And oh my giddy aunt, it was. It blew my mind into a million dancing pieces which I’m not sure I’ll be able to put back together in the correct order ever again.
I think the key to this place is that it was never designed to be a Family Attraction in the first place. It was simply a private Victorian garden in a quiet spot in the North Yorkshire Dales, owned by a Mr. Colin Armstrong. He had the the idea to turn part of it into a sort of folly for his family and friends. Just as a bit of fun. He didn’t even ask for planning permission. (Got into a spot of bother for that later on.)
Thing is, this Mr. Armstrong had a wild and incredible imagination. So what began as a spot of digging in 1990, with plans for a sort of small cave, became a 25-foot deep, 4-acre wide labyrinth of secrets and surprises. People were so intrigued that in 1994 he finally gave in and opened it to the public.
We visited as a group of eight, ranging in age from 6 to 46, with a couple of eye-rolling, grunty, ‘we-are-so-past-family-days-out’ teenagers thrown in who’d really put the place to the test.
It was deceptively tame at first: pretty tree-lined paths, riddles on stones, a baffling gate, a squirting statue, a little maze through the lavender bushes, a peek of miniature men playing cricket through a hole in the hedge. Plus great views over the dales.
We simply could not take the smiles off our faces. Even the teenagers had forgotten to act cool and were leaping around like crazed leprechauns, squealing things like, “You have to go and see the bit down there.”
I left full to bursting.
If you live or go to stay within a 60-mile radius of The Forbidden Corner, it’s a must-visit. I’d personally travel a lot further. In fact, I’d be tempted to plan a whole holiday to North Yorkshire around it. With or without the kids.
Visit The Forbidden Corner's website here.