Family Activities in and around Helmsley

One of the great things about Helmsley and the surrounding area is that its really family friendly. We have been bringing our girls here since they were babies and have always found lots of things to see and do with them.

Read on to discover our top picks of the best family-friendly places and activities to do with your little ones in and around Helmsley…

#1. Sweet Treats

Twice named the best ice-cream in the country, Ryeburn Ice-cream Parlour is a family run business which will tempt grown-ups too with its unique and delicious flavours. You’ll find it on the road leading up to the Walled Garden / Cleveland Way. If you need another sugar fix, Helmsley Traditional Sweet Shop in Barker’s Yard is a real treat. Shelves and shelves full of family favourites from Sour Apples & Toffee Bonbons to Pear Drops and Jazzies!

#2. National Centre for Birds of Prey

The National Centre for Birds of Prey boasts the largest collection of birds of Prey in Northern England. It houses scores of birds from the tiny Burrowing Owl to a majestic Stellar Sea Eagle – many of which take part in flying demonstrations throughout the day. Set within the Duncombe Park Estate, its easily walkable from The Velveteen Bath House. Make an afternoon of it by exploring the acres of woodlands and riverside walks in the parklands.

#3. Helmsley Castle

Set right in town, Helmsley Castle will fascinate and entertain kids of all ages. Over 900 years of gory history to feast upon as well as hands on exhibitions and audio tours. You can discover how the castle evolved over the centuries, from a mighty medieval fortress to a Civil War stronghold and a romantic Victorian ruin.

#4. Helmsley Walled Garden

We recommend combining a visit to the castle with Helmsley Walled Garden as they sit right next to one another. There are over 5 acres of beautiful gardens to discover – kids can hunt for bugs and discover how those vegetables they hate so much grow. It’s pram-friendly for parents with very little ones and you can enjoy lunch at the gorgeous Vinehouse Café on site afterwards.

#5. Helmsley Open Air Pool

Yorkshire’s only open-air 25m pool, Helmsley Open Air Pool is next to the Sports Club on the edge of town. Open from late May and throughout the summer, booking in advance is advisable. It does get very busy on warm sunny days as you can imagine. Really worth a visit though, it’s so charming and kids LOVE it!

#6. Rievaulx Abbey / Rievaulx Terrace & Temples

A stunning setting for a game of hide and seek, kids will love exploring the ruins of this English Heritage 12th Century Cistercian Abbey. Rievaulx Abbey is remarkably well preserved for a building this age and will really capture the imaginations of young minds. Nice little café too on site.

Rievaulx Terrace & Temples sit on a hill looking down over the Abbey. It’s owned by the National Trust and has lots for little ones to do, including a magical woodland area with resident fairies. Stunning views and open grassy areas make it the perfect spot for a picnic, the perfect low-cost family activity! Just a few miles outside of town.

#7. Nunnington Hall

This picturesque Yorkshire Manor House is also owned by the National Trust and is just a few miles from Helmsley. In addition to the restored house there are lovely gardens to explore, a play area and regular arts/crafts activities for little ones. More info on opening times and events can be found here: Nunnington Hall

#8. Ryedale Folk Museum

Kids of all ages will love this living history museum. Ryedale Folk Museum tells the story of the North York Moors rural past through recreated houses, buildings, grounds and exhibits. And it’s set in one of the prettiest villages in the area – Hutton Le Hole. Stop for lunch at The Crown next door…

#9. Sutton Bank National Park Centre

Worth it for the view alone, described by James Herriot as ‘the finest in England’. You’ll find Sutton Bank National Park Centre at the top of the bank, just 10/15 mins drive from Helmsley towards Thirsk. There are some lovely walking/cycling trails (you can hire bikes on site) as well as an adventure play area and café. The Yorkshire Gliding Club is also here.

#10. Castle Howard / Yorkshire Arboretum

Just 13 miles away from Helmsley, the magnificent Castle Howard is one of Yorkshire’s finest historic houses. But it’s the parkland and gardens the kids will love, including a fantastic large adventure playground and boating lake. So much to see and do here you can easily spend a full day exploring.

The Yorkshire Arboretum is just across the road from Castle Howard and is a lovely spot for a woodland walk. There are more than 6,000 trees planted here across 128 acres. Nice little café too which caters for younger ones.

Plan your family holiday to Helmsley…

I hope you’ve enjoyed discovering just some of the many family-friendly activities and places in and around Helmsley. We think it makes this gorgeous little market town the perfect destination for your next family holiday.

If you’re looking for family-friendly holiday cottage in Helmsley, The Velveteen Bath House is set just a few hundred yards from the market square. This spacious holiday cottage has 2 en-suite bedrooms (one with a bath) and comfortably sleeps a family of 4.

It has been designed with families in mind offering lots of extras for little ones including;

  • Travel cot
  • High chair
  • Stair gates (downstairs and up)
  • Baby monitors
  • Night lights
  • Baby bath
  • Toddler toilet step
  • Potty
  • Children’s crockery / cutlery
  • Children’s toys / teddies / board games / books
  • Nintendo Switch with children’s games
  • Cinema room with full SKY including children’s channels

Click here to check availability and book.