North York Moors

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Great for kids

Fishing nets at Robin Hood's Bay by Mike NicholasFishing nets at Robin Hood's Bay by Mike Nicholas

Looking for ideas on how to wear out the kids? Here's our run down of brilliant and fun things to do this summer.

Relive childhood memories of carefree sunny days

There are hundreds of wonderful spots for a picnic and a paddle in the North York Moors. Two favourites are close together at pretty as a picture Hutton le Hole. Start in the centre of the village where the kids can have a splash in the stream while you’ll share the grassy expanse with the free range sheep. Head out on the Rosedale road for almost a mile until the road dips at Loskey Bridge, for a picture perfect picnic where the kids can dip their toes in Fairy Call Beck, as pretty as its name suggests.

Create new memories with a trip to Goathland where a self-guided Yorkshire Treasure Trail will take you around the village looking for clues. Will you be the first to find the buried treasure?

If you’d like to do a bit of steam train spotting too, head to the bridge at Goathland station, or Hogsmeade, the Harry Potter station, where the North Yorkshire Moors Railway trains chug and sound their whistles right beneath you.

Get your hands dirty

Make your own muddy delicacies  in the mud pie kitchens at Sutton Bank or Nunnington Hall out the back of the house, make a wish by tying a ribbon on the wishing tree, and play croquet on the lawn. There's a crafty room at the top of Nunnington Hall too; kids will love dressing up in the 1920s clothes. Oh and don't eat the mud pies, the cakes in the tearoom are much tastier.

A little bit of wild time

Take your pick from the many places for an adventure, with lots of great playgrounds to choose from. Flamingo Land’s theme park is the ultimate for family fun, especially in the Children’s Planet, an activity play zone for younger guests.

There’s more to Castle Howard than just the house, the large lakeside adventure playground is one highlight. Nest swings, bridges, balancing beams plus a giant pyramid tower housing two brilliant slides, kids can really let off steam, while parents will love kicking back at the adjacent Boathouse Café. Or head to Skelf Island over the water of the Great Lake, magically inhabited by mischievous Skelves, and reconnect with nature while playing on the treetop nest structures, rope bridges, slides, nets and climbing equipment.

It's not all about cycling at Dalby Forest, discover Grandfather Oak and the Curious Forest in the WildPlay area. There's also weekly parkruns, family walking, activity sheets and Gruffalo orienteering course, plus Go Ape Treetop Adventure (min. height 1m) for a fun-filled adventure under the canopy, while picnic spots will keep all the family happy.

Over at Guisborough Forest and Walkway, go pond dipping from the dipping platform in the wetland area or have fun in the natural play area.

Danby Lodge National Park Centre in Danby is a great family day out. There's a cool adventure playground and mud kitchen outside, as well as a climbing wall, slide and hands-on activities inside. We've got a packed programme of events and activities over the school holidays too, especially for families. Take part in quizzes and trails to get closer to nature and discover fun facts about this amazing place.

Walks for little boots

If ever there was a magical woodland walk, this is it. Take the trail through the trees on a 2-mile circular route that passes an idyllic woodland tea garden at Midge Hall and the 30-foot Falling Foss waterfall, before returning alongside babbling May Beck. It’s a lovely shady walk for summer – with shallow waters to paddle in, and a bridge to play pooh-sticks from. Great for collecting twigs, moss and leaves to create woodland inspired art.

Tracker Packs are a great way to get kids to explore the wonders of our coastline. Packed with activities to enjoy, including a rock pool recce and fossil hunt, these free packs are available to borrow from the Old Coastguard’s Station at Robin Hood’s Bay and the National Trust’s Coastal Centre at Ravenscar.

Family-friendly bike trails

With the world – alright, Yorkshire – at your feet, head out on two wheels from Sutton Bank. It has a specially built 3 mile mostly level, off-road and traffic-free 'Cliff' trail at its heart, taking you out along Sutton Bank cliff – a thousand feet up and with thrilling views from every angle. It’s an inspiring location – a real wind-in-the-hair, wow-look-at-that panorama that will have you grinning from ear to ear. No bike? There’s mountain bike hire, with road bikes and electric bikes also available from Sutton Bank Bikes.

The 2.5 mile green Ellerburn Family Cycle Route at Dalby Forest is completely traffic-free, suitable for all the family, and offers a magical ride – down the valley, criss-crossing Dalby Beck, winding through the trees and crossing pastureland before looping back via the skills area. Bike hire available from Dalby Bike Barn.

The 4-mile High Hawsker to Whitby stretch of the Cinder Track (the former Whitby to Scarborough railway line) is an easy off-road and traffic free trail that's on fairly flat gravel surface with breathtaking coastal views for all to enjoy, plus the chance to pedal over the 13 arches of Larpool Viaduct as you whizz down into Whitby. The Scarborough to Cloughton (5 miles) section is also fairly flat. Bike hire from Trailways at High Hawsker.

Bringing history to life

Looking for fun and the chance for kids to learn a little history? We’ve got plenty of great museums where dull is not in the vocabulary and history is brought to life through re-enactments and demonstrations.

Start with Eden Camp on the edge of Malton where you’ll be transported back in time to relive the sights, sounds, and even the smells of World War II in the buildings and grounds of an original World War Two Prisoner of War Camp.

Follow that up with a visit to the super open-air Ryedale Folk Museum – listen to stories from volunteers in period costume in 20 preserved historic buildings, from Tudor mansion to 1950s village shop, with plenty of activities during school holidays too, including themed cooking in the cottage, children's crafts or a museum trail. Beck Isle Museum, only a few miles away in Pickering, is especially good for its Heritage Craft Days when you can see traditional skills such as printing on the beautiful Columbian letterpress, wool spinning, butter making, blacksmithing and rag-rugging.

Hit the coast and help Old Jack!

Old Jack and Salty need your help to fix The Rainbow! Pick up a free, fun sticker trail and follow in the footsteps of CBeebies' 'Old Jack's Boat' which is filmed in Staithes. The leaflet is available in the village, just look out for posters in participating outlets.

The smugglers’ bolthole of Robin Hood’s Bay is a goblin hotspot – how else to explain the rocky cove known as Boggle Hole, a mile south along the shore from the village? Once you’re done with boggle hunting, the exposed rocks of the seabed mean it’s perfect for rock pooling and fossil hunting at low tide. Find out what you’ve seen at the Old Coastguard Station. Check out Runswick Bay, one of the best places in the country for beachcombing.

There's plenty of rock hopping to be done at Hayburn Wyke too or simply have a splash and play in the beck that runs across the beach at Sandsend before building sandcastles on the wide sandy expanse. Follow in the footsteps of dinosaurs at Scalby Bay on one of Hidden Horizons dinosaur trips in the school holidays (they do rock pooling and fossil finding too), just bring your wellies. Do have a look at our responsible fossil hunting tips before heading out.