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
ROKT Climbing Gym aims to provide a safe, energised, social atmosphere while fulfilling all your climbing needs.
Choose from taster sessions, and boulder and rope inductions and courses.
There are also kids’ clubs, where they can learn to climb and meet other children. ROKTLINGS (age 5-6) and NICAS (age 7).
Fun-packed kids’ parties last for an hour-and-a-half and include games, bouldering and roped climbing activities with an instructor. Indoor caving is also available.
ROKT Climbing, Old Flour Mill, Millroyd Street, Brighouse. 01484 717444. www.rokt.co.uk
For a list of soft play places in Calderdale, visit here.
Trampoline park and soft play centre with café. Parent and toddler sessions every morning from 10am-11am, £5.
Airtime Halifax, Unit 4 Calderdale Business Park. Contact 01422 247404.
Outdoor activity centre in Ogden with a wide range of activities. Choose from mountain boarding, grass sledging, archery, low rope courses, slingshots with paintballs, archery, air pistols and more.
Just turn up and have a go – no need to book!
Birthday parties for ages 5+ include packages such as archery, low rope challenge course, go-kart building and racing, tag archery and group and team games. From mid-April to late November you could also choose mountainboarding, grass sledging, dirt scooters or bumper balls. We offer a popular BBQ buffet for afters, in a heated log cabin, under the shade of the marquee or outside in the sunshine.
Another World Adventure Centre, Moss Farm, Ogden. Phone 01422 240700.
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
Beautiful green space close to Hebden Bridge town centre and the canal.
There’s an outdoor gym, children’s playground, a skate park, bowling greens, football pitch, tennis court, basketball court and a café.
It’s lovely to walk on the adjacent canal towpath to watch the narrowboats sail by.
Calder Homes Park, New Road, Hebden Bridge
Tenpin bowling with ten lanes, a dining area, pool table and licensed bar. Automatic bumpers, electronic scoring and bowling ramps make sure all the family can have fun.
Glow in the dark bowling on Friday and Saturday nights.
Children’s and teen parties available all week, including one hour of bowling, party invites, unlimited juice, balloons, party bags, birthday badge and a hot food platter followed by ice cream.
Open seven days a week, 10am-late.
Electric Bowl, 70 Commercial Street, Halifax. Phone 01422 301123.
Halifax’s Eureka is a fantastic day out and is highly recommended for children up to about 11. There are specific areas for the under 5’s and even a couple of special non-walker areas.
The concept of the museum is that you learn through play and everything there is hands-on. I visit regularly with my 2.5-year-old and 5-year-old and they are constantly begging to go back.
There is a mini M&S shop for the children to work and shop in, a bank and post office. There is a car garage where you can do an MOT, the sound garden, the desert area, a lovely craft room where the children can relax and do some gluing and sticking, and so much more.
There is a cafe and gift shop on site, although there are indoor and outdoor picnic benches if you want to take your own food.
Best of all, the cost of the admission gives you free entry for 12 months. Parking costs £3 for four hours.
Please note, Eureka is usually closed on MONDAYS during term time and the new All About Me Gallery is now open.
Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
Discovery Road, Halifax, HX1 2NE
01422 330 069
Prices from 1 April 2017
Free with Standard Admission/Annual Pass. Pay once and come back as many times as you want for a year:
Adult/Child (age 3+): £12.95 each, Toddlers (age 1-2 years): £5.25, Babies (under 1 year): FREE
*Additional charge may apply on some events
Weekends, half-terms, holidays and bank holidays open daily 10am -5pm.
Term-time weekdays open 10am -4pm. Closed Mondays during school terms, 24th-26th December and 1 January.
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.
Hardcastle Crags is a beautiful wooded valley to explore, with 19th-century Gibson Mill at its heart.
It’s run by the National Trust and there are often fun events for the kids during school holidays.
There are several marked trails (you can pick up a map in the car parks or have a look online here, including a couple of easy ones and one that’s suitable for prams (a mile each way).
It’s lots of fun to walk by the water, try the stepping stones and have a paddle before cooling off with an ice cream or enjoying a slice of cake in the café. Or you could look for minibeasts, pond dip, play hide and seek in the woods or admire the tumbling water falls and lovely walks.
You can explore on your own, or take a guided tour. Depending on the season, there are bluebells to enjoy and activities such as creating mini rafts to sail on the pond and cooking on campfires.
Inside Gibson Mill you can learn how a cotton mill became a popular entertainment venue before being transformed into a visitor centre and café.
With 13 hectares of nature reserve, the beautiful Jerusalem Farm and Wade Wood are perfect spots for picnics and paddling! The kids will have great fun splashing about in the stream and there is plenty of space to play ball or Frisbee. There are picnic tables, spots in the shade and you can have a barbecue too!
Look out for woodland birds such as goldfinches, robins, woodpeckers, tree creepers and nuthatches. And if you’re quiet, you might even spot a deer! In the autumn there is woodland fungi and all kinds of flora and fauna to enjoy.
Access to the woods from the car park is by a steep grass track, but there is a zig-zag path from the car park to the grass, which is stroller accessible.
Jerusalem Farm is also a campsite from April-September, with pitches for around 30 tents and a holiday cottage.
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.
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.
As well as being one of West Yorkshire’s most important heritage sites, the Shibden Estate is full of fun to keep all the family entertained.
The beautifully restored grounds, commissioned by Anne Lister, are wonderful to walk through and there is the tranquil Wilderness Garden, the cascade and pools, restored tunnels within the terrace walls that lead through to Cunnery Wood, the site of the old kitchen garden.
There’s a lake where you can feed the ducks (duck food sold in the café) or hire a rowing boat, pitch and putt and depending on the season, a miniature railway and a land train (charges apply).
The kids can burn off steam in the playground and there is a café for refreshments afterwards.
There’s also a permanent dry stone walling exhibit.
Inside Shibden Hall, which dates back to 1420, you can enjoy a fascinating journey through the lives of the people who lived and worked there, including Anne Lister, whose life is soon to be explored in a new BBC drama written by Sally Wainwright. There is a 17th century barn and workshops with a carriage collection and displays including a blacksmiths, coopers, wheelwrights and saddlers.
Special events run throughout the year.
Shibden Park, Godley Lane, Halifax. Shibden Hall, Lister’s Road, Halifax. Phone: 01422 352246.
Snowboarding, snowtubing, skiing and kids adventure play.
The slope is covered in a highly advanced material called Snowflex to create a close-to-snow experience.
Charlie Fastrax indoor play includes a multi-storey play area with ball pools, climbing frames, tunnels, slides and caves.
Parties and taster sessions available.
Halifax Ski & Snowboard Centre, Bradford Old Road, Halifax. Ski & Snowboard Centre and Snowtubing: 01422 340760, Charlie Fastrax: 01422 360060.