3 best family friendly walks with kids in Yorkshire to enjoy the great outdoors


The Malham Cove walk from Balham village in Yorkshire is a brilliant walk and great adventure for young kids

3 of the best family walks you can do in Yorkshire that kids will love!

Regular readers will remember when this blog won GoOutdoors Blog of the Year in 2015, and back then my featured walks where a tad more extreme. Now with a young family I'm trying to encourage Ella & Charlie to enjoy being in the outdoors too and now and then I'll blog on our outdoor adventures that other families might find useful!

We've had some great days out in the Yorkshire area and there are lot's to do - but I thought I'd do a little blog post on our 3 favourite walks in the Yorkshire area that you might like trying with your families. 

#1. Hardraw Force waterfall walk near Hawes, Yorkshire. England's highest waterfall! 

Hardraw Force waterfall walk short highest tallest waterfall England Yorkshire Dales map route Hawes
Kids will love this very short walk to Hardraw Force waterfall which is England's highest single-drop waterfall - it's perfect for children and the elderly! 

Hardraw Force waterfall walk details:

Distance: 0.6 miles
Time: 30mins
Hardraw force kids Difficulty: Easy - Suitable for kids over 2

Hardraw Force waterfall walk overview:

This was a very easy, short and quick accessible walk (0.6 miles round-trip if you go from the low level path at the back of the green dragon pub in Hardraw). It's a must do really if you are in the area of Hawes or Richmond. We done this walk with 2 young kids (4 & 7) with no probs at all. There are 2 options for the walk - the low level walk (where you see the waterfall from bottom & no uphill walking) and the high level route where you go to the top of the waterfall. The view of Hardraw Force from the bottom is the most impressive where you can get really up close to it (and a bit wet :-) ]

You do have to pay to walk the path as it’s on private property unfortunately. You pay at the visitor centre/cafe out the back of the Green Dragon pub (£4 for an adult, kids £2, under 5 free - they accept debit card) The car parking is free though and there are nice toilets at the visitor centre. Well worth doing if you are near Hawes and best time to go is when the water is in full flow if it’s been raining recently.

Hardraw Force waterfall walk short highest tallest waterfall England Yorkshire Dales map route Hawes
You can get really up close to the pounding water of the impressive Hardraw Force waterfall 

Hardraw Force waterfall walk map route:

This is a very short walk at only 0.6 miles round-trip and took no time at all - it's a must do really if. This particular route starts from the car park at the back of the Green Dragon pub in Hardraw. This route is the low-level walk so no uphill at all and the path flanks the river on either side with 3 bridges to cross along it (if you wish) before you reach the base of the impressive Hardraw Force. Upon paying to enter the walk via the visit centre, you will get a little map clearly showing the low-level walking route as well as the higher level route where you can walk to the top of the waterfall.

A brilliant little family walk - make sure you bring your waterproofs if you get up close to the waterfall :-)


#2. Malham Cove walk with kids, near Skipton, Yorkshire

Malham Cove is a great little walk to do with the family and is very accessible. The path to the base of the cove is well maintained and fairly flat - but I do recommend heading up to the top of the Cove to see the Limestone pavement and the stunning views down the valley. It will take you 10 mins or so up some steep steps - but its well worth it!

Ella and Charlie with Malham Cove in the background 

Malham Cove walk overview details:

Malham Cove Walk Distance: 2.4 miles (3.8km)

Malham Cove Walk Time: 1.5 hours

Malham Cove Walk kids Difficulty: Moderate - suitable for ages 4+

The path is flat most of the way and well marked - the only uphill really is up the path steps to the top of the Malham Cove which take 10 mins.

Malham Cove Walk Map route:

Malham Cove walk map route
[Click to enlarge] This Malham Cove walk starts in Malham Village and heads straight to Malham Cove via the clearly defined path which tracks Malham Beck. You then head up to the top of Malham Cove on the limestone pavement. After admiring the views and having an explore - simply retrace your steps! The google map route below may help you on your way.

Malham Cove via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Malham Cove is a very picturesque place and popular with walkers of different ages and abilities. 

Once you get to the top of Malham Cove it's a brilliant view and the the kids will love walking on the limestone pavement and hopping over the cracks 

You might even recognise the limestone pavement at the top of Malham Cove from the Harry Potter film 'The Deathly Hollows'

Admiring the impressive views on top of the stunning Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales - just be careful with the kids!

#3. A short walk to Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire's Everest :-)

If you live in the North-East of England then you will probably have climbed Roseberry Topping at some point. You can see it's distinctive shape from miles around and it attracts lots of walkers and is a very popular walk (maybe too popular for some). But I had to include it here as it was the first mini-mountain I climbed as a kid (and everything followed from there!) and it was also Ella & Charlie's first summit :-) It will take you about an hour on this quick route - and the kids will feel like they have conquered Everest. 

The walk starts off flatish up Roseberry Lane - with Roseberry Topping in full view.

Roseberry Topping walk overview details:

Walk Distance: 1.3 miles (2.2km)

Walk Time: 1 hours

Roseberry Topping Walk with kids Difficulty: Moderate/Hard - suitable for ages 4+

This is the quickest and most direct way to tackle Roseberry Topping - which starts at the Roseberry Topping Public Car Park (TS9 6QS - it will cost a few quid in the car park but we usually park on the road space allowing for free :-). From the car park it's a case of just going straight for it. It starts off flat but at the end of Roseberry Lane you'll come to some steps and then it's a bit of a slog to the top - with some step sections - but with plenty of stops and a couple of benches on the way it's fine for kids aged 4+ - and will probs take you 30-40mins to reach the top. There are some great views at the top and take some snacks and a drink for the summit. We like to come down the path to the north of the summit which is steep also - bu the kids find it funny, especially if you slip over on your behind and get a muddy rear :-) All in all you should be able to do it in about an hour.

Ella & Charlie taking a breather before heading for the top :-)

Here's the elevation of the walk - with the total climb being 587ft. The summit is actually nearly 1000ft - but the walk doesn't start at sea-level so you get some cracking views quite quickly.

And there you are - that wraps up my 3 best family friendly walks in Yorkshire! I hope it inspires you to visit them and above all just get your kids into the great outdoors!

Post by Stuart Hodgson 
'The Hiking Photographer'

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Thanks for taking an interest in my blog, all comments and questions are welcome! Best, Stuart

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