FREE FAMILY DAYS OUT IN YORKSHIRE: What’s on this Half-term School Holidays for families?

FREE FAMILY DAYS OUT IN YORKSHIRE: What’s on this Half-term School Holidays for families?

School Holidays can be a daunting time for families throughout Yorkshire when it comes to finding out what’s on for the family on a budget. You suddenly have lots more meals to make, activities to pay for and time you want to enjoy.

So we at Yorkshire Families wanted to do a round-up of some of the best free days out in Yorkshire to keep the school holidays as cheap and affordable as possible.

And most of all we want your whole family to enjoy half-term as much as possible (sorry we can’t promise no tantrums or grumpy moments, but we’re only human and as Yorkshire folk we like to do things on a shoe string!).

 

The best free family days out in Yorkshire:

 

  1. National Science and Media Museum in Bradford: “Situated right in the centre of Bradford is the National Science and Media Museum. This museum is devoted to the fascinating history and technology behind TV, film and video games. From the basics of how lenses work to displays of old sets and favourites from the past, there is something here for all the family.”
    Here’s what we got up to:
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  2. Weston Park Museum in Sheffield will have 2 NEW galleries opening at the start of half term, plus activities on every day. Half Term: Discovery Days are free drop in events, and include Incredible Egypt crafts. 
  3. Clifton Park & Museum is a “fantastic free day out in Rotherham with adventure playgrounds, big slides, sandpit and park. There is a good free museum with hands on stuff for kids. Plus there is a funfair – not free but worth mentioning,” says Naomi from Trips with a Tot blog.
  4. Grimm & Co is a magical Apothecary in the heart of Rotherham Town Centre (right next to Clifton Park). They have a range of free activities on, some you need to book in advance. There’s Portals from 18-22nd Feb:
    Explore the textures of the apothecary to create your very own portal. Once your portal is in full form, where does it lead? What’s on the other side? Complete a description of your imagined land and see if anyone would like to go through…
    This is an independent activity that you can do by yourself or with grown ups in their apothecary. Just ask the Shop Elves behind the counter for more details.
    Puzzle Poetry also 18-22nd: As spring brings new life and growth to the natural world, our apothecary begins to sprout new words! Use the leaves all around to uncover the lines of a poem. Place them in any order you want, change it, add to it, make it your own!
    This is an independent activity that you can do by yourself or with grown ups in their apothecary. Just ask the Shop Elves behind the counter for more details.
    And Bewitched Botanicals on 18th and 19th Feb 10-2.30pm,
    20th Feb 10-1pm: Join Professor G. Greenfinger as they identify the magical and mystical plants hidden within the mortal realm. Craft your newly discovered enchanted plant andrecord its features to be kept in the Bewitched Botanical Archive forever.  Call the apothecary on 01709 8296750 to book your free slot.
  5. National Coal Mining Museum of England in Overton (near Wakefield, West Yorkshire) has so much to offer from indoor galleries and a free play area and space to dress up as well as a range of outdoor play areas and places to explore England’s mining history. There’s also pit ponies you can meet and don’t miss the underground tour which goes 140m underground and is led by friendly former miners. There’s also a woodland trail and a chance to meet real life Blacksmiths creating works of art out of metal. There’s lots of extra activities this February half-term too. For more of what’s on at NCMME for families, head to our post here.

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    The underground tour at the National Coal Mining Museum is perfect for over 5s
  6. East Park in HullEast Park fully opened in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. This Grade II listed park recently benefited from a council assisted lottery grant totaling £10 million and has been transformed into a vibrant green space where you can enjoy modern attractions and discover historic treasures.
    East Park Bridge

    There’s something for everyone – you can take a stroll around 130 acres of parkland, brave a ride on our Wicksteed splash boat, visit the Animal Education Centre, try the new library at the Pavillion and enjoy a picnic.

  7. Aysgarth Falls in North Yorkshire: Aysgarth Falls are in Leyburn, North Yorkshire and are a set of three magnificent waterfalls on the River Ure. The falls cascade over the series of broad limestone steps which are divided into three stages; Upper Force, Middle Force and Lower Force.
    “We decided that we would walk down and see the middle and lower falls. We weren’t sure how long it would take, but we were in no rush. Following the footpath, we passed the visitors centre, crossed a road and entered the woodland through a gate. The walk through the woods is well signposted, with a nice path which is suitable for buggies. Wheelchair users will find accessing some areas a bit tricky though as there are some steps,” explains Hodge Podge Days blog.
  8. Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre is dedicated to the history and people of the borough.  It is an interesting place for all the family to visit.  There is lots of fun to be had in the interactive galleries and the Discovery Centre holds priceless treasures. We stumbled upon it in the town centre after getting a bus to the bus station to buy some food from Barnsley Market. It’s great for little ones as it is compact and has lots to to as well as a lovely gift shop.
  9. Rhubarb Festival – Wakefield’s Food and Drink Festival:If you don’t know what the Rhubarb Festival is, then where the ‘eck have you been? It’s Wakefield’s love-letter to the divisive vegetable, the first date in the Merry City’s festival calendar, and it starts the year off with a bang.In 2020 it’s a festival of Miracle-Gro proportions, running for a whole week from Monday 17 February until Sunday 23 February (the traditional food and drink market runs 21-23 February), and truly taking over the city centre. There’s lots on for families too, so head to Wakefield’s former Market Hall which is right next to Wakefield Bus Station (the festival of the Moon took place here too).

    Open Monday to Sunday, this is a real family space, with a cosy reading corner, kids’ Activity Zone (including an awesome rhubarb video game which has to be played to be believed) and storytelling workshops.

    There’s plenty for grown-ups too. Highlights include a community-led rhubarb recipe exchange, the photographic Heritage of Rhubarb exhibition, exclusive photographs from Martin Parr’s Rhubarb Triangle, and – prepare to be intrigued – the Rhubarb Shed, an immersive experience where visitors learn about the cultivation of the plucky pink vegetable, and watch (and hear!) it grow before their eyes.

    Like an enormous rhubarb crumble, Rhubarb Festival 2020 has plenty to get your teeth into. So get your pink on, and get set to eat, drink… and be merry.

  10.  National Railway Museum in York not only has it’s normal exhibition offering but also Decoded themed activities this half-term. So this February school holidays, let the NRM show you how we needn’t be scared of words like “data” and “coding” with fun hands-on activities that break down these concepts and build confidence:

    TECH ON THE TRACKS

    Get to grips with high-tech toys in this introduction to the basics of tangible coding on the train tracks, run by Technology in Play.

    FLUX DANCE

    Create code through movement in this dance workshop which teaches you the 10 key words of coding.

    ROBOT RAILWAYS

    Take charge of a small robot to find out how technology can be used to change and improve our railways.

    HOW TO BEAT THE SYSTEM

    Enjoy a screening of a Royal Institute lecture exploring how algorithms relate to our lives. More info and tickets.

    STORYTELLING

    Technology in Play are taking over story time with their Code-a-pillar. Use code to tell this clever critter where it needs to go, bringing a new twist on well-known early-years stories.

    PASSENGER GO

    Think like a train in this interactive game, where a roll of the dice throws up problems to solve.

    MORE FUN—AND FOOD, TOO

    Head out to South Yard for a Steam Ride or a rumble along our Miniature Railway. There’s also the super-speedy Mallard Experience and the Road Train to take you to and from York Minster.

    You’re bound to work up an appetite exploring our big museum. Pop over to our family-friendly cafés in Station Hall and Great Hall to refuel, where you’ll also find irresistible coffee and cakes.

  11. Leeds Galleries and Museums: There are so many free things to do across West Yorkshire this half-term and in the Easter Holidays, go to our full post here.
    Leeds art gallery art space

 

More free ideas for family days out in Yorkshire wherever you are:

 

  • Canals and River Walks: Check out Canal and River Trust for nice walks near you. We loved a charity walk with Leeds Cares along the Leeds and Liverpool canal. It was great for picnics and lovely paths for buggies and bikes too. We caught the train to Kirkstall Forge Station and walked along the path to Leeds Dock.
  • Museums, Galleries and Libraries near you: Check out your local council website for a list of venues that are open near you and many of them will also have free activities on during the half-term holidays.
  • Local Parks and outdoor spaces:  From woodland to playgrounds and community allotments. Why not wrap up warm (sorry I am assuming the weather will be bad!) and get outside even if it is just for a short walk or a bit of fresh air.
    FAMILY WALKS TOP 10: Where to go Walking in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and win a spa day
  • Organise a meet-up or playdate either outdoors or in your own home: We often have playdates at our house which gives the kids chance to play and us adults chance to chat.

 

What’s your favourite free day out in Yorkshire?

 

Happy Exploring God’s Own County!

THE CHRISTMAS EXPERIENCE: Lotherton Hall in Leeds #Review

THE CHRISTMAS EXPERIENCE: Lotherton Hall in Leeds #Review

I’ve heard great things about Lotherton Hall which is a country house on the outskirts of Leeds, West Yorkshire. So when we were invited to review the Christmas Experience, we jumped at the chance.

As I was busy finishing off work on my other blog and vlog, my Mother in Law Janet and Sister in Law Jen took the girls on The Christmas Experience.

Janet writes…

Lotherton Hall Christmas Experience

The entry fee included entrance to the Hall and the Christmas Experience. The Christmas experience included an elf village, a 12 days of Christmas walk and a fairy dell.

We went into the  Elf Village first which included a food and drink van selling limited snacks which unfortunately were not really suitable for the children I had with me aged 6 and 4 years. The activities were very good decorating plates, decorations ceramic tree decorations and one other which was too busy for us to see what it was. You had to purchase tokens for these £10 for 4 tokens but I felt these were very good value.

Unfortunately although it was the Saturday before Christmas there was no Santa there. The playground was very good. We did not see the Fairy Dell and the children did not want to do the walk.

I personally would have preferred to have paid less just to go to the Christmas Experience with small children and as we didn’t want to see the house but it was included in the entry fee.

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The official lowdown

Steeped in Christmas magic and excitement. Enjoy a magical Twelve Days of Christmas Walk through the Captains Wood around the estate, make the turtle doves fly, walk through the five gold rings and be one of our drummers drumming! Uncover a secret fairy hideaway in our rock garden. Visit Santa in the North Pole and meet our elves helping in their workshop. Marvel in the splendor of the Edwardian House with the rooms dressed in all their festive finery. Wander down to the Elf Village where young ones can join the elves in making craft activities or listen to stories, and everyone can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or warm snack under our twinkling canopy.

DISCLAIMER: We received an entry pass but paid for everything else for the purpose of this review. All views are that of the author.

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.