From Vikings to vintage fairs, there’s a whole host of fun activities coming up in and around York this May half term. Take a look at our handy guide for our pick of the best, and keep checking back as we’ll keep updating it. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily inspiration too.
Platinum Jubilee Holiday at the National Railway Museum – Celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee at the National Railway Museum, with special May half-term family activities, royal carriages you can peep inside and a new exhibition all about the royals’ love of train travel. The National Railway Museum has everything you need for a regal day out. Activities are free, unless otherwise stated.
28th May to 5th June 2022 – Visit the website for more information
JORVIK Viking Festival 2022 – The Vikings are back for a real-life JORVIK Viking Festival in 2022. They will once again be pitching their tents in central York in May for five days of living history, hands-on fun, craft workshops and many other activities. Watch this space for all the details.
28th May to 1st June 2022 – Across York – Visit the JORVIK website
Enchanted Stories at Mother Shiptons – See giant storybooks and a Wonderland of fairy-tale themed displays with fantastical photo opportunities throughout the ancient woodland. Watch out for the pesky dragon, The Wicked Witch of the West and the Big Bad Wolf, peek into miniature fairy houses, and sit on the Wishing Chair throne. 28th May to 5th June 2022 – Visit the Mother Shipton’s website
Wildlife Photographer of the Year at Sewerby Hall – See incredible photographs of animals and the natural world at the world-famous Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at Sewerby Hall and Gardens in Bridlington. It runs until 17th July and is the perfect excuse for a day out (or longer) on the Yorkshire Coast. There’s a play area, zoo and gardens to explore too. Visit the Sewerby Hall and Gardens website.
Jubilee Street Party Trail at Raby Castle – The majestic Raby Castle in County Durham is pulling out all the stops to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee this May half term. From picnics in the park to a new street party themed trail to bunting competitions and special collections on display in the castle, join them for a week of family fun. Find out more here
Step back in time at Murton Park – There’s a variety of fun activities going on at Murton Park, just outside York, to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Ride back in time on a vintage train, enjoy some Viking crafts and, on Sunday 5th June, join a street party. Bring a hamper or buy one on-site (pre-booking required) and enjoy some magic with Professor Dan’s shows throughout the day. 2nd June to 5th June 2022 – Visit the Murton Park website for details
Family activities at York Minster – There’s a range of family-friendly activities going on at York Minster during May half term for the Jubilee (free admission for children and any York resident): get crafty in Dean’s Park by creating your own bunting or doing some colouring (free) or join a drop-in family session with a Jubilee twist. Find all the details here.
Firewatchers of The Bar Convent – This year marks the 80th Anniversary of the Baedeker Raids in York. As part of The Bar Convent’s display, Baedeker: 80 Years On, younger visitors can discover more about the bravery of the sisters and the school pupils during the war. Find out about what the firewatchers did during the war and make your own firewatcher badge. Included in admission to the exhibition.
Daily until November 2023 – Visit The Bar Convent website
Great British Food Festival at Harewood – The Great British Food Festival is returning to Harewood for 2022. Take a good helping of local and artisan producers, a big serving of tasty hot food vendors, add a dash of bars, a sprinkling of children’s activities, a dollop of top chef demos, stir in some competitions, with lashings of excellent live music, and mix together to make a fabulous foodie family day out. Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June 2022, 10 am to 5.30 pm – Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds LS17 9LG – Visit the Harewood website for more details
Malton Food Lovers Festival – Home to artisan producers and award-winning independent businesses, visitors to the Malton Food Lovers’ Festivals this year can expect a huge array of unique stalls with tasty treats and gorgeous gifts, celebrity chef talks and demonstrations, live music and fun for all the family. Friday 3rd to Sunday June 5th 2022 – Visit the Visit Malton website for details
York Spring Fair 2022 – York Spring Fair & Food Festival returns to the Knavesmire for 2022, and it’s taking place over the Jubilee weekend! Now in its second York, it will bring together one of the largest vintage funfairs seen in North Yorkshire, and a food festival that will showcase a range of artisan products.
27th May to 5th June 2022 – York Knavesmire – Visit the York Spring Fair website
See Clifford’s Tower transformed York’s iconic Clifford’s Tower has reopened after a £5m transformation by English Heritage and it’s amazing. It’s also a lot easier to visit with children, and has some of the best views of the city. Read our review here.
Open daily – Clifford’s Tower, Tower St, York YO1 9SA – Visit the Clifford’s Tower website for all the details
Head to JORVIK DIG – DIG is a hands-on archaeological adventure, from the Viking experts at JORVIK, that gives kids the chance to become trainee ‘diggers’ and discover the most exciting artefacts from 2000 years of York’s history! Tours last one hour and you are strongly advised to pre-book your place.
DIG, St Saviour’s Church, St Saviourgate, York, YO1 8NN – booking recommended – Visit the DIG website
Get lost in the willow maze at Northwood Trail
Northwood Trail is a magical place to visit with children (winner of the Little Vikings Award for Most Magical Experience, no less). Enjoy the woodland walk, spot the fairy doors, embark on the willow maze and refuel at the lovely Northwood Kitchen.
Northwood Trail, Buttercrambe Moor Woods, Buttercrambe, York, North Yorkshire, YO41 1AP – Visit the website for more info
Explore a medieval house at Barley Hall – Barley Hall is one of York’s hidden gems, and another great JORVIK Group attraction with plenty of hands-on activities for children. Tucked away down Coffee Yard, it’s a stunning medieval townhouse that’s been painstakingly restored. Hands-on activities will keep the kids entertained – Visit the Barley Hall website
United Adventure holiday camps – United Adventure’s ever-popular holiday camps return to venues in and around York this May half-term, including The Mount School. Use the Little Vikings discount code for 10% off your booking: LVUAC10. Visit the United Adventures website for more details.
Take a jeep ride at The Balloon Tree – Head over to The Balloon Tree, just outside Stamford Bridge, this may half term. Enjoy something to eat and drink in the cafe while the kids play in the play area and then treat them to a go on the Jeep track. Why not pick some asparagus while you’re there? Visit The Balloon Tree website.
Discover the City Walls Experience at Micklegate Bar – A brand new museum for York, City Walls Experience at Micklegate Bar, is now open. 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! Visit the City Walls Experience website for info
See the engines at the National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum is one of the best family-friendly attractions in York, with plenty of hands-on activities for children. And it’s free too! Pre-booking is required. Open daily; visit the website.
Check out the new Plotters’ Forest at Raby Castle
The Plotters’ Forest is a bespoke children’s play area to the north of Raby Castle nestled in the magical Christmas tree plantation. From stargazing decks to towers and tunnels, high-level walkways and three-storey forts in the forest, this incredible space offers an imaginative playground for all ages to enjoy. The new attraction has purpose-built areas for toddlers, with mini turrets and lookout decks. Visit the Raby Castle website for details
Play a round of wizard golf
Head to The Hole in Wand in York’s Coppergate Centre and have a go at wizard-themed minigolf at the city’s newest attraction. It’s great fun and good value, too. Visit The Hole in Wand website to book
Go for a family walk around York
Spring is the perfect time for a family walk: see the flowers in bloom, keep an eye out for butterflies and enjoy some fresh Yorkshire air. Take a look at our guide to the best places for a family walk in and around York for inspiration for all ages and abilities.
Do the Little Vikings I Spy Trail
Recommended by The Sunday Times, the free Little Vikings I Spy Trail is one of the best ways to explore York on foot with children. Collect a map from the Visit York Information Centre or click here to download it from our website.