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Skelf Island

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

A day out with the children at Castle Howard just became even more adventurous and intriguing. Join a cheeky gang of Skelves on a journey into the treetops of Yorkshire's newest adventure playground, Skelf Island.

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. Now they have become curious about the humans that visit and want to explore and play with them.

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.

There's no age restriction, just a brave restriction!

We are delighted that Skelf Island has reopened!

The skelves have been in lockdown too and we need to make sure everyone has space to play, so please work with us not to overcrowd the Island.

The Skelves are patient, kind and considerate and they hope you'll be the same, whilst also having lots of fun! Please read the following information from our friendly gang of Skelves...

We are limiting the number of people playing at any one time and on busy days you may be asked to queue or limit your time on the playground to two hours. 

The rope bridge to Skelf Island is now one way. From the mainland across to the Island. And don't get too close to anyone taking a little longer to brave the bridge. Please use the low level broadwalk to return.

We're doing our bit by keeping Skelf Island clean and tidy and we ask you to help by not bringing food and drink into the play area and making sure all litter is safely disposed of. 

We look forward to seeing you on Skelf Island soon! 

Read our full COVID-19 information and book your ticket here...

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!