Days Out in Yorkshire: Ponderosa, Heckmondwike


When you head through the gates of most attractions, you’re greeted by a friendly face who takes you ticket and off your go.

Well, it’s cool to be different and it turns out the llamas are just as good – if not better – at giving a warm Yorkshire welcome.

As you pass through the gates it almost looks like they’re smiling!

The said welcome is to the oasis of calm that is Ponderosa, tucked away in Heckmondwike – possibly the last place you’d expect to find sprawling, manicured grounds, reptiles, monkeys and an array of stunning feathered friends.

Our visit saw it drizzle with rain and it didn’t make the slightest difference. The attraction has such a gorgeous setting that the weather doesn’t really matter – plus there are plenty of indoor areas to keep dry in.

The best, for me, was the reptile house which is home to snakes, lizards and other scaled specimens.

Their habitats are impressive and the rather large inhabitants are clearly happy.

Other must-sees are the friendly reindeer, who couldn’t wait to tuck in to the special animal food that can be bought for just 50p.

Ponies, pigs and parrots are just some of the other animals living there in the excellent enclosures. Aquatica is worth a look if you like marine life, and some of the fish are whoppers.

Every few dozen yards there seems to be a great play area, each different from the last with something for the toddlers like spiral slides to zip wires for the older ones.

A play barn and lakeside cafe and restaurant completes the list. Ponderosa in Heckmondwike was created by businessman Howard Cook. It also comprises a restaurant and play areas for children.

Fact Box

Prices: Adults £4.50, children £4 (see website)

Opening times: 10am to 5pm

Car Parking: Free on site

Attraction website:

Sat nav: WF16 0PN

Address: Off Smithies Lane, Heckmondwike, Huddersfield

For more great days out see