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Keep your half term hordes happy

Wednesday 22 February, 2017, by Sarah Nicholson

So, the weather’s a bit ‘plain’, as they say up here, and we’ve reached that tricky mid-way point of half term when ideas are starting to run thin (as are tempers).
What to do? – Maybe we can help.
Our access & recreation team have put together some great ideas on how to keep the kids happy.
Open farms are always a winner. You can feed the animals at Hesketh Farm Park near Bolton Abbey – which has plenty of activities for letting off steam inside and outside, including the giant sandpit and straw maze – and Kilnsey Park Estate has a children’s fishing pond and friendly alpacas to meet.

Family standing in front of a waterfall in Aysgarth

Mesmerising Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale

Rain doesn’t need to stop play. In fact, the more water the better in the Dales  as its magical waterfalls turn quite magnificent after a downpour.  The three stepped falls at Aysgarth are always a sight to see, as is Hardraw Force, the longest single drop waterfall in the UK. And did you know that there was a waterfall amid the limestone at stunning Malham Cove? No? that’s because it reappeared to great excitement last winter for a few days only – the first time in living memory.
If it’s just so-so above ground, how about heading below. There’s lots to learn at Stump Cross, Ingleborough and White Scar show caves or you could venture deeper on a taster caving trip lead by an organisation such as Yorkshire Dales Guides.
For an adrenalin fix, try the unique Forbidden Corner near Leyburn – if we told you what it was it might spoil the fun – or Lightwater Valley with Europe’s longest roller coaster or Aerial Extreme near Bedale with rope course and zip wires.
There is some heinously horrible history to uncover at Skipton and Bolton Castles, as well as the evocative ruins of the World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey, the ancient priory at Bolton Abbey and enchanting Jervaulx Abbey to explore.

Train in Kirkby Stephen

Open day at Stainmore, Kirkby Stephen East Railway station

And who, quite frankly, doesn’t love a train ride. Embsay to Bolton Abbey Steam Railway has year round events, from Thomas the Tank Engine to Santa specials, and the heritage lines of Wensleydale Railway running between Leeming Bar and Redmire and Stainmore Railway at Kirkby Stephen East station offer nostalgia aplenty . Even the normal mainline service is a spectacular trip through the Dales between Settle and Carlisle and over thrilling Ribblehead Viaduct on this historic line.

Child printing in the Dales Countryside Museum

There are drop-in events year round at the Dales Countryside Museum to keep your busy bees busier

And don’t forget, our Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes – it’s open daily 9am to 5pm and ready to welcome you year round. Share in the story of the Dales landscape and its people, with plenty of interactive exhibits and hands on stuff to do – plus a great ‘cycling’ café to refuel and keep spirits high.

Picture of Sarah Nicholson

Sarah Nicholson

Sarah is our communicator in residence at the YDNPA


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