An arboretum is simply a botanical collection which is made up of trees. Generally, it is intended to be a place for scientific study. Just as a zoo educates people about animals and preserves endangered species, arboretums are places where endangered trees and plants can be grown and protected in order to preserve them.
I used to be a frequent traveller through the Castle Howard estate, I lived nearby. I must have passed this site hundreds of times without really giving it a lot of thought. What a gem I had been missing. Truth is I probably wasn’t sure what an arboretum was either!
I am not usually a garden person but this place is different. One of the best six arboretums as listed by “The English Garden“. This is an area of beautiful parkland and lakes in the grounds of the Castle Howard Estate. It is full of trees from around the temperate world and a totally enchanting place to visit.
The Arboretum was originally part of Castle Howard’s parkland and developed in 1994 in partnership with Kew Gardens.
Yorkshire Arboretum – Location
The Yorkshire Arboretum is 15 miles north-east of York. It is easy to find if you are travelling from York on the A64 (York to Malton). There are brown signs for Castle Howard, follow these. The entrance is well signposted and opposite the Castle Howard entrance. The postcode is YO60 7BY.
Car Parking is plentiful and free and the entrance fee is £7.00. The Arboretum is open every day from February through to November. Entry is free if you have a York and Beyond Pass.
Things to do
Inside there are plenty of things to do and see including wildflower meadows, hidden glades, views-a-plenty, woodland (of course!) and a lake to walk around. Ray Wood is particularly stunning in springtime when the Rhododendrons are flowering. To fully explore the 120-acre site will take you a good few hours. As well as over 200 species of wild plant, 75 species of birds and 9 terrestrial mammals call the site home.
There is a cafe selling locally sourced food with an outdoor seating area to enjoy if the weather is nice. Next door is a shop selling souvenirs, books etc.
Dogs on a lead are welcome and there is a large off-lead walking area for dogs to enjoy.
The Yorkshire Arboretum is a great place for a day out. In springtime, it’s full of colour as the trees blossom and later in the year the reds, oranges and yellows of autumn make a spectacular display.