A lot of families want to explore the best Yorkshire has to offer but without a car… so we thought at Yorkshire Families that we would start to share some of our favourite days out using public transport… beginning with Leeds, West Yorkshire.

I myself (Sophie Mei Lan) have a driver’s licence but no vehicle and I am determined to do what I can using public transport or by walking. Not only can it save money but it is better for the environment too and at times, I have found, it is less stressful than driving a car (YES I have been stuck on Leeds Ring Road a number of times!). So what is there to do in Leeds via public transport?

There are so many but here are some of the recent places we have visited and loved in Leeds City Centre!


As we live in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, we often get the train into Leeds if I have the energy to face the busyness of Leeds Train Station (that said the kids love it and it looks super pretty after its recent makeover). The train station itself is equipped with a few shops and lots of eateries from coffee shops to McDonald’s (the children’s favourite along with Subway), Pret a Manger (great for an affordable filter coffee), Wetherspoons (cheeps and cheerful but not child-friendly), Leon (my absolute favourite) and a Sainsbury’s (perfect if you forget picnics and snacks like I always do).

From Leeds Train Station main entrance you can easily access the city centre shops and Trinity Leeds and it is just a 10 minute walk to Millennium Square where you will find the brilliant Leeds City Museum (such a great free day out for little ones) as well as Leeds Art Gallery. Nearby there is also The Core Shopping Centre where we like to grab a slightly quieter bite to eat, The Merrion Centre and for a treat we love The Light Leeds.

Or if you come out of Leeds Train Station’s South Entrance you can easily access the city’s waterfront (River Aire).

The entrance has two escalators up to the concourse which provides access to either side of the river for passengers to get to Granary Wharf and Little Neville Street, or Holbeck.

Granary Wharf has lots of places to eat but the children’s favourite are Leeds Water Taxis. The boats (called Twee and Drie) ferry passengers from Granary Wharf to Leeds Dock. At Leeds Dock you will find Royal Armouries Museum which is well worth a visit.


My favourite way to get to Leeds is via bus although it does take a lot longer this way (approximately one hour on the 110 Arriva bus from where we live in Wakefield to Leeds City Bus Station, which is only 20-30 minutes on the train).

Once arriving in Leeds City Bus station, there are lots of places to visit locally.

The bus station itself is nothing to shout about but at least it is quieter that Leeds Train Station and it has a Greggs and corner shop as well as vending machines.

Leeds City Bus station is literally next door to Leeds Kirkgate Market which has a huge array of fruit and vegetable stalls as well as an accessible food court with lots of independent food and drink vendors (you can get delicious fresh food cooked for you at an affordable price).

The bus station is also across the road from Victoria Leeds which is home to John Lewis and some higher end shops and eateries. It’s great with a pushchair or with older children.

Not only that, Leeds Playhouse theatre is also across the road with a new city facing entrance which makes it even more accessible (previously West Yorkshire Playhouse). We love going to the theatre to see family friendly shows such as The Bear which was on during half-term.

Yorkshire Families review of The Bear at Leeds Playhouse: 

“Charming and captivating! My 5 & 8 year old daughters were so engrossed, they forgot to ask for the sweets I’d brought them. I’m not sure I could give higher praise!?

This production is everything children’s theatre should be: beautifully made, witty, charming and light-hearted.

The Bear is adapted from the picture book by Raymond Briggs, the same writer behind The Snowman. Here, a relatable and enchanting little girl, Tilly is delighted when a polar bear climbs through her bedroom window. Despite the bear making trouble, in every toon in the house, her parents remain blissfully unaware and assume the ‘bear’ Tilly constantly charters about is part of her imagination. Which my girls found hilarious, as the bear is huge!

We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the experience, from the welcome at Leeds playhouse, the wonderful acting on show, the seamless scene changes to the perfect duration and atmosphere for my girls. I’d thoroughly recommend for a family trip!”

Also nearby you have Yorkshire Dance and Northern Ballet who both run classes for children and adults. We recently attended a free family festival at Yorkshire Dance where we did a Bollywood Dance Workshop.


So whether you’re visiting Leeds by bus, foot, train or even boat… there are so many things to do! Let us know your favourite day out on social media @yorkshirefamilies on instagram/facebook and @yorkshirefams on twitter.

ABBEY HOUSE MUSEUM: School holidays at Leeds Galleries and Museums – Review

ABBEY HOUSE MUSEUM: School holidays at Leeds Galleries and Museums – Review

We had been stunned by Kirkstall Abbey but we had never ventured inside Abbey House Museum which is opposite the Abbey across the road and connected to the Gatehouse Cafe. 

We had been expecting an old house to look around but what we found was an immersive Victorian experience where we could have spent the best part of a day. 

After collecting the tickets through the museum shop we then took the stairs past the cafe to enter the museum. 

A family-friendly museum exploring social history and childhood in Victorian era Leeds

Instantly we were transported to Leeds 100 years ago with a life like Victorian street complete with shops and homes. 

The kids had been given an adventure trail so they were focused on that. It was lovely to see them interweaving through the shops, getting dressed up in the photographic studio and then take part in some of the craft activities laid out. 

As it was Christmas when we visited, we also went to see Santa in his grotto which was nicely tools away in one of the Victorian side streets. 

We thought we’d finished the museum until we saw some stairs leading to a Victorian bedroom. After seeing the glass enclosed bedroom and my kids comparing it to their own.. we walked into the “Danger Zone” exhibition which was really interesting.

Abbey House Museum in Leeds near kirkstall abbey danger zone

My kids were drawn to the dressing up part in the Danger Zone Jungle and then onto the Victorian Penny Arcade. 

We were surprised to find another section too of more interactive exhibits where the kids enjoyed dressing up again in the Childhood Galleries. 

I had only scheduled an hour and a half for the museum but my daughters could have easily spent three hours exploring and playing. 

childhood galleries at Abbey House Museum in Leeds near kirkstall abbey

We then finished off our morning in the stunning Gatehouse cafe. 

Abbey House Museum in Leeds near kirkstall abbey gatewhouse cafe

We would have wandered across the road to revisit Kirkstall Abbey but we didn’t have time. We could have easily spent a day across both sites. The car park also has a playground next door if the kids want to let off more steam… although wrap up warm for the Abbey and playground if visiting this winter!

Abbey House Museum


Monday: closed

Tuesday to Friday & Sunday: 10am–5pm

Saturday: 12pm–5pm

Abbey Walk, Kirkstall, Leeds LS5 3EH

0113 378 4079
(10am – 4pm)




  • Baby change
  • Toilets
  • Visitor centre
  • Picnic area
  • Café
  • Education facilities
  • Play area
  • Shop
  • Free parking



abbey house museum Kirkstall abbey admission prices

How to get to Abbey House Museum 


The nearest train stations are Kirkstall Forge and Headingley, both 1 mile away.


Bus numbers 33, 34 and 757 from Leeds stop outside Kirkstall Abbey.


A large free car park is situated next to Abbey House Museum on Abbey Walk. This includes disabled parking. There is an additional disabled access parking space immediately outside the museum entrance.


PONDEROSA ZOO: A family-friendly attraction in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire – Review

PONDEROSA ZOO: A family-friendly attraction in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire – Review

Ponderosa Zoo in Heckmondwike is a hidden gem housing over 120 animals from Lemurs to reindeers and reptiles. 

We went on our first trip to the West Yorkshire based Zoo, formerly known as Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre, during the school holidays to experience a family day out. 

Visiting Ponderosa Zoo 

The zoo is located off Smithies Lane Liversedge, Heckmondwike WF16 0PN. I hadn’t realised it was there until recently as it is tucked away. 


We parked up before checking in at the wooden hut-come-gift shop. We were greeted and showed the treasure trail which was there for Halloween. As it was Halloween when we went you could also pay £3 extra to get a pumpkin carved. The zoo is very reasonably priced compared to larger zoos we have been to. 

ponderosa zoo pirate ship dand pit yorkshire heckmondwike  family blog.jpg

I hadn’t realised how much there was to do from visiting animals to an indoor playbarn, outdoor play area, zip wire and talks on animals. There’s also spaces to eat a picnic or there is plenty of food and drink available to buy on site.

The zoo is compact with lots of paths making it easy to get around. There’s also a sand pit, so it’s a good idea to wear wellies especially when the weather is cold and drizzly like it was when we visited. 

My daughters aged 4 and 7 enjoyed exploring the zoo and filling out the treasure hunt. My Step brother Oscar, who is autistic, also enjoyed the zoo which is off the beaten path and felt a lot more tranquil than other attractions we have been to. 

We sought shelter in the large Lakeside Cafe which is also an events and wedding venue. It’s a cafeteria style eaterie with hot & cold food and drink available to buy. I had a nice tomato sop whilst the kids opted for jacket potatoes. 

We then ventured back outside for a last look around at some of the animals, before picking up our pumpkin which had been specially carved for us, suing our drawings. The kids had a few last goes on the zip wire before we returned to the car. 

I hadn’t realised there was a small indoor play barn as well, so next time we will definitely try that too. 


We had a lovely half-day at the zoo with friendly and accommodating staff. My mum and I really appreciated the emphasis on education, nature and endangered species. 

It’s a down-to-earth Zoo which is affordable and perfect for the whole family. 


Ponderosa Zoo (originally Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre) was created in 1991 by Maureen Cook with the aim to ‘bridge the gap’ between disabled and able bodied people through the care of animals as a form of therapy. At the time the centre held a variety of domestic animals including pigs, goats and cattle.

Since its conception Ponderosa Zoo is now home to over 120 animals from lemurs to reindeer. They are a dedicated team of hard working and passionate individuals who aim to promote animal welfare, in addition to educating the public on conservation efforts and the threats many species now face in the wild. In 2017 we took another step in journey by becoming provisional BIAZA members.

Although they are now a much bigger facility with their primary focus being on welfare, education and conservation, they still hold a ‘Bridge the Gap’ vision by ensuring our zoo is always disabled friendly and offering a variety of grounds keeping roles for disabled individuals to gain valuable work experience in a friendly and welcoming environment.


DISCLAIMER: We received a free family pass for the purpose of this review.




From crafts to markets and holiday clubs… there is so much on in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Here is what’s on at Leeds galleries and museums this October half-term…

Abbey House Museum

Little Shoppers

Every Fri, 10am-4pm 

A fun drop in session for under 5’s in the Victorian Streets with a range of play shops, fake food and a trail or craft every week.


October Half Term

·         Haunted Halloween Crafts, 29 Oct, 10am-4pm

Get ready for Halloween with a day of creepy crafts in the eerie decorated streets of Victorian Leeds.

·         Spooky Silly Science, 30 Oct 10am-12pm & 2-4pm

A day of spooky science with petrifying potions, bugs, goo and bubble snakes. No scientific knowledge is necessary, only curiosity.

·         Happy Halloween, 31 Oct 10am-4pm

Spooky fun with Halloween themed crafts and trails. 

·         Monster Mash Up, 1 Nov 10am-4pm

Make a variety of monsters from paper, pom-poms and plasticine.


Discovery Centre


Behind the Scenes Tour

Every Thurs, 11am & 2pm

One of the best ways to access and see the Leeds Museums & Galleries collections is to hop onto a free store tour! From toucans and telephones to meteorites and masks, there is something for everyone to enjoy.


Beastly Beasts & Spooky Tour

30 Oct 10am-12pm and 1-3pm

Bring your battery powered candles for the Halloween spook-fest. Discover the weird and wonderful world of the museum monsters hidden behind closed doors! This is a free event but must be booked in advance by calling 0113 378 2100.


Kirkstall Abbey


Muddy Monkeys

Every Tues, 10-11am

A friendly free session for under 5s and their carers. Each week there’s a range of crafts, toys, books and instruments and if the weather’s nice then there’s games outside too.


Kirkstall Abbey Markets

26-27 Oct, 12-3pm

Come along to Kirkstall Abbey where you can try and buy some of the best produce Yorkshire has to offer. All products are locally sourced and are produced and supplied by award winning people with a passion for food. You will also find Jewellery, fashion and collectables on offer too.


October Half Term

·         Mini Owls, 29 Oct, 10-11am

The Tuesday under 5’s session gets a feathery make over for half term.

·         Not So Scary Scarecrow Trail, 29 Oct-3 Nov 10am-3pm

A hunt around the abbey featuring some not so scary Halloween scarecrows!


Leeds Art Gallery


Big Draw Campaign

26 Oct, 11am-4pm

Big Draw family fun using cartoon drawing skills and collage to make pictures that say something inspired by the New Contemporaries exhibition.


Slow Making in Artspace

29-31 Oct, 11-4pm

During the half term holiday’s artist Lou Samray will be leading family friendly activities in Artspace to keep your creative juices flowing!


Leeds City Museum


Tiny Tigers

Every Friday, 10-11.45am

Free craft activities every Friday for under 5s and their carers. 


Rory’s Tiger Club

Every Saturday, 11am-12.15pm

Head down on Saturday mornings for different free craft activities. 


Under The Sea

26 Oct-1 Nov

Have a whale of a time this half term with underwater-themed family crafts. Create a mini whale, junk jellyfish and other sea life creatures to take home.  Make a splash on the free museum Whale Trail too!

·         Whale Weekend, 26 Oct, 11am-1pm

Come and celebrate the return of the Pilot Whale skeleton. After decades in store, Leeds City Museum are putting this awesome animal back on display. There’s family crafts, hands-on activities and whale talks on offer too. 

·         Whale Tales, 29 Oct, 10.30am & 2.30pm

Find out more about the Leeds Pilot Whale at informal public talks with Rebecca Machin, Curator of Natural Science. Meet under the whale.

·         Tiny Tigers Under 5s Club, 1 Nov, 10-11.45am

Meet under the whale skeleton for a special Whale-themed craft activity.

Sensory Room for Families with Additional needs

31 Oct, 10.30-11.30am

A pop up sensory room with dark dens and tactile toys, for a calmer moment on your museum trip during the holidays


Leeds Industrial Museum


Mystery Matinees

Daily during school holidays, 2pm

Every Wednesday & Saturday catch a family flick in the art deco surroundings of the 1920s Palace Picture House.  There’s family friendly scary movies every afternoon during the October Halloween half term holidays! Family tickets are priced at £9.


Half Term Holidays

29-31 Oct, 12.30-3pm

Discover the real stories of Halloween with 21st century witches from the Leodis Pagan Circle. Family craft sessions will include the old favourite jack-o-lanterns and willow wand making. There’s also the chance to make your own luxury oat milk bath-bombs using herbs from the autumn harvest of the colour garden.




Weekend Crafts

Every Sat & Sun 

Come rain or shine Lotherton has something for all the family. Take a break and get crafty during your visit with activities in both the hall and Wildlife World on Saturdays and Sundays. Themes change weekly so there’s always something new to get stuck into.


Spooky Scarecrow Trail

26 Oct-3 Nov

The Scarecrow trail is back with more haunts than ever before, including our spooky trail through the haunted woods! Visit the Scarecrow Skeletown and experience the scary side of the Wild West, but only if you dare! With creepy crafts and activities every day, there will be plenty to entertain your little terrors at Lotherton this Halloween!


Temple Newsam


Temple Newsam Tours

·         Hidden Temple Newsam, Tues & Sat, 11am

Take a journey under the House and learn how the servants got around unseen. It involves some steep steps and uneven surfaces and is suitable for ages 7+.

·         Discovery Tour, Thurs, 11am

A 45 minute tour of the house taking in the main highlights as chosen by Temple Newsam tour guides.

·         Through the Ages for All Ages, Sat & Sun, 2.30pm

A tour for younger visitors with a chance to handle items from the Temple Newsam collection and hear stories of people who lived and worked on the estate.


October Half Term

·         Beastly Creepy Crawlies, 26-3 Nov

Spiders, bed bugs, carpet beetles and moths all want to set up home in Temple Newsam house but they have other ideas! Find out how to spot them and what they do to stop them during a bug busting half term. Get crafty and make your own spooky spider or bed bug to take home.

·         Halloween at Home Farm, 26 Oct-3 Nov, 10am-4pm

Home Farm will be dressed up in its spookiest finery throughout the half term holidays. Take part in Halloween themed crafts in the Joiner’s Shop from 10am-4pm each day.

·         Meet The Artist: Kevin Blenkinsop, 30 Oct, 11.30-12.30pm

Kevin makes weird and wonderful creatures from found and recycled materials. He is back this half term to show off his brilliant beasts up close and personal.

·         Pumpkin Carving, 30 Oct, 1-3pm

Bring your own pumpkin to carve in the Walled Garden (or collect the pumpkin you planted if you went to the planting activity earlier in the year!)

·         Spooky Spooktacular, 31 Oct, 5-8pm

Scare yourselves silly with a visit to the darkened house and fiendish farm! Take a tour of the house complete with tales of spooky past residents who creep through the corridors at night. Try your hand at spooky crafts, collect some terrifying treats along the way and don’t forget to dress up for the occasion, the scarier the better!

Thwaite Watermill


October Half Term

Keep active during the half term holidays, grab a nature pack from reception and hit the eco trail along the canal.

·         Crafty Tuesday, 29 Oct, 1-3pm

Get involved with creepy crafty fun and make your own ghoulish ghosty.

·         Experimental Thursday, 31 Oct, 1-3pm

Design and make a dancing Halloween robot, ready for a jitterbug boogie at the Monster Mash this Halloween!

Orchard Explorers

30 Oct, 1-3pm

Head to the historic orchard for some apple related family fun! Taste the fruit from the trees that the old mill owner planted, make freshly pressed apple juice, and as it is almost Halloween enjoy making some spooky fruity art!

WHAT TO DO IN LEEDS?: Summer holiday family events

WHAT TO DO IN LEEDS?: Summer holiday family events

There’s plenty to do in Leeds, West Yorkshire with the kids this summer. Here’s the lowdown of what’s going on whether you live in Yorkshire or are visiting for a fun day out.

Abbey House Museum

School Holidays

Until 30 Aug

Inspired by our current temporary exhibition, Danger Zone, we will be making crafts and having fun with a different theme each week. From bugs and insects to spies and crimes, there’s plenty to get involved in with the family. Plus, we’ll be theming our silly science sessions so come along to get involved and find out something new!

30 Jul & 2 Aug – Spies and Crimes crafts

31 Jul – Spies and Crimes silly science

6 & 9 Aug – Reptiles and Roars crafts

13 & 16 Aug – Dinosaur crafts

14 Aug – Dinosaur silly science

20 & 23 Aug – Jungle crafts

27 & 30 Aug – Pirates crafts

28 Aug – Pirates silly science

Each Thursday in the holidays – Danger Zone Quest

All sessions run 10am-12pm & 2-4pm.


Leeds Art Gallery

Artspace: Sculpture Experiences

Until 29 Sept

Leeds Art Gallery’s popular creative space for families and others hosts imaginative activities inspired by YSI artist-work within the gallery making links between sculpture and everyday experience of a world full of objects. Check our website for Artspace pop-up events aiming to surprise, play and make us laugh hosted by the Henry Moore Institute and others.


Leeds City Museum

School Holidays

Until 30 Aug, 10am-12pm & 1-3pm

Make Marvellous Music at Leeds City Museum this summer holidays. Explore the musical side of our collections by following our Strange Sounds trail and hear the haunting tune of the Malham Pipe, our 2500 year old whistle! Each week make and decorate two different simple musical instruments from shakers and castanets to Japanese pellet drums and an Ancient Egyptian Sistrum. Design a sheet music decoration to take home.


Leeds Industrial Museum

School Holidays

12.30 to 3pm Tues, Wed, Thurs in summer holidays

Arts & craft workshops linked to our museum collection, including printing and wool felting.

Vintage Bus Day

18 Aug, 10am-5pm

Catch beautifully restored buses and coaches to hop between the city centre and Leeds Industrial Museum, Middleton Railway and Thwaite Mills. Purchase a ticket to either Leeds Industrial Museum or Thwaite Watermill and gain free entry to the other one on the same day! Jump off the bus at Thwaite Mills for a day of fun activities for all the family, including a classic car show and children’s entertainment then head over to Leeds Industrial Museum to see a transport themed movie in the 1920s cinema.


Thwaite Watermill

School Holidays

Until 27 Aug, Tues & Thurs, 1-5pm

Join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays for crafts and experiments with a different theme each week. Make a windmill, design some super cool shades and discover the wonders of ‘smart materials’ this summer.

Vintage Bus Day

18 Aug, 10am-5pm

Catch beautifully restored buses and coaches to hop between the city centre and Leeds Industrial Museum, Middleton Railway and Thwaite Mills. Purchase a ticket to either Leeds Industrial Museum or Thwaite Watermill and gain free entry to the other one on the same day! Jump off the bus at Thwaite Mills for a day of fun activities for all the family, including a classic car show and children’s entertainment then head over to Leeds Industrial Museum to see a transport themed movie in the 1920s cinema.



A Sixties Summer of Fun

24 Jul – 1 Sept

Stuck for something to do for six weeks? Then why not visit us throughout summer for our Flower Power trail, swinging sixties crafts and on special days, artists workshops. Each week we will have a new theme that celebrates Lotherton as it approaches its special milestone birthday.

Week 1: Sixties Summer week

Week 2: Flower Power week

Week 3: Lotherton Birthday week

Week 4: Fashion Crafts week – from the 1960s to now

Week 5: Groovy Zoo week

Week 6: Love Lotherton week

Temple Newsam

Through the ages for all ages tour

Every Sat & Sun, 2.30pm

A tour for our younger visitors with a chance to handle some items from our collection and hear stories of some of the people who lived here.

School Holidays – Monsters in the Mansion

Until 1 Sept

Calling intrepid explorers of all ages to a summer of beastly adventurers! Borrow a monster back pack and go on our monster trail or simply follow the monster map around the house to discover ‘creatures’ in the objects and walls! Hear fantastical stories of awesome animals and become a creative creature in our own beastly lair. Make your own unicorn, dragon or griffin and design a marvellous monster mask to take home.

Amazing Animals

10 – 18 Aug, 10am-4pm

A celebration of our fantastic rare-breed farm animals, native wildlife and birds and animals from all over the world!  Hands-on activities, animal encounters and more.

Clay Creatures

21 Aug, 10.30am-12.30pm

Go on an adventure around the House in search of fantastical beasts with our friendly Learning Officer Nikki Caines then learn some clay skills in order to create your own beast to take home.


Kirkstall Abbey

Free entry

Kirkstall Abbey Markets

29 – 31 Aug


With over 40 stalls in the cloisters of the abbey, the Kirkstall Abbey Market is the perfect place to find high quality Yorkshire produce, handmade crafts, collectables and freshly cooked treats for a tasty lunch. Put an extra spring in your step and take a stroll through the grounds afterwards.

Mini Dragons

30 Jul, 6 Aug, 13 Aug, 20 Aug, 10-11am

Our weekly under 5’s session has a dragon theme for the summer holidays. Bring along your mini dragon for fun crafts and activities in the abbey. Please be prepared that we might messy and we like to go spread outside in nice weather. Older siblings welcome.

Games Galore

Every Weds in summer holidays, 10am-3pm

Each Wednesday of the school holidays we will be putting out a selection of games in the cloister for people to help themselves and have fun.

Outside Art

8 & 28 Aug

Join us in the cloister for some outside art. We will have lots of materials and different techniques to explore.

Picnic with Barry the Dragon

15 Aug, 1-3pm

Come along to the abbey, bring a picnic and meet our friendly dragon Barry. Just make sure he doesn’t eat your sandwiches!

Kirkstall Abbey Fun Dog Show

22 Aug, 1-3pm

Our fun dog show returns with super serious categories such as dog with the waggiest tail and prizes for sausage eating and best control on lead!


Leeds Discovery Centre

School Holidays

Various dates, 10am-12pm

Fun themed sessions every week to come along to, explore and discover our marvellous collections, then take a tour of our incredible object store:

31 Jul – Money, Money, Money

7 Aug – A day at the Seaside

14 Aug – Indian Summer

21 Aug – Marvellous Minerals

28 Aug – Magnetic Toys and Games

Behind the scenes tour

Every Thursday at 11am and 2pm

One of the best ways to access and see our collections is to enjoy our free store tours held every Thursday. These unique tours highlight fascinating objects and delve into the stories behind some of our most unusual items.

These events are free but must be booked, please call 0113 378 2100 or email


To find out more about Summer Holiday Family Events in Leeds…

For further information including opening times and admission prices please visit:

GO APE: Win four tickets to the Treetop Adventure + Temple Newsam – Review

GO APE: Win four tickets to the Treetop Adventure + Temple Newsam – Review


Swinging around the treetops, zip wiring and belly laughing, was the perfect way to spend a Tuesday afternoon in Leeds. 

My step dad, step brother and I had been invited to review Go Ape at Temple Newsam, the first high ropes experience in West Yorkshire.

I had wanted to try Go Ape for a while as I love being outdoors and better still this one is based in estate grounds with a 500-year-old country mansion, beautiful woodlands and, a Georgian Walled Garden just next to the course. 

There are three challenges to suit different ages and abilities. As a group of three adults we opened for the treetop challenge. 

Our Go Ape experience 

As we drove into the Temple Newsam estate, just a few miles from Leeds City Centre, you are immediately immersed into lush greenland and long paths which lead us to Go Ape (which is tucked away near the walled Garden).

We had booked to go on one of the hottest days of the year so the trees acted as a perfect shade for the scorching sun. There is free parking too right next to the experience. 

go ape temple newsam

First, we checked in at the Go Ape log cabin, before our induction. 

Once signed in, we were given our harnesses and clips and instructed on how to use them. 

I thought it sounded complicated as I am not the most practical person, but once we were ready there is a test run so you get used to attaching your clips and using the zip lines on your own. 

Treetop Challenge Course 

There are three challenges to choose from – Treetop Adventure (for all ages), Treetop Adventure + (over 1.2m tall and for adult beginners) and then the Treetop Challenge Course (over 1.4m tall). 

We went for the latter as we were three adults who were all up for a challenge in the treetops. 

With 15-metre-high platforms, you’ll need to engage both your mind and body as you scale the tree to tree crossings that make up this high ropes course. The 11-metre Plummet is not for the fainthearted, but it is the quickest way back down to earth! If we said some thrill seekers use this as a bungee warm up, we think you’ll get the picture!

16+ regular price: £33

Under 15 regular price: £28

My brother is Autistic and sometimes struggles with new experiences and new people. But the course felt fairly tranquil and the instructions were clear and simple. 

Before we knew it my brother Oscar was off climbing and zip wiring on his own as my step dad and I scaled a parallel course. 

It’s been a while since I have squealed and belly laughed so much. It was high enough (up to 15m) and long enough (the longest zip is 60m) to get our adrenaline going and some of the crossings were challenging such as the hoops which you use as foot holes. 


It was lovely to be under the treetops and distracted from the outside world so we could truly relax and enjoy the experience. 

To finish off we went on the Tarzan swing. This is where you jump off a station and go zip lining into a rope net. After the second time of swinging towards the net you have to climb up it and on to the platform. 

We all felt nerves as we first stepped off the platform and were catapulted towards the net. But it was so much fun! And you really did feel like Tarzan. 

The experience lasts around 2-3 hours and we had completed all of the courses that were open within this time.  We felt like we had had a real workout as well as some quality time together. 

We will definitely be returning for another escape away and I will be bringing my kids for the Treetop Adventure. 

To book and for further information, go to: 


Whether it’s team building, a group of friends or a family group, Go Ape is the perfect place to swing around the trees, get active and escape the busyness of everyday life. 

To win a pass for four just enter via Rafflecopter or like our facebook page:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway closes at midnight (GMT) on 11th August.

DISCLAIMER: We received tickets free of charge for the purpose of this review. All views are our own. 

MEADOWFEST: A family-friendly music and food festival in Malton

MEADOWFEST:  A family-friendly music and food festival in Malton

The picturesque town of Malton will introduce its first ever music festival ‘Meadowfest’ this weekend, headlined by Levi Roots and his Reggae Band. Set in the rolling meadows and garden of the Talbot beside the River Derwent, the 10am to 10pm family-friendly event will see some of Yorkshire’s finest musicians grace the stage with their uplifting sets.

Meadowfest is a boutique summer music festival with a difference – combining Malton’s mouth-watering food credentials with some of Yorkshire’s best bands, visitors can expect uplifting tunes, all day feasting and dancing under the stars.

Set in the beautiful meadows and garden of The Talbot beside the River Derwent, the family friendly event is set to run from 10am to 10pm and Main Stage headliner Levi Roots will be supported by local talent such as Beth McCarthy, Flat Cap Carnival, Grand Old Uke of York, Tengu Taiko Drummers, Marc Atkinson and Ben Beattie’s After Midnight Band – promising festival goers an eclectic mix of ska, reggae, funk, blues and much more. Gracing the Hay Bale Stage will be Gary Stewart, Simon Snaize and Up Beat Brass.

Amidst the stunning backdrop on the edge of Yorkshire’s Food Capital, Meadowfest will offer relaxed and laid-back entertainment for all the family and feature some of the region’s best street food stands, including vegan and veggie options, arts and children’s entertainment and a festival bar serving cocktails, prosecco, craft beers and more.

Tom Naylor-Leyland, Festival Director, explains; “Visitors to Malton love our popular programme of events which, as a result, has grown vastly over recent years, building on our annual Food Lovers Festival, Monthly Food Markets and Harvest Food Festival to include Marathon du Malton and Street Food Sundays.

“We know from the success of our annual Food Lovers Festival that visitors to Malton love to get their dancing shoes on – with our 2017 Festival seeing hundreds of music lovers dancing in the streets to Levi Roots and his Reggae Band. Therefore, it was only right that our dear friend Levi should make a return to launch Meadowfest, our first dedicated music festival, which aims to be one of the UK’s best boutique music festivals.”

The main stage, set within a natural amphitheatre, means visitors can party up front or relax on the festival lawn which looks directly onto the main stage. With free parking nearby and easy 10-minute access from Malton train station, Meadowfest has got all the details covered so visitors can start their festival with the chilled vibes set to continue.

Tickets are available to purchase here. Tickets include free parking, access to the main stage and the ‘Hay Bale stage’, street food court, arts area, kids play area and The Talbot terrace area.

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