Some free fun over summer

NADV. Pupils from Beckwithshaw Primary School take a closer look at art student Carol Sowden's Willow Sculpture at Horticap. 110317AR1pic1.
NADV. Pupils from Beckwithshaw Primary School take a closer look at art student Carol Sowden's Willow Sculpture at Horticap. 110317AR1pic1.

As the summer holiday’s progress and the weather remains decidedly iffy, I’ve been out and about trying out new children’s activities in the area.

Our first new discovery this week was the lovely little gardens at Horticap on Otley Road. If you haven’t been I would recommend it as a really pleasant and low cost way to spend an hour or so with the kids.

I have to warn you, if you’re expecting something of Harlow Carr’s magnitude you’re going to be disappointed – it’s much lower key, however my daughter loved it.

For those of you who don’t know, Horticap is a plant nursery where adults with learning disabilities train in horticulture, allied crafts and rural skills. There are plenty of plants and gardening bits for sale and a gift shop which sells cold drinks and ice-creams as well as some smashing gifts and home wear.

There is also a lovely garden which is free to enter and they are currently running a children’s passport scheme.

The way it works is you pay £1 for the little passport book and a pencil and then the children follow a trail around the gardens and wildlife area looking for clues and answering questions along the way.

If they answer the questions and work out a secret word they receive a small prize at the end. For more information have a look at their website

My second new discovery and now firm favourite destination of choice is Hesketh Farm Park, situated just near Bolton Abbey off the A59.

We visited on a slightly grey and drizzly day but there was so much to do, both inside and out that the weather not spoil the day.

The barns are huge, immaculately clean and there are a variety of livestock to see and hold (see the cows, hold the chicks). We paid just under £20 for two adults and two children.

There are plenty of picnic tables both indoor and out and a little café if you don’t take your own food or if like me, you’re partial to a bit of a mid-afternoon coffee and a cake.

I particularly liked the separate ride-on tractor areas for the different ages.

There is indoor and outdoor play equipment, sandpits and plenty of animal feeding and egg collecting going on throughout the day. My two seemed to like the bumpy tractor ride best and were grinning from ear to ear throughout. Both children loved their day at Hesketh Farm.


Every day throughout the summer holidays

Magical Summer Fun at Studfold’s Fairy and Pixie trail – magical experience! Use your imagination to find the delightful tiny coloured fairies and pixies that help make Studfold’s award-winning Adventure Trail a magical place. Suitable for all primary and pre-school children and their parents and parents parents! Do not forget to bring a picnic and something to leave in the treasure swap box. Normal admission fees apply. Hot drinks available.

Friday, August 10

Knaresborough’s annual Festival of Entertainment and Visual Arts, FEVA , begins tomorrow, Friday, running for 10 days to August 19.

As usual, it will offer something for everyone, from classical music to rock, folk and jazz, street entertainment, arts and crafts, plays, talks, walks, special menus in some of Knaresborough’s best outlets and a two-day extravaganza of beer from around the country.

Monday (and every Monday other than August 20 and 27)

10am-noon. Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library stay and play sessions: every Monday and Friday at Harrogate High School


10am-2pm Beach Day at Knaresborough Children’s Centre. Fun activities for families with children aged 0-5years old (older siblings welcome) - contact 01609 533855 for further details.

10-11.30am Playtime for pre-schoolers at RiponWorkhouse Museum. Traditional toys, explorer toys, treasure baskets and a role-play area to enjoy with your little ones (18m – 5yrs), drop-in session - no need to book.

Usual admission charges apply.