required in 2020). Charges apply for non-members. 

Knaresborough is a picturesque ancient market town. Wander the cobbled streets, admire the Tudor architecture and pop into one of the many tearooms. You can visit the castle, hire a boat and just enjoy the ambiance. Free to visit with no pre-booking. 

Mother Shipton's Cave 

Mother Shipton's Cave features magical historic woodland, a cave and petrifying well which is said to be England's oldest visitor attraction. Expect a magical walk with a few surprises and a large adventure playground. Dogs are welcome on leads (except the playground) and admission charges apply. In 2020, ticket should be pre-booked in advance. 

Beningborough Hall

We love Beningbrough Hall and have visited a few times (free for NT members). You can enjoy the beautiful gardens and cafe, walled garden, restaurant, wilderness play area and various exhibitions in the house. Pre-booking required for 2020. Dogs are welcome on leads. 

Fodder Farm Shop 

Fodder Farm Shop is another regular stop off for us, especially if we are travelling to a lodge/cottage as we usually pick up some groceries for our first few days. The farm shop offers free parking, a takeaway service, cafe and of course shop. They often giveaway free fruit for kids too.  

Click here to read about our trip to Fodder Farm Shop & to see more photos. 

Wetherby Town
I am really not keen on Wetherby Services but they are in such an ideal location. I recommend passing the service station and heading into Wetherby Town instead. It is a beautiful, award-winnning market town with lots of independent restaurants , pubs and cafes to enjoy. A much nicer experience. 

Stockeld Park 

Stockeld Park is an outdoor adventure park in Yorkshire which is often recommended to us. You can walk through the enchanted forest, play on the climbing nets in the spider's lair, climb amongst the tree tops, play on the pirate ship or viking swings, enjoy pedal go karts and inflatables ..... basically loads for kids to burn off their energy.

There are multiple places to grab food or drink or you can take your own picnic too.  Admission charges apply, pre-booking required in 2020. Dogs are not allowed. 

Valley Gardens Harrogate 

Valley Gardens is a beautiful park in Harrogate. There is lots to do including a playground, BMX tracks, beautiful formal gardens, skate park, pool (seasonal), boating lake, public toilets and cafe. Dogs are welcome in most areas, it is free to visit and no pre-booking is required. 

National Rail Museum

The National Rail Museum in York is free to visit and a mostly indoor attraction so a good one to break up your journey if the weather is not the best. There is a cafe or you can take your own picnic to enjoy in their indoor picnic area too. There is lots to see and do in the museum and something for all ages. It's brilliant. 

Piglets Adventure Farm 

Piglets Adventure Farm is another place people rave about. There are play areas,  bouncy pillows, assault courses, tractor rides, sandpits, animals to meet, trails through the farm and more. There is a cafe serving takeaway treats or you can take a picnic.  Pre-booking only for 2020.  

Roundhay Park / Tropical World

We absolutely love Roundhay Park. There is free onsite parking, play areas, lots of space, a mini train ride, gardens, outdoor gym, sport courts, formal gardens, cafes and restaurants, bowling greens, golf....I could go on. It is a huge place with lots of space to stretch your legs. The park is dog-friendly and has public toilets. 

Tropical world is currently closed due to Coronavirus but in normal times is a lovely indoor attraction where you can spot butterflies and other animals. Admission is reasonable.

Click here to read about our trip to Roundhay Park and to see more photos 

Crag House Farm Shop & Restaurant

Crag House is a social enterprise offering a farm shop, coffee shop, restaurant and nursery gardens. It looks lovely! 

Lotherton  Hall

Enjoy beautiful gardens, Wildlife World (a mini zoo), playgrounds and a cafe at Lotherton Hall. There is also a museum with various exhibitions should you need to take shelter in bad weather. Admission is chargeable but very reasonable. Pre-book or pay on the day. I cannot find their dog policy - apologies. 


Nostell Priory

Nostell Priory is a National Trust property (free for members) offering beautiful parkland and gardens where you can stretch your legs and a tea room. Pre-book during 2020. During normal times, there is an adventure playground too. 

Yorkshire Sculpture Park 

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a wide open space showcasing ever-changing sculptures in both an indoor and outdoor setting. In 2020 you can see exhibitions from the likes of Damien Hirst and Sean Henry. The park is dog-friendly and dogs on leads are welcome in most areas (there are a few exceptions). Takeaway food and drinks are available or you can bring a picnic. 

William's Den 

  • 116 miles (2 hours 20 minutes)
  • Close to the East Coast near Hull and perfect for stopping en-route to Lincolnshire / Skegness
  • https://williamsden.co.uk/
 William's Den offers multiple outdoor play areas and woodland walks. There is an ice cream parlour and pizza restaurant on site or you can bring a picnic. No dogs allowed. Entry is chargeable and should be pre-booked in 2020.

Sunnybank Gardens and The Yorkshire Ice Cream Farm 

There is ample outdoor seating here for you to enjoy an ice cream from the farm. There is also a tearoom, doggy diner, indoor play barn and crazy golf (check opening details direct). 

Cusworth Hall & Park

Cusworth Hall and Park is home to a lovely playground with its own microbrewery which also serves woodfired pizzas. There is also a more traditional tea room, public toilets and a museum. Free to visit with no pre-booking required. Dogs are welcome on leads in most areas. 

National Science and Media Museum

The National Science and Media Museum is a brilliant rainy day option. It is all indoors, free to visit and there are several floors with various fun exhibitions to explore. It is one of the best museums we have been to and highly recommended. Picnic spaces are available and there are multiple places to eat nearby. Free to visit but pre-booking is required in 2020. 

Bolsover Castle 

Bolsover Castle is another place we regularly stop when travelling South. It is free for English Heritage members or you can pay an admission charge. There is a castle-themed park for kids, cafe with outdoor seating and a castle to explore (both inside and out) with the most glorious countryside views. Dogs are welcome in most areas on a lead. Pre-booking required for 2020. 

Clumber Park 

Clumber Park is a National Trust property (free to visit for members / chargeable for non-members) with beautiful expansive parkland and woodland. There is a walled kitchen garden, magnificent lake and ice cream parlour plus several options for takeaway food (or bring a picnic). In normal times you can enjoy a woodland play area too. Dogs welcome on leads in most areas.  

Wayne Manor (aka Wollaton Hall/Park)

If you love Batman, Wollaton Hall is a must. The hall was used as Wayne Manor in some of the Batman films. It is free to visit with no pre-booking required and there is a lot to enjoy including a play park, deer park, natural history museum, gardens, cafe, shop and toilets. Dogs are welcome on leads in most areas. Car parking charges apply. 

If you have enjoyed this post and found it useful, here are some ways you can say thanks and support North East Family Fun: 

1 - Click here to sign up to our FREE monthly guide to what's on. This monthly email will feature lots of ideas for things to do for the month ahead plus exclusive deals. 

2 - Join our  Days Out Facebook Group here which includes lots of ideas for things to do - you can post your own recommendations too. 

4 - Share this post with your friends 

5 - Follow North East Family Fun on the following platforms :
Thank you for your support as always. 

Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 



  1. Fab post. Its great when you can stop somewhere that isn't the traditional service station. Means the kids can run about and stretch their legs etc x

  2. We always try and stop at a national trust/park/ soft play when going to and from London. Usually just end up googling enroute and obviously soft play is off the cards atm so this is such a helpful blog! Thanks :)

  3. Thank you, this is very helpful.


© North East Family Fun | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig