The SEND family guide to The Forbidden Corner

Sometimes days out can get a bit repetitive. Farms, soft play and museums all rightfully have their place on our go-to list but sometimes we just want to do something different.

Doing something different with a child who has additional needs isn’t always easy, and sometimes downright impossible. However, my factory setting is optimistic and I always believe these things are worth trying.

So when Big Bear received vouchers to go to The Forbidden Corner in North Yorkshire, I was very excited as I’d heard positive reviews from friends.

It’s a weird and wonderful adventure that might be difficult for some children with additional needs to enjoy. However, we had a brilliant time and can’t wait to go back.

We decided to leave Little Bear, who was age two at the time, at home with daddy because the site isn’t pushchair friendly and instead Big Bear and I went with one of his friends and her mum.

Here’s my SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) family guide to The Forbidden Corner.

What is it?

It’s hard to describe The Forbidden Corner, and to give all the details would spoil it. But the website describes it as ‘a unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises created within a four acre garden in the heart of Tupgill Park and the Yorkshire Dales’.

It’s a great place for children who like adventure and exploring.

Why we like it

It’s completely different to any other tourist attraction out there. It’s exciting, intriguing and lots of fun.

There’s a huge amount to keep the kids entertained. Children are given a map from which they can tick off things they see. They can also hunt for brass rubbing letters which spell out Forbidden Corner. This was great fun for Big Bear and his friend.

The kids take the lead. There is no recommended route to take and they suggest following the children and getting lost in the maze of gardens and tunnels. While this was fine for us, it might be an issue if you’ve got child who likes to run away.

There is a great cafe which is open until 6pm. It was useful for grabbing a quick delicious tea before heading home after a busy afternoon. We live about an hour and a half away so it was a really handy pitstop before heading home with two tired and hungry kids.

Big Bear loved The Forbidden Corner and still talks about it today. He loves looking back at the photos and remembering the day.

Any downsides?

At the time of writing, it doesn’t accept the Max Card and it doesn’t offer free passes or concessions for carers. It says this is because it’s a family-owned business and not a nationally supported or owned venue.

There is only limited access for wheelchairs and pushchairs in the gardens so the attraction advises against bringing them.

Some sections may scare younger children or those of a nervous disposition. Surprises along the way include water jets crossing the path. There are also sections which are narrow and dark. Big Bear gets worried around water because he doesn’t like getting his hair wet. However, if you’ve got a keen eye you can spot the water jets before they spray.

Big Bear was a bit apprehensive in some sections but once he knew what was coming he wanted to go back again and again.

Essential information

Contact details: The Forbidden Corner, Tupgill Park Estate, Coverham, Middleham, Leyburn, North Yorkshire DL8 4TJ

Tel: (01969) 640638

The Forbidden Corner is suitable for all age ranges, from children to adults.

Opening times:
Everyday 29th March – 4th November then Sundays until Christmas.
Monday – Saturday 12 noon – 6 pm (or dusk if earlier).
Sundays and bank Holidays 10 am – 6 pm (or dusk if earlier).

Ticket prices for 2018:
Adults: £12.50
Senior Citizens: £11.50
Children aged 4 to 15: £10.50 – Children under 4 enter for free.
Family (2 adults + 2 children): £44.00

Visitors are required to book in advance. Book tickets here 

There are toilets adjacent to the car and coach parking bays, which are disabled accessible, also at the café entrance.

There is self catering and bed and breakfast accommodation on the estate.

No dogs are permitted in the garden except guide dogs.

Free Parking is available.


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