Review: William’s Den

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This summer we visited William’s Den, Yorkshire’s newest family attraction. It’s a family-run place to play indoors and out, so we took our kids along to check it out.

Things to do

A visit to William’s Den is one of two halves, assuming that the weather’s decent enough to go outside (and if it’s not, just wrap the kids up and go out anyway). We started off at the indoor play area, The Den, which has an impressive selection of things to climb, clamber on, tunnel through, slide down, swing off and play on. This isn’t your standard soft play – primary colours and have been replaced by muted tones of wood, rope and metal. It’s a joy to look at and has all been thoughtfully designed.

Our kids (7, 5 and 2), quickly found equipment to suit their age and ability and happily played for ages. There’s probably more for the middle age range, but most under 10s should find something to get stuck into. It was good to see so many parents playing with their kids and giving them a hand where they needed it – there’s not much in the way of seating for adults, which probably encourages grown-ups to join in.

The sun was shining when we visited, so we headed out to explore the outdoor area before lunch. With three overexcited children to keep an eye on, we were grateful that the outside area is compact but with plenty of space between each piece of equipment so it doesn’t feel too crowded. Our seven year-old gravitated to the zip wires, as he always does, while the five and three year olds were more taken with the mud kitchen, tunnels and sand pit. They all had a go at den-building, with mixed results…

We ended our visit with a last trip inside The Den, where the kids decided that they’d all get drenched in the ‘rain maker’ water area, just as I was hoping they’d forgotten about it. Thankfully we’d read the website’s advice and taken spare clothes and towels, so we avoided a very soggy drive back to York!

Food and drink

We visited during the summer holidays, when our go-to lunch from home was a hastily packed picnic. It gets a bit taxing to think of new sandwich combos, but as every family knows, eating out is an expensive business and it can be a bit disappointing. The good news is that William’s Den actually welcomes picnics, which some attractions don’t and can really ramp up the cost of a day out. We sat in the grass in the sunshine and the kids ate and rolled down hills at the same time (not recommended). There’s also a café, The Kitchen Table, which looks good. As well as cakes, ice creams and coffees, there are wood-fired pizzas and a menu full of healthy, tasty sounding dishes. Before heading home, we did treat ourselves to a cup of tea which we enjoyed in the walled off outdoor area – The Foldyard – which was great. The kids played with the small selection of toys for five minutes while we caught our breath. There’s also a coffee and ice cream counter serving snacks at the play area.

The verdict

William’s Den is an exciting addition to the array of brilliant things for families to do in Yorkshire. Children will love the play areas, and parents will enjoy the fact that it’s chilled out and serves good coffee (and Yorkshire Tea!). If early visitor numbers and reviews are anything to go by, William’s Den is off to a flying start, and we imagine it will only get better.

Good to know

If you’re planning a visit, book your tickets online to save money. To avoid a soggy journey home, take towels and a change of clothes. William’s Den hosts children’s parties which sound great fun. The loos and baby-changing have really been designed with families in mind and are the best that we’ve seen!

Trip essentials

Travel time from York (approx.) – 45 minutes

Opening hours – Sunday to Wednesday, 9.30am to 5pm; Thursday to Wednesday, 9.30am to 7pm. Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day

Cost – under 3s £3, 3 to 17 year olds £9.50, adults £8

Parking – Free

Wold Hill, North Cave, Brough HU15 2LS

Visit the William’s Den website

Thank you to William’s Den for having us. As always, our reviews are entirely independent and we will only recommend things that we have enjoyed.

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