A day out at William's Den

An invite to visit William's den arrived in my inbox, I hadn't heard of William's Den before but a quick google search gave me a good insight. A brand new adventure attraction that promised to give families the best day ever. If the best day ever was on offer, I had to go and experience for myself.

William's Den is located around a mile from South Cave in Hull. I am always worried when I visit somewhere new as to if I will find it ok, but actually it was really easy. Incredibly close to the A63 and it took us just under an hour from South Yorkshire. The buildings of William's Den are very sympathetic to the surrounding environment. As you drive down the country road the large teepee of the outdoor play area could be seen over the horizon and the new buildings built to represent the old grain stores.

The buildings have all been designed and built to be sustainable with solar panels on the roof, a rain water flush system in the toilets, biomass boiler and recycled materials for heating, insulation and building materials. I have to mention the toilets as they were fab, sorry not something I normally mention but I really have to. First there is no Male/Female toilet, instead they have toilets with baby changing facilities inside. Meaning a single parent visiting on their own, be it male or female, can change their child. There are extra wide cubicles so those with pushchairs can get in and special adapted cubicles with additional facilities for those that might need them. You can tell they were designed by parents.

We had arrived at lunch time and so our first stop was 'the Kitchen table'. My youngest ordered a den dog, I think that is what it was called, and my eldest a pizza. I also ordered a kids pizza to share with Little Man. Pizza is cooked in the wood fire oven and was just delicious, I wonder what the secret is to the dough they make? My youngest food arrived and I was impressed. It was proper food, and clearly not mass produced. There is an enclosed outdoor seating area with toys and play equipment to keep the smaller children entertained whilst you eat too.

After lunch we could get stuck into playing. First we tested the indoor play area. Little Man loved that he could go on with his sisters and that I could accompany him too. Everything in the den has been designed for the whole family to go on together, from the ages of 2 and up. All made from natural materials, there were large cargo nets, balance beams and wooden steps. 

Little Man was chasing after his sisters and laughing as he did. He crossed the bridges and balanced his way across the wooden beams. We played the wooden drums and instruments and got lost in the den.

We found a hidden hideaway and looked out of the large glass windows over the stunning views. I would have loved to have had a sleep over here as a kid, it was the perfect setting to do so. After exploring the upper play areas we slid down the metal slide to the sand below. The girls found a tunnel and grass, pretend grass, to run over. A tree to climb and a rope swing to swing on. 

Little Man then discovered the stream, his shoes and socks came off as he went for a paddle. Climbing the rocks and then climbing into the metal trough. He was splashing and having a really good time. He narrowly missed a drenching from the rainmaker, other children eagerly stood underneath awaiting the shower. 

His sisters were busy in the sand, filling buckets to carry to the top before pouring them down the chutes to fill the bucket again. Little Man came over to join in.

My children would have happily spent an entire day in this indoor section and I actually had to persuade them that they wanted to see outside too. I am so pleased I did. The views over the meadow were beautiful and whilst we could have explored the meadow of wildflowers or the woodland we opted to stay and play.

Zip wires, tyre swings and a dedicated area to build dens with large sticks. Another playground with water and sand to explore. The girls however had spotted the tunnels and 'hills' and were running across the field to play and explore some more. Little Man running after them. They ran past the wooden beams tower and the tower of rocks to climb and instead spent their time running over the mountains and through the tunnels. My youngest then spotted something in the distance and ran once again.

She had found the mud kitchens!

That was it, Little Man was in his element. He had dirt that he could play with. All three of them started playing and using their imagination, apparently making chocolate brownies.

This was play as it should be. Three kids with the freedom to run around and explore and get dirty. Three kids happily playing together and using their imaginations to be creative. Three happy children.

This freedom, this ability to run around and explore and this flexibility for each of my children to adapt the environment to their own unique ways of play reminded me so much of my childhood. Exploring fields near by, climbing trees and playing in streams. This to me was what William's Den was all about. It was made even more special by the fact I could join in with my kids. I didn't see height restrictions or age restrictions. I just saw the freedom to play and the freedom to let kids be kids.

It was time for a treat, before playing some more. William's Den make their own ice cream and have won an award for their vanilla ice cream so it was a must have for us to try before our day finished. Given the speed at which the girls ate theirs I can say it was delicious!

As we were heading back outside to play my daughter spotted this sign, and given it was the day before her birthday she decided it was written especially for her!

Whilst we were invited to visit William's Den I would have happily paid to take my children and am in fact looking at when we can next go. They genuinely all enjoyed themselves. I would highly recommend taking a change of clothes and a towel, just in case. It was such a wonderful day out and one where we created lots of happy memories!

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