Paul Fraser and his family enjoyed some thrills – and spills – during their visit to one of England’s top ten attractions, in West Yorkshire

CASTLEFORD, West Yorkshire. Not sure about anyone else, but it’s never been a place on my radar to visit. It has tended to be one of those towns you bypass regularly on the motorways, noticing the name and thinking about the Tigers, the Rugby Super League team.

Having spent a day there with the family, future journeys down the A1 will bring back nice memories. Castleford, a town in the borough of the City of Wakefield, will now be a place known to the Frasers as the home of Xscape.

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If you’ve never been to Xscape it’s worth a visit – and there is every chance you will want to return too. Around 4.2m people visit the attraction per year, that’s double the amount who visit Westminster Abbey or a million more than the Tower of London.

It is ranked as one of England’s top ten attractions by numbers and when you drive along the M62 you are hit with its size; it is the height of ten double decker buses stacked on top of each other and covers a site equal to six football pitches.

After parking up, it’s recommended you take plenty of money, but the bigger point is that Xscape, with its wide-range of activities, restaurants and shops, has enough to keep the minds of the young and old occupied for hours.

The highlight undoubtedly is the indoor ski slope. SnoZone is one of the UK’s biggest indoor real snow slopes. There are private skiing lessons available if you want to try it out or work on your style before heading to the Alps, or go snowboarding or on the sledges. It's fine for infants too.

The sledging is perfect for 45-minutes of enjoyment, without any concerns about being able to ski and can bring out the competitive edge as you race down the bank with your children.

Equipment is provided so you can hit the indoor piste, although snow gloves are required and can be expensive so make sure you go prepared if it is just going to be a one off. If you go skiing or snowboarding, you can take your own.

After getting out of our snow boots, my two children, aged eight and 12, wanted to go for a bounce on the Gravity Trampoline Park; which was one of the first indoor trampoline parks to hit this country. The activity has since taken off nationally, but the wall-to-wall trampolines, with some going up the walls, is great for fitness as well as fun.

That might be enough for one day for most people, but if you are up for a bit more and still not tired then there is so much more to do. There’s a choice of rock climbing, ten pin bowling, the cinema and Lazer Zone.

We went for one of the combos on offer, which allowed us to play 19 holes of Volcano Falls Adventure Golf, experience the XD 6D motion ride and play in the Fun Station arcade. By the time it had all come to an end we wrapped things up with a visit to every teenager’s favourite these days, Nando’s.

If the Piri Piri chicken isn’t to your liking then there is alternatives with Frankie and Benny’s, Burger King, Belle Italia, Pizza Express and TGI Friday’s among those on the complex. There are factory shopping outlets nearby if the shops aren’t enough inside Xscape, but a visit there would probably have to be done another day.

Either way, Castleford is only an hour or two’s drive from County Durham, so is an excellent little spot for a day out … regardless of the weather.


Main website is There are often special offers on the Xscape website.

SnoZone sledging from £17.99 adults and £14.99 for over 3s, family of four £34.99. More deals on website.

A one-hour family private skiing lesson (2 adults and 2 juniors) is £169.99, with other prices often available as special offers.

Gravity open bounce sessions from £8.95

Volcano Falls £7.50 adults, kids 6-11 £5.50, £22 family of four