16 things to do in North Yorkshire this summer

nPower have conducted research which has shown that the biggest lull over the summer holidays falls on the 20th of August. With this in mind, they asked me to share my ideas of things to do in North Yorkshire on the 20th of August. If you're stuck for ideas and then nPower are offering its customers 2 for 1 entry into an enormous range of local attractions, from zoos to museums and more.

So first, a confession, these are not all in North Yorkshire, it's a huge county and I live right down at the bottom, near to the borders with Lancashire and West Yorkshire. So my top 16 might dip into these areas. they're all close and are great fun. Some charge to get in, but they can all be done relatively cheaply, which is great to know as the summer holidays can soon add up to a lot of money.

Billy Bob's Ice Cream Parlour
This American style diner has indoor play and two large outdoor fun barns. It is around three miles from Skipton. The outdoor playground is suitable for children of all ages and the indoor barns are separated into age groups. This activity can cost as much or as little as you like. There is no cost to park and the outdoor areas are free. If your children want to play in the barns then there is a small cost of £1 per child. If you want to eat in the diner then I would really recommend booking in advance through their website. The food is fantastic and the ice cream is out of this world! Prepare for it to be busy, but arrive early or late to avoid the crowds.

Billy Bob's parlour
Bolton Abbey
Near to Billy Bob's Ice Cream Parlour, walking round Bolton Abbey Estate is a wonderful way to while away a day. There is no cost to enter, but parking is £8. Throughout July and August you and your children can do the welly walk for free. This is a relatively easy walk and your children can take bikes too. It is buggy friendly too. You can also play on the stepping stones, explore the old abbey and laze by the river. The Cavendish Pavillion serves fantastic food, but if you are looking to keep costs down then you can bring your own picnic with you. 

National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum in York has free admission to all. If you want to park at the museum then there is a cost of £9 per car. It's right next to the train station though, so why not make a day of it an get the train there! There are activities throughout the year, some of which have a cost involved. The miniature railway and park will keep younger children entertained. If you like the smell of oil and machinery then this is the place for you. There is so much to explore and even though I have visited over five times I still find things I haven't noticed before.

Skipton Castle 
If you're interested in history then this is a fabulous place to explore. The castle is over 900 years old and some parts of it are still lived in (although they are private). My son likes to take a sword (plastic) with him when we go to fight off the dragons. There are some fabulous events planned throughout the summer and they always add an extra element of excitement to your visit. I would definitely recommend going when there are events on because it gives you far more of an idea of what the castle would have been like historically. Sadly there are no events planned for the 20th of August, but it's still great fun to explore. Check out their website here to see what is planned for this summer. This costs around £25 for a family of two adults and up to three children, which isn't bad. There is a nice little cafe on site if you get peckish.

Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival
I know this isn't technically on the 20th of August, but it's close and definitely worth a visit! This year's festival runs from the 8th to the 16th of August. Kettlewell is in the Yorkshire Dales in a picturesque setting. The scarecrows are made my the villagers and a serious amount of effort goes into this festival every year. The Scarecrow Festival consists of following a theme of the trail and walking around the village. If you can solve the riddles on the trail and find a mystery word then you could win a prize! This costs £1 for adult trail sheets and 50p for children's trail sheets. If you need to park a car then that costs £3. There are various places to eat in the village but you can also take a picnic with you if you want to keep costs down.

Tropical World
Roundhay Park hosts Tropical World, as well as many other attractions. This is a really nice way to spend a morning or afternoon, if you team it with the rest of the park then you can easily spend the entire day out. It is home to "the largest collection of tropical plants outside Kew Gardens", which is pretty impressive. You can enjoy the butterfly house, meerkats and monkeys. There are also snakes, spiders and crocodiles. Tropical World costs £5 for adults, with a LeedsCard it is £3.00, for ‘Extra’ cardholders it is £2.00, with a Breezecard it is also £2.00, children age 5-15 are £2.50 and Under 5's are free. I think it's really good value.

Ripon Museums
Throughout the summer Ripon Museums are putting on family friendly activities. Go and try some "family themed object handling around old toys and collectibles. Live It! days, and toys workshops inspired by the Police toys exhibition". Great family fun. You can buy a yearly family ticket for just over £20 which allows you to come back unlimited times to all three museums.

Halifax is the place to be for young inquisitive minds. Eureka is a wonderful resource. It's fun, bright and interactive. My children love the fact that they can dress up and pretend to go shopping in M&S, to the bank and to sort post in the Post Office. However, their absolute favourite part was the mini garage and I struggled to get them out of there at the end of the day! It can get busy here, especially on rainy days. If you can bear to be inside on a sunny day then I would definitely recommend a trip. Again, this is another place you can take a picnic too. This is one of the more expensive options, your ticket is valid for a year so you can come and go as you please. You do need to make sure that you buy your tickets in advance, or before 9am on the day of arrival. Ticket prices are: Aged 1-2: £4.25, Children aged 3+: £11.95, Grown-ups: £11.95. Parking is £3 for four hours or £6 for twelve hours.


National Media Museum
Make sure you take in the delights of Centenary Square on your way to The Media Museum in Bradford (although be warned that you may need spare clothes for little ones as there is a significan chance they will get wet. The museum itself is fabulous and offers many interactive elements. Entry is free although some special exhibits can incur charges, and take some change if you want to play on the vintage video games. Check out what activities are on during the summer on their website. It can get incredibly busy during school holidays. My top tip is that the ice rink is practically next door and is a great backup plan.

Malham Cove
If getting out and about in nature is what you're after then you can't get much better than Malham Cove for walking with children. It is an easy walk (and buggy friendly) but there is lots to see and you can take a bucket for your child to collect treasures (stones, feathers, twigs) as you walk. For older children, they get to explore the place where parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was filmed. The scenery is spectacular and if you can manage the steps to the top then make sure you take your camera to capture those views! I recommend taking a flask of hot chocolate to give to the children when you reach the cove, it gives them the energy to make the walk back again. You have to pay in certain places to park your car but there is no cost to walk! This picture is from winter, but it's equally beautiful in the summer.

Malham Cove

St Ives Estate
Nestled on a hill above Bingley, the St Ives Estate is a fantastic free place to take the children. The adventure park there is so much fun! There is also a sculpture trail and a pond where you can pause to feed the ducks. This is a wonderful way to spend a day. Take a picnic with you or stop and have lunch in the cafe there.

Keighley Worth Valley
The Keighley Worth Valley railway runs from Keighley to Oxenhope and travels through some stunning scenery and was the setting for the film The Railway Children. This summer children travel free with an adult buying a green rover pass. This pass is valid all day, meaning you can hop on and off the trains at whichever stops you like and ride the rails all day long. The prices are:£16 for adults and £14 for concessions (children travel free throughout the summer). The ticket price includes free entry to the award winning Museum Of Rail Travel and the Bahamas Locomotive Society’s ‘Ingrow Loco’ exhibition which are both at Ingrow West Station. There is even an ale carriage on some trains so you can absolutely make the most of your day out!

Hesketh Farm Park
This is a lovely farm park with wonderful outside space. It is a working farm and it has over 1,000 livestock, including sheep, cows and pigs. There are so many different kinds of animal inside and lots of hands on experience. There is ample space inside should you be unlucky and get a rainy day. There is a large straw maze, a huge sandpit and a small park inside. Outside there is a larger park and another sandpit, along with more animals and plenty of fun things to do, including riding on the tractor! It costs £5.50 for adults, £6 for children, Under 2's are £3 and Under 1's are free. There are also family ticket options available.

The Forbidden Corner
This claims to be the "Strangest place in the world" and it doesn't disappoint! If you want weird and wonderful then look no further. The Forbidden Corner is set in Tupgill Park in the Yorkshire Dales and is spread over a four acre garden. There are surprises aplenty, a huge pyramid made of glass, passages which lead nowhere and tricks for you to avoid at almost every turn! There are a couple of parts which are slightly scary for small children, but the staff will tell you which parts to avoid if you need to. You have to pre-book tickets, so don't try turning up on the day without. Don't let that put you off though. Tickets are priced at Adults: £11.50, Senior Citizens: £10.50, Children aged 4 to 15: £9.50, Children under 4 enter for free. Family (2 adults + 2 children): £40.00. This is one of the more expensive days out but it's somewhere you won't ever forget having been to!

The Web Adventure Park
We stumbled upon this place on the outskirts of York when my son was around eight months old. In fact, he took his first steps here, emboldened by the soft play! Since then the Web Adventure Park has expanded and offers fantastic facilities for a wonderful day out. There is a huge indoor soft play area which is suitable for all different ages, an outdoor adventure park set in an acre of land, the animal zone, with huge doses of cute and there is also a hair and beauty studio on site. The entrance costs during the summer holidays are: 1-3 yrs : £5.75, 4-16 yrs : £6.75, Adults : £1.50 , Babies : £1.

The York Pirate Adventure
From 6.30pm to 7.45pm the York Pirate Adventure is "not to be missed fun family entertainment". This is a live performance in the Shambles Market performance area. The gates open at 6 and the show starts at 6.30pm. Children receive a free pirate flag, a bandana and pirate treasure. Tickets cost £5 each. Refreshments and ice cream are available, along with hot food most evenings.

Disclosure: I was paid to write this post, but the attractions are all my own choice and the payment had no impact on my post, which is honest and fair.