We are always looking for new ideas for family days out in Yorkshire. Brimham rocks is a family friendly North Yorkshire trip out that we love but Thorp Perrow Arboretum was recently recommended to me by a friend. So on a gorgeous spring day we packed a picnic and headed up the A1. We were definitely not disappointed, I absolutely loved this place and I am sure we will be back at some point now that we have discovered it.
Thorp Perrow is an arboretum in North Yorkshire, close to Bedale on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales but only about 10 minutes drives from the Al. It obviously has lots of trees, but also a birds of prey and mammal centre as well as children’s playground and tea room.
We arrived around lunch time so had our picnic in a lovely picnic area, just inside the main entrance. There are plenty of picnic benches there, including some very cute kiddie-sized ones but we used our picnic blanket. After the picnic we followed the Easter Egg trail ( we bought maps for £1 each as we went in, which included a chocolate). It was a lovely trail which all 3 children really enjoyed, just about the right length to maintain interest and not too far in between clues for little toddler legs!
We then dashed over to the birds of prey centre to catch the flying display. The birds of prey centre had lots of birds, which seemed well kept and they flew 3 different birds in the display. The toddler was a little unsure when a huge owl landed just above his head, and the handler did say to try and keep small children close to you! We all loved the display, the highlights for me were the being so close to the owl and watching the falcon doing amazing dives from high up to get a lure that was being swung around by the handler- he was too fast for me to photograph!
Following the birds of prey we nipped next door to the ‘mammal centre’. Not loads of animals- some meerkats, goats and wallabies. My friend that had been a couple of weeks earlier had raved about the wallaby walk saying that they were really tame and came right up to you. I think it was a bit hot for the wallabies when we were there as they were all just laid in the shade not moving!
There was a tea van just outside the birds of prey/ mammal centre and more picnic benches so we had a cup of tea there while the children ate their chocolate rewards from the egg hunt and played on the grass and in the trees.
We then managed to wander around a decent part of the arboretum area before being nagged to death to go to the playground. I felt the whole place was quite magical, lovely paths through the trees, with plenty of spring blossom and flowers around.
We had to go to the playground obviously too which the kids thoroughly enjoyed. It isn’t a huge playground but it wasn’t busy and there was plenty for toddlers as well as older children. I loved that it was all wooden, natural materials that seemed to fit well with the environment.
Practicalities/ Top Tips:
- You can but tickets in advance online but there was hardly a queue when we got there on a sunny bank holiday weekend. We just bought tickets on arrival.
- When we were there it was pretty much the end of the Daffodils but they were everywhere and I can imagine it would have looked stunning a couple of weeks earlier- if you’re thinking of going in spring, maybe try and time it to get them in full bloom.
- When you arrive check the timings of the flying displays- this was one of our favourite parts of the visit so you don’t want to miss it! You can also check the timings on the Thorp Perrow website before you leave home.
- The tea van next to the birds of prey centre is cash only.
- There are toilets by the entrance and also by the birds of prey centre. There are baby change facilities at each of these places too.
- The paths were fine with a pushchair when we were there. Lots of the paths were on grass so it might depend a little bit on the conditions.
- The Thorp Perrow website has all the information that you need about ticket prices, opening times and special events that they have on throughout the year.
Overall the whole Mini Travel Tribe would highly recommend Thorp Perrow. For a family day out with a toddler or children or any age it is a fab place.