“ Address: The Tupgill Park Estate / Coverham / Middleham / Leyburn / North Yorkshire / DL8 4TJ / England „
We visited this gem of an attraction in the Yorkshire dales in June. The website describes it as The Strangest Place in the World. The Forbidden Corner was originally built as a private folly by Colin Armstrong, the owner of Tupgill Park and the architect Malcolm Temptest. It has quite a colourful history as planning permission was never obtain and the Yorkshire Dales trust wanted to shut it down, but due to public demand was subsequently opened to the public. Through the years it has continued to grow.
I had been told by friends about this place and frankly was more excited than my boys aged 3 and 5 about going. My expections were high and I can say I wasn't disappointed in anyway. Adult tickets are £10.50 and for children aged 5-14 years tickets are £8.50 under 4's are free. Its worth noting that admission is by pre-booked tickets only you can order them by phone on 01969 640638 or online at http://www.theforbiddencorner.co.uk.
I consider the admission price good value compared with other attractions as if you went early in the day you could spend the whole day looking around, it opens at 12 noon monday to saturday and 10am on sundays and bank holidays and is open until 6pm. Getting there was straight forward I followed the brown tourist signs from Middleham and enjoyed the beautiful drive through the countryside. Parking at the attraction was free and the toilets in the car park were surprising good. On the day we visited the weather was mostly dry but there were few rain showers which didn't spoil the fun as the kids had coats and wellies on.
It is difficult to describe but there is lots to explore both outside in the gardens and inside through the tunnels and grottos. It is kind of like a huge maze as you make your way through sets of wooden doors into different sections. The place is full of little surprises and random objects. Sometimes objects talk to you, spray you with water and there is even music. We had the booklet and after about two hours of exploring we found just about all the items on the list but as we didn't find everything and we will use this as an excuse for another visit. It isn't always clear which way to go and this in my opinion adds to the fun, we saw it as a big adventure, the whole idea is to explore and see as much as you can. We enjoyed going back to places to see them again. The entrance with its sound effects proved a popular favourite with my kids, they also loved the stepping stones. As cheeky little boys they found the peeing statue very funny and other rudey nudey statues as they call them had them laughing. My 5 year old enjoyed spotting creatures from popular myths and they loved getting wet in various places.
My 3 year old son was slightly nervous in places where it was cramped and dark, but with a little reassurance he soon got into the swing of things and found it very enjoyable. I can imagine some parts could be quite scary for younger kids, and if your child is scared of dark this wouldn't be suitable day out for them. We went as a party of 3 adults and 2 children. I think had I gone alone with the kids I would have been a bit more nervous about losing a child or them fallen in a water feature. With younger children under 5 I would advise a 1/1 adult ratio but had I gone alone with two kids I think they would have stayed closer and I wouldn't really have been a big issue. I would also say to get maximum enjoyment your child does really need to able to walk around for a good hour as having a buggy would be a big hinderance in my opinion. Wellies are must I think for kids and I actually planned ahead and took a change of trousers as I know if there was water my kids would be soaked and true enough they were, as they decided to step off the stepping stones and into the water lots of times. They tried to get as wet as possible.
We didn't eat in the cafe so I can't comment on that, but we took our own picnic and used the picnic tables and were soon surrounded by tons of ducks trying to pinch our food which added to the fun.
My kids have been lucky enough to visit lots of attractions recently including Diggerland, Lego discovery and Magna science museum but it is The Forbidden Corner that they talked about most and want to go back too. I can't wait for our next visit.
We first visited The Forbidden Corner about 10 years ago with my godsons who were aged about 6 and 8 at the time. This summer (2011) we decided to go again with our 3 year old and 8 month old.
The Forbidden Corner is a truly magical place! We have certainly never come across anything like it. I don't want to give too much away, but think of all the fairy tales you've ever read merged into one with you as the main character and you're half way there! There are tunnels, giants, statues, carvings, stepping stones, a maze....you never know what might be round the corner, through the door or down the tunnel!
Be warned, The Forbidden Corner is NOT pushchair friendly. If you do take a pushchair be prepared to miss out on most of the adventure. The tunnels are very narrow and there's rarely an alternative route, so bypassing the tunnel and meeting the rest of your group at the other end is not an option. I have not listed this as a disadvantage, The Forbidden Corner would not be the same if it was pushchair friendly and it was quite nice not getting stuck in a 'pram jam' like you often do at family attractions! We had our 8 month old in a sling which was perfect - but even then there was one tiny door I daredn't attempt with him on my back.
You are not allowed to picnic in the grounds of The Forbidden Corner, there isn't really anywhere you could picnic. There are various benches dotted about and an ice cream kiosk with a seating area, but the place isn't really designed for putting out a rug and stopping for an hour. There is a designated picnic area by the car park and a cafe (with a very nice gift shop!) at the entrance. We didn't use either of these as we went after lunch and left before tea!
You have to pre-book your tickets. We rang on the morning and booked for 1pm. This was during the school holidays, whether there are times this is not possible I do not know. You get 5% discount for online booking so it's worth trying to book in advance online if you can (this is not possible on they day). Adult tickets are currently £10, children are £9 and under 4's are free. They also do Blue Day tickets where selected days are buy 3 tickets and get the 4th free, check the website for further details of this.
Much as I love The Forbidden Corner, our visit this year was a disaster. My 3 year old daughter was terrified of everything! She didn't like the small, dark tunnels; she didn't like anything that made a noise or squirted her with water; she was scared of a lot of the big statues! You name it, it scared her - apart from the maze! Initially we avoided most of the tunnels, but realised that we were missing out on most of the attractions so had to persuade her to go down some. However, having previously experienced The Forbidden Corner with children who were not terrified of everything I know how much more magical they make it with their desire to discover what else is hidden in this truly magnificent world. I suspect had we taken my daughter last year she would have loved it. Our once fearless child has developed an imagination that has got the better of her! I don't think we will attempt another visit for several years! Despite having a un-willing 3 year old with us we still spent 3 hours at this wonderful place. I think our previous visit, with the 6 and 8 year old had been shorter. Anyone will children that age will understand....it's all about the next thing and never about this thing, so stopping and enjoying isn't an option! You have to enjoy it on the run! That said, you could certainly spend a whole day here if you took a picnic.
It might look & sound like something that will only appeal to children, but a visit to The Forbidden Corner will leave a smile on your face no matter how old you are - grown ups should definitely visit as well!!
The Forbidden Corner is located on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, a couple of miles from the pretty village of Middleham, in the grounds of Tupgill Park.
Spread over 4 acres, it was originally a private folly, owned & created by Colin Armstrong OBE. Over the years public demand to see what he created won the day & it is now open to the public. It is unlike any other tourist attraction I've come across - the visitor is emersed in a bizarre, intriging & unique world of tunnels, statues, follies & fun where you are never sure what you will find round the next corner... or through the next door... or down the next passageway.
Before visiting, make sure you have booked in advance - don't just turn up or you won't get in. Visitor numbers are strictly controlled. We booked a couple of weeks ahead, you may struggle to get a booking at very short notice (we have in the past!) We visited during Easter week (2010) & although the car park was full & it was busy, it was far from being overrun and crowded, certainly no long queues. A refreshing change from many places & it should be no worse during the summer holidays as well.
Prices are very reasonable as well. At the time of writing, it is £10 per adult, £8 per child under under 4's free. You can get an extra 5% off by booking online at their website and their are extra discounts for OAP's and family groups. Facilities at the site also include cafe and (of course) a gift shop!
This review is fine balancing act - I want to write pages about what you will see, but that would spoil the suprises and the fun.
The Forbidden Corner is fun for ALL ages. Kids will love it, although very small kids might be a little scared in a few places. Grown up kids will have laughs a plenty like we did - we are both mid 30's :-)
It is perhaps no suprise that in a recent poll carried out by Little Chef, The Forbidden Corner was voted the number one family day out in the country. That is no mean feat when you think it beat the likes of London Zoo, The Natural History Museum, Alton Towers & the Eden Project.
So the people have voted and they may just be right.... get yourselves to Yorkshire... and then get yourselves to the Forbidden Corner. Brilliant.
This place was simply amazing!!! My mother in law had cut out an advert for it from a local paper and we had never heard of it before! A real gem of a place.
It sits in a country estate and is surrounded by breathtaking scenery. We booked in advance as advised on the advert and for four adults and three kids (one was a baby) it cost just under £50. It was worth every penny.
At first you meet the Ent carving...you could call it the Ent-tree as it points to the start of the adventure! Then you are met with something out of a fairy tale. Magical and scary and mindboggling! Its enchanting and silly!
It was not pram freindly but there was plenty of us there to get along as best we could. Eventually stopping in one place with the pram and allowing the other members of the group we were in to go off and explore while someone stopped with the baby. I particularly loved the watery fun and my husband loved the tunnels. The place must have cost a fortune to design and create!
The picnic area as well as all the other parts were clean and tidy, the ducks were well mannered too as we scoffed our picnic at the end. Our only sorrow was that we had to get back and despite being there for 3 hours we probably saw only 60% of the wonders!
What made this place even more special was the social aspect! People of all ages were helping each other and laughing with each other at the wonders around them. I really want to return very soon. My children were a bit feart of the tunnels but there was kids running round younger than them enjoying the expereince. Theres enough to see and do above ground anyway if they dont want to go in.
We will definately go back. When you think about the cost of taking the kids to the cinema these days then this place is value for money by a long chalk!
I recall saying "Wow" a lot!
The Forbidden Corner is a unique visitor attraction set in the beautiful Tupgill Park near Leyburn in North Yorkshire. It was originally built as a private folly but opened to the public due to demand. And I'm very pleased that it did!
My husband and I visited Forbidden Corner in April 2007, with our then 6 year old daughter, 10 year old nephew and 5 year old nephew. We had heard such fantastic reviews of the place that we had to give it a try for ourselves! We travelled from Stockton-on-Tees, through Northallerton and Bedale, then up through the Dales. It was a beautiful hot spring day and the scenery on the drive up was so beautiful! The place itself is a little off the beaten track but was well-signposted. We had booked in advance for the visit, this is essential and is put in place is to ensure that the place doesn't get too busy. Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis.
We had taken a picnic with us and ate it while we were waiting to go in in the large picnic area at the entrance. We found this area to be very clean with plenty of benches and bins. There is a cafe there, serving sandwiches, drinks and snacks, but we have been ripped off in places like this before so always take a picnic (though if anyone has tried the cafe it would be great to read about that so we know for the next time we visit!)
The place itself was fantastic; i can honestly say it's one of the best days out in the region, we had so much fun, although the little ones were a little scared in places, especially the room with the "devil"! There was so much to see, and I still don't think we saw everything even though we were there all afternoon. The place is not ideal for buggies; we did see a few people struggling round with toddlers! I would personally not take any child under the age of about four or five as I don't think they would enjoy it. It is no good for disabled visitors either as most areas are not accessible by wheelchair. Also if you are a little clautrophobic you may want to avoid the underground tunnels which are quite tight in places.
I would recommend Forbidden Corner as a great day out, and hope to return there once my baby boy is older.
Senior citizens: £9.00
Children 4 - 15: £8.00
Children under 4: Free
Family (2 adults + 2 children): £34.00
Everyday 1st April - 31 October then Sundays until Christmas
Monday - Saturday 12 noon - 6 pm.
Sundays and bank Holidays 10 am - 6 pm (or dusk if earlier)
No dogs allowed except guide dogs.
I have taken the above information from The Forbidden Corner website:
It says on the website that the average visit to Forbidden Corner takes about 2 hours; however we found ourselves staying for about five hours as there was so much to see, and the views are spectacular. Prepare to get a bit wet in certain areas, especially where you have to jump over the stones - my nephew fell in here and had to walk around with wet socks and shoes all day! So I would recommend taking a change of footwear!
The Forbidden Corner is a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises created in a four acre garden in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.