Step out of the city and within a short journey in every direction are many fabulous Yorkshire days out. For family fun, adventures with friends or solo outings, there are an eclectic range of amazing outdoor attractions and activities close to York. We highlight ten of the best.

Go Ape

For twenty years Go Ape has been making the most of some of the UK’s most beautiful outdoor settings by turning their natural beauty into action packed adventures. They’ve done just that at Dalby Forest, a stunning woodland site less than an hour from York which becomes an exhilarating treetop ride. Swing through the air, Segway across the hills and race up the trees in this thrilling treetop challenge; it’s unique fun that the kids will love and the adults can’t get enough of.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Step back in time on this charming heritage railway that runs through the North York Moors National Park. Dating back to 1836 and now a preserved line on which to enjoy a journey aboard a historic steam train for 24 miles. Look out of the window to the continually glorious surroundings, and as well as travelling to the past, you also get to go to wonderful places now, from Pickering to Whitby via Goathland and more magnificent Yorkshire stops.

North Yorkshire Water Park

In the small village of Wykeham in the North York Moors on the way to the East coast are a lovely expanse of lakes. As well as walking and fishing, you can try a range of water-based activities at North Yorkshire Water Park. There’s kayaking and paddleboarding, there’s pedalos and open water swimming, and newly installed climbing walls and cable wires mean you can now zip along and take in the breathtaking views.

The Web Adventure Park

A perfect place to take the kids, The Web Adventure Park has a huge choice of activities for all ages to enjoy. The park has a huge indoor play centre with a role play village, climbing frames, slides, sports courts, a ball canon alley, an obstacle course, a disco room and crafty corner. Outside is a water park, rides and play equipment. It’s also the home of Creepy Crawlies, Wired High Ropes and Little Bugs Childcare. And if that’s not enough, there’s an animal area and a pop-up mini theme park. Everything for everyone!

Malham Cove

The popular walk around Malham Cove is a unique delight for its incredible landscape. Huge curving cliffs formed over thousands of years create a dramatic scene at which folk of all ages wonder at and wander through. It’s suitable for a manageable stroll with a picnic or a more vicarious hike; go further by climbing the limestone rocks of Gordale Scar and take a dip at the wondrous waterfall Janet’s Foss to complete the most evocative day out.

Sea Life Scarborough

A visit to Yorkshire’s vibrant seaside town is always a fun affair, and when in Scarborough, sample Sea Life. This an amazing underwater world to discover with thousands of creatures, from the ocean to the rainforest to penguin island. Fascinating and fun in equal measure, this is one for the children that the grown ups will love too.

Flamingo Land

A favourite attraction for many years, Flamingo Land continues to bring in the crowds from across Yorkshire and beyond, enticed by this thrilling theme park. Legendary rides such as Velocity and new roller coasters from Intamin get the adrenaline racing, and there’s plenty more on this expansive site too. There are over 120 different animals in the zoo, with an emphasis on African species, and if a day’s not enough to take it all in, stay for as long as you like at Flamingo Land’s holiday village.

The Great Ryedale Maze

A super summer visit to Sherburn, where you’ll find a maze in more spellings than one. The Great Ryedale Maze has nine acres of maize plants within its beautiful countryside setting, but of course its headliner is the other type of maze. You can explore the Yorkshire Dragon Maze whilst kids can get lost in the Dragon Mini Maze, plus there’s a Vintage Fun Fair, games stalls, football darts and Big Top entertainment. A lot of fun in a field.

Whitby Abbey

As a standout town on Yorkshire’s east coast, Whitby holds an alluring character all of its own. One reason for this is the gothic history and drama that the town evokes, and nowhere is it more apparent than at Whitby Abbey. A striking sight in the Whitby skyline, the 1500 year old abbey stands on the cliff tops reached by the famous 199 steps, and has inspired creatives including Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A visit here brings light to the darkness, as an informative and entertaining inside tour and a wonderful outdoor atmosphere makes for an always triumphant trip.

Lightwater Valley

Just outside Ripon, Lightwater Valley has been attracting throngs of visitors to the family adventure park for decades. With over 40 rides that range from child friendly Dragon Boats to Europe’s longest roller coaster The Ultimate, this is a theme park which offers fun for everyone. Revived for 2022, the focus remains on providing entertainment for the children whilst giving the grown ups a great day out too.

Images: Lightwater Valley, The Web Adventure Park, North Yorkshire Moors Railway, The Great Ryedale Maze