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Fun in the sun - summer events in Yorkshire for the family

PUBLISHED: 08:31 24 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:25 20 February 2013

Family days out

Family days out

Jo Haywood comes up with some big days out to keep your little ones happy this summer

The secret garden
Wentworth Castles hidden horticultural gem celebrated its 300th anniversary last year and won a White Rose Tourism Award for Visitor Attraction of the Year (under 50,000 visitors). It appeared on the BBC television programme Restoration.

The gardens were in a sorry state then, but are now reaping the rewards of a restoration scheme to transform the formal green spaces into a 60-acre carpet of colour, home to national collections of rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias.

Many of the 26 listed buildings and monuments across the Grade One listed parkland are being repaired and opened to visitors. 01226 776040; www.wentworthcastle.org

Something wild
Dont be fooled by the name of the Tropical Butterfly House in North Anston, near Sheffield, this is not just about things that flutter (although it does have more than its fair share of free-flying butterflies). Its also home to meerkats, marmosets, falcons and lorikeets and all manner of other amazing creatures.

Children can take the wheel of a pedal car, whiz along an aerial glide and dig in a huge sandpit while parents chill out in a new caf and conservatory. Or you can all get a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes by pre-booking a Keeper Experience. 01909 569416; www.butterflyhouse.co.uk

Trees a crowd
Thorpe Perrow Arboretum in Bedale, North Yorkshire, is one of the finest private collections of trees and shrubs in the country. This 85-acre site was the creation of one man, Colonel Sir Leonard Ropner, and is now owned and managed by Sir John Ropner.

But its not all about trees. Thorp Perrow is also home to a prestigious falcon centre offering flying demonstrations by birds of prey, and a new mammal centre where visitors can take a trip to Meerkat Island and take a walk through Wallaby Wood.
01677 427755; www.thorpperrow.com

Walk the squawk
The bird garden at Harewood House on the outskirts of Leeds has attracted families for years with its 90 species of rare and exotic birds including resident penguins, flamingos and parrots.

But they are not the only attractions for visitors young and old. There is a truly adventurous adventure playground; a chance to dip into the ultimate Victorian dressing-up box; and new for this year a magical interactive childrens area in three geopods. There are short, fun movies and planetary shows in the filmpod. The centrepod is home to a host of new characters, including Bookworm and Bug, who encourage youngsters to let their imaginations roam free. And in the otherpod there are a constantly changing array of activities, displays and experiences.
0113 218 1010; www.harewood.org

Sea the sights
Hulls award-winning submarium The Deep is home to 40 sharks and more than 3,500 fish.

Among its many aquatic highlights are Europes deepest viewing tunnel, a glass lift ride through the 10m tank, and The Twilight Zone, the worlds largest exhibition featuring weird animals from the darkest depths.
The Deep is a conservation and educational charity, working on a programme of vital research around the world. 01482 381000; www.thedeep.co.uk

Railway children
From Thomas the Tank Engine to the Hogwarts Express, children love a good train. And you dont get much better than those in action on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

These magnificent steam engines travel from one beautiful rural station to another manned by knowledgeable staff kitted out in the smartest imaginable uniforms.

The railway is lovingly preserved and charmingly authentic and its also the perfect starting point for a day out in the county, whether youre travelling between villages, hiking the moors or heading to the seaside at Whitby.
01751 472508; www.nymr.co.uk

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