Visit, explore, discover and taste a family day out in the Howardian Hills

How To Get There

Family Day Out in the Howardian Hills Map

The Howardian Hills lie to the south of the North York Moors National Park and to the east of Thirsk and the A19 (between the A170 and the A64).

First of all, let’s be clear.  The Howardian Hills are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  Even if your youngsters don’t appreciate that fact, then you will!

Villages To Discover

Hovingham village is centered around Hovingham Hall, family home of the Worsleys (Katharine Worsley is the Duchess of Kent).

The children may or may not be impressed by eg the cricket pitch behind the hall and the bridge and waterfall on a public path through the grounds?  Likely, they will be more enchanted by the stream which runs through the village. They’ll love to cross it on foot at the small ford, close to Spa Tearooms.  Wellies a must!

Hovingham Ford

Hovingham Ford

Pop into the village store or the Worsley Arms pub for refreshments.  There’s a new playground hidden away behind the cottages (cross the ford and turn left); you may need to ask a local for directions.

Nunnington is a picture postcard village with village pub, with The Royal Oak serving some fine refreshments.  Nunnington is home to the National Trust’s Nunnington Hall (see below).

Coxwold is a beautiful village of stone-built cottages with a child friendly pub, The Fauconberg Arms, in the centre (with a large beer garden). The village has a small playground but what’s very popular with children is the lake of Newburgh Priory on the outskirts of the village.   Park up along the roadside and feed the  many ducks and swans.

Malton MilkshakesMalton (not a village) is a bustling market town and home to many independent stores where children can quite easily spend their pocket money.  Malton is the self-titled Food Capital of Yorkshire. This is due to its monthly Food Market, Annual Food Lovers Festival and now Malton Cookery School; it’s the place for foodies. Groovy Moo ice cream parlour in Talbot’s Food Court is very popular with juniors and adults.  They (and you) will love the old fashioned sweet shop, Mennells, in St Michael’s Street, opposite the library.

Houses to Visit

Castle Howard  – Whether or not you’re a fan of Brideshead Revisited (which was filmed here for the BBC in 1981 and more recently the film remake in 2008), the setting, house and gardens are truly stunning.  Before you pay admission there are the courtyard shops to visit including the local butcher selling meat from the Castle Howard estate.  The walled garden is beautiful and a great place for hide and seek!  The adventure playground is a must for the children and no doubt you’ll be talked into catching the road train which runs in front of the house and down to the lakeside and adventure playground.

Castle Howard and The Atlas Fountain

The National Trust owns and runs Nunnington Hall. Although the grounds are relatively small it has plenty to keep the children interested. There’s the wishing tree or the garden sculptures or the organic vegetable garden. Or they may be more interested in the peacocks strutting around.

family day out in the Howardian Hills

Landscapes to Explore

Some of our favourite child friendly walks start in the village of Hovingham.  Click here for more information: Walks_from_Hovingham.

Welburn, with it’s fabulous tea shop/bakery and deli, Pattacakes, and newly opened Crown & Cushion pub, is a great base for easy walking. Who mentioned bribery? Click here for Welburn and Castle Howard walks: Walks from Welburn

Also, there’s lots more information on child-friendly walks in Spring Cottage, as there are too many to list here!

Places to Eat

The Grapes Inn, Great Habton, is a traditional village pub and just a stroll from Spring Cottage.  The home cooked food is worthy of any restaurant and there’s a children’s menu too (toad in the hole wins for our kids each time).  I recommend their 3-course Sunday lunch too (top tip – the desserts are fab!).

The New Malton, in Malton’s market place, is a welcoming gastropub serving freshly made, locally sourced food in an informal, relaxed setting. It features in the Michelin UK restaurant guide.

The Queens Head, Cantonese restaurant and pub in Amotherby is a local’s favourite and we know why. Great, freshly prepared food whether you’re eating in or taking away.  You will receive a warm welcome. It’s a family run restaurant and that vibe is in evidence from the warm welcome you receive and to the large outdoor children’s play area. Why not stay and have a pint while you’re waiting for your take away meal to be prepared?

In conclusion, get exploring, discovering and eating and enjoy your family time in the fabulous Howardian Hills.


Hovingham picture credit – Chris J Parker, NYMNPA.

Do you want more ideas and inspiration on where to visit and what to do while on holiday in Yorkshire? Then click here and download a copy of my guide to North Yorkshire’s hidden gems, to help you get the most out of your time here:

Guide To Yorkshire