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Image © Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash
Midway between Leeds and Manchester, Huddersfield is the birthplace of Rugby League, a beautiful railway station and Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
It's also famous for its history of weaving and the textile industry. Today, it's known for the beautiful Victorian architecture of its buildings and is surrounded by fabulous Yorkshire countryside perfect for days out.
Although many indoor activities are currently closed due to government restrictions around COVID-19, there are still plenty of local attractions and fun activities for all ages. We've rounded up a selection, including free things to do with kids in Huddersfield, from parks to local history centres to family attractions with animals.
National Coal Mining Museum
Image © National Coal Mining Museum
Suitable for all ages, this multi sensory, interactive family experience is perfect for when you're looking for days out near Huddersfield. You'll visit a modern colliery, talk to those who actually worked there, and learn how men, women, children and animals all worked on the pits. There are six galleries and buildings to explore, plus a steam engine, blacksmith demonstrations, fun activity booklets for kids to complete and – cute alert – real-life pit ponies. There's also a new adventure playground. Currently there's a £2.10 booking fee for timed 'bubble' group entry of up to seven people. Though mandatory only in the shop and cafe, visitors are strongly recommended to wear face masks in all indoor areas. It re-opens on 5 August.
Ample parking (£2 discretionary fee).
This cafe is open 10am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday for take-away food, with outdoor picnic tables to eat it at.
Three toilet sites across the venue, including accessible toilets and baby-changing facilities.
Image © Ian S, under a Creative Commons Licence
A free and much-loved Huddersfield gem. This Grade-ll listed park is over 140 years old, and is worth a visit as it is the perfect place for some top fun days out in Huddersfield. It contains woodland, a lake, views, grottoes, football goals, basketball courts, and playgrounds with climbing and swinging possibilities for kids. It was voted Best Park in Yorkshire and Humberside in 2019. Sadly due to the COVID-19 virus, the cafe, miniature railway and carriage rides have all been suspended for the time being, but the park still offers plenty of ways to have fun for all ages, including picnics, bike and walking trails, castle ruins, water features and even a lion (statue).
Parking is on the nearby streets.
The cafe, visitor centre and toilets are currently closed due to COVID-19.
Kirklees Light Railway
Image © Kirklees Light Railway
Toot, toot! All aboard the steam train, but remember to book your tickets online (£8 per adult and £6 for children up to 16 for a return ticket, under-threes and dogs ride free). The line runs from Clayton West to Shelley, over three and a half miles of track and, while you're waiting for your timed departure (or when you get back), kids can run free in the play areas, adults can enjoy a cup of tea from the tearoom or go the whole hog with a picnic. Definitely one of the top things to do in Kirklees and a real family favourite for great days out in Yorkshire. Masks must be worn by everyone over the age of 11.
Free parking on site.
Toilets and baby-changing facilities.
Tearoom (eat in or take-away) and picnic area.
Image © Greenhead Park
This Huddersfield park is over 135 years old and a visit here offers the opportunity for all ages to enjoy its attractions. There's a lake, a children's paddling pool, two bowling greens, 14 tennis courts, two putting greens and a pavilion with a cafe, which is currently open for counter service only – though there's plenty of space outdoors for your family to enjoy their tea. If you like resting your eyes on pretty features, be sure to check out the original 1884 bandstand, entrance lodge and Italian gardens with a fountain.
Parking is on the streets around the park.
The cafe is open 10am to 3pm every day, take-away service only.
Toilets are available to cafe customers only.
Image © Ponderosa Zoo
Less than half an hour from Huddersfield by car, this inclusive zoo opened in 1991 with the idea of 'bridging the gap' between able and disabled visitors, so that all children and their families could enjoy its animal attractions and activities equally. There are 120 species, play areas, a bunny barn and indoor reptile house here and all are now open. To comply with government guidelines, tickets must be bought online (£6.75 per adult, £5.50 for children up to 15, under-threes go free and £21 for a family of four), entry is staggered, face masks must be worn in all indoor areas, and visitor numbers are being restricted.
There's plenty of parking space.
The Lakeside Restaurant is open from 12 to 3pm; the Coffee Shop 10am to 4pm.
There are toilets and baby-changing facilities on site.
Image © Kevin Phillips from Pixabay
Although a visit to the tower at the top is currently suspended, it's still worth marching your family up for the best views of Huddersfield around. Originally home to an Iron Age hill fort some 4,000 years ago, in the Middle Ages a castle was built on the site (its well is still here) and in 1899 the Victoria Tower was opened in honour of Queen Victoria's 60th year on the throne. While organised activities have been cancelled for the summer, children may well not care, especially if you've remembered to bring a kite along for your visit. The strong winds up here make it the best place around for launching a kite, but do be careful if it gets too gusty.
There's a car park at the venue.
No toilets or food available (bring a picnic!).
Born and raised in New York, Liz came to London as a student when she was 19, fell in love and stayed to raise her son, who’s now successfully launched into adulthood. Her favourite things are travel, trying out new experiences and adventures – both big and small – animals, the outdoors and sharing her discoveries with others. She and her son still enjoy going on ‘exploratoriums’ – their word for just setting off together and seeing what they discover.