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Castle Howard- Yorkshire

Set in the most beautiful grounds on the outskirts of York is Castle Howard. You can choose to visit the House & Gardens or just the Gardens. We chose the latter as the rain had finally stopped and there is so much to explore in the gardens alone.

We arrived and parked easily, the staff were so lovely on arrival and we were quickly aboard the road train. This takes you down to Skelf Island, with a stop at the house on the way. The train runs regularly throughout the summer and is included in the price.

We headed straight down to Skelf Island, the childrens section. Where there is an adventure playground, boat house cafe and an exciting rope bridge over to Skelf Island (there is a normal bridge for those not keen on the rope bridge!) We had our picnic on Skelf Island and we were pleased we brought one as the cafe was extremely pricey!

The adventure playground and island is a fantastic wooden structure of climbing frames with an assortment of slides. The children loved it, great for make believe. Skelf Island is named after the historic site Castle Howard sits on, Henderskelfe. Back over the bridge you can also meet the skelves too at regular intervals throughout the day you can join them on a Skelf adventure. When we turned up at the meeting point we were lucky enough to have them to ourselves! We had a really interactive 30/40 mins, led by the Skelves, making wands, doing spells, making music and playing games. Great fun for children and adults with the very funny funny skelves.

We also got chance to see WonderPhil making balloon animals in the tent, nothing is too much trouble, we got a penguin, elephant and a cheetah! After our Skelf tour we returned to see his magic show! This wasn't just clever but really funny! He had us all captivated! It's great that all of these things are included in the ticket price too.

Early afternoon we headed away from the children's section to have an easy walk through Ray Woods. Here we saw a pyramid, pigs and a temple. You can kind of do a circular walk from Skelf back in to the gardens in from of the castle. Amazing views, incredible fountain in well maintained gardens, we had a lovely wander around and the children playing on the grass while we took in the views. We then walked through the walled garden with the most gorgeous flowers and headed back to the entrance. Here is a lovely courtyard with a cafe, icecreams and a farm shop.

I would certainly come here again, it's a lovely place to spend a family day outdoors.

It cost us £59 for a family of 5. Under 2's are free. Book online before you arrive as its a bit more expensive on the door. This is for Gardens entrance only.

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