No family trip to Bridlington is complete without a trip to Sewerby Hall and Gardens, a clifftop haven for kids that’s so much fun you might just forget to head down to the beachfront for fish and chips. We’ve visited many times and always enjoy ourselves. Our children, who can never remember the names of places we’ve been, refer to it as ‘the place with the parrot with a Yorkshire accent’, ‘the one with that really fun man who did that tour of the gardens in Greek robes’ and ‘the place with the gardens that were all lit up at Christmas’. Yes, it’s fair to say that there’s a lot at Sewerby for families to enjoy. Here’s our top five reasons to visit Sewerby Hall and Gardens with children.
1. Gardens galore to explore (and a playground)
Most children are happiest running about outside, so with 50 acres of award-winning gardens, Sewerby Hall and Gardens ticks that box. Follow the paths, find the monkey puzzle trees, play hide and seek, spot the wood carvings and have a sit down on a bench when you need a breather! There’s lots of wildlife to spot in the woodland, and there’s even a Woodland Walk that’s well signposted.
New to Sewerby is the Garden Explorer Packs for under-fives that are free to borrow from the Welcome Centre, and will help younger children engage with their visit. Also new are lovely new interactive information boards with details about the creatures you may see on your visit. During the warmer months, there are giant games in the gardens (ours love the massive Connect Four) and there’s even an 18 hole putting green, 9 hole pitch and putt and footgolf! That’s on top of a selection of self-guided trails like the Love Exploring App that you can download and follow on your phone. Oh, and there’s a children’s play area too.
2. There are lots of children’s activities in the house
Like many parents, we’d assumed that the Grade I listed house itself would not be a place for children, so we’ve always spent the day in the gardens. It turns out, however, that Sewerby Hall is in fact very family-friendly, with plenty of indoor activities aimed specifically at children (especially good to know if the weather turns). The team at Sewerby have spent a lot of time and effort creating an environment that’s genuinely welcoming for families and where you don’t need to worry about making too much noise or breaking anything!
Following a relatively recent restoration, the hall is now presented as an Edwardian country house circa 1910, and if you’re lucky, you may even bump into the Lord and Lady of the house (friendly costumed volunteers welcome visitors on certain days). Learn about life as a servant and check out the equipment they had to use (poor them), touch real-life artefacts, enjoy some dressing up and have a go at some fun activities. The kitchen, butler’s pantry and nursery – complete with toys you can play with – are our favourite spaces within the house for children.
Another thing we hadn’t realised until recently was Sewerby Hall’s connection to pioneering Hull-born pilot Amy Johnson. There’s a wonderful collection of her memorabilia on the first floor, as well as a couple of activities and a film about her record-breaking flight. It’s inspiring stuff for all ages, and amazing to be able to look at her belongings at close quarters.
3. There are regular children’s activities and exhibitions (and an amazing Christmas event!)
Sewerby Hall is well known for its children’s activities, both during the week and in the school holidays. There are fun weekly sessions for pre-school children that need to be booked in advance, as well as regular weekend and holiday activities. Rusticus Arts, a local company run by theatre professionals, provide the outdoor silliness during the holidays and they’re fantastic. Even the most tired and cynical parents will find themselves joining in and having a laugh, and kids love it too. Rusticus Encounters are included in the (very reasonable) admission price, so do catch them if you can.
Until 17th July 2022, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is at Sewerby, on loan from the Natural History Museum, which is a real coup. We’ve been along to see it and it’s incredible. The images are startling and the stories behind them are enthralling. It’s well worth a visit, especially as it’s included in the admission price (bargain).
It’s also worth keeping an eye out for the brand new Winter Woodland light experience at Christmas. It launched to much fanfare in 2021 and was a total joy, bringing the woodland to life with a clever light and sound show that we loved. Our children declared it the best thing we went to that Christmas (and not a Santa in sight!). It’s coming back for 2022 and the theme – top secret for now – is a really good one. We’ll bring you the latest as we have it.
4. There are animals to meet
As if all that wasn’t enough, there are also animals to meet at Sewerby’s pocket-sized zoo. We love watching the Humboldt penguins waddling about and having a paddle, and our children are obsessed with Eckie, the chatty parrot. Older children can book an animal encounter to get up close with the penguins and even feed them, which sounds fantastic (if a little fishy).
5. The location is amazing, with lots to do nearby
Sewerby Hall is in the perfect location for exploring Bridlington, provided you can fit it in after you’ve done everything else. There’s a popular land train that you can catch from just outside the gardens right down to the beach front or vice versa – find out more here. Sewerby is also a very short drive from RSPB Bempton Cliffs – an amazing place to see seabirds – and Flamborough Head, with its lighthouse and beach (if you’re lucky you might see some seals). The local nature reserves of Danes Dyke, Flamborough Outer headlands and South Landing are nearby, too – find out more about the nature reserves here.
Travel time from York – 1 hr (approx)
Opening hours – Visit the Sewerby Hall website for seasonal opening times
Ticket prices – Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £30; additional child £1