Take the kids to … William’s Den, North Cave, East Yorkshire | Travel
In a nutshell
A new addition to Yorkshire’s theme parks and attractions, William’s Den opened on 3 July. It combines an indoor play area where all the structures are made of wood and rope with a huge outdoor section that features zipwires, tyre swings and places to make your own den in. Indoors is a beautifully put-together complex of suspended rope tunnels and platforms, a vast hollow oak tree with various levels and climbing apparatus, a fireman’s pole, a rope-ball swing, a huge sandpit, a water system based on a stream running through a wood, and a chill-out area with bucket chairs and bean bags.
It’s named after a real William: the son of William’s Den founders Tor and Christian Carver, who farm 1,350 acres of land that inspired many of David Hockney’s landscapes. William was four when they had the idea; he’s nine now.
Best thing(s) about it
My six-year-old daughter loved the rainmaker, which is in the indoor section. You can try to navigate the stepping stones in the stream underneath without getting wet – or you can choose to get soaked, as other children did. The website recommends bringing a change of clothes and a towel (it is contemplating providing the latter).
The place feels challenging but also safe and I liked the fact there’s lot of opportunities to use your imagination. It also manages to cater for a wide age group: from tiny ones who want to just sit and play in the sand to gangly pre-teens who can swing hand-to-hand on rope handles. It’s also worth noting that each child has to be accompanied by a responsible adult, so parents should expect a decent workout from the trip.
What about lunch
The Snackbox offers sandwich/salad, crisps/granola/fruit pot and a drink (organic fruit juice) for £5. The tastefully designed restaurant, which is also intended to be a destination in itself, serves wood-fired pizzas (£4.95-£8.95). We had burgers (both beef and quinoa, £6.25 kids, £8.95 adults) that were fine but made us think we should have opted for the pizza. Breakfast is also served (bacon/sausage sandwiches from £2.95, porridge £2), plus ice-cream (£2 for two scoops) made with milk from the local creamery. The raspberry sorbet was delicious.
Exit through the gift shop
The gift shop is to the left of the entrance/exit, so while you do pass it you aren’t forced to go through. It sells wooden toys, den-making kits (specifically, silicone Stick-lets, 12 for £22.99 or 18 for £32.99), flower-presses, and ranks of Demar wellies (£15-£17.50). Also William’s Den T-shirts (£12-£14).
The nearest train station is at Brough, 5½ miles away. If you’re driving, it’s just off the A63, 16 miles west of Hull.
Value for money
Adults £8, child £9.50, under 3s £3, under 12 months free; anyone pre-booking gets a 10% discount. We spent nearly five hours there and could probably have stayed for longer.
Sunday to Wednesday 9.30am-5pm; Thursday to Saturday 9.30am-7pm.
Still teething (it is adding more shade outside for sunny days; may add extra seating for adults indoors to reduce general milling; and the young staff are getting used to their roles) but already a slick operation with huge potential. 9/10 from me; my daughter gave it 10/10.