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Top 5 ideas for family days out on a budget

Weekends, long summer days and school holidays are all about spending time with the family and entertaining the little ones on adventures of discovery and play. At a time when many of us need to tighten the purse strings, you can still plan a great day out without spending much. So here are our Top 5 ideas of things to see and do in and around Harrogate that are free or can be done on a budget.

Explore green open spaces and gardens

Harrogate is surrounded by the magnificent Stray, a large expanse of green open space, which is the perfect place to play ball games, walk your four-legged friend or picnic on warmer days.

The Valley Gardens, located in the centre of Harrogate are perfect for families too, with a great play area and skate-park to enjoy for free. In the summer months, have fun splashing about in the paddling pool or taking your little ones to play in the park. If you do have some spending money, you can try your hand at the 18-hole crazy golf course, the 9-hole pitch and putt, tennis, disc golf and table tennis at the gardens. Prices vary depending on the activity, £2.50 for children and £3.20 for adults.

THG Spring 2019 149

A little further afield the stunning gardens at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens and the Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park are full of different flowers, trees and open spaces that are just waiting to be explored.

Admission for Beningbrough Hall for children is £7 and £14 for adults, or you can purchase a family ticket for £35. At the Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park admission for children is £4 (under 4s are free) and £13.50 for adults. Family tickets can be purchased from £33.

Discover our beautiful gardens
Stump cross

Head underground

The magical Stump Cross Caverns is a subterranean network of caves underneath the Yorkshire Dales with amazing formations of stalactites and stalagmites. From 3pm the caves are bathed in ultra-violet light for an even more enchanting visit. A child ticket includes a trail quiz and prize plus you can follow the fairy door trail along the passageways. Admission is from £14 for adults and from £10 for children, with a family ticket from £45, under 4s are free.

Stump Cross Caverns

Be active

Enjoy great days out on two feet, two wheels and even one boat.  Walk along the riverside in Knaresborough beneath the magnificent viaduct before hiring a rowing boat and having an hour of fun floating along the River Nidd. Open daily (weather dependent) March – October, tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children, with family tickets £25.

Charlotte Gale Beryl Burton Cycleway Knaresborough Medium

Several cycle paths from Harrogate take you out into the open countryside and are perfect for a budget friendly day out – take the Nidderdale Greenway to Ripley or the Beryl Burton Cycleway to Knaresborough. Cycle along the quiet country lanes through beautiful landscapes, or for very active families, tackle one of Nidderdale's killer climbs or mountain biking routes.

Find your perfect route

Learn something new

On a visit to Knaresborough Castle and Courthouse Museum you can learn about the history of this once Royal Castle. See the original Tudor courtroom and the dungeons in the Castle where prisoners were kept before trial. A family ticket for two adults and three children is £11.10. The grounds are open all year round with games open from March until November, try your hand at putting or bowling from just £2.30! Admission into the castle starts at £2.20.

The Mercer Art Gallery always has exciting exhibitions throughout the year from ‘Great Art in Great Places’ to ‘Moonlight to burning headlights’. You can find out more about the different exhibitions taking place here. Free admission.

Knaresborough Castle Mike Hine 1901974842

Head to Ripon and visit the three museums which tell the story of crime and punishment. Children can take their fingerprints and see what it would have been like to be locked in a cell as well as seeing a day in the life of a Victorian workhouse inmate. Prices range from £3.75 to £38 for a family of five.

Whilst in Ripon, why not visit the Cathedral which has a fascinating history reaching back to the 7th century, serving the small city of Ripon and the vast rural county of North Yorkshire. Admission is free.

Knaresborough Castle & Museum

Try something different

Studfold Adventure Trail in Nidderdale offers lots of fun and adventure. Discover the hidden codes to unlock the gateways and reveal the magical wood and hidden treasure boxes. Between May and August see if you can spot the little fairy houses too. There are lots of other activities for children including go-karts, ride-on tractors and den-building. A family ticket is £25 for two adults and two children.

Extract Mother Shiptons petrifying well 1 311869236

Visit Mother Shipton's Cave and Petrifying Well in Knaresborough to learn about the famous prophetess, Mother Shipton, who foretold some of the most famous historic events and see the cave where she was born. Wonder at how items hung up underneath the petrifying well magically turn to stone, enjoy a stroll through the woodland by the river and visit the small museum. Admission is £30 per car for up to five people and £10 per pedestrian or additional passenger, children under 3 are free.

Mother Shipton's Cave and Petrifying Well

With so many exciting places to discover you are sure to find the perfect day out on a budget for all the family to enjoy. Go to our explore pages and start planning your visit.

We love seeing your adventures so don’t forget to tag your photos with #MyHarrogate

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