We’d arranged to meet friends from Harrogate for a day out and Bolton Abbey had been on my to do list for a while. I can’t recommend it highly enough, and on a bright, sunny autumn day it makes for a perfect family outing.
From the car park it is a short walk past The Tea Cottage, to the ruins of the 12th century Priory and a thriving parish church which is set in the nave. Take a close look at the towers outside as it looks like a laughing dog and legend has it that the nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle originated from Bolton Abbey.
On our visit the weather was amazing and the abbey looked stunning set against a bright blue sky. The River Wharfe slowly meanders past the abbey and is ideal for a spot of stone skimming or a picnic on the sandy shores. There are two ways to cross the river to reach a number of walks. The safe route across the bridge (which is the way I went) or the medieval right of way – a series of 61 large stepping stones, the older kids loved it and my two year old insisted on following them. I filmed the entire crossing, secretly praying for someone to fall in so I could claim £250 from You’ve Been Framed!
Safe and dry and with no winnings in sight, we then headed up onto one of the many woodland nature trails along the river. All the stiles along the riverside and woodland paths from Bolton Abbey to Barden Bridge have been removed and replaced with gates making them suitable for pushchairs.
It takes about 30 minutes to walk to Cavendish Pavilion from the Priory, a perfect place for lunch or a pit stop. It’s open seven days a week and there’s even an ice cream counter, a good incentive for tired legs. There are a number of activities along the riverside paths to keep kids entertained, from wooden swings to a large fallen Money Tree.
With a variety of aged children between us and two lively dogs, Bolton Abbey is a great destination and definitely ticked all our boxes.
Bolton Abbey and Sandholme Car Park:
Jan 1 – Mar 15: 9am–6pm (last admission 4pm), Mar 16 – May 31: 9am-7pm (last admission 5.30pm), June 1 – Aug 31: 9am -9pm (last admission 6pm), Sep 01 – Oct 26: 9am–7pm (last admission 5.30pm), Oct 27 – Mar 16: 9am–6pm (last admission 4pm)
Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 6EX
Tel: 01756 718 000 (Monday to Friday) 01756 710 331 (Saturday & Sunday)