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Summer holidays in the Harrogate district

From festival headliners and outdoor theatre to pirates and duck races, there’s plenty of family fun in the sun this summer across the Harrogate district

If you’re thinking about what to do during the school summer holidays, we have lots of ideas for some serious family fun. You’ll have an amazing UK staycation and family summer holiday in the Harrogate district, with lots of exciting things to do, family-friendly places to visit and some of the best days out in North Yorkshire.

Here are some of our favourite events taking place over the summer holidays.

Stockeld Rox Destination Harrogate

Stockeld Rox, at Stockeld Park

Summer is definitely festival season and Stockeld Rox is the hottest ticket in town. This family-friendly festival is held over two nights and features headline acts, Symphonic Ibiza and Scouting for Girls. As well as two top music acts, the festival includes funfair rides, hot food vendors and a bar plus a live show, Stockeld Bopz, for children. Make a day of it and visit the adventure park from 1pm with a Stockleld Rox + Adventure Ticket. The concert starts at 7pm and ends with a spectacular firework finale.

Stockeld Rox
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Studfold Fairy and Pixie Adventure

The Studfold Fairies have flown into Upper Nidderdale! Families are invited to follow a unique trail of magical tiny fairy houses that each have a fun story or pixie poem. Suitable for boys and girls from pre-school to primary, kids can enjoy go-karts, den building, sand pit, ride-on tractors and a lovely picnic and play area. Picnics can be ordered on arrival and taken to the play area on the trail. Children can join in the fun by dressing up in fairy wings, a great day out for little legs and big imaginations. Look out for more fairy houses popping up in the woods throughout the summer holidays.

Studfold Adventure Trail

Head to an agricultural show

The Harrogate area is blessed with fabulous countryside and traditional North Yorkshire farms so while you’re here, don’t miss the opportunity to go to a traditional agricultural show and soak up the culture of our rural communities. With show jumping, animal judging, exhibitions, music, and food stalls there is always plenty to keep children entertained at an agricultural show.

Nidderdale Show girl with lamb

This summer the Birstwith Show takes place on 29 July. Highlights from previous years have included dog agility classes, children’s races, mini ponies, Welly Wanging and Egg Chucking.

Ripley Show in the grounds of stunning Ripley Castle will be held on 13 August with a wide range of animal judging and lots of other family-friendly activities.

See all our agricultural shows
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FEVA in Knaresborough

FEVA returns to Knaresborough this August. This festival of entertainment and visual arts is crammed full of events to entertain the whole family. See the street entertainers performing around the town including a Punch & Judy show. Festival events include live music performances, visual arts and spoken word, a creative writing workshop and even a town crier competition!

FEVA: Knaresborough's Festival of Visual Arts and Entertainment

Great How Stean Gorge Duck Race

The first ever Great How Stean Gorge Duck Race takes place on 1 August – Yorkshire Day, to raise funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association.

Great How Stean Duck Race square

The duck race begins at the top of the gorge and visitors will be able to follow the progress of the race from the bridge, in the gorge itself and through the partially glass-floored cafe overhanging the gorge. You can book your tickets online now.

Great How Stean Duck Race

Pirates and Mermaids at Mother Shipton’s Cave

Over the summer holidays (22 July – 3 Sept), take a trip under the sea to meet a magnificent mermaid and a swashbuckling pirate. Explore the mermaid’s cavern, follow the adventure trail to find the nautical scenes and photo opportunities. Children are encouraged to dress up as their favourite mermaid and pirate for a chance to win prizes.

Pirates and Mermaids Facebook smaller

Enjoy a great family day out where you can also visit the birthplace of the prophetess, Mother Shipton and see the Petrifying Well. Children can explore the large adventure playground and there are lots of picnic benches and kiosks selling refreshments and ice cream. Dogs are welcome too. Booking is essential.

Pirates & Mermaids – Summer at Mother Shipton’s

Harrogate Food & Drink Festival: The Bank Holiday Feast

The festival returns to Ripley Castle on 26 – 28 August and is jam-packed with lots of foodie events, treats and entertainment.

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Indulge in a mouth-watering array of street food and independent bars and wander around the artisan markets. With live chef demos, free entertainment including live music, tribute acts, children’s activities, funfair rides and inflatables plus interactive tasting sessions, this is a feast not to be missed. Book online for early bird tickets.

Harrogate Food & Drink Festival: The Bank Holiday Feast

Outdoor Theatre

As the long hot summer continues, there are a number of outdoor theatre productions taking place in wonderful spaces so grab a picnic, some blankets and deckchairs and watch a Shakespeare production or an adaptation of classic literature as the sun sets.

Sense and sensibility VH 720x446px

Sense and Sensibility will be performed by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company against the stunning backdrop of Knaresborough Castle on 18 Aug at 7pm. Be transported back to 1810 with this tale of romance, recklessness and restraint. Doors open at 6pm and tickets can be booked online.

Oscar Wilde’s finest and best-loved romantic comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest is being performed by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company in the Ripon Spa Gardens on 19 August at 7pm. Sit back, relax and enjoy this new production of a tale of double lives and mistaken identity featuring large than life characters.

At part of FEVA, Twelfth Night is on stage at Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough. A story filled with romance, music and joy you will feel like you are back in the days of Elizabethan touring troupes.

St Wilfrids Procession Cover Image This Is Ripon Ben Colson DATED 2023

St Wilfrid’s Procession

Held in Ripon on 29 July, St Wilfrid’s Procession is an event traditionally held to mark the feast of St Wilfrid. Watch the procession as it makes its’ way through the ancient city streets and see St Wilfrid on horseback plus many decorated floats which create a carnival atmosphere. The procession starts at 1.30pm from Studley Road and finishes at 4.15pm at Ripon Cathedral followed by a service at 4.30pm.

St Wilfrid's Procession
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Pop Up Parties around the Harrogate district

If you are looking for a free day of entertainment for the children during the summer holidays, pop-up parties are happening in the Valley Gardens in Harrogate, Knaresborough Castle grounds and Ripon Spa Gardens. With a fun-filled day of entertainment and activities on offer, these parties are a great way to keep the little ones entertained while enjoying our beautiful gardens and open spaces.

Summer Pop-up parties are back!

With so many great events taking place, the Harrogate district will be buzzing this summer – so what are you waiting for – come and be a part of it.

We love to see all of your photos when you visit, so don’t forget to tag us using #MyHarrogate. For more great ideas for things to see and do while you are here, see our explore pages.

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