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Our guide to the best 50 things for families to do in York

Summer holidays York 2023

Day trip, weekend break or holiday, York is a city that’s ideal for children. It’s full of fantastic attractions, family-friendly places to eat, hotels that welcome children and things to do for free. Here’s our 50 top things to do with kids in York and just beyond (CLICK HERE to take a look at our curated list of the best quirky things to do in York). What are you waiting for? Come and see us! Oh, and keep these handy guides to the best of York for kids up your sleeve too…


☔️ The best things to do on a rainy day in York

💰 The best free and cheap things to do in York

🧙‍♂️The best Harry Potter things to do in York

🛌 The best places to stay in York with kids

🥴 The best unusual things to do in York

👶🏼 The best things to do in York with a baby/toddler

📗 Read the Little Vikings Family Guide to York

💰 Save money with the Little Vikings Family Card

Here are 50 of the very best things to do in York with children

Walk York City Walls with Children

– Dig for artefacts at DIG: An archaeological adventure

– Walk York’s city walls (free!)

– Get lost in one of the UK’s biggest mazes at York Maze (summer only)

– Go wild in the adventure playground, Skelf Island, at Castle Howard

– See how many things you can spot on the Little Vikings I Spy Trail (Free!)

Skelf Island Castle Howard

– Have a sugar mouse from the recreated Victorian sweet shop at York Castle Museum

– Borrow an Explorer Backpack from York Minster and see what you can discover

– Do the York Cat trail – grab a free map and see how many cats you can spot on York’s buildings

– Be scared silly at York Dungeon (age 8+) or do one of their family-friendly walking tour

– Learn about dinosaurs at the Yorkshire Museum

Kirkgate York Castle Museum

– Do your own still life at York Art Gallery

– Paint a plate, mug or anything else at Rainbows Ceramics

– Hop on your broomsticks and do the Wizard Walk of York

– Hire a bike and embark on a family cycling adventure (Get Cycling is a good option for bike hire)

– Have a round of wizard golf at The Hole in Wand

The Hole in Wand

– Have a picnic in one of the many parks: York Museum Gardens, Rowntree Park, Homestead Park and West Bank Park are our favourites

– Watch the horses thunder by at York Races (Family Race Day in September is the best bet for children)

– Take a trip around a Viking village at the JORVIK Viking Centre

– Visit the animals and play outdoors at Piglets Adventure Farm Park

– Search for Roman ghosts at Treasurer’s House

Rowntree Park

– Choose a cake from the cake trolley at Bettys

– Go on a ghost walk – we like The Bloody Tour of York and The Deathly Dark Tours

– Treat yourselves to a movie at Everyman York, City Screen York, Vue or Cineworld!

– Fly a kite on the Knavesmire

– See the city from above at Clifford’s Tower

Bloody Tour of York review

– Have an ice cream from the Two Hoots ice cream boat (summer only)

– Count butterflies at Askham Bog Nature Reserve

– Amble down York’s Shambles, one of the prettiest streets around (and possibly the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley)

– Make a potion at The Potions Cauldron on the Shambles

– Visit the National Railway Museum for engines, hands-on activities and much more (free!) and don’t miss the new Wonderlab

York Theatre Royal

– Enjoy the street entertainers: musicians, escapologists and more

– Do the ninja warrior course at Agility York (there’s a little soft play area for kids too)

– Bounce off the walls at Point Zero Trampoline Park

– See where Guy Fawkes was born

– Enjoy a children’s show at York Theatre Royal or York’s Grand Opera House

Web Adventure Park York

– Grab an ice cream, milkshake or fish & chips at one of the lovely cafes on Bishy Road, winner of the Great British High Street Award

– Run, climb and jump off some energy at The Web Adventure Park for soft play heaven and much more

– Search for tansy beetles (free!)

– Play games in the medieval schoolroom at Barley Hall

– Laugh at the silly street names (Whip-ma-whop-ma-gate anyone?)

City Cruises York boat York

– Go for a family walk – here’s our guide to the best walks in and around York

– Go wild in the aqua park, hire a pedalo or have a go on a kayak at Allerthorpe Lakeland Park

– Search for squirrels or have a picnic in the Museum Gardens

– Learn about York’s chocolate history at York’s Chocolate Story

– Marvel at the ice sculptures on the York Ice Trail (February)

yorks chocolate story review

– Visit the UK’s smallest LEGO shop, Minifigs & Bricks

– Visit Dick Turpin’s grave

– Try new foods, get hands-on at workshops or do kids’ activities at York Food & Drink Festival (September)

– Take a guided boat trip or drive your own with City Cruises York

Visit Father Christmas at Beningbrough Hall, Castle Howard, York Castle Museum, Piglets Adventure Farm and lots of other lovely places during the festive season. York’s the best city to visit at Christmas.

And keep your eye on Little Vikings – in print, online and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – for the best of York for families throughout the year

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