We had such fun this February half-term ticking of places we’ve had on our bucket list for a while. Day 10 of our #80dayschallenge took us to William’s Den in North Cave, East Yorkshire. We were invited to review however all opinions, as always, are 100% honest and in no way changed because we were invited to review. William’s Den is a unique indoor and outdoor adventure play park. It is relatively new as it was first opened back in 2017. I wish we’d visited sooner as we had a really fun and different day out.
When we initially arrived and saw all the allocated parking and then what was on site I was concerned. I had a feeling it would be a busy day and it was. Although it was busy it wasn’t busy in a bad way. There was still plenty of space for being able to play on what is there yet plenty of opportunities for my son to make friends.
North cave is a few miles drive west of Hull at the southern point of East Yorkshire.
Top Tips for visiting William’s Den
Get there for 10 am. Not only can you park close but there will be a great absence of people for at least half an hour. We played indoors first as it was quite a cold start to the day. It was great fun being able to charge about with no one else around.
Second tip and this is a big one – take a change of clothes and shoes. Children (and adults) must keep their shoes on and I saw a lot of kids with soaking wet shoes because they’d walked through the water indoors. Some children were taking their shoes off but this isn’t allowed. Also, your kids will get dirty. If they don’t then you have something to worry about. Getting dirty is all part of the adventure play with sand play indoors and out, mud kitchens and plenty to scramble on outside.
Don’t worry about where to sit for a picnic. They have a huge amount of picnic tables outside which was great to see.
Indoor Play at William’s Den
The indoor play at William’s Den is nothing short of stunning. It looks good, it’s great fun and it is very different to anything we’ve experienced before. It’s wooden adventure play so aside from the astro turf floor nothing is ‘soft play’. But that’s a good thing. They have wobbly bridges, walkways and nets joining everything up. There’s even a suspended platform which is seriously wobbly. There’s a slide down into the sand area with plenty of buckets on pullies.
At the top end you have to pump water and raise dams to get it flowing to the area below. There is another raised area which cascades the water down and another section at the bottom with a waterfall from the ceiling.
Up top they also have various wooden instruments, a den, a fireman’s pole and more.
Outdoor Adventure Play at William’s Den
When I initially looked out of the big viewing window towards the outdoor play area I was concerned. There looked to be a few play areas but I thought perhaps Jamie wouldn’t be interested in much out there. How wrong I was. Initially, when he got out there he was a bit like I’d just felt. A mixture of well what do I do. But when he started exploring he loved everything he did and spent a very long time playing on various things.
Outside they have two mud kitchens, a sand and water play area with a wooden house and slide. Logs across hills (mountains and molehills), rocks to climb, a couple of zip wires, den building, wooden climbing area, a couple of large swings and a couple of other things.
We started off at what William’s Den call mountains and molehills. To Jamie, it was planks across the sea and we had to get to each island. We played here for ages and I was quite impressed by my balancing skills. There’s also a couple of tunnels under some of the hills.
After a little persuasion, he climbed the tower of rocks which was an achievement for him as he normally refuses point blank to be the slightest bit adventurous.
We then wandered over to the Den building. He made a friend here and they spent close to an hour building a den. It was lovely to see them both working together. The other boy was a lot more confident which rubbed off on Jamie a little.
We then stopped for our picnic. It was blowing quite a cold wind so we had our lunch in the events teepee. You can also purchase food in the ‘Kitchen table’ which I will talk about below.
After lunch, we warmed back up indoors in the adventure play area. It was a lot busier than in the morning but luckily he was happy to run around by himself. Once we were warmed up we headed back outside to the sand and water play. This turned out to be his most favourite play area of the day and he spent well over an hour here. During that time he made a few friends and they all helped each other to keep the water flowing. One person has to pump the water and then you can shut off dams or open them. The water then simply runs into the sand at the bottom of the hill which was great for the kids as they were soon learning how water flows and how you can control the water.
Sometimes it’s the most simple of ideas that are the most fun and create the most interest and play. He does look relatively clean in my photos but he didn’t go home clean and for that I was glad. I don’t like to see kids being told not to do things because they might get dirty. Yes, I’m guilty of that and often regret saying it and back track. But no kid should be stopped playing at William’s Den because they might get dirty. It’s true nature play at it
The Kitchen Table
We had thought the weather was going to be warmer but with the cold wind it never really was picnic weather. But my son had requested one and that’s what we had. I did, however, spend most of my time looking longingly at the Kitchen table restaurant. It looked wonderful and they even have a pizza oven. Located in a stone and brick barn they have plenty of tables, plus some outside for warmer days. You do not have to buy a ticket to eat at their restaurant. As well as pizzas they also serve burgers, sandwiches, all day breakfasts and more.
If you purchase your tickets in advance online you can save on entry costs. Prices for an adult range from £5.50 to £7.70 depending on the season. Children from £6.50 to £8.50. Under 3’s are from £3.00 to £4.00 and they also have a price for concessions, an annual ticket and babies under 12 months are free. You have to pre-book at least 1 day in advance. They also have special events at William’s Den and you can also book for your child to have their birthday party there.
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I’m quite impressed we are already on Day 10 of our challenge to have at least 80 days out in one year. This puts us ahead of target as we had so many days out over February half-term.
Disclaimer: We were provided with tickets for William’s Den in exchange for an honest review. All photos and opinions are my own and must not be reproduced.
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