Great day out at Kirkstall Abbey

My mum works in a school so we try to do a few things while she is school holidays. We decided we’d go out for the day somewhere but had no idea where to go. We wanted somewhere outdoors, somewhere there’d be something of interest for my eldest and somewhere cheap!

After searching for idea we decided to head for Kirkstall Abbey Large park area, a river, a cafe….. looked like it’d be ideal for our trip out.

It took us about half hour from our house so not far at all. We parked up in the car park and were pleasantly surprised to find it was a free car park. Not often you find a cheap car park these days, let alone a free one!

We decided to go for a wander and see what was about. We crossed over and went towards the Abbey. There are big gates in the outer walls of the Abbey so we wandered down to the visitors centre to see how much entry into the Abbey was. Just outside the visitor centre was a sandwich board declaring entry to the Abbey was free. Another bonus in our day. There is a donations box at the desk in the Centre to leave a contribution should you wish to do so.

We walked round the inside of the Abbey and our eldest loved looking at all the big windows, little windows and different rooms, at one point declaring “wow, that’s tall!”

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There are information boards dotted about telling you what the room was used for and what you can still see. Obviously this was more interesting to my mum and I than Taylor!

A game of hide and seek caused much amusement behind the huge pillars and some stairs to climb were another source of entertainment, as well as the Little Tikes castle and playhouse that are in one of the Abbey rooms. They hold sessions for under 5s and their carers there regularly which can be found on the website.

After our wander my youngest was getting hungry so we headed back to the car to get our picnic we’d brought with us (still saving money by bringing in our own food!)

We sat by the park as we are our lunch which was quite busy with children of various ages all playing on the number of bits of equipment. Of course the enticement of the park got the better of Taylor, so we soon found ourselves quickly finishing lunch and heading in there ourselves. The park seemed to be quite new and apart from the “big slide” which had fences around it stopping use, everything seemed very clean and in a good state. The floor was that bouncy stuff which is lovely to walk on!!

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I’d promised Taylor that we would feed the ducks today, something that at the age of 3 years, 3 months she had not yet done! So we headed back over the road towards the Abbey where the river ran behind. We quickly stopped off in the centre for a toilet stop and a little room beyond the gift shop caught our attention. I don’t actually know if it was just because it was summer holidays, or if its always there, but there was a clothes rail with various dressing up outfits on to try and two tables with paper and colouring pencils laid out.

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Ten minutes later and we were walking along side the river looking for the ducks. We wandered quite a way and I started to regret ever mentioning ducks!
Fortunately we found some and Taylor had great fun chalking up another first in her little life. The scenery is quite pretty. There is more than enough room for picnics and games galore.

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We then visited The Gatehouse
Which is a beautiful cafe next to the museum. I enjoyed a cuppa while Mum had a latte and we sat inside admiring the beautiful room. It can be hired out as a wedding or event venue and I sat daydreaming about how beautiful it would be for a wintry wedding! The cakes looked gorgeous but I was a good girl and stuck to my diet and refused cake.

No day out is complete without a trip to the gift shop though right?!! I found the prices for the souvenirs quite reasonable and Taylor walked away happy with the pencil Nanny bought her and I was happy getting a couple of stocking fillers ready for Christmas!

We were at the Abbey for around 4 and half hours. The time flew by but we really did enjoy ourselves.
We didn’t go in the museum as we didn’t think Taylor would benefit from it, nor Lauren who also enjoyed the day viewing everything from the comfort of her pushchair.

On the last weekend of the month between March & November. there are markets held at the Abbey. Saturday is the Deli Market and Sunday is the Craft Market
Mum and I are hoping to catch both of these before they end this year.

I would highly recommend Kirkstall Abbey for a cheap family day out. I can imagine that it gets fairly busy on weekends as we went on a Wednesday, and I’m not sure where you’d park if the car park is full.

We fully intend on heading back there at some point. I can imagine us kicking up autumn leaves there, and splashing in Spring rain puddles as well as summer picnics.

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