100+ fantastic family days out for Sheffield summer holidays

100+ fantastic family days out for Sheffield summer holidays

It’s that time of year again! Summer holidays in Sheffield is a busy time of year with so many fun events in and around the city, fantastic days out and places to visit.

Stuck for ideas or need to find something that doesn’t break the bank? This bumper guide has all you need to find the perfect day out including free days out and ideas suitable for all weathers.

Use the categories to find what you’re looking for!


10 free days out

Weston Park Museum in Sheffield, S10 2TP is the best museum in Sheffield for families and very popular! It’ll definitely keep the little ones busy. It is the largest museum in Sheffield and has hands on exhibits, interactive displays, things to play with, a cafe and gift shop. Find a free downloadable trail here.

Clifton Park and Museum, S65 2AA is Rotherham’s best family park with a free splash park, funfair, mini golf, interactive free museum with family events & activities and fantastic playgrounds. The free splash park is brilliant! Take a picnic!

Go for a walk around the Room on the broom trail at Anglers Country Park in Wakefield. There’s a playground, visitors centre, cafe and parking is free. The trail takes you around the lake to find sculptures from the fantastic Room On The Broom book. Find it at Anglers Country Park, WF4 2EB.

Forge Dam and Endcliffe Park are two really lovely parks in Sheffield. You can combine two in one day with a walk in the woods between them both. Start at either park and walk by the porter valley [directions]. Both Forge Dam and Endcliffe Park have cafes, playgrounds and woodlands waiting to be explored. Endcliffe Park also has a small funfair for kids. The Forge Dam to Endcliffe Park walk is a few miles and really recommended.

There’s a fantastic adventure playground at National Coal Mining Museum for England. In addition there’s the museum, cafe, indoor under 5’s play area and throughout summer ‘Seaside @ Pit’ event 20th July – 1st September. With living history interpreters, donkeys, sand pit & more.

National Railway Museum in York. YO26 4XJ is great for all ages. This large museum is dedicated to all things trains and provides a fun day out for old and young. Don’t miss the turntable demonstrations and the outdoor play area.

At Graves Park in Sheffield is loads to do. This large park has a free animal farm, playgrounds with sandpits, cafes, woodlands and tons of space for ball games and picnics.

Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester is a fantastic FREE museum with lots to see. I recommend the Air and space hall and don’t miss the free talks. Head upstairs with children to get hands on in the Experiment gallery which is loads of fun.

Get lost at National Trust’s Longshaw Estate, just on the outskirts of Sheffield in the Peak District. For a lovely walk with kids, find the wild play areas by doing the Boggart trail.

Have a lovely stroll in Matlock Bath by the river. There’s 2 playgrounds to find and we loved these gardens. The aquarium is an interesting place and whilst it’s not free, it’s only a few quid. In Matlock town itself the park is a nice place for a play and has a free splash area.


10 Indoor / suitable for rainy days

Free discovery days at Weston park museum on selected dates in the summer holidays, including ‘Discovery Days: Nordic Holiday Cabins‘, activities for under 5’s and ‘Art & Wonder Discovery Days

Medieval Mayhem, S3 8AW, has Sheffield’s biggest play frame, daily activities and a cafe. For indoor soft play fun with 4 big slides, this is the place to be.

Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax is everyones favourite for a museum day out with little ones, full of fun and bursting with interactive and sensory-like exhibits. EVERYTHING at Eureka invites play and nothing is off limits, you won’t hear ‘I’m bored’! The ‘Big Summer Festival‘ has loads of workshops and family shows on, too!

A good little museum and for free is Experience Barnsley discovery centre, S70 2TA. Interactive bits and bobs to play with and build, dress up, stories and a play shop for the kids to have fun. Plus there’s some free events on during the summer like this free Make your own rainy day toy.

Been to the theatre recently? Theatre shows make a superb family treat, especially when it’s not so good outside. Pair up with a nice meal out in a family friendly restaurant. Find what’s on by visiting your local theatre’s websites and browse this guide.

There’s a few options in Sheffield City Centre, like the Sheffield Winter Garden which is the biggest greenhouse in Europe. We love having a picnic there or getting food from Zooby’s Deli. Millennium Galleries is home to exhibitions to get your teeth into, a nice shop and cafe. Both are free to visit. There’s a few crafty summer holiday events for children on, too; check here.

National Space Museum in Leicester offers return visits for free with an annual pass and it’s great there! The museum has loads to see and get stuck into, including hands on exhibits, dress ups, timelines, real rockets and a fantastic planterium (I highly recommend!). Check out next door Abbey House Museum, too, it’s free and Abbey Park down the road.

Big Apple Play City in Rotherham is a big indoor play centre suitable for all ages, from little right up to teens. There’s a sensory area, under 5’s, ball pits, racing track, big slides, big soft play areas and enough to keep all ages going. Check it out here.

Your local cinemas will have family screenings on during the summer holidays. Vue, Cineworld, Odeon, etc., all do family specials which may include special family discounts, family specials at discounted prices, etc., check their websites.

I was really impressed with Doncaster Dome Leisure Centre. It’s great for all ages with a variety of fun slides, a separate fun water splash area for little ones with slides and climbing frames, tropical pool and even an outdoor pool. 7 pools in total! Nearby there’s lots of places to eat, drink, go bowling and even South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum.

10 Outdoor

Sheffield Botanical Gardens, S10 2LN is a magical place for a walk. Free to visit and bursting with colour at this time of year, the gardens include lots of beautiful mini-gardens to explore, a bear pit, glass houses, tropical plants and amazing flowers, a fossiled tree, really pretty areas to picnic in and a cafe.

Tropical butterfly house, wildlife and falconry centre, S25 4EQ is voted Sheffield’s top family day out on tripadvisor and is definitely one to visit. There’s so much to do there. Meet the animals, go on the dinosaur trail, ride the tractor trailer, take part in crafts, have fun in the splash park and adventure playgrounds, see an animal encounter talk and much more. A full day out with good outdoor play areas.

We love Chatsworth House DE45 1PP and I’m sure you will too. The gardens makes a day out of themselves; you’ll get lost in the wonder of it all and it’s a lovely adventure with little ones (and a fantastic place for a picnic). The adventure playgrounds are big with sand and water play areas, plus there’s a family farm. I highly recommend both. Places to eat nearby? Try Devonshire arms or Wheatsheaf Hotel, both in Baslow.

Brodsworth Hall, DN5 7XJ has a country house to explore surrounded by beautiful pleasure grounds. There’s a newly restored play area, cafe and picnic areas… “Wander the many rooms of the house, roam the gorgeous gardens, stop for tea in the tearoom, and discover the recently restored game larder”.

Visit Sherwood Pines, NG21 9JL for a scenic fun day out in the woods! There’s family activity and bike trails, play areas, BBQ areas, go ape and much more. Plus the nearby Sherwood Forest Railway, NG21 9HL runs mini steam train rides for £2 during summer.

Rivelin Valley Park, S6 5GL, is free to visit and has a splash park open daily in summer holidays featuring a paddling pool. In addition there’s a lovely nature trail, woodlands to explore with streams for a wild paddle, playground and cafe. Well worth a visit.

For more free water play, Millhouses Park S7 2QQ, is a popular place for families. Featuring a boating lake, cafe, splash play area (great for little ones, as it’s gentle and not so splashy), playgrounds, skate park, outdoor gym equipment and woods. This park is very popular on a nice day!

Renishaw Hall and Gardens is a nice day out with pretty gardens, a children’s adventure garden, historical hall tours and cafe. We loved it here and Eric really got stuck in finding little things to keep him entertained like the story teller’s chair, hidden slide and maze.

We absolutely loved RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate. Beautiful, beautiful gardens and really lovely wild play areas for children. I loved the playgrounds with a monster face slide; it was really imaginative. There’s a good mix of gardens to hidden woodlands and enough for a full day out. Betty’s Tea Room is there for a treat or lay out your own picnic blanket. Try nearby Valley Gardens for a great playground & paddling pool (free).

A picnic at Padley Gorge in summer by the stream is an absolute must! This spot in the Peak District, near Longshaw Estate is a popular place for a family day out on the nicest days. Take a picnic and let the kids have fun paddling in the stream.

Historical days out

Hardwick Hall, S44 5QJ is National Trust near Chesterfield. A lovely Elizabethan country house to see, family walks to enjoy, gardens to explore and little fairy houses in the trees! Outdoor games, cafe and tons of nice spaces to enjoy a picnic.

Wentworth Castle Gardens, S75 3EW, is National Trust’s newest place to visit this summer… “Glorious gardens, woodland and parkland, created for the privileged few and preserved for everyone to enjoy”. It’s already rated well by families, making it a must-visit.

Wentworth Garden Centre, S62 7TF is a popular day out for young & old! This garden centre has more than just flowers. There’s a beautiful historical walled garden to explore, family farm with water play area, playgrounds, sandpits, tractors, animal handling and a tea room.

Explore Conisborough Castle, DN12 3BU. A romantic castle with ’12th century building’ and beautiful place for a picnic. Kids will love pretending and telling stories.

See the fairy-tale mansion at Bolsolver Castle, S44 6PR. “Wander the lavish rooms of the Little Castle, explore the romantic ruined terrace range, and delight in the views from the wall walk. Start your visit in the exhibition in the Riding House then run wild in extensive grounds (and fun play area).”.

Elsecar Heritage Centre is one of our favourites. The nearby Elsecar park is fantastic and has good playgrounds, cafe and reservoir. Down at the heritage centre, you’ll find historical cobbled streets lined with lovely shops, antique stores, cafes and a historic working steam railway.

Nostell Priory in Wakefield WF4 1QE is a National Trust day out, featuring a Palladian house dating back to 1700’s. Have a walk in the grounds, around the picturesque lake, visit the kitchen garden and there’s a outdoor play area in the woods.

10 Days out with animals

There’s loads to do at Aston Springs Farm, S26 2GW. Get stuck in with paint a pot, do the farm trail and meet the animals, and have fun in the indoor play area at the Pizza Barn.

Graves park animal farm S8 8LJ is FREE to visit all year round and a popular one with local families.

Have a fun day out at Cannon hall farm, S75 4AT. An award winning family attraction… have fun in the outdoor and indoor play areas, see lots of animals, enjoy tractor and trailer rides, entertainment and lots more.

Piglets adventure farm in York YO32 9ST offers the family lots of fun with many play areas, fairy trail, corn maze, sand pits, tractor ride and special seasonal events. We really liked it there.

Little and community run; Heeley City Farm, S2 3DT is a city farm with a nice cafe, friendly animals and play area. It’s a nice community-based city farm fantastic for little ones and there’s a park opposite which is definitely worth a visit, too.

The Deep in Hull, HU1 4DP is a huge aquarium and perfect day out for a rainy day. Home to over 3000 creatures, plus an indoor play area and restaurants.

Sealife Centres are a great place to take little ones for a fish themed day out! We liked the one at Scarborough (penguins!) but there’s Sealife Centre in Manchester, Birmingham and many cities across the UK. Find 2-4-1 vouchers usually on sweetie grab bags!

A must visit is Yorkshire Wildlife Park, DN4 6TB. A popular wildlife park with walking safari’s, lions, lemurs, polar bears and many more amazing animals. The outdoor and indoor play areas are lots of fun and suitable for a wide range of ages, plus there’s regular seasonal events and shows on.

Whirlow Hall Farm, S11 9QF, is a working farm in Sheffield with a nice cafe and play area for kids.

Loads to do at Matlock Farm Park, DE4 5LH, “We aim to offer farmyard fun for all ages, all year round, in the fresh air and tranquillity of the countryside! We have a plethora of lovely animals to meet, feed and cuddle, an indoor play barn to have fun in, go-karts to ride around on, a shop to browse and a cosy café to visit. Our riding school is also open all year round and offers lessons or hacking for all abilities as well as short pony rides”.

And even more days out…

fantastic family days out for Sheffield summer holidays

For days out with vehicles, try South Yorkshire Transport Museum in Rotherham where you’ll see lots of old vintage buses [see our visit here]. We liked South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum in Doncaster for seeing airplanes and Eric was able to get inside many of the cockpits. Abbeydale Miniature Railway is an absolute must visit on their open days for little miniature railway steam rides and a cheap day out; take a picnic.

Visit MSI museum in Manchester to see trains, engines, cars and experiments. The air & space hall is great. The ultimate train-lovers day out has to be National Railway Museum in York.

We recommend these picturesque walks and great picnic spots: Lodge Moor (good pub at Three Merry Lads), Forge Dam, Padley Gorge, Low Bradfield and Damflask Reservoir, Monsal trail near Bakewell (and good place to eat with playgrounds: Hassop station cafe), Dovedale and Ilam Park near Ashbourne, closer to home and great for a climb is mother cap.

A thrilling day out? We love Sundown Adventureland, a theme park dedicated to little ones. ThomasLand is great at Drayton Manor, or visit Cbeebies Land at Alton Towers. There’s Gullivers Kingdom in Matlock Bath and many more theme parks here.

For something a bit different, why not try an outdoor swim in Hathersage, visiting one of these Sheffield Hidden Gems, Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield (highly recommend their free family art activities) or planning your day out from our top rated places we visited last year?

We really love city trips and I think you should try a few this summer. Why not browse our top city trip recommendations here? Manchester, Leeds, York are regularly visited by us and easy to get to on the train. If you need more help to plan an overnight stay in a city nearby, these will help:

Top 5 family city trip recommendations from Sheffield

I definitely recommend….

Longshaw Estate for a walk and wild play (free)[get Boggart trail map here]. Rivelin Valley Park for a play in the woods, splash in the paddling pool and all round good park to visit for a free day out in Sheffield. Lots to do at Clifton Park & Museum in Rotherham, the splash park is lots of fun, good playgrounds and nice museum to visit.

Heights of Abraham is a full day out and really worth a visit. It’s a cable car ride up to the country park in Matlock Bath, amazing views and even better playgrounds at the top. Plus museum, galleries, places to eat, caves, woods and things to do. There’s lots to keep all ages busy and it’s a day out with a bit of a difference.

We love a trip to the seaside at summer; who doesn’t? Visit Cleethorpes which is close to Sheffield for a quick escape to the beach, Filey for amazing views over the cliffs and lovely beaches, Scarborough, Bridlington or why not try Blackpool? There’s so much to do there and we were really surprised by how lovely the beach is! [Read about our trip to Blackpool here!]

I always recommend a day out at Chatsworth House and gardens. The adventure playgrounds are fantastic. Take a bucket & spade for the good sand pit areas. On my to-visit list with great playgrounds is Belton House in Grantham (National Trust). I’ve heard the playgrounds are fantastic.

Try visiting some playgrounds and parks in Sheffield. We have some great places. Have you been to Hillsborough park and seen the really lovely walled garden? You might be surprised!

Have a walk around Damflask Reservoir and see the ducks at Low Bradfield.

If you’re still stuck for ideas, then try this guide: 10 ideas for days out and things to do for when you’re really stuck for inspiration!

Wild card? Visit Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds, where you can scramble over the rocks and pretend to fight dragons. Just across the road is Abbey House museum and we loved it there; lots of things to play with and a lovely children’s story book themed gallery.



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