How many times have I woken up full of outdoor adventure plans only to look out the window and realise I need a plan B?
With this in mind, I asked local bloggers and Yorkshire Tots readers to suggest their favourite places to go when the weather is not cooperating. The result is a list of 20 fantastic family friendly outings that are fun in any weather, but just might save the day on a rainy afternoon.
1. National Media Museum, Bradford
Joanne Brady of Kids Days Out Reviews describes the National Media Museum as being “dedicated to all things media and it’s a great place to go if you’re interested in TV, AV production, animation, and computing…The National Media Museum is a great free day out with lots to learn for children and adults alike. Well recommended.”
Yorkshire Tots reviewer Lindsey Dixon adds, “We love the media museum in Bradford. There’s plenty of things to see and do to keep the kids entertained (and as a bonus it’s educational) and if it’s a school holiday they usually put on extra bits and pieces. Some lovely grub in the cafe and if you’re feeling really flush you could even go to the cinema while you’re there! I also love a cheeky game on sonic the hedgehog in the old games consoles section.”
National Media Museum, Little Horton Ln, Bradford BD1 1NQ
2. Huddersfield Splash Park, Huddersfield
Yorkshire Tots reader Abi Ashton says, “My little girl loves Huddersfield splash park.” It’s easy to see why! The Huddersfield Splash park not only has a special pool for little ones, there is also a water flume, Sidewinder and lazy river to play on!
Huddersfield Splash Park, Spring Grove St, Huddersfield HD1 4BP
3. Chill Factore, Manchester
Have fun in the snow whatever the weather outdoors at Chill Factore. There’s a Mini Moos section for the under 4s, doughnuts and sledging for over 5’s, and the ice slide for children over age 6. Who doesn’t love a snow day?
Chill Factore, Trafford Way, Trafford Quays Leisure Village, Manchester M41 7JA
4. York Chocolate Story, York
Jo Addison of Kiddieholidays enjoyed her delicious trip to The York Chocolate Story with her young sons. She found the tour very toddler friendly. “It was about 30 / 40 minutes long, was very interactive and involved lots of moving from room to room for the various exhibitions and demonstrations,” she said.
York Chocolate Story, 3-4 Kings Square, York YO1 7LD
5. Billy Bob’s Ice Cream Parlour, Near Bolton Abbey
Enjoy the best ice cream shakes in Yorkshire and play in one of two covered play barns at Billy Bob’s Ice Cream Parlour. Just be sure to book a table first as it is very busy on weekends and school holidays.
Billy Bob’s Ice Cream Parlour, Calm Slate Farm, Halton East, Bolton Abbey BD23 6EU
6. Tropical World, Leeds
Amanda Mahoney, owner of Cafe LuLu in Birkenshaw, loves a rainy day with kids at Tropical World. “It’s like stepping into a holiday destination – you can take your coats off and ignore the horrible weather outside,” she says.
Tropical World, Princes Ave, Roundhay Park, Leeds LS8 2ER
7. Roxy Juniors at Roxy Lane, Leeds
Roxy Lanes in Leeds is a place the entire family can enjoy. Michelle, who blogs at Seeing Rainbows, says “Every part of the decor is thought out and very current, which is great for bowling because let’s face it, we’re all bored of the 80s themed, brightly lit, chicken in a basket type establishments. For Roxy Juniors there are also flashing lights bowling balls (yes, really!) and extra light weighted balls which can be used without the finger holes.”
Roxy Lanes, Bond St, Leeds LS1 5BQ
8. Xcape and Junction 32, Castleford
See a film, master the climbing wall, bounce on wall to wall trampolines, enjoy pirate golf and more at Xcape and Junction 32 . Yorkshire Tots reviewer Ali spent the entire day there this summer and said it is, “a great day out and there is plenty on offer that we didn’t get round to doing including anything in The Snow Zone, two other golf areas, Xplore – the large soft play centre and Gravity -the fabulous trampoline zone at the very back of the building.”
Xcape and Junction 32, Colorado Way, Glasshoughton, Castleford WF10 4TA
9. Leeds City Museum, Leeds
I am really impressed how child friendly Leeds City Museum is. There are plenty of hands on activities including drawing, fancy dress, listening to recordings and even the chance to have a go at fossil digging. There are lots of lovely little corners set up for kids throughout the museum.
Yorkshire Tots reader Jenny agrees saying, “There’s something for kids on every floor and it’s so calm and relaxing in there, the opposite of a soft play.”
Leeds City Museum, Millennium Square, Leeds LS2 8BH
10. Embasy & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, Bolton Abbey
Why not spend a rainy day on the Embasy & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway? We loved our (admittedly sunny) visit last year. It’s a short trip but manned by friendly volunteers and there’s even a cafe for a bit of lunch or a treat.
Embasy & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, Bolton Abbey Railway Station, Skipton BD23 6AF
11. Scrap Leeds
Faye, owner of the fabulous BoomChikkaBoom says,“Scrap Leeds is a quirky hidden gem that I can’t shout out about enough! Everything you need for a crafty project under one roof and cheap as chips too. They also host a range of Design, Tinker, Make and Play sessions suitable for all ages.”
Scrap Creative Reuse Arts Project Ltd, The Spinning Mill, Sunny Bank Mills, Paradise Street/Charles Street, Off Farsley Town Street (opposite the Bay Horse, near Jacakaboos), Farsley LS28 5UJ
12. Eureka, Halifax
When it comes to kids’ museums, it’s hard to find one more with more to explore than Eureka! in Halifax. Karen Beddow of Mini Travellers says, “There are literally hundreds of interactive, hands-on exhibits…Our kids literally spent hours playing in the kitchen making lunch, pretend M&S, post office and bank. ”
Eureka! Discovery Rd, Halifax HX1 2NE
13. The Hepworth, Wakefield
The Hepworth Wakefield is a family friendly museum to inspire your little artists. There is a family trail to help kids explore the galleries, a riverside play park and a picnic area. There are family friendly events and activities on the weekends and school holidays as well.
The Hepworth, Gallery Walk, Wakefield WF1 5AW
14. Rainbow Factory, Leeds
The Rainbow Factory is another day out to inspire creativity. Perfect for little ones with big imaginations, it’s a creative arts play centre steeped in storybook magic. Children can dress up, role play, craft, and get involved in the many activities on offer throughout the day.
Rainbow Factory, Springfield Commercial Centre, Bagley Ln, Farsley, Pudsey LS28 5LY
15. National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield
Jo Addison, blogger at Kiddieholidays recommends The National Coal Mining Museum whatever the weather. She says, “Children aged 5 and over can go on an underground pit tour, but toddlers will love seeing the pit ponies, the outdoor nature trail and playground and the Little Diggers indoor soft play.”
National Coal Mining Museum, Caphouse Colliery, New Rd, Overton WF4 4RH
16. Bagshaw Museum, Batley
A trip to the Bagshaw Museum is a quirky, free day out where you can see a real mummy, dress up, and have a go at a Punch and Judy show. On a nice day you can also have a play at Wilton Park.
Bagshaw Museum, Wilton Park, Batley WF17 0AS
17. Royal Armouries, Leeds
The Royal Armouries has a massive amount of indoor space to explore. There are five galleries which include: War, Tournament, Oriental, Self-defence, and Hunting with over 8,500 objects on display. Entry is free and there are often special events and activies especially during school holidays. For under 10’s there is also the Jester’s Yard play area which has a great selection of dress up clothes, a small play castle, pretend play areas, a small soft play for under 3’s and a craft station. There is an entry fee to Jester’s Yard of £2.50 per child.
Royal Armouries, Armouries Dr, Leeds LS10 1LT
18. National Railway Museum, York
The National Railway Museum is another great option for a free, indoor day out. With a Little Play Station for under 5’s, and over 300 years of railway history to explore, everyone is sure to have fun at the National Railway Museum.
National Railway Museum, Leeman Rd, York YO26 4XJ
19. The Tropical Butterfly House, Sheffield
Naomi Cooper blogger at Trips with a Tot in Public highly recommends The Tropical Butterfly House for an unforgettable day out. She says, “It is just the right size for little feet to wander around, lots of animals; farm and wildlife, a large tropical butterfly house with loads to see and corners to explore, cafe, playground, go karts and a ride-ons play area, sand and water play area (fantastic for summer), indoor craft and activity centre, tractor rides, the list goes on!”
The Tropical Butterfly House, Woodsetts Rd, North Anston, Sheffield S25 4EQ
20. Your local library
I love this suggestion from Yorkshire Tots reader Michelle Millar who says, “We like going to the library when it’s rainy. Gets you out of the house, plus you get that smug feeling of doing something both educational and free.”
Libraries often put on fantastic free events for families as well!
A HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed ideas for this list!
Did we miss out your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!