The Yorkshire Dales are always a good bet for a family holiday. Those wide open green spaces and abundance of family-friendly attractions provide an enticing mix for parents and children looking for some good old fashioned fun.
We took our girls (ages 6 & 8) to Wensleydale last weekend, staying at the Gorgeous Old Reading Room in West Witton. and were blessed with the most glorious sunny weather. We explored, tried out some new places and re-visited old favourites. We think we’ve come up with a pretty good Top 5 Things to Love about a Wensleydale Family Holiday. Take a look and give them a try for your next family holiday to this stunning part of Yorkshire.
#01 The Forbidden Corner
For us, a no family holiday to Wensleydale would be complete without a visit to The Forbidden Corner. This award-winning large attraction is like nothing else you’ve ever experienced. The brainchild of Mr C.R.Armstrong CMG O.B.E, the Forbidden Corner was originally built as a private folly but now it welcomes over 100,000 visitors every year. Set over 4 acres of land, with the most breath-taking views of Wensleydale, its a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises. It will delight and thrill your children in equal measure, and adults find it pretty amazing too. The Forbidden Corner
#02 Family Walks
If there’s one thing Wensleydale isn’t short of its stunning walks along the length of this luscious dale. Whether you choose a bracing hike up Penhill or opt for a more sedate stroll along the river and waterfalls at Aysgarth Falls, you’re sure to find a walk your family will love. Make it extra special and take a picnic along too. One of the best things about The Old Reading Room is that you can step out of the back door and you’re literally on a bridlway leading up into the fields behind. It’s truly magical particularly on a sunny day. Take a look at my daughter’s description of our Wensleydale walk to get you in the mood. And for more inspiration including some great walking routes, try the Walking Englishman website.
#03 The Wensleydale Heifer
Wensleydale is packed with great options to eat, with lots of family friendly pubs and restaurants. We think the Wensleydale Heifer deserves a special mention as it never let’s us down, and the staff there are particularly good with children. Drawing challenges and complimentary soft toys are all part of the service! West Witton also has a traditional award-winning pub The Fox & Hounds which serves great pub food. Other good options include The Saddle Rooms, The Sandpiper Inn and The Blue Lion. If you prefer to eat in, the excellent Campbells in Leyburn has everything you’ll need, from top quality ready meals and local Yorkshire meats / cheeses to baskets full of fresh fruit & veg.
# 04 Family-friendly Cottages
We have lots of gorgeous family-friendly cottages in Wensleydale. We spent the weekend in the The Old Reading Room in West Witton, one of our flagship luxury cottages. It’s perfect for families, with its large enclosed garden and direct access to the village green beside and fields behind. The second bedroom can be made up as a twin and there’s plenty of room for a family of 4 throughout the spacious living accommodation. Some other great options include Miller’s Retreat, Agra and Waterside Cottage.
#05 Bolton Castle
Dating back to the 14th Century, Grade 1 listed Bolton Castle strikes an imposing figure set on side of the valley looking down over Wensleydale. Today its the perfect family-friendly attraction, with its well preserved medieval rooms and grounds. There’s lots to keep even the most impatient toddler happy, from Falconry displays and a family of Wild Boars to a maze and Tea rooms offering tasty treats. It hosts regular special events throughout the year too. Take a look at the website for more info: Bolton Castle. Nearby Jervaulx Abbey is another great option for kids to explore and connect with history.
So there you have it, the perfect 48 hours of solid family-friendly fun in Wensleydale. If you have your own favourites we’d love to hear about them. Comment below!
More Images from our Wensleydale Weekend
Tags: Bolton Castle, Campbells Leyburn, Family activities Yorkshire, Family Cottage Yorkshire Dales, Family holidays in yorkshire, Family Holidays Wensleydale, family-friendly attractions Yorkshire, The Forbidden Corner, The Old Reading Room, The Saddle Rooms, The Wensleydale Heifer, Walking Wensleydale, Wensleydale