It was the last day of the Summer holidays, and we were looking for somewhere really special to take the children. A day when it was all about the kids. We were spending the weekend at the York Layerthorpe Travelodge, so when we were invited along to William’s Den in East Yorkshire, we knew it would be a perfect choice for a very special and memorable last day of the holidays.
So why is William’s Den so special?
William’s Den opened in July 2017 and is Yorkshire’s largest indoor-meets-outdoor timber crafted adventure that has been designed with children and adults in mind. The idea is to encourage families to have fun, try new things and explore together. Whats even more special is there is something for everyone here, which means all ages can enjoy the experience.
Tor & Christian Carver had the idea five years ago, when they wanted to create a place for children to play, explore, and run wild, indoors and outdoors – whatever the weather. It is named after their son William, who is a huge part of the place, and who we met during the den building competition.
It is set in the most idyllic location, a vast space overlooking rolling hills. Sitting on the handcrafted picnic bench, enjoying a coffee, I looked around and could see that so much thought and love has gone into designing and building this gem of a place. The play equipment has been made out of natural ingredients, the electricity comes from the solar panels on the roof, the walls of ‘The Den’ are partly made from hemp blocks and the outside of the Den has local timber cladding. Their use of pre loved materials is evident and adds to the charm and creates a more natural play environment. I think it makes a place even more special when care has been taken to reduce the carbon footprint, don’t you think?
The Den is an amazing concept. It is a huge play barn made from responsibly sourced wood. Think tree houses, timber climbing frames, rope swings and bridges, set on various levels. The kids got lost in the dens set in tree trunks and squealed with excitement when they spotted the slide. My littlest man adored the sandpit, and the stream. Our kids truly were in their element.
Outside play area.
Despite the wonderful indoor den, we still managed to spend most of our day outside, and in all honesty, we struggled to pull the kids away.
There are zip wires, tunnels, sandpits, a mud kitchen, climbing frames and tyres. There is also an expanse of open space for the kids to run wild and experience freedom in a controlled environment. The girls loved the den building competition, and it was a great opportunity to build on teamwork skills and at the same time making a spectacular teepee style den.
There are so many places to sit and take in the wonderful views and enjoy a coffee or an ice-cream. The ice-cream is delicious and freshly made in the William’s Den parlour with sourced dairy products from East Yorkshire’s St Quentin’s Creamery.
We had such a fab day @Williamsdenplay on Sunday. I have not visited anywhere quite like it. It is an outdoor meets indoor play area, with rope swings, waterplay, tree houses and climbing frames both indoors and outdoors. Well worth a visit if you are in the area. There is a toddler area too although this little man preferred the den building with sticks❤ His little explorer jumper is from @mymountainboutique – Don’t forget you can still use the 10% code ‘OTIS10’ for any purchase. . . . . . #myhappycapture #lovelifeoutside #instakids #travel #curiouslittleexplorers #letthemexplore #littlefierceones #goexplore #worldoflittles #our_everyday_moments #lifecloseup #pottyadventures #picoftheday #rememberingthesedays #raisingragamuffins #mytinymoments #letthembelittle #motherhoodrising #kidsforreal #ig_motherhood #ourcandidlife #momswithcameras #motherhoodrising #letthembelittle #daysoutwithkids #justpassingthrough #trips100
Through the restaurant there is the Foldyard, a small area for the smallest of visitors. Funnily enough my eldest kids loved it here, with a chalkboard, tractors and ride ons, and plenty of space to crawl, run, or roll about. There were a number of picnic benches dotted about to allow adults to enjoy a drink or bite to eat and chat while the little ones could play safely.
The Kitchen Table
The restaurant is really special. Offering a great choice of food including breakfast dishes (served until 11.30am) wood fired pizzas, beef burgers, flatbreads, chicken wraps and fresh fish. Gluten Free pizza bases are available and you can speak to a member of the team for any allergies or dietary requirements – they really do try to accommodate to the best of their ability.
I opted for the quinoa, feta, mint and butterbean burger with lettuce, red onion and lemon mayonnaise, and let me tell you – it was delicious!
Opening times and Prices
William’s Den is open every day (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)
Sunday to Wednesday – 9:30am – 5:00pm
Thursday to Saturday – 9:30am – 7:00pm
Prices as of September 2017
Child 3-17 years £9.50
Child under 3 £3.00
You can also become a Friend of The Den – giving the pass holder access to William’s Den all year round *
*Please see website for further details
I am all for a free spirited childhood, and this supports our ethos of letting kids be kids whilst enjoying the great outdoors. Our kids absolutely loved every moment, and it took us about 45 minutes to tear them away from the outdoor space to head home. I only wish we lived closer, as there is no doubt that we would be regular friends of the Den.
Just one tip – take baby wipes, spare clothes and wellies – and sit back and watch your little ones get sand in their hair, mud on their clothes and a huge sparkle in their eyes.
It is a really special place for families to enjoy together- and that….. well it is magical.
Well done to Tor and Christian Carver on following through with their amazing vision to create a wonderful place of fun, excitement, adventure and memories.