York’s famous for its chocolate history, and there are some great ways for visitors to find out more about the city’s sweet past, present and future. From attractions to chocolate cafes and children’s trails, there’s something for every taste and this is our pick of the best chocolate experiences in York for families.
If you want to delve into York’s chocolate history, a trip to York’s Chocolate Story is a must. Follow your nose to King’s Square, in the city centre, and join one of the guided tours. Tours run throughout the day and take you back in time to the Aztec origins of chocolate before bringing you back to York and its 300 years of chocolate-making. You’ll find out how chocolate is made, watch a chocolatier in action, have a go at your making your own creation and may even get to try a little bit, too…
Why we love it – York’s Chocolate Story brings the city’s chocolate history to life with informative and entertaining guides and some interactive elements (but bear in mind that this isn’t Cadbury World, so don’t expect to be swimming in the sweet stuff!). Although the history will be lost on younger children, they’ll enjoy making their own chocolate creation to take home (if they can wait that long!).
Top tips – The attraction is on three levels, but there is a lift and you can leave buggies on the ground floor. Book your tickets online for a discount. Look out for their walking tours at Easter and Halloween, as they’re aimed at children and great fun.
York’s Chocolate Story, King’s Square, York YO1 7LD – Open daily from 10 am (last tour 4 pm). Closed 25th & 26th December and 1st January – Adult £12.50; child £10 (under 4s free); family of four £39.95, family of five £47.95 – Visit the website
York’s Chocolate Trail
Ah, we do love a trail. Getting the kids to hunt for stuff is a great way to distract them from the fact that they are – shock, horror – walking! Head to the Visit York Information Centre (1 Museum Street, York) and collect a free Chocolate Trail leaflet to spot some of York’s chocolate history in real life (or download it below). The free trail map will take you to a number of destinations, from the Castle Museum to the Mansion House.
Why we love it – It’s free! And it’s a nice way to see some of York’s chocolate history for yourselves.
Top tips – Why not pick up a hot chocolate from one of the places on the trail? You can visit the website and download the leaflet here.
York Cocoa House
York Cocoa House is a quirky independent cafe dedicated to all things chocolate. The menu offers sweet and savoury chocolate treats, and their hot chocolates have won the Little Vikings Award for Best Hot Chocolate several times running.
Why we love it – It’s a true York original with a lovely atmosphere. It’s also family-friendly, with baby changing and children’s options.
Top tips – Fancy afternoon tea with the kids? The Afternoon Chocolate menu should appeal!
York Cocoa House, 3 Blake St, York YO1 8QJ – Visit the website
York Cocoa Works is a chocolate production, chocolate academy and chocolate development centre. Carrying on the tradition of many centuries, York Cocoa House is making its own chocolate from raw cacao. The passionate staff will tell you how they create their products. Book a workshop or just drop in for a drink and a treat from the cafe.
Why we love it – It’s a real milestone that York is producing chocolate again in this way, and great to see it in action.
Top tips – The hot chocolates are a must on a chilly day!
York Cocoa Works, 10 Castlegate, York – Visit the website
Goddards is the former home of the Terry family (think Chocolate Orange!), just a stone’s throw from the city centre. It’s a beautiful arts and crafts house where you can find out more about the iconic York family, but it’s the gardens that children really enjoy. Have a wander around to spot some wildlife, find the secret garden and have a go at some garden games.
Why we love it – We love playing croquet and tennis in the gardens. There are various trails, too, and a tea room where you can refuel with a tasty cake.
Top tips – Watch out for fun activities during the school holidays. It’s a National Trust property, so admission is free for members.
Goddards House and Garden, 27 Tadcaster Road, York, North Yorkshire, YO24 1GG – Visit the website