Resist the urge to hibernate, wrap up warm and enjoy the best activities and events on offer in and around York this February half term. There’s lots to do in York with kids at this time of year, from the JORVIK Viking Festival to a magical fairy trail. We’ve got things to do for free, and some good options for things to do if it rains, too. Here are our February half term highlights.
The best things to do in York this February half-term 2024
Montgomery Bonbon Museum Mystery Trail at York Army Museum
Go undercover and test your detective skills at York Army Museum as part of the national Montgomery Bonbon: Museum Mystery Trail. grab an activity sheet, solve puzzles and have fun with your family this half term. Remember to pick up a free moustache bookmark to get in the mystery-solving mindset! 14th Feb to 31st March 2023 – Find out more
Toys and Games at York Castle Museum
From fun crafts and toy trails to your favourite board games, visit York Castle Museum this half term and enjoy free activities perfect for the whole family! Drop-in activities, from paper doll making to a Bingo trail, are included in the price. “>Find out more >
Vikings at the Yorkshire Museum
Learn about all things Viking at the Yorkshire Museum through a range of free family friendly activities this half term! From Viking bracelet-making and saga-telling to becoming a poo detective(!), there’s something for everyone to enjoy. All activities are included in general admission, no booking required. Here’s what’s on
Dark Skies Festival 2023
Look to the skies this February half-term with the Dark Skies Festival 2023 in the glorious North York Moors. Taking place from 10th to 26th February 2023, activities include stargazing, nocturnal walks, nighttime trail runs, crafts, trails and more. Here’s the full programme >
Railways of the Future at the Railway Museum
Investigate the theme of decarbonisation, alternative fuels and sustainability alongside new objects on display with hands-on activities at the Railway Museum’s Innovation Platform. There’s a LEGO challenge and storytelling, talks and demonstrations.
Explore the woods at Northwood Trail
Northwood Trail, England’s Fairy Sanctuary, is a magical place to visit with children, just outside Stamford Bridge. Set in 100 acres of stunning woodland, spot the fairy doors, get lost in the maze and enjoy the peace and quiet. Don’t miss the little fairy museum, and make sure you have time to stop at Northwood Kitchen for a drink or something to eat. They do kids’ parties too!
JORVIK Viking Festival 2023
JORVIK Viking Festival 2023 (11th to 19th February) (mostly FREE) – The Vikings are back for a real-life JORVIK Viking Festival in 2023! They will once again be pitching their tents in central York in February for five days of living history, hands-on fun, craft workshops and many other activities. Click here to read our guide to the best kids’ activities at the festival. Find out more >
February frolics at Piglets Adventure Farm
Reopening on 11th February 2023, Piglets Adventure Farm is the place to be for lots of baa-rilliant fun! See the newborn lambs, explore the adventure playground, run off steam in the indoor play barn and much more. Find out more >
Soar to the skies at the Yorkshire Air Museum
Bring the family and experience the tremendous atmosphere of this award-winning attraction based on former RAF Elvington, a WWII Bomber Command base. Explore the exhibitions, visit the control tower and see all the incredible aircraft. Admission tickets are valid for 12 months! Open daily. Find out more >
The Big 2023 Hob Hunt 2023 at York Mansion House
Hobs are little household faeries (old English) that have been haunting Yorkshire homes for centuries. There have been hobs in York Mansion House since it was built in 1725! They are extremely friendly and like to help with the cleaning and the chores… but they also have a mischievous side! Head along to help find them and complete some fun Hob-stacles (included in admission)! 10th February – 4 June 2023 – Find out more >
Marvellous and Mischievous at York Art Gallery
This exciting new exhibition shines a light on the British Library’s vast collection of children’s literature and explores characters who break the rules and defy conventions, from Pippi Longstocking to Jane Eyre, Matilda and Dirty Bertie. Showcasing around 40 books, manuscripts and original artwork, the family-friendly exhibition will include a diverse range of rebels, outsiders and spirited survivors from children’s literature spanning more than 300 years. 10th February – 4 June 2023 – Find out more >
In the footsteps of Mary Ward
Take The Bar Convent’s family-friendly trail to discover the story of the trailblazer Yorkshire woman, Mary Ward. Find out how she paved the way for equality in education, against all the odds, this February half term! Included in admission; children receive a sticker and story booklet to take home. Throughout February. “>Find out more >
Eat somewhere new!
York’s packed with amazing places to eat and drink with kids, but it can be hard to know where to start. Take a look at our handy guide to family-friendly places to eat around the city. Read our guide >
Explore York’s chocolate history
Discover the history of chocolate in York and make your own chocolate creation at York’s top chocolate attraction, York’s Chocolate Story. Use your Little Vikings Family Card for a 20% discount on admission!
See the engines at the Railway Museum
York’s National Railway Museum is one of the city’s best attractions, and it’s free. Marvel at the engines, enjoy some hands-on activities, play in the play area and ride the miniature railway (small fee applies). Open daily; admission’s free.
Take a river cruise or hire a self-drive boat
Ahoy there! For a fun and memorable family experience in York, look to the river. Choose from a relaxed cruise along the Ouse with commentary from your captain, or brave the waters with a self-drive hire boat. We’ve done both and loved them equally. Use your Little Vikings Family Card for a discount on self-drive hires.
Experience Viking-age York
Take your little Vikings to discover York’s Viking legacy at the award-winning JORVIK Viking Centre. Hop aboard the time capsule to 10th-century York and take in the sights, sounds and even the smells of the Viking Age city. Dig deeper into the Viking story of York by getting close-up with a rare collection of 1,000-year-old-artefacts whilst talking to friendly Viking hosts. The Vikings are also back in York for JORVIK Viking Festival this February half-term.
Discover a hidden medieval gem
Barley Hall is a picturesque medieval townhouse tucked away down one of the oldest streets in York. Once home to the Priors of Nostell, Barley Hall has now been lovingly restored to its original splendour. Little ones can make themselves at home, join in dress-up fun and activities in a Tudor School Room and experience what it would have been like to live in medieval England. Don’t miss the new exhibition, Bard at Barley Hall, featuring costumes from famous films and an interactive stage! Plus, look out for a special Festival exhibition this February.
Visit the zoo, gardens and house at Sewerby Hall
Head to Bridlington to explore beautiful Sewerby Hall, with stunning gardens to explore (including a play area), woodland walk, children’s trails animals to see and lots of brilliant holiday activities. You can even catch the land train down to the beach! We sometimes combine it with a trip to RSPB Bempton Cliffs to see the seabirds – it’s just along the road.
Dig into some archaeological fun
At DIG, kids get to discover only the most exciting archaeological artefacts from the 2000 years of history hidden under the streets of York. Four excavation pits are filled with Roman, Viking, medieval and Victorian finds, so you can grab a trowel and dig up the clues that show how people lived in these times. This is a one-of-a-kind! Don’t miss Poo Day at DIG! Kids can make their very own replica Viking poo, as part of JORVIK Viking Festival 2023.
Colour and Light at York Minster
This FREE 8-minute outdoor light show will run on selected dates and no booking is needed. It’s another York Bid initiative to brighten up the city during the darker months and we love the sound of it.
February 10th to 23rd (6pm to 9pm) – Free, no booking required – More here
Explore the history of York’s walls this February half-term
Take the kids to visit one of the historic gateways into the city – and discover 2,000-year stories involving battles, imprisonment and near destruction of the walls! Meet some of the characters whose stories are intertwined with Micklegate Bar: a princess, a Royalist in the English Civil War and an early 20th-century policeman who made the gatehouse his home. This new attraction re-opens on 11th February 2023.
Chocolate workshops and lollipops at York Cocoa Works
Everyone loves chocolate, and there’s a selection of chocolate activities for children this half term. Make a lollipop, join a chocolate bar workshop or join a tasting journey.
Stay in a cottage at Middletons York
Middletons is one of York’s most family-friendly hotels – they even have gorgeous family cottages in the grounds! Children will love all the extra touches, and the central location is hard to beat.
Tee off at York Golf Range
Have some fun in the fresh air at York Golf Range. Navigate the obstacles on the crazy golf course (just £12 for a family of four) or have a go at footgolf, ideal for kids age 4+.
Go for a winter walk
There’s nothing better than a bracing winter walk, and we’ve got plenty to choose from. From a circular walk at Askham Bog to the Little Vikings I Spy Trail around York city centre and the white horse walk at Sutton Bank, we’ve got it covered (but it’s up to you to remember the snacks).
Have a round of wizard golf at The Hole in Wand
For something totally different to do with your kids this half term, how about a round of wizard-themed minigolf? The Hole in Wand is great fun for older kids who can wield a club (kids aged 6+ will probably enjoy it most), and there are lots of surprises along the way. Each participant gets a potion to enjoy too, making it really good value. Click here to use your Little Vikings Family Card for a FREE premium upgrade!
World on your windowsill at Harlow Carr
Discover a world on your windowsill with exciting plants to grow in the smallest of spaces at RHS Garden Harlow Carr this February half term. The Garden Detectives are back with their hilarious tales and walks around the garden (first-come, first-served).