Whether it’s walking through the 33 hectares of mature oak and beech woodland, picnicking on the grass or playing in the fabulous children’s play area, there’s plenty in Centre Vale Park to help you enjoy the great outdoors.
The play area includes a zip wire, a space net, an inclusive climbing unit and a fully inclusive roundabout.
Centre Vale Park is also home to Lucky the dog, who featured on a Channel 4 show hosted by TV illusionist Derren Brown, and gained a reputation for bringing luck to anyone who touched it. Lucky sits in Samuel Fielden’s room, in the remains of the old Centre Vale Mansion, within the park.
The channelled River Calder runs along the north-eastern boundary of the park, which has been awarded Green Flag status.
Centre Vale Park, Burnley Road, Todmorden. www.calderdale.gov.uk
Ogden Water Local Nature Reserve offers tranquil walks, nature activities, ducks to feed and plenty of places to picnic.
The 34 acre reservoir is owned by Yorkshire Water, and boasts many woodland trails and waterside paths to explore, including 1 1/4 miles of wheelchair accessible pathway around the reservoir and through sections of the woodlands.
Cycling is not allowed anywhere on the Ogden Water estate, and no fishing is allowed within the reservoir.
The visitor centre is open 10.30am-3.15pm, and sells hot drinks, snacks, and duck food to feed the wildfowl. There is often an ice cream van in the car park – a great reward for all that walking!
OGDEN WATCH GROUP: Do you like bugs, beasties, trees, wildflowers, exploring, discovering, finding out and learning? Why not join the Ogden Water Wildlife Group. Open to families with children aged 3 to 14, we meet once a month at the Ogden Water Countryside Centre. Over the past few years we have made shelters, bird boxes, bat boxes, candles and kites. For information, phone 07769 954956.
Ogden Water Local Nature Reserve, HX2 8YA. Phone: 01422 249136. www.ogdenwater.org.uk
Bankfield is a lovely (free!) museum in Halifax that’s great for the kids to run around in.
It’s been a museum since 1887 and tells the story of Halifax and Calderdale, using its rich and diverse collections.
It’s set in a Victorian mansion in Akroyd Park – perfect for a picnic on a sunny day – and it’s nice and airy with friendly staff, highchairs and sometimes there is colouring set out, or toys to play with. It also houses Akroyd library (although it has it’s own opening hours), which is nice to call in to and read a few children’s books.
The displays cover local history, costume, art, toys, military history, jewellery and textiles from around the world and there are temporary exhibitions, including costume, embroidery, quilting, textile art, paintings and photography.
It’s all free entry, and there’s a shop with reasonably-priced refreshments (a cuppa is only £1!)
Opening times: Monday: closed, Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-4pm, Sundays: closed.
Exhibitions (2018) include:
For King and Country (until December 22) – exhibition commemorating the region’s wartime contribution. Featuring over 200 objects, 200 images and archives and 60 local stories of experiences during the First World War.
Horrible Halifax – A family-friendly exhibition to discover the darker side of the history of Halifax and learning more about the inventions and laws that made all our lives better. We’ll take you on a journey through the historical streets of Halifax, visiting apothecaries to cure our ailments, finding out how we can save our teeth and leaning about how crimes were punished, including the infamous Halifax gibbet!
Sweets (June 16-November 3) – A family-friendly celebration of all things sweet, featuring Calderdale’s confectionary collections from Mackintosh, Rowntrees, Riley’s Toffee, Dobsons, Nestle, Turnwrights Toffee and more.
Bankfield Museum, Akroyd Park, Boothtown Road, Halifax. Phone: 01422 352334
A fabulously well-kept secret, Gaddings is a lovely little beach next to Gaddings Dam in Lumbutts village, above Todmorden.
80 feet above sea level and 60 miles inland, it’s the highest beach in England and rewards those who face the steep hike to get there (there is no road access or official parking nearby) with a pretty beach, reservoir and views of the moors.
Just remember to exercise caution if you go in the water, it’s likely to be cold, there is no life guard and help is at least 40 minutes away.
Gaddings Dam and Beach, OL14 6JJ.
Enjoy a lovely walk around the lake while feeding the ducks, then wind down in the newly refurbished café. If you would prefer to picnic, there is plenty of space , and an ice cream van to top it off!
For a different view, follow the path to the right before the tunnel entrance for a lovely walk to Paul’s Pond. You’ll be rewarded with the beautiful bluebells in “Bluebell Wood” (at the right time of year!) – complete with a stream to paddle in.
Golden Acre Park, Arthington Road, Bramhope.
Lovely woodland in Bradford, perfect for family walks. Little ones will enjoy collecting leaves and sticks, or jumping in the mud, while the older ones can explore all the interesting paths and jump over streams. Gorgeous bluebells in the spring!
Judy Woods, Wyke. For details of parking and busses, view www.judywoods.org.uk
Kirkstall Abbey is a fabulous example of Medieval Cistercian abbey ruins set on the banks of the River Aire in Leeds. There is free parking at Abbey House Museum and free entry to the Abbey Visitor Centre with cafe, toilets and baby change facilities!
Kirkstall Abbey Markets run one weekend per month between March and November from 12pm-3pm.
Muddy Monkeys Messy Play – every Tuesday (term time) (10am to 11am)
Join us at Kirkstall Abbey for messy creative fun with natural and art materials. Please wear suitable messing clothing as sometimes we paint, sometimes we get muddy and if the weather is nice we go outside in the ruins!
Knights, Dragons and Princesses Activities – second Thursday of the month (10am to 11am)
Is your under 5 a budding knight, lovely princess or little dragon? Then come along and join us for fun at the abbey. Come dressed up but remember we may get messy!
Fairy Fun Activities – third Thursday of the month (10am to 11am)
For all under 5s, fairies and their carers! Join us for creative fairy fun. There are things to make, dressing up and things to play with. Feel free to come in your fairy outfits, but please be aware that sometimes we use paint and glue.
Multi monkeys stay and play – last Wednesday of the month (10am to 11am)
A monthly stay and play session for parents and preschool multiple births children. Please wear suitable messy clothing as sometimes we paint and sometimes we get muddy and if the weather is nice, we go outside in the ruins!
Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds , LS5 3EH. 0113 3784079. For information on events, phone 0113 230 5492.
Free museum in Leeds where you can come face-to-face with the Leeds Tiger, step into Ancient Worlds, see the final resting place of the Leeds Mummy and even dig for fossils.
Regular events include:
Rory’s Saturday Club – every Saturday (11am to 12:15pm)
Family arts and craft activities relating to the museum displays.
Tiny Tigers Toddler Group – first Friday of the month (10am to 11:45am)
Come along and make your own historical mess, suitable clothing advised. Suitable for the under fives and their carers.
Leeds City Museum
Mondays closed (except bank holiday Mondays 11am-5pm), Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat and Sun 11am-5pm.
Millennium Square, Cookridge Street, Leeds, LS2 8BH. 0113 224 3732.
Come rain or shine, you’ll find something to do at Manor Heath.
This Yorkshire in Bloom Gold Award-winning park is open all year round and has a fabulous play area, outdoor gym, sunken garden, walled gardens and a café.
There is also a fun water play area (April to October) for splashing around during warm summer days.
Pop indoors to the Jungle Experience; glasshouses with botanical gardens and habitats for a huge variety of plants, butterflies and animals, such as fish, quails and terrapins. Zones include The Time Zone, The Savage Garden, Butterfly World and The Lily Pod. The Jungle Experience costs £1 per person. Children aged 2 and under are free.
Manor Heath Park and Jungle Experience, Manor Heath Road, Halifax. 01422 365631.
With nine floors of galleries to explore, three cinemas (including Yorkshire’s biggest IMAX screen) and a packed programme of events, you’re sure to find something to inspire you. Free entry!
National Science & Media Museum, Little Horton Lane, Bradford. BD1 1NQ.
Open daily, 10am-6pm (Museum and Shop)
Home to over 300 years of history and over a million wonderful objects. Visit and you can marvel at iconic locomotives, watch engineering work in progress in the Workshop, browse the object-filled Warehouse, and let off steam in the railway-themed outdoor play area.
You can also take a ride on the nearby miniature railway, while enjoying the scenery.
NRM York, Leeman Road, York, YO26 4XJ
Opening Times 10am–6pm daily. Closed 24, 25, 26 Dec
Located in the heart of a conservation area, People’s Park has been revitalised and restored with new facilities.
There’s a children’s play area, visitor’s centre, bandstand, water features, pavilion and public toilets, and disabled access is provided through the college entrance.
Events are put on through the year, including brass bands and gardening workshops.
It’s also one of the best surviving examples of a Joseph Paxton Park. Created in 1857, it was donated to the people of Halifax by Sir Francis Crossley, and has been awarded the Green Flag status.
People’s Park, King Cross Street, Halifax. Phone 01422 284428.
If your kids like Julia Donaldson’s Room on the Broom, they will love the adventure trail at Anglers Country Park.
It’s free to explore – although the Visitor Centre sells fun activity packs for £2 – and you follow animal footprints to find your favourite sculptures from the book, trace rubbings and do activities.
The trail is a circular route around the lake and is accessible by foot, cycle, pushchair or wheelchair.
Our little ones loved posing for pictures with the witch, dragon and making a spell in the cauldron at the end!
There is also a café and play area.
Room on the Broom Adventure Trail, Anglers Country Park, Wakefield. Phone 01924 860280.
Roundhay Park is one of the most popular parks in Leeds, due to its size, grandeur and array of things to see and do.
As well as over 700 acres of rolling parkland, lakes (great for duck feeding and puddle jumping in the mud on the lakeside path), woodlands and formal gardens, there are also several cafes, two playgrounds, the popular visitor attraction Tropical World and much more.
Parking is available at both the upper and lower parts of the park.
The park is great for scooters and bike riding and there is also a train (weekends and bank holidays) which takes you from the upper and lower parts of the park for £2 a person.
Roundhay Park, Mansion Lane, off Princes Avenue, LS8 2HH
Home to the national collection of arms and armour.
Visitors can explore arms and armour from across the world and throughout time in our six themed galleries.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about the objects, their uses and the people behind them in our entertaining daily talks.
Opening times: Daily 10am – 5pm. Last admission 4.30pm. The museum is closed 24-26 December.
Free: some events may be chargeable.
Free Taxi Boat also available outside.
Royal Armouries Museum, Armouries Drive, Leeds LS10 1LT
Phone 0113 220 1999.
A lovely trail where you can look at artwork and enjoy walking along the riverside path. Ideal for families, it takes about 40 minutes there and back, stopping to look at the 15 pieces of artwork. It is easy walking on the recently cleaned up riverside path, and the pieces are well worth studying – the more you look, the more you discover.
The trail, which starts from the bridge on Victoria Road, is an integral part of improving the use of the footpath alongside the River Aire between Baildon Bridge and Saltaire.
Pick up a free children’s activity sheet from the Saltaire Visitor Information.
Aire alley Sculpture Trail. Saltaire Visitor Information Centre, Salts Mill, Victoria Road. Tel: 01274 437942.
Going back to 1779, The Piece Hall is a gorgeous structure with a rich history.
Recently renovated and reopened, it’s a fabulous place to visit with the family. There are gorgeous shops, cafes and bars, with water features for the kids to paddle in. It’s within close proximity to Square Chapel and the library too.
You can sit outside with a delicious dessert, or bring a picnic and soak in the atmosphere.
Events are run through the year, from markets to shows, food festivals and workshops.
This is a lovely tropical garden with plenty to keep kids entertained (particularly on a cold or rainy day as it is very warm in the tropical greenhouse!) .
There are reptiles, spiders and insects to see, as well as snakes and bats. The butterflies fly around freely and the Meer Cats are fantastic.
Admission (2017) is free for under 5’s, 5-15yrs is £3.00, Adults £6.00.
Opening hours: 10am-6pm during the summer, 10am-4pm during the winter.
REMEMBER, ADMISSION TO ROUNDHAY PARK IS FREE, AND IT’S OPEN EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR – 700 ACRES OF BEAUTIFUL PARKLAND, WITH FREE PARKING – ENJOY!.
Tropical World, Princes’ Avenue, Roundhay Park, Leeds LS8 1DF.