William’s Den, situated in a small village called North Cave near Hull in East Yorkshire, is an adventure play space with a difference. The team at William’s Den were keen to create a space which was just that – a huge open space full of possibility and adventure. They wanted to create a place where children could play whatever the weather, where they could enjoy the outdoors and experience the freedom that comes with it. And yet, at the same time they have created a space where children are safe, where their parents can get stuck in or sit back and enjoy a coffee while they’re children roam to their heart’s content.
We had been meaning to visit William’s Den for some time and finally managed it on Ben’s birthday at the end of July. It was a warm sunny day at the start of the holidays and whilst there were a few showers forecast we knew that it wouldn’t ruin our day.
Here’s 14 things we loved about William’s Den:
1. It isn’t all outside – Although the focus of William’s Den is heavily on the outdoors, that doesn’t mean you have to actually be outdoors. Inside the main building is a huge wooden play area- The Den – (designed to be used by adults too) which features various suspended walk ways, platforms and den-like spaces for your children to explore. Don’t expect them to come out of this clean though as there’s also a huge sandpit and running water to get involved with …
2. Hideout for chilling out – William’s Den is very much a place to explore and have fun, but we can’t all be going 100 miles an hour all the time can we? Hidden away in a high up corner of the indoor play area is a large room filled with cushions and little else to allow for a bit of a snuggle and time to relax. We actually lost Finley for a while and it turned out he was hiding under a pile of cushions!
3. Huge windows – Writing about the windows at an adventure play attraction might seem a little strange but for somewhere with a focus on the outdoors, I just love that the indoor play space at William’s Den has huge windows which offer beautiful views of the Yorkshire countryside and let lots of natural light into what could otherwise be quite a dark space.
4. Planned activities – In the Events Area there are regular planned activities – on the day we visited it was nature painting which our youngest girls got involved with and loved!
5. Den Building – For me, what really sets William’s Den apart from anywhere else we’ve been is the den building area which consists of a number of pre-erected wooden frameworks and and all the sticks your children could need to spend many happy hours constructing their own dens. (You can read here all about the reasons I love den building!)
6. Mud Kitchens – Amy and Erin spent most of the afternoon playing in the mud kitchens which are fully stocked with everything you need to make the best mud pies! (They were both utterly filthy by the end of the day!)
7. A Zip Wire – A zip wire is always a hit with my little gang. Ben in particular always makes a bee-line for them and spent quite a bit of time whizzing across the back of the site, showing off by doing it with no hands – he’s going to regret that some day!
8. Wooden Climbing Structures – Ben can’t help but climb, even when he shouldn’t be, so a large wooden climbing frame to clamber around on is a winner for him.
9. A smaller play area for little ones – In full view of the picnic area, and with seating all around for watchful parents, there is a play area aimed at younger children. With space to climb, running water and sand, your children will be kept busy for hours!
10. Mountains and Mole Hills – Built into the landscape of William’s Den is an area of hills and tunnels perfect for running, climbing and hiding!
11. Plenty of picnic seating – Although William’s Den offer a variety of dining options, they are not precious about you bringing your own food and provide plenty of picnic spaces (both open and under a huge canopy) for you to enjoy your lunch. If you did happen to visit at a time when all the tables were full, you wouldn’t struggle to find a spot on the grass for your picnic! As you would expect in the height of summer, there were a few wasps around but we were really impressed at how “on it” the William’s Den staff were when it came to keeping the picnic area clean and tidy so as to try and keep the wasps at bay.
12. Range of meals and snacks – As I’ve mentioned, William’s Den offer a wide range of meals, snacks and drinks at reasonably prices. We had chosen to take a picnic this time as the weather was fine and we were keen to keep our costs down with the long summer holiday stretching ahead of us however Mich has eaten at William’s Den before and said the food was lovely.
13. Williams’ Den Ice Cream – William’s Den serve up a range of delicious ice cream freshly made in their own parlour – the traditional flavours are sure to be a hit and I heartily recommend you try it! (Besides, I can’t be the only one to use the promise of an ice cream to tempt my children off all the play equipment at the end of the day!)
14. Friends of William’s Den – If you live fairly locally it’s worth looking at investing in an annual pass, you would need to visit around once a month or more to make it good value though so for us living further afield we’re better off paying as we go. Prices vary through the year with different prices during term time and on a weekend and there’s a 10% discount on your entrance price if you book online up till the night before.
We had a great day at William’s Den – if you’re looking for good old fashioned outdoor fun in a safe and well thought out environment then William’s Den needs to be on your hit list – just make sure you dress the kids appropriately for playing outside and expect them to get utterly filthy in the process!
*We were invited to visit William’s Den free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*