Things to do with the kids at Fountains Abbey

There's acres of space where little legs can explore and imaginations can run riot here. You’ll be full of beans but out of puff once you’ve found a cave by the abbey, a dark winding tunnel, spotted a special winter bird. There's something to do year round at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. Read on to discover what's on for a day out with the kids throughout the year.

Just so you know...

This article was created before the coronavirus crisis, and may not reflect the current situation. Please check our homepage for the most up to date information about visiting.

Run wild in the play area

Less than two minutes from the visitor centre there's a huge play area where inquisitive little minds can be let loose to play. Climb high on the wooden abbey, speed along on the zip-wire and spin round and round on the roundabout. Parents can keep an eye out from picnic tables dotted around, or come and join in with building a den.

Boy and girl climbing in the play area at Fountains Abbey

Discover the play area 

Wondering how to burn off some energy with the kids? Keep them entertained for hours at the large play area at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. There’s a huge area bursting with fun and challenges for all abilities and room for plenty of imagination too. Find out what you can do at the play area and more about the facilities available here.

Be a water garden explorer

The water garden is full of straight lines and symmetrical curves but there are many corners to discover, too! Climb up to the Banqueting House and dress up like a Georgian, see which wildflowers you can see growing on the lawn and can you spot Octagon Tower in the distance?

Explore woodland on the High Ride path - but you'll need to walk through the dark Serpentine Tunnel to get there! Once you're up, you're up and there are three follies to find. One has an underground kitchen, one is made out wood and one has a wide view down to the abbey. See if you can find them all.

Walk through the dark Serpentine Tunnel to get to the High Ride path
Family going into Serpentine Tunnel in Studley Royal water garden
Walk through the dark Serpentine Tunnel to get to the High Ride path

Be an abbey adventurer

Don your adventure cap and set out to discover all the hidden corners of the abbey. See if you can find the last of the white marble and all the ruined alters in the nave. Can you hear an echo in the cellarium and how many staircases can you find throughout the ruins?

Girl cartwheeling by Fountains Abbey

Family fun this Easter at Fountains Abbey 

Let warmer days and lighter evenings tempt you to get out and about. We've got acres for you to explore and get stuck in to our Easter Cadbury trail.

It's a monk's life at Swanley Grange

Could you make your own clothes? That's what the monks had to do to make their robes, as they couldn't just pop to the shops. It took a long time to make something to wear as they had to spin the wool from the sheep's fleece and then weave it on a loom! Come to Swanley Grange and have a go at these heritage crafts. Don't worry though, we're not expecting you to make yourself a new jumper to wear - it's just for fun.

While you're there don't forget to say 'hi' to the chickens and see what's growing in the medieval garden.

Snack stops

There's a large restaurant at the visitor centre as well as two tea-rooms at each end of the site, Studley Royal tea-room and Mill Café, for you to take a snack stop. Tuck into some home-made scrumptious cake, local ice-cream or some juice to refresh and revive for the journey back.


If little legs get a bit tired from all the exploring, there's a free minibus service that runs between the visitor centre, Studley Royal admission point and West Gate admission point. It will also stop at St Mary's church if you want to have a look in this extravagant Victorian church.

Catch the minibus from one end of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal to the other
Catch the minibus from one end of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal to the other
Catch the minibus from one end of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal to the other

Family favourites this autumn and winter

Fountains Abbey lit by floodlights

Fountains by Floodlight 

October means one thing at Fountains Abbey: Fountains by Floodlight. See the ruins glowing against the night sky and tuck into a range of tasty hot food. Enjoy a spectacular after-dark experience with friends and family.

Sing along to your favourite carols at Carols by Candlelight in Fountains Abbey

Things to do with your family this Christmas at Fountains Abbey 

Join us for a very Yorkshire family day out this Christmas holidays. Wrap up warm for a wander through wintery abbey ruins and get stuck into the Christmas shopping on a full day out at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.

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