Kid Friendly Places to visit for FREE (or very cheaply) from Harrogate

Whether you’re visiting Harrogate for the school summer holidays or you’re having a staycation and looking for new ideas then this post is for you!

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These are four activities we’ve enjoyed as a family recently – which are all relatively cheap or FREE to take part in, that are all local to Harrogate. We filled a day with all of them – so if you’re on the hunt for new ideas hopefully this will give you a bit of inspiration!

Walking the Walls in York

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I love York and whenever I visit I wonder why we don’t go more often! It’s so beautiful, obviously stacked with history and the shopping and coffee spots are great too! We drove to the city centre, about 40 minutes from Harrogate, and parked at Nunnery Lane Car Park for around a tenner for the day but you could get the train direct from Harrogate either.

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We’d never walked the historic city walls before so decided to give it a go! The Smalls all enjoyed getting a different perspective on things and taking part in a completely new activity – which is, let’s face it, pretty unique! We’re so lucky to have this on our doorstep.

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The Walls are free to walk on and you can get on them from 8am to around dusk every day. The great thing is you can get on and off them as you like. It takes around 2 hours to walk around all of them. For more information you can check out Friends of York’s Wall Trail.

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We got on the walls at Micklegate Bar and hopped off again at Bootham Bar. By doing that we got to take in some of the Museum Gardens and on the way back the Minster Gardens too. It was really very beautiful! The kids all loved being up high and peering out through the wall slits at what was down below and getting a different perspective on the great city. It made for a really lovely afternoon.

Brimham Rocks

We all adore a trip to Brimham Rocks – an amazing collection of natural rock formations in North Yorkshire, managed by the National Trust. The scenery is breathtaking and you can get so high so quickly that the views are instantly rewarding!

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It’s even manageable for the Small Boy (four) with a little help. The big girls (10) love the challenge and the thrill, but everyone needs watching all the time due to the dangerous drops all around – which provide the stunning views of the landscape.

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You only need to pay to park, or display your National Trust card if you want to go for free. Remember to take pound coins though as the machine won’t accept notes or cards for the £6 charge. It takes just under half an hour to get there in the car from Harrogate.

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We normally pack a picnic and also make use of the on-site take-out hut for tea, biscuits and ice-cream.

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Asygarth Falls

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Asygarth Falls is a popular beauty spot near Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales. It’s around an hour and fifteen minute drive from Harrogate – but well worth the trip. When you arrive you’ll no doubt hear the roar of one of the three waterfalls over stepped limestone, which are spaced out with short walks in-between.

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You can park at the national visitor centre, where you can find a cafe, toilets and a little shop. Asygarth Falls really is a beauty spot with good reason – it’s stunning to see and appeals to all the senses. It’s gorgeous to hear nature at it’s finest as the waterfalls shatter the silence all around. The water is accessible too and the highest and lowest points on the walk – which the Smalls all loved no end, with a lot of paddling going on!

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The walk between the three falls was really manageable for all three of mine, though the Small Boy did need a bit of encouragement on the way back. We visited the High falls first, then walked all the way to the lower falls, skipping over the middle falls till the way back. To hold the Smalls interest for the return trek! They were all beautiful but I think we enjoyed the lower falls the most!

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Bolton Abbey

It had been years since we visited Bolton Abbey, near Skipton so decided to pay the beautiful historic site a visit! Again you only pay to park, which is £10 and you can enjoy the beautiful setting till your heart’s content.

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At the car park there are spaces to BBQ too if you really want to make a full day of it! We headed out toward the Abbey once we’d park up and then crossed the river on the iconic stepping stones to the other side. The big girls didn’t seem too phased by the stones but we decided to give it a miss for the Small Boy! Luckily there is a bridge which is a much drier, less risky option for pre-schoolers in order to reach the bank at the other side of the Abbey!

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The Smalls all messed about by the river for a good hour or so, skimming stones and paddling! Then we headed on the walk back to the Cavendish Pavilion! It was fairly steep and I’m glad we didn’t have a buggy with us, but the Smalls all enjoyed the challenge and a walk into the unknown up through the forest and overhanging the river below.

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Then it was all back to the cafe at the Cavendish Pavilion for tea and scones – the perfect end to the afternoon!

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Will you be making any of these trips over the school holidays? Have you got any others to recommend?

Lucy xx

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2 thoughts on “Kid Friendly Places to visit for FREE (or very cheaply) from Harrogate

  1. We love Bolton Abbey but with such steep parking charges there now it’s hardly FREE! The prices seem to go up every single year. It wasn’t that long ago that it was free if you parked up at Strid Wood.

    1. I know Julia – it’s so beautiful down there isn’t it! I think it’s one of the cheaper options though for a whole day out for a family of five though don’t you? We spent a whole day down there enjoying the well maintained and well looked after gorgeous setting. My kids love it!

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