Harrogate offers families plenty of activities that will keep children of all ages happy. For younger kids, there are play areas in city parks and gardens with slides, swings, and climbing frames. Active older children will enjoy outdoor activities like cycling and zipper lines. Indoor attractions include museums such as the Royal Pump Room Museum. Historic buildings like Ripley Castle offer guided tours tailormade for younger visitors.

    Families with children will find lots to see and do in central Harrogate. The Royal Pump Room Museum, with its displays of old-fashioned shop interiors, toys, and dolls will intrigue children who are most used to 21st-century shopping. Valley Gardens, the city center's largest park, offers a variety of activities for kids.


    Valley Gardens Play Area

    A spot for fun among beautiful gardens

    • Families
    • Budget

    Children can clamber over climbing frames and enjoy swings and slides at the Valley Gardens Play Area. There's a paddling pool for toddlers, while older kids and teens can play tennis and pitch and putt. A pavilion sells refreshments. The play area and the gardens are particularly popular for cooling down in the summer.

    Location: Valley Drive, Harrogate HG1 2SZ, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1423 500600


    photo by Spideylj (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Royal Pump Room Museum

    Learn about Harrogate's spa history

    • Families
    • History

    This Victorian building in Harrogate used to pump the town's spa water from a natural spring. It now contains an eclectic collection of strange 19th-century therapeutic equipment, together with an interesting collection of toys, playthings, and treasures from ancient Egyptian tombs.

    Location: Crown Place, Harrogate HG1 2RY, UK

    Open: April–October: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm. November–March: Monday–Saturday from 10.30 am to 4 pm, Sunday from 2 pm to 4 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1423 556188


    photo by Harrogate Museums and Arts service (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Newby Hall Adventure Gardens

    Lush gardens of an 18th-century country house

    • Families
    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Ripon's top family attraction, Newby Hall, is a grand 18th-century manor with activities and exhibits designed to please young visitors. More than 300 red, fallow, and sika deer roam in the deer park at Studley Royal. Families can take a wildlife-watching guided walk in the woods to see mighty red deer stags and – in summer – new-born fawns.

    In the grounds of Newby Hall, you'll find swings, a zipper line, and climbing frames. The whole family can hop aboard the miniature train and take a paddle boat on the pond. A collection of doll houses will delight all.

    Location: Newby Hall, Skelton-on-Ure, Ripon HG4 5AE, UK

    Open: April–June and September: Tuesday–Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays). July–August: Daily from 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1423 322583


    photo by Bill Harrison (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Lightwater Valley Theme Park

    A fun-filled day out for thrill-seekers

    • Families

    Lightwater Valley offers multiple thrills and spills to occupy the family all day. The park boasts one of Europe's longest roller coasters, as well as water rides such as Wild Water Rapids and Falls of Terror. Younger kids can enjoy milder attractions such as an indoor soft play area. Tribute acts and shows are also scheduled regularly for added family entertainment.

    Location: Water Lane, North Stainley, Ripon HG4 3HT, UK

    Open: July–August: Opens daily from 10 am. Closing times vary between 4.30 pm and 6 pm. April–June and September–October: Opens on weekends and some weekdays

    Phone: +44 (0)1765 635321


    photo by Jordan Wilson (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    The Petrifying Well at Mother Shipton's Cave

    An eerie but intriguing spot

    • Families
    • Unusual

    One of the more outlandish family attractions in the Harrogate region is just outside Knaresborough, 4 miles east of Harrogate. The Petrifying Well, with its seemingly magical power to turn toys and other objects to stone, has to be seen to be believed.

    Children will be amazed to discover that anything immersed in the mineral-rich waters of the Petrifying Well at Mother Shipton's Cave acquires a rocky coating. That includes teddy bears, and you can buy petrified teddies in the gift shop.

    Location: Mother Shipton's Cave, Prophecy Lodge, High Bridge, Knaresborough, Harrogate HG5 8DD, UK

    Open: March: Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5.30 pm. April–June and September–October: Monday-Friday from 10 am to 4.30 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5.30 pm. July–August: daily from10 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1423 864600


    photo by chris 論 (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Big Sheep & Little Cow Farm Attraction

    Pet and play with fluffy lambs

    • Families

    To get a taste of rural life near Harrogate, take the family to Big Sheep & Little Cow in Wensleydale. This sweep of farmland and valley is just 30 minutes from the city center, but it's a different world, where cattle graze and lambs leap.

    You can bottle-feed new-born lambs, calves, and piglets (and meet their owners) at places like Big Sheep & Little Cow. City kids will love meeting baby animals at this farm, which also has an indoor adventure play area.

    Location: Aiskew Watermill, Bedale DL8 1AW, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1677 422125


    Camp Hill Estate

    Enjoy fun outdoor activities in a lush countryside

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Located 30 km north of Harrogate, Camp Hill Estate offers families thrilling activities such as zipper wires, a rope obstacle course in the treetops, and quad bike rides.

    Most of the outdoor activities at Camp Hill usually close in the winter, but some adventures such as Segway tours and quad bikes remain available for exploring the beautiful estate grounds.

    Location: Camp Hill, Kirklington, Bedale DL8 2LS, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1845 567788


    Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

    For the love of locomotives

    • Families
    • History

    There’s no better way for the family to see the picturesque scenery of the Dales than from a historic steam train. Take a ride from Bolton Abbey – a 30-minute drive from Harrogate – to catch a train drawn by one of the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway's vintage locomotives.

    From the 19th-century station at Bolton Abbey, steam trains take just 15 minutes to choo-choo to Embsay – not an epic journey, but a fun one. At Bolton Abbey, children can also ride the Hambleton Valley Miniature Railway.

    Location: Skipton Road, Embsay, Skipton BD23 6PH, UK

    Open: Hours vary by season

    Phone: +44 (0)1756 710614


    photo by Chris Sutton (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    Start planning your trip

    Keep exploring


    United Kingdom

    COVID-19 Travel Alert

    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

    Back to top