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Great family walks in Yorkshire without the car


Don’t hold your breath, but it seems like spring is about to show an appearance! The crocuses are finding their way through the frosty grass, the birdsong is gently waking us up each morning and the evenings are getting ever so lighter. Hooray!

The change in season brings with it plenty of opportunity to get outside and get active. And where best to be outside than in beautiful Yorkshire. With frequent direct trains to York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Mirfield and more, you don’t even need a car to get there. So, why not get your gang together on a Grand Central train soon for a fabulous family walk.

Walking offers a great opportunity to spend time together exploring new areas, and best of all – it’s absolutely free of charge! Here are a few family-friendly walks to give you some inspiration…

Thirsk Circular

Take a train to the lovely market town of Thirsk to begin your adventure. From Thirsk station you can walk into town to begin the trail, although the walk actually passes the train station, so you could alter the route slightly to start here if you prefer.

This is a leisurely circular walk, and is not too challenging, so should be okay for most ages, as long as everyone is comfortable to walk for around two hours. Along the way you will see some stunning scenery as well as pass through quaint kissing gates and explore historical sites. You will have great views of the Hambleton Hills and have the chance to explore the St Mary’s Parish Church, which dates back to 1430. The circular route guides you right back into the heart of Thirsk, so you can grab a hot chocolate or a juice and a sandwich before hopping back on your return train.

York City Walls

Once you have disembarked the train at York station, you are perfectly located to take the York city walls walk. This medieval walk offers the chance to see all the intriguing features of the main walls including windows, arrow-slits, gun ports, sculptures, and masons’ marks. You could even make a tick-list together on the train to York to create a fun hunting game for your kids to play on your walk round.

There are 13 sections to the walk in total – each focussing on a different part of the wall. You will get a great overview of York on the way, passing by Bootham Bar, Monk Bar, Walmgate and Micklegate Bar, among others. The complete walk is approximately two miles long and should take about two hours, depending on how quickly you walk.

Homestead Park to Rowntree Park

Another of York’s glorious walks, this park-to-park trail is another goody for younger family members and gives the opportunity for plenty of sight spotting. From signs to bridges, towers and church clocks, follow the map to see a whole host of York’s interesting landmarks along the way as you stroll from Homestead Park to Rowntree Park.

Some of the route is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs, however, there is an alternative route listed on the map that is much more accessible. All in all, it should take about one and a half hours to reach Rowntree Park (unless you stop for ice cream on the way!!).

Knaresborough and The Nidd Gorge

A bit more challenging that the other trails, this adventure is approximately six miles long (9.8K) and will only be suitable for older kids and keen walkers as there are steep steps, deep descents and climbs by the river.

From York train station you can catch a connection to the picturesque Knaresborough station, which will take approximately half an hour. From here, take a short walk into the town centre to start your hike. You’ll begin at Conyngham Hall and pass landmarks like Mother Shipton’s Cave as well as follow the glorious flow of the River Nidd. Take time to admire the stunning views along the Nidd Gorge, before you head back into the town for a lovely pub meal before heading back to York.

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