Unearthing The Secrets Of The Forbidden Corner in Yorkshire

Last Updated on 21/07/2022

It’s safe to say that I’ve never encountered anywhere quite like The Forbidden Corner. This mind-blowing and downright crazy place has been carefully constructed in Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales. I’m going to attempt to describe this indescribable place, which is guaranteed to be the most unique attraction you visit on your trip!

In this guide I’ll provide all of the information you need to know about visitingThe Forbidden Corner including what it is, why you need to visit and how to get there. I’ll also cover what to see at The Forbidden Corner, what facilities they have, other attractions to see in the area and where to stay.

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The Forbidden Corner

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting The Forbidden Corner on numerous occasions and it still never fails to surprise me. This unique folly can only be described as stepping into a bizarre mash-up of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the 1986 David Bowie movie ‘Labyrinth’. This crazy place is guaranteed to fill you with wonder at every turn.

The Glass Pyramid at The Forbidden Corner in Leyburn, Yorkshire

History Of The Forbidden Corner

The Forbidden Corner was originally built by Mr. C. R. Armstrong as a private folly. But it was opened to the public in 1994 due to popular demand. It is a unique collection of tunnels, chambers, follies, and surprises created in a four-acre garden in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

Since opening, the park has continued to develop and grow as its popularity soars. Each visit is sure to bring with it something new. And that could be either a new addition to the park or an old feature you simply never stumbled upon before!

Today, this folly is an incredible scavenger hunt to find all the weird and wonderful things that inhabit the park. When you enter, you’ll be handed a flyer which acts as your checklist, just make sure you bring a pen! But they’re not going to make it easy for you, there’s no order or map to the madness, you’ll have to figure that out on your own!

The entrance to The Forbidden Corner in Leyburn Yorkshire

Planning Your Visit

Location: Middleham, Leyburn, in the Yorkshire Dales.

Where to park: Car parking is available onsite (DL8 4TJ)

Tickets: Tickets MUST be booked in advance. You can purchase your tickets here.

When to visit: The attraction is very popular so there isn’t really a ‘quiet’ time to visit. If possible avoid the end of the school year (school trips) and school holidays. We typically aim to visit mid-week around September time as children have gone back to schools.

How long is a visit: You need to allocate at least 2 hours for your visit. It’s not unusual for guests to spend longer than this in the park and your ticket will get you unlimited entry for the day after your entry time.

Accessibility: It is worth noting that a large portion of the park is not accessible to pushchairs or wheelchairs. There are several steps and obstacles to negotiate and not everywhere has a handrail.

The Forbidden Corner in The Yorkshire Dales

Visiting The Forbidden Corner

When you arrive at The Forbidden Corner, there’s only the slightest hint of what is in store. You’re greeted by a smoking dragon sat atop the welcome sign before you head into the ticket office.

A staff member met us at the door to outline the covid guidelines they have in place. Under normal circumstances, you just head inside (I’d recommend making use of the toilets in the foyer) and follow the directions through to the ticket counter. Here, you’ll be given your checklist and you can head into the park.

Welcome To The Forbidden Corner in Leyburn

What To Expect At The Forbidden Corner

The Forbidden Corner is made up of some incredible gardens. These beautiful green spaces are carefully tended to perfection. Although eager to check things off your list, make sure you pause and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

You will find many pretty flowers throughout the gardens. But if you look closer, you will also spot some wonderful wildlife. From dainty butterflies to flocks of sheep, you will meet some of the Dales creatures.

The gardens are home to numerous statues too. You will spot several traditional-looking sculptures throughout the garden. Watch out though, because some of them might spot you first!

The Forbidden Corner in Leyburn, The Yorkshire Dales

Expect The Unexpected

And while you will see beautiful gardens and wildlife, that’s not what The Forbidden Corner is known for. The key is to expect the unexpected at every turn. Where else would you encounter a jolly green giant towering in the trees?

The Green Giant at The Forbidden Corner

Or a pair of legs sticking out of the wall for that matter? The bizarre sights of The Forbidden Corner are strategically positioned alongside the traditional statues to make them even more shocking. And as strange as they might be, it is the weirdness of the place that makes it all the more curious and fun!

Legs in the wall at The Forbidden Corner

It is easy to lose yourself (literally and figuratively) in the place. But you’ll need to keep your eyes open to make sure you don’t miss any of the hidden wonders.

You will meet several creatures throughout your journey through the park. Many, like this bat, are above ground. But your journey will also take you beneath the beautiful gardens and into the underground chambers below.

The Forbidden Corner has a fantastic way of mixing myth and the mundane to create an experience that your brain is not completely sure how to process. The curiosity of the place is what sparks the appeal. You will feel the wonder of being a kid again as you are awestruck and questioning everything you see.

Facilities At The Forbidden Corner

The park has a number of facilities which means you can spend all day here if you wish! At the main entrance near the ticket office, you will find toilets, a gift shop and a cafe. There are also toilets dotted throughout the park itself.

You cannot bring your own food into the park, but just across the driveway, you’ll find a stunning picnic area. Even if you’re not eating here, it is well worth taking a stroll through the picnic area and into the park next door as it is really picturesque.

It is worth noting that a large portion of the park is not accessible to pushchairs or wheelchairs.

The Forbidden Corner in The Yorkshire Dales

Tips For Visiting The Forbidden Corner

Having visited The Forbidden Corner several times, I’ve got pretty good over the years at tracking down almost all of the items on the map. While I’m not going to give you any spoilers, here are a few tips to help you navigate this labyrinthine place!

Firstly, you might have to visit the same place several times to try out a different path. You might feel like you’re going round in circles, but this place is made to disorientate you! Just because you’ve been somewhere before, doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong track!

On our most recent visit, we passed through the same part of the park at least 6 times to discover many different routes we hadn’t yet taken. Don’t be fooled, if you think you’ve seen it all…think again!

If you’re traveling with small children (or just a wuss like me!) you don’t need to go through the mausoleum to find items on the checklist. This section is akin to a Halloween-style haunted house, with screen animations and effects. I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say every time I visit it frightens the life out of me!

If you are feeling brave enough to enter, however, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. You’ll emerge into The Saddle Cellar, an impressive wine cellar where you can pick up a bottle or two!

The Mausoleum at The Forbidden Corner in The Yorkshire Dales

Another big tip is to pause for a moment and take in the views. There are numerous vantage points throughout the park that boast incredible views across the surrounding Yorkshire Dales countryside. While it is tempting to charge around hunting everything down, make sure you take a moment to admire the surrounding beauty, which is just as incredible as the park itself.

And finally, let your inner child out. If you really want to unearth the secrets of The Forbidden Corner, let those adult rules fly out the window. Open that door, squeeze through that gap and trust your gut. You’ll be amazed at what it leads you to discover!

Oh, one more thing. Prepare to get wet. I’ll just leave it at that…

What You Need To Bring To The Forbidden Corner

When visiting The Forbidden Corner, I always try to bring minimal belongings because they can be awkward to carry around. Here are the essentials that you will need for your visit:

  • Your pre-booked tickets – get them here
  • A face mask – based on covid guidelines at the time of writing
  • Sturdy shoes – you’ll do a surprising amount of walking!
  • A camera if you want to capture the madness!
  • A picnic – optional, to be consumed in the picnic area
  • Bank card – to buy a drink or snack at the cafe
  • A pen – don’t forget this!! You’ll need it to tick the items you find off your checklist!

Covid Guidelines At The Forbidden Corner

Visiting The Forbidden Corner during the pandemic is a slightly different experience, but still an incredibly positive one. The staff all did a wonderful job of making sure they clearly outlined the covid precautions that are in place, and it felt like a safe place to visit.

The main points of note during our visit were that face masks needed to be worn in the shop and the ‘indoor’ and underground sections of the park. These were always clearly signposted well in advance of entering that section. Certain areas also had a one way system in place.

The main difference with the visit was that doors were left open where possible to reduce the number of people touching them. There are areas where this does impact the experience and sense of mystery of the place. However, it gave the impression of a ‘behind the scenes’ sneak peek and helped me to discover parts of the park I’ve missed on all of my previous visits! So while the experience was a little different, it was no less enjoyable.

For the most up to date covid guidelines, check the website prior to your visit.

Other Attractions In The Area

If you want to explore some other attractions while you’re in the area here are my top recommendations to make the most of your day:

Just a 30-minute drive from The Forbidden Corner is the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes. This cheese was a popular choice with animated characters Wallace and Gromit, and you can enjoy the authentic taste for yourself from the creamery’s cheese room. Be sure to purchase a block or two, which you can enjoy as part of a picnic.

Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes

About halfway between Hawes and The Forbidden Corner is the incredible Aysgarth Falls. These falls are a triple flight of waterfalls carved out by the River Ure over an almost one-mile stretch. They were featured on the BBC television programme Seven Natural Wonders and are considered one of the wonders of the North!

You can park at the visitor center and enjoy a pleasant stroll along the river to take in the staggered falls. Be sure to head down to the viewing platforms for the most incredible views.

Aysgarth Falls Yorkshire Dales

If you’re a history-lover, just a short distance from The Forbidden Corner you will find the remnants of Middleham Castle. This incredible fortified palace was once the childhood home of Richard III.

Where To Stay

If you want to see more of the region while you’re in there area, here are a few hotel recommendations in and around Leyburn.

Luxury Places To Stay

  • The Blue Lion (£££) – Surrounded by the splendor of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and nestled in the heart of iconic Wensleydale the historic 18th century Blue Lion Inn encapsulates the finest elements of traditional rural England. Paul and Helen Klein have run the Blue Lion Inn for over 25 years creating a blend of quintessential English coaching inn with modern comfort to relax and recharge.
  • The Wyvill Arms (£££) – After exploring the miles of beautiful countryside surrounding The Wyvill Arms, book a table in the restaurant and enjoy delicious freshly prepared local food and a glass of wine. Then retire to a room that reflects their desire to give you a restful night, sleeping in luxury, and comfort.

Mid-Range Places To Stay

  • Oak Lodge (££) – Oak Lodge is a romantic bed and breakfast that brings the best of Leyburn to your doorstep. Its ideal location means all of the surrounding attractions are easily accessible.
  • The Saddle Room (££) – If you want to be as close to The Forbidden Corner as you can get, The Saddle Room cottages are located on the family-owned estate next door. There are five self-catering cottages or 9 bed and breakfast units. 
  • Grove House (££) – Grove House offers you a warm, friendly welcome. Enjoy your stay in a Grade II listed building, full of character and charm. Savor your breakfast in the oak-paneled and beamed dining room. Relax in the sitting room with its seasonal open fire or sit outside in the Dales sunshine and unwind after the day’s activities.
  • Curlew Barn (££) – Featuring free WiFi, Curlew Barn offers pet-friendly accommodation, a 5-minute drive from Leyburn Village

Budget Places To Stay

If you’re looking for somewhere cheap and cheerful to spend the night during your visit, check out these options.

Will You Visit The Forbidden Corner?

So here is my guide to visiting The Forbidden Corner. Without giving away all of its secrets, I hope I’ve enticed you just enough to unearth them for yourself. Could you lose yourself at The Forbidden Corner?

Until our next adventure,

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30 thoughts on “Unearthing The Secrets Of The Forbidden Corner in Yorkshire”

  1. Wow this place looks AMAZING! I could probably spend hours here having fun and enjoying all of the hidden secrets! I am definitely coming here when we can travel again!

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    • It’s a fantastic place to explore! The hours fly by while you’re trying to discover everything! It always amazes me every time that I visit. I hope you get an opportunity to visit soon!

      Reply
  2. I’ve never been to Yorkshire, but this place looks like it’d be such a beautiful place to explore! I love exploring castles too, so nice to know there’s one nearby to check out! :]

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    • It’s such a cool place with lots to discover and the surrounding countryside is beautiful! I haven’t personally visited the nearby castle but we drove by it and it looks fascinating. It is on my list to see when we next visit!

      Reply
  3. This is so cool, and I just love places like this…. that giant mouth entryway! OMG, love that. I’m saving and pinning your blog for my next UK trip, because the Forbidden Corner is definitely on my itinerary now!

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    • It’s a really incredible place! I’ve never been anywhere else quite like it! The giant mouth is really cool! It definitely sets the tone for the rest of the experience! I hope you’re able to visit the UK and The Forbidden Corner soon!

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  4. Oh. My. Gosh! The Forbidden Corner looks absolutely incredible and like so much fun. I’m in the US, and I’ve been to England several times – but still never Yorkshire. This place is definitely on my list and it may have rocketed Yorkshire itself to the top, haha.

    Reply
    • There are so many incredible things to see and do in Yorkshire…I can strongly recommend a visit to the area when you are next in England! The Forbidden Corner is definitely a one of a kind attraction. It’s truly amazing and I hope you get an opportunity to visit soon!

      Reply
  5. This looks like a super cool place to visit! I absolutely love the uniqueness of all the sculptures. Though I may need to tie a rope to the front if you’re saying its easy to get lost – I’d probably REALLY get lost haha

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    • The Forbidden Corner is definitely a one of a kind attraction! Don’t worry though, getting lost is part of the fun! You always find your way out in the end…eventually! I hope you get an opportunity to visit soon!

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    • It’s definitely a magical place that brings out that childhood curiosity! I could spend hours admiring all of the little details! I hope you get an opportunity to visit!

      Reply
    • It’s definitely a one of a kind place! I love the experience more every time I visit! I hope you have an opportunity to visit soon!

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    • It is a little spooky in parts (I can’t deal with the mausoleum but I’m a bit of a wimp!) But I think overall it is pretty curious and interesting. The sculptures are fascinating and the whole place kind of tells a story. It is well worth a visit while you’re in the area!

      Reply
    • Ooh yes come back! I love the variety of things to see and do in Yorkshire…the Forbidden Corner is a great example of some of the truly one of a kind attractions in the area! I hope you have an opportunity to visit when you’re next in Yorkshire!

      Reply
  6. The Forbidden Corner looks so cool! I have not been to Yorkshire and I really need to explore more of England. The creamery looks like a good place to stop as well.

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    • It really is a cool place! I could spend hours just roaming around and getting lost! There are so many wonderful things to do in Yorkshire, I’d definitely recommend a visit to the area! The creamery is incredible! I’m a big cheese fan mind you, it was pretty easy to win me over!

      Reply
    • The Yorkshire countryside is really breathtaking! I love the views you get from the promenade over the rolling hills and fields! The Forbidden Corner is a fascinating place to explore, I hope you get an opportunity to visit!

      Reply
    • They’re hilarious, aren’t they? They remind me of Alice In Wonderland! It’s a fascinating place, I’d definitely recommend a visit!

      Reply
  7. The Forbidden Corner sounds like such a fun adventure! I love doing activities like this one. It would be perfect for a date or with a day out with the girls. Looks absolutely lovely.

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    • I love the Forbidden Corner! Every time I visit I discover something new! It’s such a cool and crazy place! Definitely a fantastic place for a date or girls trip. I hope you get an opportunity to visit!

      Reply
  8. Went as a child when it hadn’t been open long. Have thought about lots over the years as it was so different but didn’t know where it was. Fantastic to find it’s still open and can’t wait to visit with my children!

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    • Ah, it’s great to hear The Forbidden Corner made such a lasting impression on your childhood! It is such an unforgettable place! I fell in love with it as a child and still visit frequently today as an adult! I hope it has a lasting impression on your kids like it did for you!

      Reply

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