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Skelf Island

Our treetop adventure across the dormant water of the Great Lake.

Please note that Skelf Island Adventure Playground will be closed 7th - 10th November whilst we undergo essential tree surgery in the area. The playground area on the mainland will remain open.

Skelf Island, our legendary Adventure Playground is named after the historic site Castle Howard sits on, Henderskelfe. Throughout the school holidays, you might encounter the faerie-like creatures that live in the canopies and crooks of Skelf Island, known as Skelves, they’re a friendly and curious bunch that loves to play!

For centuries the Skelves have inhabited a secret world, over the water from Castle Howard, causing mischief and mayhem high up in the trees, interacting with birds and protecting wildlife. They’re curious about humans too and want to explore and play with them. Join them in the treetops of Yorkshire’s most magical adventure playground, Skelf Island.

Ingenious treetop nest structures connected by rope bridges, slides, nets, and climbing equipment will allow the Skelves to take young visitors on an adventure like no other.

Skelf Island is included in a gardens ticket.

How much does it cost to visit Skelf Island?
Access to Skelf Island is included in a Gardens Ticket. Castle Howard has a Friends Membership scheme, so if you think you’ll visit more than three times year it is great value for money to become a member. If you want to ‘try before you buy’ you can upgrade your day admission ticket to an annual membership and we’ll refund you the difference. 
Is Skelf Island accessible?

The design for Skelf Island Adventure Playground centres around a series of birds nests that sit high up in the trees. It was designed and granted planning permission in this way to utilise an area of land over the Great Lake that could support high structures, whilst allowing much of the ground, vegetation and natural habitat below to remain intact.

The interconnecting high walkways bridges, nets, slides and apparatus has been designed so that adults are able to access any area of the play equipment and can enjoy the experience with young people who may need additional support to play and explore. We believe that most young person with additional needs can be supported to go around the treetop route, this is with the exception of wheelchair users who will not be able to access the high level play equipment. We have installed additional play equipment specifically designed to be used by wheelchair users, including a wheelchair accessible swing and some additional accessible pathway.

There is an accessible toilet and baby change facilities at the Boathouse Cafe near to Skelf Island.

If you have any specific additional needs that we can help advise on please contact our team via 

Is there an age restriction?
There is no age restriction, just a brave restriction!