Stump Cross Caverns is one of the most well-known show caves in Yorkshire. When it comes to things to do with kids in Yorkshire, Stump Cross Caverns is a popular attraction. After all, the caves have been kitted out with family-friendly activities and attractions to excite the kiddies. So, if you’re without the kids for the weekend or simply don’t have children, are the caves still worth visiting?
In this guide, we’ll reveal whether we think the Stump Cross Caverns are worth a visit if you’re visiting without children. Indeed, the price of admission isn’t cheap, so we think it’s worth posing this question. Other than giving you our verdict, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting. That way, you can also make up your own mind!
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Stump Cross Caverns Visitor Information
Before we discuss whether a trip to Stump Cross Caverns without kids is worth it, let’s talk a little about the history of the caves. Stump Cross Caverns are limestone caves that formed around 300–350,000,000 years ago during the Carboniferous Period. Whilst the formation of passages, caverns, stalactites and stalagmites started to take shape around 500,000 years ago. Truth be told, these facts in itself are quite incredible. And, perhaps, these facts alone mean the caves are worth the price of admission!
Interestingly, the caves remained undisturbed and untouched until 1860 when they were discovered by the Yorkshire Mining Company. Shortly after and ever since, the caves have become a tourist attraction. Whilst, in more recent years, the caves have turned into a very family-friendly environment, focussing on activities and attractions for children. Perhaps, this takes away from the natural ambience and adventurous feeling of exploring the caves.
Nevertheless, let’s look at all of the nitty-gritty details about visiting the caves. Below, we’ll cover information about the caves’ location, pricing and opening times. We’ll then talk about the best things to do during a visit. Afterwards, we’ll reveal our verdict about whether we think it’s worth a visit without kids. Finally, we’ll answer some FAQs. Altogether, we hope this guide helps you decide whether Stump Cross Caverns are worth a visit.
Stump Cross Caverns Location
Stump Cross Caverns are located in the Nidderdale Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) [guide coming soon] on the border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in North Yorkshire. The caves are located in Greenhow Hill near Harrogate and between Pateley Bridge and Grassington.
To help you get your bearings, please click on the link below to access an interactive map of the area.
Address: B6265, Greenhow Hill, Pateley Bridge, Harrogate HG3 5JL
Stump Cross Caverns Prices
To explore these caves near Harrogate, you’ll need to pay the price of admission to do a self-guided tour. The price of the ticket itself may determine whether you think it’s worth visiting as it isn’t cheap. The admission fee for the self-guided tour of the cave is £14 for adults and £10 for children aged 4–13 years old. There are also discounts for concessions and family passes. Unlike other show caves in Yorkshire (White Scar Cave and Ingleborough Cave), it’s possible to pre-book tickets.
Please check the official website for the most up-to-date prices.
Stump Cross Caverns Opening Times
The cave is open daily from 9am to 6pm. Again, we recommend checking the official website for the most up-to-date opening times.
Stump Cross Caverns Last Entry Time
The last entry time for a self-guided tour is usually 4:50pm, which is roughly an hour before the caves close at 6pm.
Best Things to Do at Stump Cross Caverns
Sure, the best thing to do at Stump Cross Caverns is to do a self-guided tour to explore the caves. But, there are other activities and attractions on-site, especially for kids. Whilst, there is also a cafe and gift shop to see. Below, we’ll provide an overview of all of the best things to do during a visit.
Stump Cross Caverns Self-Guided Tour
Of course, you can’t visit the Stump Cross Caverns without doing a self-guided tour. After all, the caves are the main attraction. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff who’ll provide a briefing and give you equipment (helmet and UV torch). You’ll then go down into the caves unsupervised to self-explore the underground wonders.
Indeed, there are many incredible underground rock formations, winding passageways, epic tunnels and superb caverns to see. Many of the main underground attractions are signposted, so you’ll know what you’re looking at. Overall, the main attractions include the Butcher’s Shop, the Twins, the Wolverine Cave, the Curtain, the Chamber of Pillars, the Cathedral and the Reindeer Cavern.
The well-lit underground trail is around 1km or so long. If you take your time and read all of the information boards, you’ll spend around an hour in the caves. Personally, Beck and I visited with both of our respective twins (my twin sister Lauren and my sister-in-law Rachel) and we spent about 50 minutes in the caves.
Fairy Trail and Fossil Quiz
During a self-guided tour, it’s possible for kids to participate in additional free activities. Kids are welcome to do a fossil quiz or follow the underground fairy trail, where they can hunt for fairy doors hidden throughout the caves. Certainly, we noticed many impressively handcrafted fairy-related paraphernalia in the caves!
Another underground kids-related attraction is Cavewoman Corner, where children’s games and activities are held. Let’s just say we were pleased that Cavewoman Corner was unoccupied during our visit!
Time Cafe and Gift Shop
After doing a self-guided tour, most people either head to the cafe or gift shop on-site. We all decided to have a hot drink at the Time Cafe, which is a lovely cafe on-site with picturesque outdoor seating. You’ll find the gift shop near the cafe with plenty of geological-related souvenirs such as fossils and gems.
Is it Worth Visiting Stump Cross Caverns?
By reading all of the information above, you may have already come to your decision of whether it’s worth visiting Stump Cross Caverns. Personally, Beck and I love exploring natural attractions. And, without a doubt, the Stump Cross Caverns are a phenomenal natural attraction. So, that alone means we think the caves are worth the price of admission. But, honestly speaking, we think there are better show caves in the area.
We think both White Scar Cave and Ingleborough Cave are better show caves to visit in Yorkshire. For a similar price, you’ll enjoy a guided tour during a visit to White Scar Cave, so you’ll learn loads more about the cave itself. Whilst, both of these other show caves are less disturbed without gimmicks. Indeed, we enjoyed a greater sense of adventure when exploring both White Scar Cave and Ingleborough Cave.
How to Get to Stump Cross Caverns
If you’ve decided Stump Cross Caverns are worth visiting, read on to find out how to get there! The quickest and easiest way to get there is to drive there yourself. There is free parking on-site.
If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring a car using DiscoverCars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Discover Cars for very reasonable prices. Also, the website is user-friendly and booking online is super easy. Have a look at car hire from Manchester.
Although it’s possible to get to the caves using public transport, we don’t recommend it. Depending on where you’re travelling from in the UK, you’ll likely have a slow and tedious journey to get there. Additionally, the frequency of buses travelling to Stump Cross Caverns between Grassington and Pateley Bridge can be very limited. So, public transport is an unreliable and unideal option.
Other Caves in the Yorkshire Dales
There are plenty of other North Yorkshire caves to explore. Below, are other Yorkshire Dales caves worth seeing.
- White Scar Cave: as mentioned, we think White Scar Cave is a better show cave to visit. In fact, White Scar Cave, located between Ingleton and Ribblehead, is our favourite show cave in the Yorkshire Dales.
- Ingleborough Cave: another fascinating show cave. It’s possible to see Ingleborough Cave during the Ingleborough Walk from Clapham.
- Gaping Gill: this incredible cave has the largest cavern and underground waterfall in the UK. You can actually be winched down into the cave! Otherwise, when it comes to caving in Yorkshire, caving in the Gaping Gill – Inglebourgh cave system is a popular option.
- Yordas Cave: found near Ingleton, this is a former Victorian show cave that features a hidden waterfall.
- Trollers Gill: at this lesser-known limestone ravine, near Appletreewick, you’ll find several caves to explore.
- Settle caves: during the Settle Walk (AKA Settle Caves and Waterfalls Walk), you’ll visit Jubilee and Victoria caves.
Things to Do Nearby in Nidderdale AONB
There are many other brilliant places to see and things to do in the Nidderdale AONB. Let’s look at some of the best attractions to visit after exploring Stump Cross Caverns (guides coming soon).
- Brimham Rocks: a mesmerising area of uniquely shaped gritstone rock formations.
- How Stean Gorge: a deep limestone gorge with epic caves to explore.
- Swinsty and Fewston Reservoirs: these reservoirs possess a beautiful natural setting.
- Swinton Park: whether you’re staying at this luxury castle hotel or just visiting the gardens on a day trip, add Swinton Park to your Nidderdale to-do list.
- Druid’s Temple: located on Swinton Estate, the Druid’s Temple is a modern folly built in the 1820s that was inspired by Stonehenge.
- Hackfall Woods: gorgeous woodlands with plenty of natural and historical attractions.
- Yorkes Folly: one of the best walks in Pateley Bridge.
- Masham: known as the ‘Gateway to the Dales’, this vibrant and beautiful town is certainly worth a visit.
Read more: Nidderdale AONB Guide (coming soon)
What to Wear and Pack
Below, you’ll find our gear essentials for exploring this cave.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: waterproof shoes are ideal when exploring the wet paths inside the caves.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: it’s quite cold inside the cave (approx. 7°C), so you may want some warm layers.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket that’ll keep you dry from dripping inside the cave.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
Because the caves are so well-lit, you won’t need to take your own headtorch. Although, the friendly staff may provide you with a UV torch to shine up at the cave’s ceilings. By doing so, fascinating colours are revealed by the stalactites.
Below, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about Stump Cross Caverns.
What Are the Main Things to Do?
The main thing to do at the caves is the self-guided tour. There is also a nice cafe and gift shop on-site. Otherwise, there are plenty of activities for children.
What Are the Ticket Prices?
The admission fee for the self-guided tour of the cave is £14 for adults and £10 for children aged 4–13 years old. Please visit the official website for the most up-to-date prices.
When Are Stump Cross Caverns Open?
The caves are open daily from 9am to 6pm.
What Do You Wear?
Make sure to wear warm clothes as the average underground temperature is approx. 7°C.
Where Is Stump Cross Caverns?
It’s located in the Nidderdale AONB on the border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in North Yorkshire
Is There Parking?
Yes, there is ample free parking on-site.
Are There Toilets Available?
Yes, there are toilets on-site.
How Long Does it Take to Do Stump Cross Caverns?
On average, a self-guided tour takes around an hour.
How Deep Is Stump Cross Caverns?
The caves are around 15 metres deep.
Is Stump Cross Caverns Baby Friendly?
Babies are allowed in the caves, but only if you carry your little one in a front carrier. Back carriers, nor rucksacks, are allowed in the caves due to the risk of injury. There are no changing facilities on-site.
Are There Food and Drinks Available?
Yes, the Time Cafe has a decent menu, so there is plenty of food and drinks on offer on-site.
Is Stump Cross Caverns Wheelchair Friendly?
No, the caves aren’t wheelchair friendly.
Are Dogs Allowed at Stump Cross Caverns?
Dogs are allowed in all areas except inside the caves.
Who Owns Stump Cross Caverns?
Lisa Bowerman and Nicholas Markham.
Further Information: Bonus Tips
- Consider the UV Experience self-guided tour: after 3pm, the lights in the caves are dimmed and you’ll explore the caves with a special UV torch.
- Visit on a sunny day: yes, that’s right – the caves are busier when it’s raining. So, buck the trend and visit on a nice day to avoid the crowds.
- Other caves in England to visit: there are plenty of incredible caves to visit in England. In fact, the nearby Peak District National Park is home to many of the best caves in the UK. Go scope out Thor’s Cave, Dove Holes Cave on the Dovedale Walk and Robin Hood’s Cave on Stanage Edge. In terms of other show cave tours in the UK, again, the Peak District has plenty on offer. You’ve got the famous Blue John Cavern, Peak Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern (guides coming soon) to explore.
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