YORK MAZE: Family Day-out with rides, challenges and lots of playing in Yorkshire

YORK MAZE: Family Day-out with rides, challenges and lots of playing in Yorkshire

We enjoy going to lots of family-friendly attractions and over the years they have all gotten bigger, better and slicker. It’s great to see the rise of super-farms and businesses booming but sometimes everything feels a bit ‘too’ comfortable for the kids. There’s not a lot of exploratory play. It’s just handed to them on a plate (or screen).

Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing I love more than being indoors, cosy and with a good cup of coffee. But it’s important to let kids be kids and that’s what York Maze does right.

Europe’s Largest Maize Maze – York Maze

After chatting to York Maze online, we were invited to go review the place. I’ll be honest, I had never heard of the Yorkshire attraction, so I was excited to give it a try this half-term.

As we went the day after Halloween, it was all Halloween themed but hopefully this review will help you regardless of what season you visit the maze.

larege real pumpkin halloween york maze

Entering York Maze

Once we had entered through the wooden building we were immersed in smoke to start off our Halloween adventure.

When we had passed the smoke machines, we were then into the ranch-style courtyard where there’s a cafe, toilets, wooden play area and even a pumpkin slingshot. (I imagine it’s themed differently depending what season you visit).

york maze map yorkshire

We popped in first to a mini Halloween panto, set inside a barn.

halloween panto at york maze

Then we spotted the sign for Pumpkin Carving and went that way as we weren’t sure how to get into the maze (yes we’re that bad at directions- we that we had gotten lost before we even got to the maze).

Pumpkin Patch and Pumpkin Carving

Inside the tent you could do pumpkin carving, there was a mini pumpkin show as well as the chance to watch a professional carving a pumpkin.

Out of the back of the tent was a mini field of pumpkins, including the largest real pumpkin I have ever seen! (In fact Farmer Tom from York Maze sailed down the River Ouse in that Pumpkin! You’ve got to love the Yorkshire spirit!).

After some photos with the pumpkins and the opportunity to pick our own, we decided to head for the maze after we had worked out that you go along a little path to the entrance.

york maze carving pumpkin

Exploring the Maze

As it’s a farm the maze can be muddy and uneven, so wear wellies or walking shoes if possible. The children enjoyed finding each station where you can use a stencil to draw on your map. A-maze-ingly we didn’t get too lost! But we had fun finding our way around and trying to keep up with the kids! The girls were chuffed to get their sticker on completion.

yoprkshire families york maze

Awesome Corn Snake Tower Slides

Next up, my daughters and I went on one of the high slides in a brown bag. There wasn’t much of a queue so we managed to get on fairly quick.  

It was really fun! We could have gone on a drop slide but the girls wanted to go on the slower “wavy one.”

Pumpkin Slingshot

My mum then wanted a go on the Pumpkin slingshot where you sling pumpkin/balls and try and get them in baskets to win a badge (all free). So my mum and the girls had fun on that and luckily both daughters won a badge!

Jumping Pillow, Volcorno, Climbing Zone and Sand & Water Play

We had only given ourselves a few hours at York Maze but we quickly realised we could have spent most of the day there. We didn’t get chance to go to the Scarecrow Centre, Painting Mural, Remote Control Boats, Witch’s Grotto, Face Painting  or Mini Mazes. As the girls wanted to go and bounce on the large pillow. We were lucky as there wasn’t much of a queue to get on and the girls had a blast bouncing around. They then each selected their last activity.

york maze maize

Avid climber Jasmine wanted to boulder up the Volcorno Slide and Arianna was a bit young for that, she went in the Climbing Zone and Sand & Water Play.

It’s great that the kids get to be so active and get a bit muddy too… How children should be!

As it was getting dark, we made our way out this time via the shop, The Ivy Store.

Before entering the car park, we bumped into the corn mascots which topped off a fun-filled afternoon for the kids.

corn mascot york maze halloween

 

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HALLOWEEN, AUTUMN & OCTOBER HALF-TERM: Where to go and what to do in Yorkshire?

HALLOWEEN, AUTUMN & OCTOBER HALF-TERM: Where to go and what to do in Yorkshire?

From pumpkin picking and autumnal crafts to spooky events and slime workshops, there is so much on offer this Autumn and Halloween in Yorkshire.

Now the Mid-Autumn Mooncake Festival is over (we celebrate the Chinese festival in our household), we have been on the hunt for things to do locally in our beloved county of Yorkshire.

One of our favourite places to go is Farmer Copley’s  in West Yorkshire who boast the UK’s largest Pumpkin Festival. But we’ve never actually visited during the Pumpkin season, so that’s on our to-do list this year. And fellow northern blogger Cora Harrison highly recommends the farm in Pontefract and said that they picked a blue pumpkin last year at Farmer Copley’s!

Not too far from there is the fabulous Yorkshire Sculpture Park who are putting on a family-friendly Autumnal Bushcraft Day. We went to one of their family days over summer and loved it!

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The Hepworth Wakefield also has crafts on throughout the weekends and Wakefield School Holidays such as Art Pods and Craft tote bags to borrow on Saturdays, Mondays and Fridays.

crafts free family activities at the hepworth gallery wakefield art pods

Wakefield Museums are always free and most of their family-friendly workshops are free too (including Wakefield Museum, Pontefract Museum and Castleford Museum). To find out What’s On check out their leaflet here.

Don’t miss a super spooky event for older children (advised 12 plus) on Hell Lane in Wakefield… it’s Yorkshire Scare Grounds Scream Park, combining special effects and actors in an immersive experience as well as a pop-up bar in the severed head!

Also close by for the whole family and scare-free is a Light Party happening on Halloween, 31st October at Portobello Community Centre in Wakefield.

Or you can jump on a ghost train with special Halloween-inspired story-telling at Kirklees Light Railway with their ‘Half Term Horrors’ event.

There’s also plenty of free activities on at the National Coal Mining Museum this half-term.

Up in North Yorkshire, we always enjoy a visit to Stockeld Park who have a special Halloween Adventure on from 25th-31st October during the Autumn October half-term. They’ll be transforming the maze each night into something spooky as well as their Woodland Trail with Nordic Ski, the Illuminated Enchanted Forest and a real ice rink.  I would recommend their Christmas Experience too.

Blogger Amy Downes recommends York for the slightly older kids.

She said: “York is amazing for ghost walks on Halloween – everybody goes dressed up and the people who lead them are really lovely and entertaining. We actually booked a night over there last year at the Holiday Inn which is a 40 minutes walk into the city centre and after the walk Mummy and Daddy had a quick pint afterwards while our toddler was sleeping – recommend Valhalla the Viking Bar which isn’t very well known or the Guy Fawkes pub close to York Minster to get you in the mood for Bonfire Night (Fawkes was born in the house which is now a pub).”

Europe’s largest maize maze, York Maze, reopens on 27th October until 4th November for a special Hallowscream event.

Then if we journey to South Yorkshire, Trips with a Tot recommends Halloween at Whirlow Hall Farm with their Witches in the Wood event on 27th October, a free Spooktacular at Conisbrough Castle or Slime Workshops at Medieval Mayhem, a play centre in Sheffield.

Museums Sheffield (which includes Millennium Gallery, Graves Gallery and Weston Park Museum) always have a variety of free family activities on rom Craft and Art Clubs to Fridays for Under 5s. Make sure you check what’s on here.

museums sheffield free family activities millenium gallery

Then drive over to Barnsley for Cannon Hall Farm’s Halloween event… The Pumpkin Festival where young witches and wizards can complete challenges to graduate from the Wizardry School.

So whatever you get up to this Autumn, please let us know below or if you have any recommendations… we’d love to hear about them!

Don’t forget we’re on twitter @YorkshireFams and Yorkshire Families on Facebook.

MY YORKSHIRE: The best Yorkshire Attractions, Family Days Out & Food

MY YORKSHIRE: The best Yorkshire Attractions, Family Days Out & Food

Yorkshire Families began due to my love of Yorkshire – the people, the places, the attractions and most of all the fond memories I have of being born and bred in God’s Own County. 

And I want to help other families enjoy Yorkshire – helping them to discover with insider knowledge the best places to go, eat, drink and experience the region. From South Yorkshire to North Yorkshire, from West Yorkshire to East and the Yorkshire Dales.  

I was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and now live in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and have travelled around the region lots… but I want to hear from other people who also love Yorkshire in this new “My Yorkshire” column as there is so much to do and so much to discover that I can’t do it all myself… as much as I will try. 

Anyhow, here are my answers to the questions I’ll be asking, as well as, a short introduction: 

A self-confessed YouTube and Yorkshire Fan, Sophie Mei Lan decided to set up Yorkshire Families to help showcase the best Yorkshire has to offer. When she is not blogging or vlogging, Sophie is a mum to two girls and a multi-award-winning Journalist. She also co-owns Media Consultancy & Video Production Company Evoke Media Group and The Hepworth Cafe. 

Where do you live and work? 

I live in Wakefield, West Yorkshire near Castleford, Pontefract and Leeds. But I am from Pitsmoor in Sheffield, the Steel City. My family are originally from all over – from Burton-on-trent and Preston to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and China!  

I blog and vlog from home and when I am out and about. I also run my own businesses – Evoke Media Group, our office is in Wakefield City Centre and The Hepworth Cafe which is based inside The Hepworth Wakefield and I help my chef husband with his events and wedding catering company Pop Up North. 

Wakefield Westgate station Jasmine Make and Move

How do you like to travel around Yorkshire? 

Most of the time you’ll find me running with the buggy or walking or catching buses but occasionally my husband drives us around or we use the train if going for a day-out. 


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Mum ont run! Instead of a car I like to run everywhere from place to place. I don’t have the drive to “go out for a run,” I much prefer incorporating exercise into my daily routine. It means I get to chat to my child as she sits happily watching the world whizz by. I’m not focused on #calories or #miles just the speed I can get to where I’m going. Whether it’s running, walking, taking the stairs… whatever the physical activity… anything is better than nothing #fitnessmotivation #fitnessjourney #mumrunner #mumrunners #runningbuggy #mumontherun #nocar #exercisedaily #fitnessblogger #fitnessvlogger #fitnessforlife #runnersofinstagram #runnermom #runnerslove #runnersworld #runnersunite #mumlife #mumblogger #mummysgirl #mumblog

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Where would you recommend nearby?

The Hepworth Wakefield is great for a free day-out with crafts and lots of family activities on, especially during the holidays. It’s not just because we own the cafe there but we have been going to The Hepworth since it opened. 

There’s also a Free City Bus in Wakefield which takes you from Wakefield Westgate Station and Wakefield Kirkgate station to The Hepworth, Wakefield Museum (which is also fab and full of free activities for children) and into the City Centre where you can shop at Trinity Walk or The Ridings Shopping Centre. 

I also love a walk down the canal near The Hepworth and going to Thornes Park which has a Secret Garden, Duck Pond and indoor/outdoor gym and athletics stadium. 

The Hepworth Wakefield in the rain

What do you love most about Yorkshire? 

All the independent businesses, suppliers, influencers and makers – there is so much talent in Yorkshire. 

What is your ultimate day out in Yorkshire? 

I love the Yorkshire Coast! I had an amazing day-out in Scarborough. We began the day at Alpamare Water Park before heading down to the beach and playing on the slots. We then seen the evening at The Scarborough Spa – perfect! 

Where do you enjoy going to at the weekend in Yorkshire? 

If the weather is nice the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton is lovely for a walk and a picnic and so is National Trust’s Nostell Priory. Or if the weather isn’t great we head to The Hepworth or a local play-centre. 

What are your favourite family-friendly places to go? 

  • Sheffield’s Winter Gardens and Millennium Galleries (they’re attached and all indoor). 
  • Stockeld Park near Harrogate 
  • National Coal Mining Museum for England, in Overton, Wakefield 
  • Hemsworth Waterpark or Anglers Country Park (both in the Wakefield district) 
  • The Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield has The Den play area and FAB (Families and Babies) charity. 
  • Kirklees Light Railway 
  • Eureka in Halifax 
  • Wensleydale Creamery is home to a new family experience (we’re yet to check it out).
    The Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre 12 

What are your favourite free activities in Yorkshire? 

There are so many galleries and museums with children’s activities on as well as an array of parks (we love Millhouses Park in Sheffield) and countryside to explore – all for free. For example, I’ve mentioned a few free excursions such the National Coal Mining Museum and The Hepworth. Also check out your local library for activities and play/story corners. 

What are your favourite Yorkshire attractions? 

Any secret hot-spots or insider tips you’ve discovered? 

  • For discounts, check out the leaflets on display at a local attraction as you can pick up some bargains, we always enjoy using Yorkshire Attractions. And sometimes you can save money by booking online in advance. 
  • Check out the Park Run website for places to go on a Saturday morning to run with the whole family. 
  • How Stean Gorge is really cool if you have older children who fancy gorge walking or abseiling or just look in the cafe as there is a glass floor looking down to the gorge. 
  • If you’re visiting National Trust’s Fountain’s Abbey – don’t forget to go on the Folly Trail.   
  • If you’re travelling on the motorway near Scotch Corner check out Mainsgill Farmshop, cafe and playground, beats any service station! 

Where would you recommend going for food and drink?  

It’s always hard finding somewhere comfortable to suit all ages which is why we love picnics but with the bad weather that’s not always possible. Asides from the family-friendly pub chains, if you’re looking for good food and drink which is family-friendly there are tons of homely Italian Restaurants. 

Farmer Copley’s has a nice Bistro-style Cafe with plenty of options. Oh and of course, The Hepworth Cafe! 

the full vegan breakfst brunch at The Hepworth cafe

We also loved having Children’s Afternoon Tea at Mr and Mrs C’s in Wakefield City Centre and the staff at Waterton Park Hotel put on a special family afternoon tea for us all if booked in advance. 

 

Or another great option is Private Dining where a private chef comes to your home (my husband is a Chef and does this for a lot of families as it takes the stress out of going out). 

Also check out Peddler Market in Sheffield is full of street food and music located in an old warehouse in Kelham Island, Neepsend (Burton Rd), day-time tends to be best for families.

If you want to find exclusive offers to some of the best Foodie spots, go to: Yorkshire Food Guide  which has a new online shop.

Are there any family-friendly shops or businesses? 

We love going to Crafty Owls Pottery Barn in Ossett and Boomchikkaboom put on a lot of fun family events across the region. 

Make sure you check out mumbler.co.uk as they have lots of good recommendations and so do My Bump 2 Baby for families. Or for women in business, check out Girl Tribe Gang. 

If you were giving a whistle-stop tour of Yorkshire – where would you recommend people go if they were spending 48 hours in Yorkshire with their family? 

I’d say check out these blogs in advance as you’ll see there’s so much to do, it’s best to focus one part at a time: Yorkshire Tots (covers West Yorkshire), Trips with a Tot (covers South Yorkshire), Leeds Dad, Hip2Trek, Charlotte The Magpie Mama, Cossins Music School (covers Wakefield), A Mum Full of Dreams (Leeds), Lucy At Home, Wonderful Chaos, Rainbeaubelle, Yorkshire Wonders and here on our site. 

Anything else you’d like to share about Yorkshire?

There is SO much happening in Yorkshire, makes sure you follow us on here and on social: 

@YorkshireFams on twitter.

Yorkshire Families on facebook.  

 

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