Brimham Rocks have been on my radar for a while now. It is an amazing collection of natural rock formations in North Yorkshire, managed by the National Trust. We had a 3.5-day walking holiday with my Mum and to visit Brimham rocks was top of the list. It didn’t disappoint and the only regret I have is not spending longer there. My son had the time of his lives climbing the rocks and was constantly on a quest to find more that he could climb. There were some kids climbing to heart-stopping heights!
Brimham rocks were formed millions of years ago. They were created in a braided river system which was then lifted up as the Pennines formed. The rocks now sit high on a hill and the weather up there can be a lot cooler so make sure you take extra layers with you. The last ice age wore away the rocks and left the dramatic shapes that you can now see today. Erosion still continues today.
Our visit to Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire
The road to Brimham rocks is a little narrow but luckily most cars were only going the same way as us. They are a short drive away from Harrogate. We arrived after lunchtime and the car park was very busy. Luckily there were some cars already leaving so we were able to park in the top car park. Before we left home I had printed out a couple of walks around Brimham rocks via the National Trust website. When we got there it was all just far too confusing and so we just decided to wander as we pleased.
In the lower car park, there is a National Trust cabin. In here you can pick up a free map of Brimham rocks. Please pick one up – they are completely worth having as it’s very useful. It shows where all the main rocks of interest are, where the toilets area, the visitor centre and pathways. We hadn’t realised and picked one up later on at the top visitor centre. I took a photo on my phone but the paper map is much better.
If you are a member of the National Trust it is free to park in their car park. You need to visit the machine with your parking card to obtain a ticket. If you are not a member the car park costs £6 for 4 hours which is plenty of time for a visit if you aren’t planning on going further on one of their walks. All-day parking is £9.00. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead. The site is open every day. Please check their website for exact opening times.
There are 18 rock formations listed on the map. Most of them have been named after things they look like such as dancing bear, eagle, smartie tube and Druid’s writing desk. For some of the formations, you really go have to exercise a fair amount of imagination to see what they are named after. But circle them, look hard at them and eventually, you will see.
What surprised us the most was just how many rocks and rock formations there are. We weren’t expecting anywhere near as many as there actually are. There’s plenty not even mentioned on the map and you are welcome to go off into the woods or heather exploring.
If you follow your kids around you can expect to do a lot of scrabbling. Eagle and Castle rocks are the largest formations and at the most open point of the site. This is where a lot of people stop to picnic while their kids go off and explore. This area was quite a challenge for both of us and I found myself on my knees and using muscles long forgotten about. It was great fun and this was an area I really wished we’d spent longer in.
Some rocks have holes in, others benefit from stunning views across the valley. One is even named after E.T. The Druid’s writing desk has been recently nicknamed E.T. My son is a huge E.T. fan and sleeps with him every night. He had to, of course, come along so we could show him his rock. It does look a little like his head and I can see why they’ve nicknamed the rock E.T. He sits proudly at the top left of the site looking out over the beautiful valley in front of him.
Also at the top of the site, you will find the Visitor centre. There is a small shop and exhibition here. Just in front of the visitor centre, there are plenty of picnic benches and to the right a kiosk selling hot and cold drinks and snacks.
Brimham rocks were buzzing with people. It’s a perfect place to take children of all ages. There’s something to climb on for all age groups. If you don’t want to climb on anything at all you can easily stick to the paths and just admire the views.
To make your visit last even longer why not pick up one of their explorer backpacks from the visitor centre? There are also two Geocache trails at Brimham rocks.
Here are some more photos from our visit.
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