Half term at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal means Wild Wood Adventures PLUS WIN A FAMILY PASS 

Half term at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal means Wild Wood Adventures PLUS WIN A FAMILY PASS 

Den building competitions, trees with faces and a missing gladiator statue.

This half term there’s a wild wood adventure waiting for families at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. The National Trust site near Ripon is only 45 minutes from Leeds and York, and this February their family programme is all about trees.

A clay faces trail has sprung up on different trees in the water garden and by the abbey, waiting for little wanderers to explore. There are den building competitions by the playground and wooden sculpture making drop-ins in Swanley Grange, re-using fallen twigs and sticks collected from the garden by the gardening team.

Visitor Experience Officer Hayley Donaldson said: “There are over 6000 trees here at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, from sycamores to sequoias, Scot’s pines to wild cherries. Each and every one is special; some are very old, some are very tall, and some just very beautiful. There’s even a rumour that one tree was planted by royalty. We’re celebrating these wonderful trees by getting creative with art, building dens and making staffs.”


On top of Wild Wood Adventures, on Sunday February 24, wooden staffs will be swapped for garden games for the Dying Gladiator Day. The Dying Gladiator was an original statue in Studley Royal water garden which went missing over a hundred years ago. The team at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal are now fundraising to restore the statue, to return the gardens to their Georgian splendour.

The conservation team will take a mould of a Dying Gladiator statue from another eighteenth century garden to create the replacement statue. The mould will be recast in lead by a sculpture conservation specialist and mounted on a plinth made by a stone mason. The statue will then be painted bright white to match the other statues in the garden and placed in its original location near the moon ponds.

To help raise awareness for the Dying Gladiator appeal, Sunday 24 February will be a day of games, tours of the water garden and a chance to meet the conservation team. Come along to test your strength and agility with games and discover if you would have made a good gladiator.

All half term events are free with general admission. Free entry for National Trust members.


Half term highlights at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal include: 

Den building competition

Tuesday 19 February and Tuesday 26 February

1pm-3pm, meet by the play area

Learn to make your own den using sticks from the estate. How watertight will yours be? We’ll be testing them with watering cans so you’d better bring your A-game!

Make a personalised staff

Thursday 21 February and Thursday 28 February


Make like a wizard or a wild explorer and decorate your own staff using green wood collected from the estate by our gardeners. We’ll show you how to decorate it too, so your staff is special to you.

Clay face trail

Saturday 16 February – Sunday 3 March


There’s mysterious faces made from mud and moss popping up all over. Follow the clay face trail and learn all about wise trees growing at Fountains Abbey. We’ve chosen ten difference species – can you find them all?

Wild and woolly decorations

Saturday 16 February – Sunday 3 March

11am – 4pm, Swanley Grange

Pop in to Swanley Grange and have a go at making natural sculptures. We’ve collected twigs and sticks to wrap with coloured wool. How weird and wacky will you go?

Make your own clay face

Saturday 23 February and Saturday 2 March

11am-3pm, Trees at picnic point opposite play area

Led, drop-in

Get your hands dirty by making clay faces on trees. Find a tree with interesting features and decorate it with clay, moss, sticks, stones, feathers and leaves.

Dying Gladiator Day

Sunday 24 February

11am-3pm, at Silver Pond by the Studley entrance

Join us for a day of fun and find out more about the lost statue and our fundraising appeal.

Test your skills with garden games,* see artefacts from the garden and find out how statues are made. *The games will not take place in case of bad weather.

TO WIN A FAMILY PASS, GO TO: https://www.facebook.com/YorkshireFamilies/


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.