I have a confession, we have a new favourite day out. I’m not just saying that because we were given complimentary tickets. We get a lot of complimentary tickets through my blog! The Forbidden Corner near Middleham in North Yorkshire is just so much better than I was ever expecting it to be. It’s a private collection of follies not long been put together. The owner used to open it privately to friends and family. He bowed to pressure to open it to the public and luckily for us all he did just that.
It’s hardly rained this year yet right when we have an outdoorsy glamping weekend booked in it decided to rain a lot. An awful lot. Literally from the moment we set off in the car for Camp Katur it didn’t spot raining for 24 hours. I’d left home pretty much unprepared so we headed out the next morning to buy umbrellas. Armed with brollies we headed about 40mins drive north to the Forbidden Corner. It doesn’t open until 12 pm on weekdays and Saturdays but we were surprised by the number of cars there when we got there.
This was day 31 of our #80dayschallenge to have at least 80 days out in one year.
Arriving at the Forbidden Corner
When we arrived we collected our tickets. You can only go to Forbidden corner with a pre-purchased ticket. This you must book online in advance or purchase over the phone. When you arrive you are then given a ticket that allows you to come and go as you wish until closing at 6 pm.
This might be why there was a lot of people there as you had to pre-book tickets and people will have come despite the rain. We were handed a map of sorts that informed us that we had to try our best to find everything. But we had to make our own way round and the map actually had no order to it. We counted 58 things to find and we found all but 4. Which was pretty good going.
Before we headed outside to find the follies we had some lunch in their cafe. The menu and food was excellent. I had a home-cooked pepperoni pizza for £8.95. They had burgers, jacket potatoes, paninis and more.
My son chose a kids tuna sandwich with crisps. After fuelling ourselves up we headed on our quest. Please note that there are toilets in the car park, near the shop and the only one we found on our way round was in one of the labyrinths of tunnels near a giant statue. I can’t begin to tell you exactly where we found it.
Forbidden Corner Review
My son was excited by all the things we had to find but we just thought they’d be statues in caves etc. How wrong we were. Practically everything was a surprise and not at all what we were expecting. We certainly had our favourites and I was in photo taking heaven. It was such a unique day out with tunnels, follies and chambers. Literally, everyone walking around, young and old, were clearly having a great time. You could always hear people laughing, squealing and screaming.
There is no set way to get around. You have to find your own way and try and tick as many things off as you go. This means that you have a lot of decisions to make and also to try to remember where you have and haven’t been.
You can expect to do a fair amount of step retracing and be prepared to walk a lot. Sensible shoes are a must especially if it has been raining as it was muddy and wet in places. You may also want to take a change of clothes, especially for little ones. It is pretty much a given that you will get wet.
We arrived at 12 pm and including lunch we were there until 3:30pm. It usually takes people around 2 hours for a visit. Had the weather been better I think we’d have spent a lot longer there. Please be aware that some aspects may scare younger children. You can avoid them though and I will mention them below. The site is not accessible for wheelchairs or buggies. It is recommended to take babies in a sling or carrier. Although to be honest I wouldn’t take really young children and I’d wait until they are at least 4 years old.
What were our favourite follies at the Forbidden Corner
As you leave the cafe you will pass the famous carved tree pointing the way to the start of the trail. This is one you can not miss and you can expect to queue for a photo. You will then enter via a stone archway this again is something you can’t miss.
The Burping Tower (I’m sure these all have proper names!)
Straight ahead again you will find another famous landmark for the Forbidden Corner. All is not as it seems though. Stand and watch and the eyelids of the tower open and close. If you dare to enter it’s mouth expect to be burped at loudly.
It was so busy here we headed right at first and came back later on. It was great fun going inside though. As you move along it’s almost as if you are moving along the inside of its body. When you leave the end you are literally coming out of its rear end and then you see that it was the body and tail of a dragon, very clever.
The Witches Cave and Playground
If you head right after the door with the Roman’s you will come to a circular walk of follies.
At the start of this, there is a relatively new adventure playground. My son has already asked if we can return in better weather as it looks great fun. That and he really wants to go back again soon anyway. It is a great multi-generational attraction. People of all ages will be hooked by the magic and mystery.
Along the top path you can expect to have water sprayed at you by a few things. I won’t tell you what. The witches house is quite dark and may be scary for little ones. If you want you can avoid this and approach the other things to see from the playground. We loved it in there though, especially the magical Golden Eagle.
Also near the playground, you will find a nice ornamental fountain and gardens. We heard a lot of screaming coming from here but didn’t find anything to scream at. So I’m not sure if we missed something.
Forbidden Corner Unique Day Out North Yorkshire Review
The Armstrong Mausoleum
This is the really scary part. There are y’olde signs outside warning you. Head the warnings. Little ones may get really scared in here. My nearly 6 year old was fine and wanted to go straight back round but he loves all things scary. It’s a long tunnel which is incredibly dark at times. You can expect haunting and scary noises, skeletons that talk, crypts and more. He held my hand all the way around! It is a long way round and well we loved it. It was far too dark for any photos in the Mausoleum.
I’m still not sure we saw everything in the tower. We first started down a long corridor that became more and more evident that it was an optical illusion and the opening outside was in fact tiny. My son could fit but I had no hope. We found another way up and climbed to the top. We found our way down and round to the innocent looking water and stepping stones. But after witnessing people getting soaked on these by sprayers I must admit that we both bottled it. We are going to attempt it in better weather though, I promise. Especially as I think we missed out in the Roman Temple.
It was by this time that we were becoming quite disorientated. We weren’t sure anymore exactly where we had been or where we needed to go. This area of the follies is the most confusing and labyrinth like.
The Labyrinth of tunnels
I can’t even recall how we found our way in or really how we found our way out. But you will eventually come across the labyrinth of tunnels. You will find yourselves in rooms with multiple doors to choose from. Some go places, others just have a skeleton behind them. We loved it in here and retraced our steps as much as possible in the hope that we didn’t miss anything.
Our favourites in here was the long tunnel of skulls with statues that either leads into another mouth or into a room with a fountain and more doors to more tunnels. We found an underground world of mice, beware of the cat at the end.
Here’s a few more photos from our day out. Make sure you explore everywhere you can possibly explore. You never know what might be lurking around the next corner, down some steps or over a hedge.
As mentioned above you have to be pre-booked to be able to visit the Forbidden Corner. This is to make sure that they don’t get over crowded. You can ring to book but they can’t provide tickets for that day. You can call them on 01969 640638.
Or you can book online in advance. An adult ticket costs £13.00 and a child’s ticket costs £11.00. Children 3 and under are free.
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Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are my own and must not be duplicated.
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