Free Things To Do With the Kids in Yorkshire

· Imagine Selby · Culture

Big adventures that don’t cost the world.

National Science and Media Museum

Got a free weekend or need to fill the days during the school holidays? Don’t panic – we’ve got you sorted.

From terribly fun trips to the museum to exciting escapes to the countryside, Yorkshire is chockablock with incredible free things to do with the kids. So, whether you’re saving up for something special or you’re a keen bargain hunter, there are loads of things to do and see for free in God’s Own County. And we’ve made it that bit easier for you by rounding up some of the greatest ideas for your next family day out. All that’s left is to pick one – maybe even two!

Roundhay Park

Roundhay Park

© Copyright Leeds-List 2022 by Ali Turner

Roundhay Park has oodles of space, with 700 acres of parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens for the little ones to run around – all for free. You can take a stroll around the lakes, cross the lawns and explore the gorge, looking out for ducks, squirrels and, if tales are to be believed, fairies along the way. There’s even the adventure playground where they can let off some steam. Bring along a picnic and that’s your family day out in Yorkshire sorted.

Roundhay Park, Mansion Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HH.

Salts Mill

Salts Mill

Credit: Salt’s Mill

Gather the kids and step back in time through Yorkshire’s industrial heritage on a day out to Salts Mill. Formerly a textile mill dating back to 1853, it’s now a place dedicated to the arts which you can visit for free. Here, your budding artists can be inspired by the works of David Hockney and more. While you’re here, you can explore the historic town, a famed UNESCO World Heritage Site, before enjoying a relaxing walk down the picturesque River Aire.

Salts Mill, Victoria Road, Saltaire, West Yorkshire, BD18 3LA.

Otley Chevin Forest Park

Otley Chevin

Otley Chevin Forest Park has oodles of space to explore with the little ones. Trails weave between woodland, heathland and meadowland, giving you plenty of choice. Head out on the orienteering trail and put your skills to the test for an action-packed family day out that’s gratis too. There are also seven geocaches hidden around the park for you to seek out – another great way to explore. And if the stabilisers are off, the Chevin’s bridleways are great for family bike rides.

Otley Chevin Forest Park, East Chevin Road, Otley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS21 3HB.

Royal Armouries

Royal Armouries

Credit: Royal Armouries

The Royal Armouries showcases the enormous national collection of arms and armour. You can discover over 4,500 historic artefacts from all around the world, from real Stormtrooper blasters to an impressive elephant armour – all for free. On a day out here, the kids will be captivated by live combat demonstrations where the historic weapons are brought to life. You might even catch a jousting tournament with actual horses and lances – the lot.

The Royal Armouries, Armouries Drive, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1LT.

Tiny Tetley Studio

The Tetley

A brewery turned art gallery, The Tetley is a central Leeds landmark that’s great for adventures with the kids. It has its own play area designed for children aged five and under. The bespoke Tiny Tetley Studio provides an immersive environment for your little ones to touch, climb and slide to their hearts’ content – and it won’t cost you a penny. You can even sign up for their free family pass for special offers and access to even more family fun for your next day out in Yorkshire.

The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ.

Fossil hunting at Robin Hood’s Bay

Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby

Robin Hood’s Bay sits between Scarborough and Whitby on the Yorkshire coast. Smaller and quieter than its neighbours, it’s the perfect place for a free day out with the kids. We’re talking a picnic on the sand, picturesque views, sea air and even fossil hunting. When the tide is out, wander down to Boggle Hole on the southern end of the bay for ammonites galore. Seriously, they’re just sitting on the sand! Can you think of a better souvenir? We sure can’t.

Robin Hoods Bay, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO22 4UQ. Please make sure you check the tide times beforehand.

National Science and Media Museum

The National Science & Media Museum

Credit: The National Science & Media Museum

Got a wannabe scientist or journalist at home? The National Science and Media Museum is home to a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions to get them thinking scientifically and creatively. Book your free tickets and discover more than three-million artefacts on your family day out here. From the world’s earliest known surviving negative, to the earliest television footage and the camera that filmed the very first moving picture – there’s so much to discover.

The National Science and Media Museum, West Yorkshire, Bradford, BD1 1NQ.

Newmillerdam Gnome Roam

Newmillerdam Country Park

Looking for pram-friendly walks in Yorkshire? Head to Newmillerdam Country Park for their giggle-inducing Gnome Roam. With squirrels to spot, bugs to hunt, trees to climb and sticks to collect, you can keep the kiddos entertained and get your steps in. Your mission is to find all the gnomes hiding from the very scary bear all around the woodland – but don’t worry, it’s just a carving in a tree. The trail is less than two-miles long, making it ideal for their little legs to explore.

Newmillerdam Country Park, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF2 6QQ.

The Piece Hall

The Piece Hall

Credit: The Piece Hall

You and the kids can get a glimpse into Yorkshire’s past at The Piece Hall in Halifax. Pick up a children’s trail map from the Visitor Centre for free and learn all about the landmark’s history along the way during this fun-filled family day out. On selected days and weekends, its story is brought to life by performers playing those who worked the looms back when it was a fully-functioning cloth hall. Keep an eye out for their boredom-busting school holiday programmes too.

The Piece Hall, Blackledge, Halifax, HX1 1RE.

Hardcastle Crags

Gibson Mill at Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge

Hardcastle Crags is a walker’s paradise in Yorkshire and makes an amazing free day out for all the brood. The woodland is a huge, natural play area where the kids can run free. You can take the gentle three-mile family-friendly route from Midghole carpark to Gibson Mill along the riverside paths. Or, for a longer walk, you can explore the wider sides of the valley. Whichever way you go, there are plenty of jaw-dropping viewpoints and picture-perfect picnic spots to relish.

Hardcastle Crags, Gibson Mill, Midgehole Road, Hebden Bridge, HX7 7AW.

Hackfall Wood

River Ure at Grewelthorpe flowing through Hackfall Wood, North Yorkshire, England

Hackfall Wood sits at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales near Masham. With nearly 120 acres of ancient woodland, it boasts grottos and glades, rustic temples and waterfalls, and an array of wild flowers and birds. Here, the youngsters can build dens, spot wildlife and create wild art in the world’s best free playground. Bring along your binoculars and see if you can spot a kingfisher or even a fox, badger or stoat.

Hackfall Wood, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3DE.

Rivelin Valley Nature Trail

Rivelin Valley

Want to spend a bit of quality family time outdoors? Head to South Yorkshire for a healing day out at the Rivelin Valley Nature Trail. Paths run along the river through awe-inspiring woodland, shaded by ash, beech and oak trees, home to birds like the great tit, robin and wren. There’s plenty of room to wander, explore and relax in the valley. Look carefully and you might even spot the archaeological remains of the watermills and dams dating as far back as the 16th century.

Rivelin Valley Nature Trail, South Yorkshire, Sheffield, S6 6GF.

Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Sheffield Botanical Garden

For a wholesome take on a family day out in the city, head to Sheffield Botanical Gardens. Winding paths will take you on an adventure through over 18 unique gardens based on different geographical and botanical themes. Their little green fingers can get inspired in the Marnock Garden, learn all about diverse flora and find bananas in the Pavilion – yes, they can grow in Yorkshire! You’ll also find a number of listed buildings to frolic around in.

Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Clarkehouse Rd, Broomhall, South Yorkshire, Sheffield, S10 2LN.

National Railway Museum

National Railway Museum

Credit: National Railway Museum

A list of things to do with the kids in Yorkshire would not be complete without the National Railway Museum. Located near York Train Station, it’s an easy family day out – and entry is free. Get your future mastermind’s brain going with a bit of engineering brilliance and an unrivalled collection of iconic locomotives. You can spark your little ones’ imaginations with their family-friendly science shows and they’ll experience the thrill of steam on a mini-train ride before burning off excess energy in the indoor play area.

National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, North Yorkshire, York, YO26 4XJ.

Falling Foss Waterfall

Falling Foss waterfall

Tucked away off the beaten-path, Falling Foss Waterfall lies in the North York Moors, just off May Beck. It’s magical spot offering stunning views well worthy of your next family day out. You can take the two-mile circular walk through the trees, passing an idyllic woodland tea garden and the 30-foot waterfall before heading back along the beck. It’s a lovely shady walk for plenty of riverside rambles, with shallow waters the kids can paddle in and bountiful nature all around.

North York Moors National Park Authority, The Old Vicarage, Bondgate, Helmsley, York, North Yorkshire, YO62 5BP.