Days Out Ryedale and Thirsk

Free activities

Whether you’re a beginner or more experienced rider, our cycle trails give you access to miles of bridleways, roads and tracks across the North York Moors.

Our cycle trails use a mixture of natural and man made trails similar to those found in a purpose built trail centre. Using the same style of trail marking, the mountain biking trails available are:

  • Cliff – family friendly 3 mile ‘green’ circular off-road cycle trail, mostly level, part of which follows the famous cliff edge.
  • Fort – 7.5 mile ‘blue’ trail with 361m ascent/descent (70% stone, 30% natural surface) runs out past the site of the Iron Age fort at Boltby Scar. A shorter loop of 5.5 miles avoids the ascent/descent and is suitable for families. The Fort route also includes part of the Cliff Trail along the cliff edge.
  • Drovers – add a little more distance and variety without increasing the difficulty on the ‘blue’ 10 mile figure of eight trail which passes High Paradise Farm for refreshments.
  • Paradise – a 17-mile ‘red’ trail for experienced mountain bikers, through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the National Park. Expect a few technical features and a steep climb or two.

We also have two purpose-built all-weather cycling tracks: a pump track offering the thrills of riding a loop of banked turns and rollers; and a family-friendly cycle trail that doubles as a cyclocross track for some competitive events during autumn and winter. The family cycle trail, a 2.5km figure-of-eight, provides a longer and wider start to the existing Cliff Trail enabling families to ride side-by-side through woodland, as well as providing better access for those using adapted cycles such as handcycles.

Sutton Bank National Park Centre
North York Moors National Park, Sutton Bank, Thirsk YO7 2EH

Photograph Credit: Dependable Productions.

01845 597426
Visit Website


Byland Abbey

Free to enter, Byland Abbey is the perfect place to stop on a family day out, explore the ruins and have a lovely time. Most areas are pram/wheelchair friendly. Afterwards maybe visit Coxwold for refreshments and to see the ducks on the pond.

Dogs welcome on a lead.

Byland, Coxwold, North Yorkshire, YO61 4BD

Danby Lodge National Park Centre

Danby Lodge visitor centre is set in an idyllic spot on the banks of the River Esk, near Danby. It’s an official Dark Sky Discovery Site too, one of three in the North York Moors. Entry to the Centre is free and there is loads to do here.

Please note that dogs are not allowed in the Centre buildings or in Crow Wood, except for assistance dogs. Please speak to the staff who will be happy to advise on alternative dog walks from the door.

North York Moors National Park, Lodge Ln, Danby, Whitby YO21 2NB

Forest Holidays Cropton & Keldy

Great place to bike. The two sites are connected. At either site there is free parking and a play ground as well as a lovely café. Well behaved dogs are welcome too!

Forest Holidays, Keldy Cabins, Cawthorne YO18 8HW

Forest Holidays Cropton,  Cropton, Nr Pickering. YO18 8ES

Hutton Le Hole

Hutton-le-Hole is a small village and civil parish in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, England, about seven miles north-west of Pickering. Hutton-le-Hole is a popular scenic village within the North York Moors National Park.


‘We used to go to Hutton-le-hole as kids. Fab little streams to play in. Best in the summer months to take a picnic’

LH March 2017

“Visit Hutton le Hole on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors for a lovely family day out.
Bring a picnic and have a paddle in the pretty beck that runs through the village. There’s parking, a pub and shops selling ice cream. One of our favourite places!” Mumbler Recommended SC ’17

Dogs welcome but please be mindful of other families and local residents.

Local Libraries

A trip to the library to choose a children’s book is a great activity to do for free. Below is a list of all the libraries in our area. Many libraries also run children’s activities, see our weekly listings for the latest info.

  • Harrogate Library – Victoria Avenue, Harrogate, HG1 1EG. 01609 536658
  • Helmsley Community Library – Town Hall, Helmsley, YO62 5BL. 01609 534553
  • Kirkbymoorside Library – Church House, 7 High Marketplace, Kirkbymoorside, YO62 6AT. 01609 534557
  • Malton Library – St. Michael Street, Malton, YO17 7LJ. 01609 534565
  • Norton HIVE and Community Hub – Commercial Street, Norton, YO17 9ES. 01609 534552
  • Pickering Library – The Ropery, Pickering, YO18 8DY. 01609 533624
  • Thirsk Community Library – Meadowfields, Chapel Street, Thirsk, YO7 1TH. 01609 534589
  • Easingwold Community Library – Market Place, Easingwold, York, YO61 3AN. 01609 534584

National Railway Museum

Located next to York Railway station. Great free day out for children. Large display of trains and old steam engines some of which children can get on, historic station, activities, outdoor play area and miniature train, good cafe. Also run regular school holiday activities for children. Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am – 5pm.

Leeman Road, York, YO26 4XJ.

North Yorkshire Water Park

Offers a range of watersport activities including aqua park (including one for Toddlers (Splash Kingdom), stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, open water swimming, sailing, canoeing. Plus walks, cycle track, cafe and a relaxing environment. Free parking, free entry, you only pay to play.

Well behaved dogs on a lead welcome.

Wykeham Lakes, Long Causeway Road, Scarborough YO13 9QU
01723 865052

Parks and Play Areas

There are lots of good parks for children in the Ryedale District which are all free to attend. If you are not sure where your nearest one is, have a look at our extensive list here Park and Playgounds.

Places to Paddle

Recommendations as to where to paddle “inland” from Mumblers’

  • Thornton Le Dale beck
  • The beck just by the Beck Isle Museum in Pickering. There’s a grassy area right next to it for a picnic.
  • The stream in Dalby Forest near the Visitor Centre
  • Sinnington near Pickering – just near the bridge
  • The Tearooms near Falling Foss waterfall
  • The beck in Hovingham is nice
  • The stream at Hutton Le Hole
  • Kirkham Priory and Howsham Mill – more suitable for slightly older children. Lovely walk
  • Menethorpe / Low Hutton – beautiful stream to picnic and paddle, as well as a lovely walk along the River Derwent
  • Wykeham Lakes is nice to paddle in, lovely and shallow at the edges and free parking.
  • The ford and beck at Kirkdale is lovely for a paddle – nice and shady on a hot day and lots of woodland running alongside for a picnic. The beck runs about dry in summer and is at full flow in the colder months

Science & Media Museum

Approx 1 hour 30 min drive from Malton. FREE entry but it is recommended to book via the website in advance. Open daily 10am – 5pm.

National Science and Media Museum, Bradford. BD1 1NQ

Walks and The Great Outdoors

This region has plenty of outdoor spaces that you can visit, most of which are free.  Check out this extensive list here Walks and The Great Outdoors to find walks, trails and outdoor areas that are great for families to explore.

Most of these places will be suitable for well behaved dogs.

York City Walls Walk

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.

Yorkshire Beaches

Yorkshire has many wonderful beaches, and they are all free to visit (apart from perhaps the cost of a parking ticket and an ice-cream!).  See our extensive list here Yorkshire Beaches.

Some beaches have dog restrictions during the Summer months, but most are dog friendly.