Brimham Rocks is a really lovely place to visit with the kids. The site is managed by the National Trust and it has an amazing collection of natural rock formations. It is just a few miles north of Harrogate in North Yorkshire and it’s a great value day out especially if you are members of the National Trust as members can park for free.
Entrance is free for everyone but non-members do have to pay to park. There is no ticketing system so you can’t prebook. If the car park is full you will have to leave so make sure you get there nice and early. We spent a couple of hours there and we could have easily spent longer. We had to virtually drag my son away as he could easily have spent hours climbing and exploring.
Brimham Rocks is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Geological Conservation Review site. The rocks were formed millions of years ago by a braided river system which was then lifted up as the Pennines formed.
The rocks you can explore today are high up on a hill and we found the weather to be a lot cooler at the rocks so make sure you take some extra layers. The dramatic rocks that you can see today were worn away by the last ice age and erosion still continues today. The landscape is dramatic and I’ve never been anywhere quite like it.
Things To Do At Brimham Rocks National Trust
Most of the rock formations at Brimham Rocks have been named according to what people think they look like. There are 18 listed on the map and have names such as dancing bear, eagle, smartie tube and Druid’s writing desk.
I can highly recommend that you pick up a map from the National Trust cabin in the car park. It will help you get your bearings and kids will think it’s fun to see if they think the rocks look like what they’ve been named after.
As well as the 18 main rock formations there are lots of other smaller rocks for kids and adults to clamber over. As long as you are sensible and stay safe you are free to explore as there are no ropes and signs telling you to keep off the rocks. If there is a steep drop off there are warning signs.
There is a really big formation of rocks near the toilets and visitor centre and I must admit we got a bit stuck but it was lots of fun. I had to follow my son around as he was too young to go off by himself and it was quite a challenge keeping up with him. You may find yourself using muscles that have been long forgotten.
Some of the rocks have holes in which is great fun to try and crawl through. There are also some stunning views from some of the rocks. The Druid’s writing desk was the rock we’d come to see as it has been nicknamed E.T. My son loves E.T. and falls asleep with his soft toy every night. It does actually look like E.T’s head. He has him in the photo below as he wanted to take his E.T. to see the rock.
The visitor centre has a small shop and a small exhibition. In front of the centre, there are plenty of picnic benches with a kiosk serving hot and cold drinks and snacks. This is also where you find the only toilets at the site.
Brimham Rocks were very busy when we visited and although the site is large you will struggle to not come across other people. You don’t have to climb the rocks if you don’t want to. There are plenty of paths and the main path is accessible.
The car park is open from 8 am to dusk and it is pay-and-display. The car park payment machines only take coins. There is a ‘paybyphone’ app available to use which you can download before your visit as they don’t have strong internet reception on site. If you’ve never been and you live nearby or are visiting the area I can highly recommend that you visit sometime soon. Just bear in mind that it might be busy and the roads on the way in are really narrow!
Brimham Rocks FAQ & Further Information
Address: Brimham Moor Road, Summerbridge, Harrogate HG3 4DW, North Yorkshire
Category – Great Outdoors – Suitable for all ages
What are the ticket prices?
Brimham Rocks is free to visit (please see parking below)
What are the main facilities and things to do?
A series of rock formations that you can explore and climb on. This place is really pretty and like nowhere we’ve been before. There is a kiosk, visitor centre and toilets.
When are they open?
The site is open all year round and closes over night.
Is there food available?
There is a kiosk serving hot and cold drinks and snacks.
Is there parking?
There is a large on-site car park. This is free for members of the National Trust. Non-members will have to pay to park.
Are they dog friendly?
Dogs are very welcome at Brimham Rocks but must be kept on a short lead everywhere on-site and the surrounding moorland.
Are they accessible?
They have accessible trails taking visitors to the main rocks and returning the same way for mobility scooters and wheelchairs. If you’re pushing a wheelchair, please bear in mind that it can be quite strenuous because of gradients around the site and mixed terrain.