The Yorkshire Dales are always a good bet for a family holiday. Those wide-open green spaces and an abundance of family-friendly attractions provide an enticing mix for parents and children looking for some good old-fashioned fun.
We think we’ve come up with a pretty good top five things to love about a Wensleydale family holiday. Take a look and give them a try for your next family holiday in this stunning part of Yorkshire.
1. The Forbidden Corner
For us, 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 four acres of land, with the most breathtaking views of Wensleydale, it's 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.
2. Family Walks
If there’s one thing Wensleydale isn’t short of, it's 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 bridleway leading up into the fields behind. It’s truly magical, particularly on a sunny day. For more inspiration including some great walking routes, try the Walking Englishman website.
3. 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 lets 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.
4. Family-friendly Cottages
We have lots of gorgeous family-friendly cottages in Wensleydale. We spent the weekend in 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 four throughout the spacious living accommodation. Some other great options include Miller’s Retreat and Waterside Cottage.
5. Bolton Castle
Dating back to the 14th century, Grade 1-listed Bolton Castle strikes an imposing figure set on the side of a valley looking down over Wensleydale. Today it's 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.
More images from Wensleydale
The garden at The Old Reading Room.
Scampi and Chips at the local village pub The Fox & Hounds.
The entrance to The Forbidden Corner.
Enjoying a beer and game of chess at The Saddle Rooms.
Loving the countryside walks.
The walk from the back door at The Old Reading Room.
Enjoying a glass of fizz in the hot tub at The Old Reading Room.