Top 10 Free Things To Do in North Yorkshire

We all know kids will only sit still for so long… so if you’re looking for free activities to burn off the excess energy in the summer holidays look no further. Discover our list of top 10 free things to do in Yorkshire. All family-friendly, they include waterfalls, woodlands, cycle paths, and beautiful scenic walks.

Easby Abbey, Yorkshire

1. Easby Abbey

Starting off from The Station in Richmond, where you’ll find plenty of parking, enjoy a peaceful walk along flat paths that will take you to the stunning ruins of Easby Abbey. This simple route, ideal for kids and dogs, will take you along the River Swale for approximately 1.3 miles to Easby Abbey. Entry to the abbey is free and a perfect place for the kids to explore and maybe enjoy a game of hide and seek. Adults can soak up the beautiful views from the abbey and, after they’ve completed the walk back along the river, why not treat the kids to an ice-cream at The Station

Cod Beck Reservoir

2. Cod Beck Reservoir

The views from Cod Beck Reservoir, on the outskirts of Osmotherley village in the North York Moors, are breathtaking! The scenic circular walk around the reservoir is approximately 1.5 miles, not too tiring for little legs. The paths are flat and safe and kids will enjoy exploring the little streams off the main track, whilst dogs will love jumping in and out of the water. Parking is free at the reservoir, however, you can also park in the village which is approximately a 20-minute walk. Afterward, why not stop for some award-winning fish and chips in nearby Osmotherley village?

brimham rocks

3. Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks is one of the more unusual places North Yorkshire has to offer. You’ll be amazed at the incredible rock formations offering both panoramic views and plenty of climbing opportunities for kids. If you prefer to walk there are plenty of flat paths meandering through the site. Admittance is free at Brimham Rocks and parking is plentiful although you will have to pay for car parking unless you are a member of the National Trust. The café offers hot drinks and some snacks as a reward for your adventures.

walking holiday yorkshire

4. Druid’s Temple

Set amongst beautiful woodland with stunning views across Swinton Estate, Druids Temple is a Stonehenge-like structure that children will enjoy exploring. Just a few miles outside Masham village, kids and dogs can roam the paths within the woods, whilst you soak up the scenery. Parking is based on an honesty system, and a charming little dog-friendly café is perfect for a quick refreshment.

cod beck osmotherley

5. Hackfall Woods

Enjoy a great day out and find endless paths for the kids to run wild and free amid the incredible woodland of Hackfall Woods. Explore waterfalls, streams, and hidden grottos as you ramble around this beautiful spot, within an easy drive of Masham. The car park is free and the Insta-worthy pictures you’ll take will be priceless.

aysgarth yorkshire dales

6. Aysgarth Falls

The waterfalls at Aysgarth Falls on the River Ure will be a highlight for any family that enjoys the great outdoors. A variety of walks are available, none too tiring for the kids, that will take you along some spectacular scenery where you can take some memorable family photos. And challenge the kids to find the spot where scenes from ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ were filmed! You will have to pay for parking and a small café beside the car park is a lovely spot for a quick snack…

things to do in yorkshire

7. Brymor Ice Cream Parlour

Fancy an ice cream or perhaps a quiet coffee in the shade, while the kids play? Brymor Ice-Cream Parlour, outside Masham, serves a huge variety of homemade ice cream and home-cooked food. A spacious outdoor play area has climbing frames, a sandpit and go-karts that are free for the kids to enjoy. There is ample free parking and gorgeous views across the countryside to enjoy.

Sutton Bank days out Yorkshire

8. Sutton Bank

Sutton Bank is the ideal spot for summer holiday adventures. Situated in the North York Moors, 10 minutes from the market town of Thirsk, Sutton Bank offers dramatic views over the local countryside. Whether you’re cycling or walking, you’ll find plenty of routes to suit all ages and abilities. Older kids may enjoy the new mountain bike track with plenty of turns for cool tricks. Why not bring a picnic, and enjoy at the many benches dotted around or get a coffee from the café? Entry is free however you must pay for parking.


9. Nidd Gorge

Situated near Knaresborough and Harrogate, Nidd Gorge ancient woodland is made up of five different woodland areas. A perfect place for a family walk, take in the pretty views along the meandering River Nidd. The paths are easy and accessible, however, if you go to see the viaduct in the heart of Knaresborough, prepare for a steep climb on the way back!

Nearby is England’s oldest tourist attraction, Mother’s Shipton’s Cave. Not a free activity, but it offers a mystical landscape and is a wonderful spot to uncover the secrets of the past.

malham cove

10. Malham Cove

Another little gem in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is Malham Cove, not far from the village of Malham. The curved limestone formation will provide a dramatic backdrop for your family walk. Scenes from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were filmed here so die-hard fans can have fun trying to spot the exact location! And when you’ve tired the kids out, the pretty village of Malham has plenty of food and drink options.

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