Be a tourist in your own town

York TourismWhen did you last smell a viking village or look down on the city from a few hundred feet up? Have you checked out York’s Chocolate Story since it opened or visited the Castle Museum’s new toy exhibition?
If you’re starting to realise that it’s been a while since you’ve had a visitors-eye view of York, it might be time to get out there and remind yourself just what the city has on offer. There’s so much to see and do, new and old, that it’d be a shame to let the visitors have all the fun.
And with the school holidays upon us, what better way to entertain the kids for a few hours than to let them be tourists in their own town for a while? While we’ve been putting Little Vikings together, we’ve been out and about reminding ourselves of all the fun things there are to do in and around York for families. One thing’s for sure: we’re spoilt for choice! From world class museums to lovely parks, great leisure facilities to fab places to eat and drink, York’s pretty much got it all. Not that we want to go on about it, or we’ll never get a table at a cafe or to the front of the queue!
The other thing we’ve noticed is that places are making much more of an effort to appeal to families than they used to. Take the Minster for example: rather than complaining about being dragged around a boring old church (which we’d half expected, no offence to the Minster intended), our three year old had a brilliant time. We borrowed a free explorer rucksack – packed with everything a young explorer needs for creating their own adventure, like a giant magnifying glass and puzzle book – and he spent a happy hour doing quizzes and searching for various artefacts around the building.
The same’s true of the Treasurer’s House; we didn’t need to worry about him running around and crashing into things because he was too engrossed in finding the answers to the trail he’d been given at the ticket desk. We’ve also discovered that lots of places are aware of the problems of taking babies around historic buildings, so they’ll often offer a hip carrier (the Treasurer’s House again) or rucksack-style carrier to make life easier (the Castle Museum).
If you fancy being a tourist in your own town, here are our top tips:
– Start early to avoid the crowds; the later in the day you leave it, the greater the chance you’ll get stuck in queues and not be able to see very much.
– Book tickets in advance to get online discounts and guaranteed entry.
– If you’re a York resident, take your YorkCard with you as some places give you free or discounted entry.
– Ask at the ticket desk whether there is a children’s trail or anything else to keep them occupied.
– As well at the star attractions, don’t forget that a walk by the river, run around the Museum Gardens or wander about the snickleways (especially early in the morning before the crowds arrive) can be just as fun.
Let us know how you get on. We’d love to hear what you get up to. Contact us.

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