I’ve been living in the Selby District of North Yorkshire for just over four years now. During that time, we lived through lockdown due to Coronavirus, where we were only allowed to explore our local areas, going for walks close to home. Thankfully, restrictions have eased and life is almost back to normal in terms of going out and about, but it did get me thinking about all the things there are to do locally. So this list of things to do with children in the Selby district is something I hope others will find useful. It’s not just a list for summer, and I’ll gladly keep adding to it as I learn more about other things to do out and about in the area. 

I’ll break the list down into local woodland walks, outdoor activities, indoor activities, and even a few places to go to eat out or take the kids for a treat. This list is by no means complete at any time, and if anyone has anything more they’d like me to add that I may have missed, please send me, Carly, an email at [email protected], and I’ll let you know how to be added to the list.

Outdoor Walks & Woods In The Selby District

Yorkshire is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I’ve travelled a fair bit, so I feel qualified to say that. However, Selby as a district is often overlooked for more ‘glamorous’ places within Yorkshire. But if you’re staying local and look closer to home, there is beauty in the wild woodlands of the Selby district. If you’re looking for a FREE woodland walk to enjoy with the kids within the Selby district, here are 7 woodland walks to consider. How many have you already done? 

Hambleton Hough, Selby District Woodland Walk part of things to do with children in the Selby District
The view from the top of The Hough in Hambleton, Selby District, North Yorkshire
  • Barlow Common Nature Reserve, located at Barlow Road, Barlow, North Yorkshire, YO88EZ. Free to enter, and Free parking. For more details, please check out the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust website.
  • Bishop Wood, located near Sherburn-In-Elmet is managed by The Forestry Commission. This is one of our personal favourite woods, although it is massive and I often get lost with no sense of direction. Click here for the link to Google Maps, or you can find it at Grid Reference SE558336. Free parking and Free entry. Beware of ticks in the spring and summer seasons though, ideally wear long trousers to cover little legs.
  • Hambleton Hough, located behind the village of Hambleton. The Hough is another firm favourite of ours, and it has a great forest school play area! Free entry, free parking, but parking is very limited. Most of the surrounding land is privately owned so please do respect the landowners. Click here for the Google Maps link.
  • Brayton Barff, located off Barff Lane near Selby is a woodland area surrounding a covered reservoir owned by Yorkshire Water. It’s a lovely gentle walk with well-maintained walkways, as well as a few more tricky ‘off the beaten track’ trails to try. Entry is free, as is the car parking. Click here for the Google Map link
  • Fairburn Ings is located near Castleford in West Yorkshire (but I think it belongs on this list as it’s just over the border! lol It’s a nature reserve managed by the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) and has loads of wetland birds that the kids can see up close, as well as a play area. Entry is free but you do need to pay for parking. Please check their website for more details. 
  • Skipwith Common, located near Skipwith Village. It is owned and managed by Escrick Park Estate in collaboration with Natural England. It’s a beautiful common with 3 different walking routes available. Entry is free and parking is free. 
  • Towton Battlefield Walk is a walk steeped in history, following the iconic Battle Of Towton, one of the bloodiest battles in English history on Palm Sunday 1461. Located just outside the villages of Towton and Saxton. The best place to park is at The Crooked Billet Pub. When you’re done with the walk, I highly recommend lunch at the pub, and then walk that off with a wander over the road to St Mary’s Chapel, a 14th-century church, known locally as The Ramblers Church. 
Riding bikes In Bishop Wood, Selby District, North Yorkshire
Riding bikes in Bishop Wood

You can find out more details of all the woodland walks mentioned above by visiting the post I wrote for Yorkshire Tots to Teens website: 7 Free Woodland Walks in the Selby District

There are a couple of other walks in the Selby area that I’ve been made aware of too: 

  • The Selby Canal Walk – This is a 6-mile walk that starts in Selby linking the river Ouse with the river Aire in the village of West Haddlesey. I’ve not been personally, but The Jug Inn located near the end of the walk, in Chapel Haddlesey, comes highly recommended. 
  • Sherburn Willows – a small nature reserve located at the top of New Lane in the village of Sherburn-in-Elmet. Owned and managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, its full of flowers, butterflies, moths and other insects. Again, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been personally, despite living in the village! That will change this summer, I promise! Entry and Parking is free. 
  • Ricall Round Walks – the village of Ricall has 3 different well signposted walks with their own downloadable PDF maps to help you navigate them. Pick the one best suited to your ability and enjoy exploring the village or Ricall. 

Public Parks & Playgrounds Around the Selby District

The Selby District is a diverse area, dotted with loads of little villages, some growing rapidly due to investment and people wanting to move out of the cities and into the countryside. This has resulted in some charming parks and playgrounds that have been built to accommodate the families moving into the area, investing in the new build house boom. Here are some great parks and playgrounds in the Selby District that are all free to play on, but have been built for the local communities:

  • Selby Park 
  • South Milford Park
  • Thorpe Willoughby Park 
  • Eversley Park & Playground in Sherburn-In-Elmet 
  • NEW: The new park in Sherburn-in-Elmet is located on either side of Bramley Park Avenue. 
  • Ricall Play Park 

Please do get in touch if there are other local play parks in the Selby District that belong on this list. As I said, I’m still fairly new to the area and am always happy to learn more about where to go out and about. 

South Milford Park, Selby District, North Yorkshire part of things to do with children in the Selby District
South Milford Play Park

Larger Family Attractions and Experiences in the Selby District Area 

There are some absolutely brilliant larger family attractions and experiences for children in the Selby District. You don’t have to head to York , Leeds or Harrogate to have a fun day out with the kids. Here are some things to do with children in the Selby District area that are absolutely worth giving a go if you haven’t already. They are great for families of all ages.

Visit Lotherton Hall
  • Lotherton Hall and Bird Park – well known, well-loved and a visit to Lotherton Hall is a really great day out for families! You can read more about what to expect when you visit Lotherton Hall here. Other than their year-round attraction, they also have the Christmas Experience and Lotherton Hall which we’ve been to twice in the past 3 years. If you haven’t been before I would definitely recommend you go. I would recommend you pre-book tickets, or you can buy an annual membership which gives you year-round access to the estate. They also have a fabulous playground area, and a visit inside the house is well worth it too. 
  • Elmet Alpacas Farm & Crafting – who’d have thought it? You can visit with the Alpacas right here in Sherburn-in-Elmet. Check out our visit and this was before their fabulous tea room and crafting centre was even constructed! It’s an experience for the whole family, but mostly the kids! The tea room does also offer fabulous afternoon teas. Get in touch with Sam today to book your visit. Pre-booking is essential!
elmet alpacas review
Elmet Alpaca Trekking and Crafts in Sherburn-in-Elmet
  • Berts Barrow Farm Shop – they are the local farmer attraction in the Selby District, located on the strip road between Hillam and Monk Fryston. We love a trip to Berts, and they are always really good at seasonal activities too such as Halloween pumpkin picking, or strawberry picking, or even just a good old Friday night street food! Shout out to them for the awesome efforts they made to adapt during the pandemic offering a drive-through veg box! You guys are awesome! If you’ve not been, do yourself a favour and visit Berts Barrow. They also have a really active Facebook page if you want to keep up to date with all the fun events they have happening regularly. 
  • Sherburn Aero Club. If you have a child who is fascinated by aeroplanes and helicopters, why not take them to the Sherburn Aero Club. You can get a light bite to eat and the kids can play in the little playground from where you can all watch the planes coming and going. They are lovely there and very welcoming.

Indoor Activities for Kids in the Selby Area

One thing I’ve learnt about living in Yorkshire the past few years is that it’s often too cold or wet to be outdoors. And when it’s not cold or wet, it’s boiling hot! lol – Here are a few indoor activities that are definitely worth adding to a list of things to do with children in the Selby district.

Visit Selby Abbey as part of things to do with children in the Selby District
Visit Selby Abbey: Credit Getty Images via Canva
  • Visit Selby Abbey in the heart of Selby. They have a cool list of 10 things to see when you visit Selby Abbey on their website which is always a good idea when trying to instil a little culture into our kids! 
  • Clayfever Ceramic Studio in Tadcaster for some ceramic painting. Heads up … they also do painting and prosecco nights for adults if you’re looking for something that’s not just about the kids. 
  • Selby Superbowl – Take the kids bowling at the Selby Superbowl.
  • Book an Art painting session at The Potting Shed in Hillam. They do ceramic painting and canvas painting and have a little tea room attached for some tea and cake too.
Sherburn-in-elmet library
Sherburn-in-Elmet Library 2018
  • Visit your local library. Most of the local village libraries have a Summer Reading Challenge during the summer holidays. One of my girls’ favourite things to do is to go to the local library. All these local facilities have taken such a huge hit over the pandemic, yet they are still going, still there offering a fantastic service to the local community. Why not pop in to your local library this summer (It’s FREE) and if you haven’t already, sign up for library membership. I promise the kids will love it! To find your local library, check out the North Yorkshire County Council – Local Libraries site for more details. 
  • Take the kids for a swim at Tadcaster Community Swimming Pool. The pool is great. They have a big pool for adults and more able kids, and they have a smaller pool for little ones. Check out their website for timetables and other details about swimming at Tadcaster Pool.

I realise you might be thinking this post should have been called Things To Do With Children In Sherburn-In-Elmet and South Milford, but that’s what I’m most familiar with locally. As I said, please get in touch if you have more activities for children for me to ad to this list.  

Eating Out With The Children in the Selby Area

Especially when it’s raining and wet or freezing cold, you want to do something to get the kids out of the house for an hour. Here is a list of a few places to take the kids for a bite to eat, or for that little treat in the Selby area.

  • Lunch at Fields Kitchen in Sherburn-in-Elmet. The restaurant is located at the Fields Garden Nursery. It’s a lovely venue we’ve been to a few times. (They also host birthday parties for kids and have pygmy goats and a little playground for the kids to enjoy whilst you sip a G&T or latte!) 
  • Milkshakes, Ice-cream or cakes from Sherburn Shake House – THE BEST!! And they are even available on Just Eat offering delivery! 
  • Luch, cakes, or treats from The T-Post in South Milford. We absolutely love it there, and it’s close to South Milford park which is well worth a visit. 
  • Afternoon tea at The Little Teapot Tearoom at The Old Girls School in Sherburn-in-Elmet
  • The Maltings Tea Rooms which are located on the South Milford By-pass do a lovely breakfast as well as cakes and other treats. 

I’m sure there are loads more lovely little tea rooms and places that are perfect for kids, so please do get in touch if you want to be added to the list. 

the T-Post in South Milford
Cheesecakes from the T-Post in South Milford

Other FAQs about the Selby area

What is Selby known for?

Selby is a town in North Yorkshire, England, known for its historic abbey, which dates back to the 11th century. The town is also known for its nearby nature reserves and its location on the River Ouse, which was once an important center for shipping and trade.

What towns are near Selby?

  • Bolton Percy
  • Sherburn in Elmet
  • Monk Fryston
  • Hillam
  • Church Fenton
  • Saxton
  • Goole: approximately 12 miles to the east.
  • Tadcaster: approximately 13 miles to the southwest.
  • Howden: approximately 14 miles to the east.
  • Pontefract: approximately 17 miles to the southwest.
  • York: approximately 18 miles to the southeast.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list and found it useful. I always try my best to support the local community so this list is my way of giving back by creating a FREE resource for those businesses that serve the families in the Selby area. If you found this list of things to do with children in the Selby district useful, feel free to share this post with your local Facebook community, and your family and friends using the sharing buttons below. And please do follow me on social media, where I try to share things we do out and about and just in general.