Last summer we enjoyed our first walking holiday with HF Holiday’s at their stunning Lake District property, Monk Coniston which was set on the shores of Coniston Water.
This May half term, we headed out on another adventure with HF Holiday’s, but this time to Newfield Hall, a grand 19th century country house with magnificent views of the Yorkshire Dales.
We arrived late at the property, having done battle with the bank holiday traffic, but still got a warm welcome. Poor Sebby had been ill in the car just as we arrived and the manager helped us get sorted quickly and into our room so we could clean him up.
Newfield Hall is a stunning building with an impressive entrance hall and a sweeping staircase which looks spectacular on a sunny day, with sunlight pouring in from the glass-topped roof.
There are 48 bedrooms in Newfield Hall, set in both the main building and behind in the converted coach house, where we stayed.
Sadly their family rooms are only big enough to sleep four, which meant we required two rooms but they did ensure that we were next door to each other with a large double with sofa bed and a twin room.
The rooms were a little dated in their decor, but were spotlessly clean and warm with plenty of storage space for all the extra paraphernalia you need on a walking holiday. Don’t forget to check out my post on what to pack for a walking holiday with kids.
In the main part of Newfield Hall are two lounges, a bar, dining room and heated swimming pool, all surrounded by extensive gardens.
Like all HF Holiday’s Country Houses, Newfield Hall is tailored for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts with boot room, drying room and a Discovery Point.
The benefit of visiting during their Family Walking holiday weeks is the extra activities on offer for the kids. Not only were there specialised family walks provided, but when we returned to the hotel, the kids got to take part in craft activities in the afternoons and fun activities including Bag Beetle, a quiz night and even a talent show, after dinner.
Other activities on offer included games in the garden, with football, swing ball and rounders on offer.
We were really lucky with the weather, but there were also indoor activities including table tennis and swimming to enjoy in case of rain.
One of the walk leaders also read the kids a bedtime story, which they loved, as he chose Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes and I’ve had to buy the book on our return home as they enjoyed the stories so much.
When you stay with HF Holiday’s it is on a full board basis, with breakfast and dinner served in the dining room. A tailored packed lunch is provided for the walks with a choice of sandwiches and snacks to load your bag with.
The kids were particularly fond of the mountain mix, which contained nuts, dried food mixed with small marshmallows and M&M’s.
The kids favourite meal of the holiday was definitely the barbecue, but the entire menu had something for everyone, plus a delicious kids menu which offered freshly cooked meals with the types of food they would eat at home.
Of course the main reason to go on a walking holiday is for the walks and Newfield Hall is the perfect location to explore some truly spectacular scenery.
The daily walks feature a choice of up to 4 walks each day; The Family Adventure Walk, an Easy, Medium and Hard Walk or you can choose to do your own thing. You are given a full presentation of each walk the evening before, complete with distance, elevation and a map view and photographs of where you are heading, so you can make an informed decision on which one you want to do. Each of the family walks were around 4 miles in length and then they progressed in length and difficulty from there and all have an experienced and knowledgeable guide leading you.
Day One: Easy – Appletreewick to Bolton Abbey
We walked along Wharfedale from Appletreewick to Bolton Abbey along the river and past Barden Tower, the ruins of a 15th century fortified hunting lodge.
We followed the river along past The Strid, a natural wonder where the river suddenly narrows forcing the water through at great pressure and there are warning signs everywhere not to go into the water as the currents are so dangerous.
It was then on to Bolton Abbey, where the kids found more energy to complete the welly walk and test their balance along the stepping-stones.
Distance: 7 Miles
Day Two: Easy – Clapham – Ingleborough Cave and Gaping Gill
We started the walk in the traditional Dales village of Clapham, passing through the Ingleborough Estate. We ascended the limestone gorge of Trow Gill, which was a bit of a challenge for little legs, to reach the huge pot hole of Gaping Gill which drops 100 metres into a cavern large enough to fit York Minster.
We then headed back down and enjoyed a guided tour of Ingleborough Cave which is a must-do if you are in the area.
Distance: 7.5 Miles
Day Three: Family – Malhamdale
I had not heard of Malham before our visit but this was our favourite walk of the holiday. We walked from the village to Janet’s Foss waterfall.
It was then up to Gordale Scar which is a truly stunning limestone ravine that the kids were desperate to explore.
From there we climbed the valley and returned to Malham via Malham Cove, a 70 metre (230ft) high, gently curving cliff of white limestone which was once a thundering waterfall. We spotted a pair of nesting peregrine falcons, before exploring the limestone pavement where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was filmed and making the 409 step climb back down to the bottom.
Distance: 5 Miles
The kids completed all the walks and I think it really helped having their peers with them as they all encouraged each other along if anyone got tired. Sebby (4) did brilliantly, although he promptly fell asleep on the coach back to the hotel each time, but he was soon raring to go again after he recharged his batteries.
The kids have really caught the walking bug and we cannot wait to try some more hikes locally as it is a great way to discover the world around them.
HF Holiday’s have over eight decades of family travel experience and nothing was to much trouble for our hosts or the guides. They understand that it’s the small details of a family activity break that make it work and the team, many of whom are parents themselves, have pretty much thought of everything, bringing books along to help the kids identify plants and making up games and songs to make the walks easier and to distract for tiring legs. A massive thank you to our guides; Lizzie, Dave, Alistair, Sally and Becks for keeping us on track.
The kids finished the week off rewarded with a certificate showing the distance and elevation they had walked during the week, which they proudly took into school to show their friends.
HF Holiday’s have family walking holidays all over the UK and abroad, plus under 11’s go FREE!!
Would you consider taking your kids on a family walking holiday?
Disclaimer: We were guests of HF Holiday’s for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.