Don’t give in to the temptation to hibernate this February half term (18th to 26th February 2017). There’s loads happening in and around York during the holidays for kids, from the JORVIK Viking Festival to the drive-in cinema and fun book-related activities at Nunnington Hall. Here’s our pick of the best, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what we get up to! JORVIK Viking Festival There’s loads to enjoy at this year’s JORVIK Viking Festival (20th to 26th February 2017), from archery to animals, storytelling to swords and, of course, the infamous ‘poo
The UK’s largest drive-in cinema is coming to York this February half term, with a packed programme of family films to enjoy. Head to the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, park up, get comfy, order food to be delivered to your car, tune in your radio and enjoy the show! And as it’s the holidays, no worries about pushing bedtime back a bit! Gates open at 6pm, with the film starting at 6.30pm, and it’s £25 per vehicle. Here’s what’s coming up for families (there’s a later programme of films for adults, too, if you fancy a child-free outing): Friday 17th
The National Railway Museum, winner of Best Rainy Day Destination in the Little Vikings Awards 2016 and 2017, is all set for some Flying Scotsman fun this February half term (whether it’s raining or not!). Between February 18th and 26th, there’ll be lots of activities for kids to get involved in, including the Need for Speed science show, a Victorian style funfair in the South Yard, the chance to build your own Flying Scotsman and some fun storytelling sessions. Take a ride on the miniature railway or think bigger and journey back in time with a Flying Scotsman steam ride!
You’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to find out whether the JORVIK Viking Festival has won ‘Best Festival in York for Kids’ in the Little Vikings Awards, but in the meantime we’ve got the lowdown on what families can look forward to at this year’s festival (20th to 26th February 2017). There’s loads to enjoy, from archery to animals, storytelling to swords and, of course, the infamous ‘poo day’. Lots of it’s free, and it’s all great fun. Here are some of the highlights of this year’s festival. Coppergate Encampment (FREE!) The Vikings are returning to Coppergate! Join
There’s no escaping Vikings this February half term in York. Not only are they taking over town for the JORVIK Viking Festival, but they’re even visiting York Minster from February 21st to 23rd. Head along to York’s most stunning land mark to handle authentic and replica Viking artefacts, learn how to play a Viking board game and discover more about the mystery that is York Minster during the Viking period. Find out more about Vikings and their relationship with Christianity at one of the short spotlight talks at 12 noon and 2pm, or listen to Viking storytelling at 11am and
Ahead of the opening of the new chocolate exhibition that opens in April, head to York Castle Museum to enjoy delicious demos, do some scrumptious sweet-decorating and produce some pretty packaging. The Museum is one of our favourite York attractions, with so much for kids to do. Ours love the Toy Stories area and Kirkgate, the recreated Victorian street. Going with a little one? You’ll need to park your buggy at the entrance, but you can borrow a carrier to save your arms. York Castle Museum – 18th to 26th February 2017 – 9.30am to 5pm – normal admission charges
Help the Yorkshire Museum and their resident Viking prepare for the brand new exhibition, Viking: Rediscover the Legend (which opens in May) with hands-on opportunities, a trail and ‘curator’s corner’ this February half term. 18th to 26th February 2017 – 10am to 5pm – <a href="http://www find out.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk/” target=”_blank”>yorkshiremuseum.org.uk
Fancy seeing some animals this February half term? Then head across to Flamingo Land where the Winter Zoo is open daily, and includes Keeper Talks and walkthrough enclosures for unrestricted views of lemurs and wallabies. During the weekends and school holidays (11th to 26th February), there will be extra entertainment on offer in the form of five rides for young children and a sea lion show. The outdoor Pirates of Zanzibar acrobatic show and Dino-Stone Park are also open for the February half term holidays. You can even book your own animal encounter or stay in the luxury accommodation in
Enjoy a literature-inspired week of activities as World Book Day looms (2nd March). Write a tale of your own, listen to stories and try the children’s trail. On February 25th & 26th, dress up as your favourite children’s book character, rhyme in poetry corner and swap your book for another at the big book swap. There’ll also be a book cover-inspired exhibition to enjoy, with work from lots of illustrators including Fred Banbery of Paddington Bear fame. Nunnington Hall, York – Saturday 18th February to Sunday 26th February 2017 – normal admission charges apply – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nunnington
It’s all about weather at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate this February half term. Do the daily weather trail and find out how different types of weather systems affect the planet, have a go at weather-related crafts, enjoy stormy storytelling and have a go at weather tracking. We love going to Harlow Carr, not least because it’s a chance to get a treat from Bettys (in the indoor posh tearoom if you don’t have raucous kids, or from the outdoors kiosk if , like, us, you do). There are also some great play areas. Here’s what’s happening at half
For me, Christmas and York Castle Museum have gone hand in hand since I was little. In fact, squirreled away in a box somewhere is an ancient York Press cutting with a photo of me and my brother aged 6 and 4, dressed as Victorians in a Christmassy Castle Museum, hand-in-hand with the Lord Mayor of the time (don’t ask). So it’s a special place to go back to with my own children, particularly at this time of year. We were delighted to be invited along to try the museum’s new festive children’s trail, A Christmas Mystery. Each of the
Fountains Abbey is a beautiful place, well worth the drive from York. And at Christmas it’s even more magical, with lots of events for the whole family to enjoy. Here’s what we’ve got to look forward to this year. Music and Lights Wander through the estate to see the trees twinkling with light and the Abbey all aglow with the colours of the rainbow. Stop by the cellarium to catch some live festive music too. Every weekend from 26th November to 18th December (also 27th & 31st December, excluding 11th December) – 3.30pm to 5pm (last entry 4pm), choirs/band 3.30pm
There’s nothing like a panto, carol service or Christmas show to get the family feeling festive. Here’s our pick of the best family entertainment in York this Christmas. Cinderella at York Theatre Royal York’s oldest, silliest and best loved pantomime is back in its newly refurbished home with one of the best loved fairytales Cinderella. Expect incredible sets, crazy costumes, bad jokes, local jokes and, if we’re lucky, something resembling a story. York Theatre Royal – 8th December 2016 to 28th January 2017 – £33.50 to £14.00 Visit the York Theatre Royal website Aladdin at the Grand Opera House Featuring
If you’ve never been to Holgate Windmill, you really should. It’s one of York’s hidden gems, nestled among residential streets, and a quirky place to visit with kids (ours have been talking about it ever since we went a couple of months back). What better time to visit than at Christmas, when a very well known white-bearded, red-suited gent will be greeting children at the top of the windmill? Father Christmas will be bringing his sack of presents to Holgate Windmill on Saturday 3rd, Sunday 4th and Saturday 10th December from 2 to 4 pm, and Sunday 11th December from 10am
We love DIG, JORVIK’s hands-on archaeological attraction on St Saviourgate, and we love the sound of the festive activities they’ve got planned this year. There’s something for children of all ages: under fives can explore a Victorian Christmas during a fun-filled, festive Little Diggers session, while older children can book onto an afternoon session to get hands-on in the DIG pits to find out how Victorians celebrated this special time of year. Everyone will meet Santa and receive a gift to take home. It all takes place on Saturday and Sunday 17th and 18th December and pre-booking is essential. Here’s everything you need to
If you’ve ever seen that scene where Bambi encounters ice for the first time, you’ll have a good idea of how our family took to ice skating at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland last year. Our youngest opted out completely (she had only just learnt to walk, after all) and the other two had a grand old time but stuck close to the edges just in case. What a difference a year makes! As a special festive treat, we kept the kids up late last week to take them along to the launch of Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland at York Designer Outlet. I
It’s a bit controversial, but I think I prefer Christmas Eve to Christmas Day. At its best (ie you don’t spend it working or panic-buying), it’s a day full of festive cheer but without the expectations or hard work of the big day. In recent years, the Crib Service at York Minster has been one of our Christmas Eve traditions. It’s the most family-friendly service you can imagine, with an incredibly relaxed and welcoming atmosphere and fancy dress firmly encouraged losartan potassium 50 mg. There are traditional carols and a chance to visit the crib and see the nativity scene.
Fancy meeting Santa on a steam train? Then head over to the North Yorkshire Moors to meet Father Christmas on-board one of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s Santa Special steam train experiences. Join Santa and his helpers at Pickering, Grosmont or Whitby for a magical adventure on the Santa Express for an unforgettable journey. Each child will receive an age-appropriate present, activity sheet and Santa hat while adults can enjoy a mince pie, hot drink and alcoholic drink. It sells out fast, so be quick. Santa Specials are running on 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 20 & 21st December
After a great first year, York’s Chocolate Story’s grotto is back in a new home: Shambles Market. Visit Father Christmas’s old fashioned sweet shop for some fun activities before being called through to see Santa in his cosy study. Pose for a photo to take home and then watch your gift arrive on the conveyor belt. We went last year and really enjoyed the whole experience. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a Father Christmas experience in York city centre, and perfect to combine with a spot of Christmas shopping. 3rd to 24th December 2016 – weekdays (3rd
We’ve got some fabulous Christmas shows coming up in York this year, but a short hop away in Leeds the West Yorkshire Playhouse is putting on something special too. In fact they’ve got two great shows coming up and there’s not a pantomime dame in sight. Rudolf, a lovely tale about the famous reindeer, is aimed at a younger audience while The Witches, Roald Dahl’s scariest tale, is ideal for older kids. Here’s a bit more about them. Rudolf All Rudolf has ever wanted to do is to pull Santa’s sleigh. But only the best reindeer get to do that.
There’s lots of Christmas fun coming up at Flamingo Land this winter. In the run-up to the big day, enjoy festive storytelling with Santa and his elves, have a photo taken and receive a gift at The Coach House grotto (£10 per child on top of normal admission). The all-new Christmas market will be up and running too, with stalls full of gift ideas and tempting treats. The fabulous Flamingo Land zoo will also be open so you can enjoy seeing over 140 reptiles, mammals, fish, amphibians and birds. A selection of rides for younger children will also be available.
For an outdoor festive adventure in York this Christmas, Piglets is just the place. Jump on board Santa’s sleigh for a ride through the twinkling Woodland Village, check in at Elf Airlines, be greeted by Mrs Claus and then see Santa in his grotto. Take the golden key to unlock the toy shop and choose a present from the selection. That’s not all: you can see festive animals in the nativity scene or have a go on the Victorian carousel or vintage car ride (small extra charges). Adults can enjoy a bratwurst, mulled wine or beer before or after the