St. Ives Estate, Bingley Review For Families

Nestled near Bingley, West Yorkshire, St. Ives Estate stands as a testament to nature’s magnificence, offering families a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply seeking a peaceful day in the park, St. Ives Estate has something to offer everyone. 

St. Ives Estate is a country park of 500 acres belonging to Bradford Metropolitan District Council with public access to a large part of the area. The dense woodlands, wildflower meadows, and breathtaking views provide a perfect backdrop for a day of exploration. In this comprehensive review, I will share our family’s experience visiting St. Ives Estate and highlight all the wonderful things it has to offer.

Where is St. Ives Estate Located?

St. Ives Estate is conveniently situated in Harden, near Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 1AT, England. Its location makes it accessible to families from various nearby areas, providing an excellent opportunity for a day of fun and relaxation in nature. The estate is easily accessible by car, and there are multiple parking options available.

History of St. Ives Estate, Bingley

Before we delve into our family adventure, let’s take a quick journey through the estate’s history. St. Ives Estate has a rich heritage dating back thousands of years. Artefacts found on the estate reveal human presence during the late Bronze Age, around 2800 to 500 BCE.

During the early Middle Ages, the land was part of the Kingdom of Northumbria and later passed into the hands of Erneis de Buron after the 1068 uprising. It remained with Rievaulx Abbey for 355 years until Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries.

In 1635, the Ferrand family acquired the estate, known then as Harden Grange. It later changed hands to William Busfeild Ferrand, who subsequently changed the family name to Ferrand. Modern-day St. Ives opened to the public in 1974, and today, it continues to captivate visitors with its natural beauty.

What is there to do for families?

St. Ives Estate truly has something for everyone in the family. From walking and cycling trails to adventure play and fishing, you’ll never run out of things to do. Let me share some of our favourite activities:

Adventure Play area

Our day began at the play area, which proved to be a hit with Matilda and Barney. The play equipment is impressive, including a zip line, tire swings, climbing structures, and a tunnel slide. What’s great is that they recently added new equipment for younger children, which Matilda absolutely loved. It’s evident that the park is designed to cater to a wide age range, ensuring that every child has a blast.

It’s a vast play area with various play equipment that keeps them entertained for hours.

Bike-Friendly Paths

As a family that enjoys cycling, we were pleased to discover the bike-friendly paths at St. Ives Estate. We brought our bikes along and found that the park offers a range of trails suitable for different skill levels. Some paths are open to all traffic, while others are more restricted, ensuring safety for everyone. Barney, who is still on his balance bike at the time of writing found this the perfect setting for him to practise his newfound skills.

One particular highlight was the opportunity to cycle through the woodlands. The kids were in awe of the towering trees and the dappled sunlight filtering through the leaves. It was a wonderful way to introduce them to the beauty of nature and the joys of outdoor exploration.

We also noticed that the park encourages responsible cycling which we fully agree with as you are cycling alongside pedestrians. It’s essential to maintain a considerate and respectful approach when sharing the trails with others, and we hope that all visitors do the same.

Archery and Horse Riding

If you’re looking for some more adventurous activities, St. Ives Estate has something for you too. Aire Valley Archers operates from the grounds, offering archery lessons and practice sessions. It’s a great opportunity to try your hand at this ancient sport. 

For horse enthusiasts, St. Ives Equestrian Centre provides horse-riding lessons, stables, and other facilities. It’s a wonderful way to experience the estate from a different perspective. We didn’t partake in these activities on our visit, but it’s excellent to have such options.

Bird Watching

St. Ives Woodlands is a haven for birdwatchers. With diverse habitats, including mature coppice, mixed broadleaf and coniferous areas, bramble patches, and glades, it’s no wonder that the birdlife here is diverse and thriving. We spotted woodland birds, crows, jackdaws, woodpeckers, and even buzzards. It was an educational experience for the kids, helping them appreciate the beauty of nature.

Facilities at St. Ives Estate

While exploring St. Ives Estate, we were pleased to find ample facilities that made our visit comfortable and enjoyable. Here are some highlights:


The Ivy Kitchen, a café located in the heart of St. Ives Estate, offers a range of delicious food and drinks. Although the café is on the smaller side, it has plenty of outdoor seating, allowing us to relax with our canine companion. We highly recommend grabbing a cup of tea or hot chocolate after a busy day of adventure

Picnic Areas

St. Ives Estate has numerous picnic areas scattered throughout the park, making it a perfect spot for a family picnic.

Toilets and Parking

You’ll be relieved to know that St. Ives Estate provides free toilets, which is a great convenience, especially for little ones. As for parking, there are two car parks available, and we found plenty of spaces even on a busy day. There are also a handful of free parking spots just inside the park gates.

Areas for improvement

While our overall experience at St. Ives Estate was fantastic, there are a few areas that could be improved. Firstly, we noticed a lack of signage throughout the park, particularly regarding the wood sculptures. It was challenging to locate the sculptures, and some had rotted away over time. Clearer signage and updated information would greatly enhance the visitor’s experience.

Additionally, we found the seating inside the café to be limited, especially during peak times. It would be great to see more indoor seating options for those visiting on rainy days or during colder months. However, the café does have ample outdoor seating, which is a lovely option during sunny weather

Would you recommend it?

Absolutely! As a family, we thoroughly enjoyed our day out at St. Ives Estate. The park offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, adventure play, and recreational activities. It’s an excellent destination for families seeking quality time outdoors and memorable experiences. Whether you’re looking to go for a walk, cycle, or simply relax amidst nature, St. Ives Estate has it all. Plus, the fact that admission is free is a tremendous bonus, especially for families looking to enjoy a budget-friendly outing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a café?

Yes, there is a café called The Ivy Kitchen, located within St. Ives Estate. They offer a variety of refreshments, including hot drinks, sandwiches, and ice cream. It’s a dog-friendly café with both indoor and outdoor seating.

What is your favourite part?

While every moment at St. Ives Estate was special, our favourite part had to be the adventure playground. Watching Matilda and Barney’s faces light up as they explored the play equipment was priceless.

Are dogs allowed?

Yes, dogs are allowed at St. Ives Estate. It’s a dog-friendly park, and there are outdoor seating areas at the café where you can enjoy refreshments with your canine companion.

Can we bring our own bikes?

Absolutely! We brought our bikes along and had a fantastic time cycling through the park’s bike-friendly paths. It’s a great way to explore the estate and enjoy the great outdoors.

Is there parking available?

Yes, there is ample parking available at St. Ives Estate. We found multiple parking areas throughout the park, and the best part is that parking is free.

Are there any entrance fees for visiting the park?

No, there are no entrance fees to visit St. Ives Estate. It offers free admission, making it an accessible and budget-friendly destination for families.

Pros & Cons


  • Brilliant play park.
  • Vast with loads of exploring.
  • Good for little ones on bikes.


  • Missing signs in some places.

Park enjoyment rating

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Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by Ryan

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