Best days out in North Yorkshire for families

The North East, specifically North Yorkshire is an amazing part of the UK and also a large area, so today I am going to share some of the best days out in the North East for families. I am a proud northerner, having been born in Teesside and then boomeranging back when Maxi was 1 and I was pregnant with Mini. Over the years we have spent so much time exploring this beautiful part of the country, so have had some fab days out in North Yorkshire

Our Top Family Days out in North Yorkshire and the North East

Best days out in North Yorkshire for families

Living on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors and the beautiful Teesside/Yorkshire coast, I am going to focus on Teesside, Cleveland and North Yorkshire, but if you are looking for places nearer to Newcastle and Durham then take a look at North East Family Fun as they are based further North than us.


I think I might be bias but our part of the world certainly is Gods own country and filled with beautiful places to visit and something for everyone, weather you love castles or beaches.

Visiting during Covid – Things have changed in most places due to Covid-19 and therefore, it is key you check out the locations websites before visiting. Lots of accommodations have been made such as one way systems, booking tickets in advance or restrictions on visitor numbers to ensure everyone’s safety.

Our Top Family Days out in North Yorkshire and the North East.

Explore the best days out in North Yorkshire for Families with our amazing top days out. Make unforgettable memories with your family.

Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay is my favourite local beach. It lies between Staithes and Whitby in North Yorkshire and is one of the most picturesque beaches in the UK. Nestled in the cliff there is about 90 houses and the car park only holds 80 cars at the most, so Runswick never seems overly crowded and it has become a haven for me during the lockdown. Runswick day really is the best day out in North Yorkshire, a true hidden gem often forgotten for its larger neighbours.

The golden sands curve around from the cliff and jetty and there is something for everyone from rock pooling, fossil hunting, sandcastle building, kayaking and walking. Bring your surfboard or watch the boats with icecream from the cafe as the boats sail around the bay. You can also hire gear from Barefoot Kayak too.

Nearby gems include Whitby, which is a lively seaside resort with amusements, Whitby Abbey and its Dracula myth. Remember this is the Northeast coast and North sea so it can be cold. I recommend at least a shorty wet suit otherwise your little ones might have blue lips and still not want to get out of the water!

North Bay Scarborough and Alpermere

Scarborough’s North bay is much wilder and less commercialised than South bay and has always been a family favourite since when I was small. There is masses of sand and bright coloured beach huts to hire.

Immediately adjacent to the beach, a miniature railway, built in 1931 links Peasholm Park with Scalby Mills, where the very bust Sea Life Centre can be found.  Peasholm Park is an oriental-themed parkland with a boating lake where they reenact miniature sea battles.

Alpermere is a water slide park (4 slides) and pool based on the North Bay. It has an outdoor infinity pool, jacuzzi and indoor wave pool. Four hours are including in the price. I wouldn’t eat there as the food isn’t that great and can be pricey.

The Moors National Park Centre – Danby

The North York Moors is a beautiful and unique part of the area and well worth a visit. There really is something for everyone from stately homes to market towns and grand abbeys to beautiful moorlands.

A great place to start a visit, especially if you have children is the Moors Center at Danby with its children’s activity trails and guided walks and other events. There is also a brilliant adventure play area too.

Unfortunately the cafe has become part of a chain and the food has taken a bit of a downward turn recently, but there are plenty of picnic tables and places to eat your own packed lunch.

Flamingoland Park and Zoo

We have been visiting Flamingoland Theme Park and Zoo since the boys were little and it really has something for every age.

When you have preschoolers Flamingoland starts to come into its own with lots of rides for them, daytime shows and a brilliant water splash park and play area, add into that a zoo and there is something to keep them busy from opening to closing time. Just make sure to pack a change of clothes and towel for the splash park.

It you have older kids, well there is plenty of trill rides for them too and the park is compact and easy to navigate.

There is plenty of places to have a picnic if you choose to bring your own food and also a large number of cafes and food stalls. Plus you can leave your picnic in the car and pop back out to get it.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

You can easily spend a whole day at Fountains Abbey (near Rippon) which is a World Heritage Site. The magnificent abbey ruins sweep down to the riverside perfect for picnicking. The dramatic abbey ruins at Fountains are the largest monastic ruins in the country.  You can learn about the history of the abbey, discover its agricultural past and learn about life as a monk.

Lightwater Valley, Ripon, North Yorkshire

Studley Royal is full of ponds, statues and follies and paths lead to the deer park. The follies were used throughout the gardens were to show off the garden, have picnics and to entertain guests. Why not see how many you can find.

Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

Oh and you can also bring your dog with you. Making it a super fun day out for all the family. We like to take a packed lunch and flask, although being National Trust and English Heritage there is always a cafe with tea and cake.

Tees Barrage 

The Tees Barrage between Middlesbrough and Stockton is an action-packed place full of adventure including world-class watersports, air trail (the UK’s largest climbing adventure course), nature reserve and walking and cycling routes.

Tees Barrage

At the Tees Barrage watersports are the name of the game with Bell boating, paddlesports, raft building, powerboat trips, family rafting, white water rafting, and stand-up paddleboarding. You can book for a one-off, group visit or enrol on a course. Plus it is great for a rainy day as you are going to get wet anyway!

Lightwater Valley, Ripon, North Yorkshire

Air trail is the UK’s biggest Sky Trail, an outdoor climbing park set over four levels with over 30 obstacles and my Mini thrill-seekers have always loved it. At over  18 metres high above the river Tees Air Trail has an assortment of cargo nets, rope bridges, balancing beams, tight ropes, stepping stones and two full-length zip wires. There is also Air Tykes for over twos, a mini ropes course directly underneath Air Trail.

Air Trail - Teesside, North East England

Lightwater Valley

With over 30 rides and attractions for all ages, Lightwater Valley in Ripon, North Yorkshire, is bursting with fun and adventures for the whole family to enjoy on their day out in Yorkshire.

Lightwater Valley, Ripon, North Yorkshire

Lightwater valley is a magic place for all the family with lots of rides and attractions including magic shows and animal attractions.

Lightwater Valley, Ripon, North Yorkshire

There is a brilliant outdoor play area for the under 12’s that will keep them busy for hours and hours. make sure you check out our top tips for visiting Lightwater Valley.

Lightwater Valley, Ripon, North Yorkshire

Dalby Forest and Go Ape

Dalby Forest is home to an abundance of internationally important wildlife species and is also a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site. It is a wonderful place for a family day out with 13 walking trails (including easy access), 6 cycling trails and 4 running trails.

Dalby Forest North Yorkshire

It has two play areas and is also home to Go Ape and has loads of places for picnics and BBQ’s.

Castle Howard North Yorkshire

We love it when we can all do things together and Go Ape is brilliant if you have a sporty family. The boys and the husbeast are all about the treetop adventure at Dalby Forrest with its epic Zip Wires totalling a length of 888 meters) with three of them crossing a valley 35m above the ground.  The timescale for this is 2- 3 hours and really does depend on the people in front of you.  We knew that this would work well for our Teen as both of the boys have done the Junior Go Ape at Dalby previously.

Go Ape at Dalby, North Yorkshire

I am really all about the Segways even though I am not as fast as the boys.  Again this is something that all the others have done so they had an ace time whizzing about and laughing at me!  We had an hour on the off-road Segways with 2 instructors and it was really great fun and they go up to 12 miles an hour

National Railway Museum – York

The National Railway Museum in York is one of our favourite days out with Children. They often have special events at half term and during holiday time. Entry to the Museum is free and parking is around £10 for the day and you really do not need to spend any more than that if you take a picnic with you.  There are places both indoors and outdoors for you to eat any picnic you might take, which is what we usually do.

National Railway Museum, York North Yorkshire

The museum is full of trains as you would expect but it is also fun for non-train lovers too. We like to go early and split our trip with a visit to York centre during the middle of the day when the museum is busier. Check out our tips for visiting.

Castle Howard

The Howard Family have really made Castle Howard into a family-friendly place to visit. It is a great place to visit with its magical woodland paths, flowers and wildlife in the Walled Garden and beautiful lake.

Castle Howard North Yorkshire

Although buggies are not allowed in the house (Hip-seats’ can be borrowed to assist in carrying children (6 months – 3 years old) they have gone to great length to make it engaging for children with Geoffrey the Lion’s illustrated trails including a spotter sheet to help you identify items in the House.

Castle Howard North Yorkshire

You can take the train through the grounds to the lakeside play area and let off steam on the swings, slides, towers and bridges of the high-energy Adventure Playground or visit Skelf Island with its Ingenious treetop nest structures connected by rope bridges, slides, nets and climbing equipment across the dormant water of the Great Lake.

Castle Howard North Yorkshire

Beamish Museum

Beamish is a living museum and so completely different to other museums.  Firstly it is huge, so much green space for energetic children to run in and it is far too large to get all the way round in one day, which is why they have the ingenious pay once and get entry for a whole year ticket.  

Days out in North Yorkshire

Beamish is a unique place, it is working museum telling of life in Northern England during the Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian era with a farm, town, allotments, schoolhouse, hall, pit village. the train station and much much more.

Beamish Museum

Beamish often has lots of hands on activities and here you can see Mini with the Morris Dancers!

Eden Camp

Eden Camp allows you to experience the sights, sounds and smells of life on the Home Front and the Front Line, all set in the buildings and grounds of an original World War 2 Prisoner of War Camp, it is an immersive experience that is great fun for all the family, a fab day out in North Yorkshire.

Days out in North Yorkshire

Housed within the buildings and grounds of a former Prisoner of War camp near Malton, a visit to this unique museum will take you back to wartime Britain. Experience the sights, sounds and even smells of life on both the Home Front and the Front Line

Days out in North Yorkshire
Explore the best days out in North Yorkshire for Families with our amazing top days out. Make unforgettable memories with your family.

Other fab Days out in North Yorkshire and the North East

  • RSPB Saltholme 
  • Jorvik Viking Museum
  • Benningburh Hall
  • Newby Hall
  • Big Sheep & Little Cow Farm
  • Brimham Rocks
  • Roseberry Topping
  • Mother Shipton’s Cave
  • Preston park
  • North Yorkshire Moors Railway
  • Forbidden Corner
North Yorkshire family days out