Ideas for free family days out
Different days out from around the country that won't cost you a penny.
Keep the whole family entertained this summer with our activity ideas in the North York Moors National Park.
There’s lots going on at the flagship Sutton Bank National Park Centre this August, with themed family activities based around ‘Sutton Bank Sundays’ and ‘Little Boots Tuesdays’. From minibeast hunts to dinosaur adventures, and craft sessions to storytelling, head along every Sunday and Tuesday to explore the sights, sounds, nature, legends and wildlife of the National Park. And with phase two of a natural adventure play area just opened, with stone tree houses and castle, mud kitchen, swamp and dens, the Centre has even more to offer visitors.
Towards the end of August each year, the famous heather of the North York Moors blazes a vibrant purple – one of the most magnificent natural sights in the country. One of the best locations is Levisham Moor, accessed from the Saltergate National Park car park, where moorland tracks spread around the stunning Hole of Horcum, a vast natural amphitheatre surrounded by blooming heather as far as the eye can see.
Get active on the beach at places such as Boggle Hole, Runswick Bay and Hayburn Wyke, where Jurassic-age fossils still wait to be discovered. The North York Moors coast is full of stunning bays and hidden coves, and a walk on the beach always turns up something of interest, from seaweed and shore crabs to coloured pebbles and fossil shards.
Most people would pick Hutton le Hole as prettiest village in the National Park, with its babbling beck, white fences and sheep-cropped greens. There’s also the excellent open-air Ryedale Folk Museum, where you can pick up free leaflets for three easygoing bike routes through the charming surroundings, past ancient villages, surprise views, country pubs and picnic spots. The routes are also available as free downloads on the National Park website.
The magical Cistercian ruins of Rievaulx Abbey are a short walk from the market town of Helmsley, and it’s one of the North York Moors most atmospheric and serene sights. A new museum and café provide a real focus for a visit, while the 7-mile circular walk is a stunning introduction to classic North York Moors countryside, through the handsome Duncombe Park country estate. Pick up the handy new walk National Park leaflet from local shops in Helmsley.
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