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Illuminating York 2014: The best bits for kids

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Illuminating York 2014: The best bits for kids Little VikingsIlluminating York is one of the highlights in the city’s year. This festival of light sees many of York’s landmarks transformed in the most creative and colourful ways.

This year’s theme is Leading Lights – focusing on innovation and discovery in York – and there are plenty of events to enjoy. Although many of them take place around bedtime for lots of little Vikings, we’d recommend making an exception and letting them stay up late to enjoy it. Last year we took our 18-month old (wrapped up in the buggy) and 3-and-a-half year old and they were completely enchanted. It was well worth their slightly grumpy moods the next day!

There’ll be plenty to see and enjoy from a walk around the city centre, or make a beeline for some of the many special events taking place. If you’re planning to eat out, book a table in advance to avoid disappointment. The festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the city, so that’s a lot of people needing dinner.

Details of events are being confirmed all the time, so check the Illuminating York website for the most up-to-date information (illuminatingyork.org.uk). We’ve picked some of the more child-friendly events below, but even just a walk around the city will be magical.

Illuminating York Festival 2014 runs from Wednesday 29th October to Saturday 1st November, 6pm to 10pm.


Locos in a Different Light at the National Railway Museum – 29th October to 1st November 2014 – 6.30pm to 10pm – Free

See the museum’s fascinating Spotter Stories brought to life with amazing colour and lighting. A unique chance to see the locomotives linked to these tales from the tracks as you’ve never seen them before.


DIG into Victorian Progress – DIG – 29th October to 1st November 2014 – 6pm to 9pm – adult £2, child £1 – no need to book

The garden at DIG will be transformed into a steampunk-inspired Victorian workshop where ‘inventors’ will take visitors through the weird and wonderful world of Victorian inventions, with the help of some special projections.


Illuminating York 2014: The best bits for kids Little VikingsHorrid Medieval Medicine at Barley Hall – Barley Hall – 29th October to 1st November – 7pm to 9pm – adult £2, child £1 – no need to book

Discover the horrid side of medieval and early Tudor medicine at Barley Hall. Watch the barber surgeon and plague doctor try out new and dangerous experiments on their poor medieval patients!


York Mansion by Candlelight – 30th October to 1st November – 5.30pm to 8.30pm – adult £2.50, child FREE – no need to book

See the historic home of the Lord Mayor of York lit up by candlelight as in times gone by.


Illuminating York 2014: The best bits for kids Little VikingsHotel Chocolat late night opening – 29th October to 1st November – until 9pm – Free

Call into this lovely shop for a sample of the chocolate of the month, and maybe even a drop of Prosecco.


The Bloody Tour of York – meet by the statue of Constantine near York Minster (South Transept) – 29th October to 1st November – 6pm and 8pm (tour lasts 90 mins) – adult £5, child £3 – no need to book

Join Mad Alice on this special candlelit tour of York’s historic landmarks. Discover the gruesome history of the plague, heads on spikes, invasions and hanged men over the past 2000 years in York.

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