With so much going on in York itself, it’s easy to forget the treasures that lie just beyond the city walls. And with the temperature falling and sunshine hard to come by, it’d be easy to put day trips on hold until the spring. But do that and you’d be missing out. There are loads of family-friendly places within driving distance that are almost as much fun in the autumn and winter as the warmer months. As an added incentive, lots of places drop their prices in the off-peak season and there are fewer visitors around so you can have the run of the place. And the temperature? As our parents used to say ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes!’. So we’re going to keep heading out like at any other time of year, just with more scarves and decent wellies. You can hear tales of our day trips here at Little Vikings.
This week we decided to go back to Beningbrough Hall in search of some autumn fun. We hadn’t visited since the spring and had forgotten just how family-friendly it is. It wasn’t just the little things like the highchairs and decent baby changing, but other thoughtful touches like the little selection of scooters and bikes just propped up against a wall waiting for someone to borrow them for free. The newly expanded wilderness play area was a hit with both our little vikings too, with plenty for them both to do. Even our 15-month-old had fun on the pirate boat, ran in and out of the tunnel and enjoyed hiding in the twig wigwam (twigwam?!). A trip around the grounds was magical, too, as the gardens groaned with fruit and vegetables and there were lots of outdoor games dotted about. We enjoyed a game of football in front of the hall and a round of giant snakes & ladders. The little ones also got a lot out of visiting the old laundry, quizzing us on how anyone ever managed without a washing machine (good question!) and touching the antique linen.
We usually avoid going into the Hall itself for fear of someone breaking something/shouting too loud, but we needn’t have worried. Beningbrough warmly welcomes children, and most of the top floor is geared to appeal to them. We created our own digital portrait that was emailed to us that evening, and the kids enjoyed playing in the dedicated play room.
A day out isn’t a day out without decent food. Had the weather been better, we’d have taken a picnic and found a lovely spot to eat it (plenty of benches and green spaces to choose from). Instead we opted for a warming lunch in the café, where the little ones enjoyed freshly made sandwiches and the most delicious homemade chocolate biscuits we’ve tasted in a long time. All in all, a cracking family day out. The verdict of our little vikings? ‘Can we come again tomorrow?’
Beningbrough Hall, Bembridge, Beningbrough, York YO30 1DD – Gardens open 11am to 5.30pm, house open 12 noon to 5pm, every day except Monday – Winter adult prices from £5.40; children from £2.70; National Trust members are free. For more information, see the website.