Family Friendly walks in and around York and North Yorkshire
Check out our Blog with 50 family friendly walks in and near York – they are listed by distance from York.
We give details of how long they should take, whether they are pram friendly, dog friendly, any cost involved, car parking and loads more useful information.
Update: Gardens and parkland available for pre-booking only.
Just eight miles north of York is beautiful Beningbrough with its glorious gardens, sprawling parkland and hands-on art galleries.
Whether it’s swinging from heights or climbing the wall up the pyramid tower in the popular wilderness play area, fun and games on the lawn, borrowing a bike to ride around the gardens or dressing up as royalty in the hall, Beningbrough is a fantastic family day out.
Pick up a free explorer backpack and go hunting for bugs, bird watching or navigating the gardens with a compass. Or, head inside. The hall can be enjoyed all year round. Get creative in the interactive galleries or let your littlest one amuse themselves in the pre-school playroom.
During school holidays, there are plenty of organised activities to enjoy from the 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ playlist as well as artrageous workshops and interactive trails.
Children’s picnic boxes and delicious meals made from home grown and locally sourced produce are available from the restaurant. Plus ice creams, sandwiches, snacks and drinks from the Brew House during school holidays and on weekends.
Beningbrough, York, North Yorkshire, YO30 1DD
Dalby Forest, managed by the Forestry Commission, offers over 8,000 acres of woodland to explore, enjoy and discover, including our Grand Father Oak play area for children, family BBQ and picnic areas, adrenalin activities for the thrill seekers and walking and cycling trails for all.
The Visitor Centre houses a café serving a wide range of locally produced snacks and meals for all the family, information point and toilets. Dalby Courtyard is home to craft & business workshops, café and bike hire centre.
Burn off some energy on the cycle trails and explore the forest. Our quality trails range from family routes to highly technical routes. Dalby Bike Barn offers high quality bikes to buy and hire suiting all ages. Visit www.dalbybikebarn.co.uk for more details.
Go Ape’s have adventure courses, with high ropes and zip wires amongst the trees for adults and children, or Forest Segways for fun on the ground. Visit www.goape.co.uk.
For a relaxing stroll within the forest choose a way-marked trail, including some trails classified as suitable for all abilities, wheelchair users and pushchairs.
In the heart of the forest Dalby Activity Centre provides activities including paintballing, archery and many more. Visit www.dalbyactivitycentre.co.uk.
For more information about opening hours and charges visit www.forestry.gov.uk/dalbyforest or call 01751 460295.
Dalby Forest, YO18 7LT
Northwood Trail is nestled in a 100 acre wood at Buttercrambe close to York and this delightful woodland fairy sanctuary is the first of its kind in the world. The eco-aware sanctuary is off grid and, quite uniquely, designed to appeal to adults as much as children. As well as a beautiful woodland trail, it also includes an intriguing Fairy Museum, to display what is believed to be the world’s largest collection of fairy artefacts, collected over many years by owners Carolyn and Christian.
Northwood is about fostering a connection to nature, at its most beautiful and magical. The woodland trail winds through 1.5km of old fairy paths, peppered with fairy tree houses, stump houses, a willow walled maze and Elven thrones. There is also a natural play area for smaller children and den building for older kids.
In keeping with the sustainable ethos, a stylish woodland kitchen will be serving organic teas and coffees as well as healthy and delicious local food.
Please note, as car parking is limited tickets are only available online, with pre allocated slots making for a calmer experience.
Buttercrambe Wood YO41 1AP
Why not walk from Rowntree park to Homestead park?
Download the map here: Childrens Walking Map which has things for children to spot on the way.
The walk takes approximately 1 ½ hours. The last section is not suitable for wheelchairs or large buggies, but an alternative route is suggested.
Distance from York: 25 miles
Come and explore the 12 acre site!
NEW FOR 2019!
Complete our Quiz and enter it in our end of season draw with a chance to win 1 of 5 Season Passes for 2020
Season Tickets to enable you to enjoy the farm all season long and get 10% off in our tea-room!!!
Willow Warren – play, run, hide!
Den Zone- build your own den, use your imagination and skills to create your own play den.
Timber trail, tiny tots trail, Maze, Giant games, Giant sand pit & Mud kitchen, Mini foot golf, Nature trail, Childrens quiz, Minature railway, Wildflowers, Nature ponds, Lavender, Distillery, Picnic areas, Tearoom, Plant sales and Shop.
Free Parking. Gift Shop. Tea-room. Plant Sales. Toilets, Disabled Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities. Dogs welcome on a lead.
Wintringham, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 8HW
If you don’t mind travelling that little bit further then don’t forget the Out of York page for Day’s out ideas that little bit further afield.
A small woodland which makes a welcome break in an otherwise urban landscape. Acomb Wood Drive dissects this site from the larger part of the wood to the east. The greater spotted woodpecker, tawny owls and tree creepers have been spotted here. Parking available at the quaker wood pub car park.
“I was going to recommend Quakers wood, they’ve got a little outdoor play area and food is nice”
AC, June 18
“I recommend Acomb Wood”
SBK, Oct 18
Acomb Wood Drive, York, YO24 3XN
Distance from York: 14 miles
“We went to allerthorpe lake at the weekend and kids really enjoyed it. Bit muddy in places but should have dried out after this week. I paid £4 for me, a 3 year old and a 2year old. Nice little cafe, walk round the lake, a sandpit (that was full of water when we went) and a park. I’m 38 weeks pregnant and it was ideal.”
HT, April 18
“Allerthorpe Lakeland Park, it’s lovely.. there’s a cordoned off bit for you to have a little paddle in (not deep and no fish!) also water sports to enjoy from paddle boats to stand boards, it’s a lovely day out especially in this weather! Xx”
HG, June 18
Open Tues – Fri 10am – 4pm & Sat – Sun 9am – 5pm
Open Bank Holiday Mondays & during school holidays.
£2 per person or £5 per family for the woodland walks and play area. Water sports extra.
Melbourne Road, Allerthorpe, Pocklington, York YO42 4RL
T: 01759 301444
Askham Bog is great for birdwatching, butterflies and wildflowers. Permissive footpaths all the way round so accessible to wheelchairs and prams. Dogs must be kept on a lead.
Public Transport – Buses stop adjacent to the nature reserve on the A64 and in the nearby village of Copmanthorpe. A cycle track links to both York and Tadcaster. Directions – Approaching York on the eastbound A64 take the A1036 turn off and then turn sharp left in the car park just after the first set of traffic lights.
“askham bog was lovely a couple of days ago.”
NP, Nov 18
“I recommend Askham Bog”
AM, Nov 18
Just off the A1036, York, North Yorkshire, YO23 2UB
Distance from York: 17 miles
Brayton Barff woodland is a very popular recreation destination for visitors who head there to walk their dogs, enjoy the beautiful scenery and take a gentle stroll. The 1¼ mile circular route flows through densely wooded areas, some of which is ancient woodland. A car park is situated off Barff Lane, west of Brayton near Thorpe Willoughby.
Visited Brayton Barff today on the recommendation of another Mumbler and just want to say it is definitely recommended! Took about an hour and a half to walk around and there is a clear path all the way around so suitable for pushchairs with lots of opportunities to explore further if you want. Dog friendly too.
HT, Dec 16
It’s beautiful once the weather warms up and the bluebells are out too
ES, Dec 16
Brayton Barff, Barff Lane, Brayton
Distance from York: 16 miles
Burnby hall in pocklington is lovely
SM, Oct 2018
Burnby Hall Gardens in Pocklington. Lots of woodland walks around a lake, can feed the fish, there’s a play park and a tea room.
CD, April 2018
Distance from York: 15 miles
Castle Howard is a magnificent historic house in the north of England, the 18th century residence is set within 1,000 acres of breathtaking landscape just outside York. The grounds include lakes, fountains, temples and woodland as well as formal walled garden and children’s adventure playground making Castle Howard the perfect family day out.
“Castle howard lovely gardens and woods to walk round childrens play area at the bottom next to boathouse cafe toilets with changing room for 1yo”
TB, Aug 18
“Castle Howard for a lovely day”
RW, Jan 19
T: 01653 648333
Clifton Backies Nature Reserve is located in historic York. In May 2002 Clifton Backies was designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) because of its diverse wildlife, its recreational open space and its potential for education. Friends of Clifton Backies hold regular events such as pond dipping, wildflower/butterfly walks.
“There’s also Clifton Backies nature reserve (just off Water Lane) that you can have a walk round & see ducks x”
DH, Aug 18
“Clifton Backies are both free to walk round.”
HD, Aug 18
Car park off Water lane / Woodland Chase, York , YO30 6RE
Distance from York: 32 miles
Enjoy a classic spring walk in the so-called ‘Daffodil Dale’ to see Farndale’s glorious wild daffodils. It’s a straightforward 3½-mile linear route alongside the enchanting River Dove, from Low Mill to Church Houses and back. Depending on the weather, the daffodils are usually out between mid-March and mid-April, but this is a charming walk at any time of year.
“lovely Farndale daffodil walk today”
HR, April 18
CK, Jan 18
Low Mill Car Park for Farndale Daffodil Walk, North York Moors National Park, Low Mill, York, YO62 7UY
Distance from York: 30 miles
Set within the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, this World Heritage Site offers a great day out for all the family. Hidden within the Skell valley, you’ll find the magnificent ruins of the once great Fountains Abbey and a Georgian pleasure ground to delight your senses. This breathtaking landscape is also home to a Jacobean Manor House, Medieval Deer Park, Victorian church and Cistercian mill.
RW, April 18
“Fountains Abbey lovely park for the little one too . Has a café.”
MM, Nov 18
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Estate, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DY
T: 01765 608888
Distance from York: 7 miles
Hagg Wood is an area of woodland of 107 acres (43Ha), to the east of Dunnington, York towards the River Derwent. The wood was established as a Community Woodland in 2003. The Forestry Commission manages the wood in consultation with the Friends of Hagg Wood. Mumblers report reports bluebells to see in Springtime.
“Hagg wood in dunnington is good, also has a big area for den building with loads of logs and branches”
KL, Oct 18
“Hagg wood is good in Dunnington x”
KEB, Feb 18
Head for Intake Lane (you’ll pass the park & keep going). There’s space to park at the end of the lane but no proper car park.
Hagg Wood, Dunnington
Used for grazing in the summer months but is also a valuable area for wildlife and flora, as well as a recreational area for dog-walkers, footballers, cyclists, pedestrians, birdwatchers and many others.
Friends of Hob Moor website has a list of wildlife to look for.
“Hob Moor. You can get to Little Hob Moor opposite the Tyburn on the Knavesmire by the allotments. Has cows in the summer”
CF, Sept 18
Hob Moor Drive, York, YO24 4JU (Various points of access)
A lovely medium sized woodland, popular with dog walkers. Knavesmire woods has a path running from Bracken Road through to the cycle path that goes past the racecourse. Parking can be busy but you can usually get a space on Bracken Road – although it’s a residential area. Knavesmire Wood is an area of 13.8 acres (5.6 hectares) of mature broadleaved woodland just outside the south-west corner of the Knavesmire.
“I recommend Knavesmire Wood, you could do the walk”
BL, April 18
“I recommend Knavesmire Wood”
SM, Feb 18
Knavesmire Wood can be accessed from Bracken Road (YO24 1JT), Dringthorpe Road (YO24 1LF), the Knavesmire, National Cycle Route 65, and Bishopthorpe Road (near Middlethorpe Hall).
Distance from York: 15 miles
Lotherton is a very popular place attracting over 3/4 of a million visitors each year
(Wildlife World, House and Chapel, Grounds and Gardens, Outdoor Play, Indoor Play)
” Lotherton was fab, lots to do“
LE, Sept 18
” Lotherton hall, not so many activities but we had a picnic there the other day and it was raining but they have gazebos x“
EM, Aug 18
Off Collier Lane, Aberford, Leeds LS25 3EB
T: 0113 378 2959
We had a lovely afternoon at Nether Poppleton Millennium Green and pond today. It’s a nature reserve with a pushchair friendly flat path, sculptures, a sun dial, lovely orchard, walkways through trees, dens built in the wooded parts, lots of sheep and lambs and you can see trains passing on the nearby railway line. Its only fairly small but a great walk for toddlers our 2yr old loved it (There’s a longer circular walk by the river too) all in all a lovely little hidden gem.
SB, Aug 17
Church Lane, Nether Poppleton, York, YO26 6LF
This small woodland is part of the ancient Forest of Galtres and is ablaze with colour in spring. Snowdrop, primrose, daffodil and bluebell form a backdrop to a succession of mature rhododendrons, azaleas and maple. Fairly flat so will be suitable for most buggies – it’s a circular walk with lots of interest points like carved trees, a tree house and ponds along the way. From York, take the A19 Thirsk road for about 3 and a half miles to Skelton. Turn right off the A19, continue through the village and the nature reserve is another 2 miles further on, on the left of the road. Parking is allowed on the verge near the entrance gate. Unfortunately Dogs aren’t allowed as it’s a nature reserve.
“I recommend Moorlands. It’s out towards Shipton. Full of ancient twisted rhododendrons that make the best climbing frames x”
CD, Dec 18
“Moorlands is a lovely little walk xx”
SW, Dec 18
Moor Lane, York, North Yorkshire, YO32 2RE
Distance from York: 24 miles
The sound of children’s joyful laughter rings out as they swing, play, ride, splash, and run in Newby’s legendary Adventure Gardens. A perfect place to meet up with friends; eat, discover, relax, shop and smile all in the stunning setting of Newby Hall. A day with us is a rare thing…truly a day that the whole family will enjoy.
(Paddling) – “Newby hall has lots of water jets and in their own fenced area. My kids loved it as they were the only ones playing in it. They do ask you to wear shoes when you’re in in though. Mine just wore crocs. It’s a bit further to go than some places but I highly recommend it.”
“Newby Hall is great, has a fantastic children’s play area, miniature railway and also nice gardens to look round – just the other side of Boroughbridge.”
AE, May 17
Newby Hall, Skelton-on-Ure, Ripon HG4 5AE
T: 01423 322583
Distance from York: 22 miles
Picturesque Yorkshire manor house with organic garden and exciting exhibitions.
“We had a lovely time this weekend at Nunnington Hall (not far from Helmsley) – gorgeous gardens to run around, peacocks, croquet, outdoor games like giant jenga; and there’s a family room on the top floor of the house with dressing up, jigsaws, books etc. “
RH, April 2018
“Nunnington Hall have nice gardens and are close by”
LN, April 18
Nunnington, York YO62 5UY
T: 01439 748283
Some 2000 trees and 1,500 woodland shrubs were planted during the establishment of the Country Park. Developing woodland includes willow, birch and pine with oak and ash. Hawthorn, blackthorn and dog rose thickets give nesting cover and food for an increasing range of birds. The climbing boulder is open for use by the public all day, every day and is free of charge.
Facilities: Country Park office/classroom, children’s play area, toilets at Park and Ride
“Recommended a walk around the pond (lake) at Rawcliffe Country Park”
GH, Jan 19
“We have just been round Rawcliffe lake this morn with scooters, its tarmac all the way so it is nice, flat and safe for bikes and scooters”
KH, Jan 19
Rawcliffe Bar Country Park, A1237, York YO30 5RR
T: 01904 883991
You can walk from Millennium Bridge down into town and there is a path all the way so good for buggies.
You pass Rowntrees park with a great play area on the way as well as the reading cafe in the park if you want to stop for a drink or something to eat too.
“you can walk along the river Ouse to the millennium bridge, that’s a lovely area.”
KG, May 18
“We go down by the river ouse. Kids and dog love it then if its dry we take a picnic aswell”
SG, May 18
Millennium Bridge, York, YO10 4FZ
Distance from York: 10 miles
Skipwith Common National Nature Reseve is one of the last remaining areas of northern lowland heath in England. An incredible variety of plants and animals depend on the Common for their survival. The 270 hectares of open heath, ponds, mire, fen, reed-bed,woodland and scrub are an ancient landscape, with its roots in pre-history.
The first part of the walk is along a track that would be suitable for most buggies except in the worst weather. Dogs are allowed on the walk but must be kept on a lead. There is parking at the start of the walk, head out of the village on ‘Common Road’ and it’s approx 1 mile on the right.
Postcode: YO8 5SG
This scale model of the Solar System is spread out along 6.4 miles of the old East Coast main-line railway. Along it you can find scale models of all the planets in our solar system as well as models of the Cassini and Voyager spacecraft. The track is a wonderful nature reserve with many different species of trees along the way, and an abundance of wild life to see and hear.
“I recommend Cycle track solar way”
KLF, Aug 18
“I can recommend this route. lovely area to walk around”
VH, Feb 18
Route goes via Brunswick Organic Nursery & various pubs for refreshments.
https://www.york.ac.uk/solar/index.html for more information.
The Nature Reserve is open all year round, just come and wander round. Come and explore 24 acres of unique green space on the site of a former rubbish tip. Many birds live on or visit the nature reserve and just under 20 species of butterflies have been recorded. There are all kinds of other insects and some mammals too. There is a great variety of plant species, trees and shrubs.
St Nicks Environment Centre is open: Mondays – Fridays 9am-4pm and during our on-site events
“St Nicks reserve is good…its a cycle track but lots of bits to look at too…you can head left and come out at Morrisons Foss Islands or right to Tanghall/osbaldwick & dewenthorpe.”
LT, Jan 19
“St Nick’s nature reserve off Hull Road. Outsdoorsie with play park plus general running around space, & an environment centre if your older kids are into that sort of thing.”
LH, Feb 18
St Nicks, St Nicks Environment Centre (formerly York Environment Centre), Rawdon Avenue, York, YO10 3ST
T: 01904 411821
Distance from York: 8 miles
The nature reserve supports a mosaic of wet heath, dry heath, mire, open water, woodland and acid grassland. Over 150 plant species grow here including marsh cinquefoil, the beautiful blue marsh gentian and carnivorous round-leaved sundew.
Great for…a family day out, butterflies & wildflowers
“I recommend Strensall Common. We regularly walk on Strensall common with our two dogs and 4 year old x”
AL, Nov 18
” nice walks on the common, shops near by and a good bus service x”
HR, Feb 18
Common Road, York, North Yorkshire, YO60 7QY
This is a great buggy friendly walk at the racecourse as it’s got a path all the way around.
Accessed easily from Tadcaster road, by the side of the Holiday Inn, there is always plenty of parking space too.
Popular with dog walkers, it’s a great place to wander round with the children while looking at the racecourse stands or (if you time it right) see the hot air balloons taking off!
Knavesmire Road, York, YO231EX
Explore some of the hidden treasures of York Museum Gardens.
Follow The Squirrel’s Trail of 10 fascinating fact points!
Follow the interactive trail and take part in our online quiz at the end.
Find the Questions at…
Museum Street, York, YO1 7FR
“University campus, both East and West. Free parking on weekends”
MN, Feb 18
“York Campus Nursery, at the University. My second is currently there, and both mine love(d) it. Really low staff turnover, which to me says that the staff like it, feel valued, and therefore do a great job.”
RR, July 18
University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD
T: 01904 430000
Big skies, often full of whirling flocks of birds, stretch out above you, which the wide green expanse of floodplain meadows go for as far as the eye can see. The Derwent flows quietly by, reeds rustle in the breeze and a mysterious ‘plop’ in the ditches might signal a pike, water vole or even otter. In fact, at times in the centre of Wheldrake Ings, it can be so peaceful and remote that you feel like the only person on earth.
Permissive footpaths. Keep to footpaths as there are areas of deep water. The ground is often soft and slippery.
“Wheldrake Ings is very good”
PL, June 18
“I would recommend Wheldrake Ings”
HT, Nov 18
Ings Lane, York, North Yorkshire, YO19 6AX
Often recommended by Mumblers.
Wheldrake Wood is located close to the City of York. It is largely coniferous, growing corsican pine and socts pine as well as larch and some areas of sruce and fir. There are also a great number if individual trees and small stands of oak and birch, as well as a few coniferous rarities such as a giant sequoia.
There is a car park at Hardmoor with many informal footpaths throughout the wood.
(Watch out for dog poo though – there isn’t a bin at the moment so it can be an issue!).
“Wheldrake woods is a nice woodland walk.”
MS, Aug 18
“Wheldrake woods is lovely! Quite often take my 2yr old and dog for a picnic there! Both can run around safely.”
LW, Oct 18
Broad Highway, Wheldrake, YO19 4FF
Kilburn White Horse is the most northerly turf-cut figure in Britain and one of the most famous landmarks in North Yorkshire.
“I recommend The White Horse in Kilburn”
KG, Nov 18
“The white horse near Kilburn is lovely”
AW, Dec 18
(Free car park: YO61 4AL, but a steep walk)
Sutton Bank Visitor Centre, Thirsk, YO7 2EY
T: 01845 597426
Distance from York: 16 miles
” Yearsley woods are superb!!!“
DR, April 18
“Yearsley woods is nice and scenic .There is also a lake there.”
GW, Dec 18
Yearsley Woods, North Moor Lane, York, YO61 4SL
On a nice day, there isn’t a much better way to see the beautiful city of York than walking around the walls.
Children can enjoy following the route via the golden disks on the floor and remember to take some paper and crayons so they can complete the map rubbings at each of the bars.
The walls go most of the way around the city, just having to get down to street level a couple of times. Not strictly buggy friendly but I know many who have managed it fine. Always a friendly visitor or local on hand to help!
“Walk round the city walls- my little boy loved it and is free x”
LH, Aug 2018
“Walls are walkable, open until dusk. Lovely to walk around and see all of york.”
EB, Oct 2018
Distance from York: 15 miles
A stunning landscape of parkland, lakes and ponds is the backdrop for a collection of more than 6,000 trees from around the world. Wander off to explore peaceful hidden glades and wildflower meadows, let the children go wild in the woodland playground and enjoy the very best in seasonal, home-cooked food in the café.
“Would highly recommend.”
RM, Aug 18
“Yorkshire arboretum at castle howard. My 2 and 4 and love running around it and they do nature trails.”
HT, June 18
The Yorkshire Arboretum, Castle Howard, York, YO60 7BY
T: 01653 648598
Distance from York: 13 miles
Walk amongst the lavender flowers, with their stunning array of different colours, a truly wonderful experience.
Come and see our unique Lavender Maze, wander in the Parkland, sit and admire the fabulous views and watch the fallow deer nearby.
We have lavender and herbs for sale, EJ’s Tea Room, Gift Shop, award-winning lavender gardens, deer park and sculpture park. Our panoramic view over the Vale of York is said to be one of the best in Yorkshire!
“Yorkshire lavender is really nice. Not too big to walk round for little legs and there’s a maze and snakes and ladders made out of lavender. Plus a little park at the top. And it was free ! X “
RK, April 18
“Lots of open space for the kids”
GF, June 18
Yorkshire Lavender, Terrington, York, YO60 6PB
T: 01653 648008