Williams Den has been discussed plenty of times on the Harrogate Mumbler chat group over the past year so I thought that it was time that we reviewed it ourselves. The attraction, which is about 1 hour away from Harrogate (on the way to Hull) opened its doors last summer (2017) so I was very keen to go and find out more.
So what is Williams Den? Well, it’s not a soft play area that’s for sure. It’s both indoor and outdoor play and it is BRILLIANT! Is it worth the hours drive? Absolutely!
The Harrogate Mumblers first visited during February half term this year (hence the scarves in the pictures) and then we went straight back for a second trip at Easter. It’s on out list for days out this summer too, so hopefully I’ll be able to add some sunshine pictures soon!
The Den is all about embracing play, with dens and plenty of sensory experiences to use your imagination with. I’d heard there was a lot to do outside as well as inside and both times when we were there the forecast was looking bad, but we packed our waterproofs and decided to brave it.
It’s very well set up for indoor play and while it rained we spent a good couple of hours inside to begin with. There is a huge ‘treehouse’ style indoor play area (The Den) with steps, bridges, ropes, fireman poles, a slide and even some fabulous musical chairs. There was also a little ‘river’ water play area and a large sandpit area too. There was also a big upstairs room with soft materials to build dens with where we spent a lot of time.
TIP- there is quite a bit of water (just drips & little streams) however if you’re kids are anything like mine they will end up getting soaked anyway so take a towel and a change of clothes!
The system to get in is really good, each child got a wristband and you put the parent/carers phone number on it so any problems and they would call you.
Once you’re inside the den, all the equipment is “Adult Friendly” and you are thoroughly encouraged to get stuck-in and play with your kids. For littlies I would say that this is essential as it’s quite big and they could easily get “lost” however for the 4-5+ age group this place is paradise! It feels very safe and I was able to let my two (aged 6 & 9 years) run around to their hearts content while I supervised from the sidelines ( with a delicious coffee from the kiosk!)
When we went outside space and the scenery is spectacular: it’s beautiful rolling hills all aroud. It’s all built very in-keeping with the surroundings, all from very good quality, natural materials. There are loads of mounds (mountains and molehills) that have been created to give the ‘rolling hills’ feel… makes brilliant simple play for the kids to run up and roll down plus they’ve put some cool tunnels through some so the adventure continues.
We had taken a picnic for lunch (which Williams Den allow, which is brilliant!) Towards the end of the day we had tea ‘The Kitchen Table’ and we were hugely impressed by the quality of it, You can see the menu here but we thought it was really good value for what we got. The kids pizzas were wood fired and delicious, one small kids pizza easily fed both of mine (and my 6 year old his very hard to fill!) and at £5 I thought it was a good value lunch. The staff were super helpful, especially with getting people tables during the lunchtime rush.
Outside and attached to The Kitchen Table there is a little enclosed outside space with benches and a play area. You can enter the Kitchen Table and this play area without entering the den so there is no charge if you just want to come here with little ones. There are some things for kids to play with including some stacking bricks and cool spinny seat things, which all our kids loved.
Overall I would HIGHLY recommend a visit to Williams Den, it’s well worth the drive and you could easily spend 4-5+ hours here. The staff were excellent and went the extra mile, They were also constantly cleaning! Despite kids playing in mud outside and running inside, all of the inside area looked immaculate.
Here are my top tips to get the most from the day:
Take clothes for all weathers – the all weather suits and wellies meant that we could stay outside and play even with the showers. On a nice day I would have wanted to take swim suits and towels for the outdoor sand area and water play.
Take a Picnic – The food is fab but to make the most of the day I’d probably take a picnic for lunch to eat outside but then stay late and have tea in The Kitchen Table. It’s open until 6pm during the summer. If I was going I’d get breakfast there (served 9.30-11.30am) then have the picnic lunch.
Toilet trips are easy! They have normal toilets but also some bigger ones with a grown up & child’s toilet in the same room as well as a changing table. Every time we went the kids wanted to try a new toilet combination!
Take snacks and drinks– with this much play, the kids need regular energy top ups and it’s fine to eat your own food in the outside areas.
Head to the Hideout – When you need a bit of chill out time inside head up to the Hideout – it is a more open inside area and has sand bags and play bricks to build more dens, also big cushions to relax on (or jump on if you’re a mini mumbler!). We managed a full grown up conversation while our kids built a huge den in here.
**New for 2018 at Williams Den**
Join them for our new Saturday Social on 1st September: The Den will be open from 9:30am – 9pm! The idea is that families can enjoy the summer evenings together. You can go along at any time during the day but the additional fun starts from 5:30 when you can enjoy; Live Music, DJ, Licenced Bar, BBQ, Outdoor Play, Games and Activities. Normal admission fees apply during the day with a discounted entry from 6pm. Friends of the Den can use their annual pass for the event. The Kitchen Table will be serving food until 6pm. BBQ available until 8pm Please note: on Saturday Socials no picnics will be allowed after 3pm
William’s Den is open every day (except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) Summer Hours Sunday to Saturday 9:30am – 7:00pm From Monday 10th September Saturday – Thursday 10:00am – 6:00pm Friday 10:00am – 7:00pm Find William’s Den at Wold Hill, North Cave, HU15 2LS. More details on their WEBSITE here.