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May half term in York: Our guide to the best things to do

York river bridge

May half term in York runs from 25th May to 2nd June 2024 and there’s plenty going on for families to enjoy . 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, Instagram and TikTok for daily inspiration too.


💰 The best free and cheap things to do in York

☔️ Rainy days in York

🧙‍♂️The best Harry Potter things to do in York

🛌 The best places to stay in York with kids

🥴 The best unusual things to do in York

👶🏼 The best things to do in York with a baby/toddler

📗 Read the Little Vikings Family Guide to York

😎 The best things to do with older kids and teens in York

railway museum york

Enjoy a free day out at the Railway Museum – Looking for something to do this May? Come rain or shine, a visit to the National Railway Museum is a great day out. From locomotive giants to a magnificent model railway and the refreshed indoor play space for younger visitors, there’s plenty to delight visitors of all ages. Why not splash out on admission tickets to Wonderlab, the new interactive gallery aimed at children, too? Visit the National Railway Museum website to book your tickets.

mother shiptons may half term

Lost Boys at Mother Shipton’s – This May Half Term, all you need is faith, trust and pixie dust! Head to Mother Shipton’s from 25th May to the 2nd June and step into the enchanting world of Peter Pan with ‘Lost Boys’. Embark on an adventure like no other as you explore themed displays inspired by the wild children from the beloved story of Peter Pan. From shipwrecks to pirate hideouts and fairy-themed displays, pose amidst scenes straight out of a storybook. Visit the Mother Shipton’s website for more info and to book

Piglets Adventure Farm

May half-term adventures at Piglets Adventure Farm – From exploring The Beach to getting up close to farmyard friends, jumping on the bumpy Barrel Train Ride and burning off energy in the indoor play area, there’s lots to enjoy this half-term. Open daily; visit the Piglets website

yorkshire museum star carr

Star Carr: Life After the Ice at The Yorkshire Museum – Explore what human life was like 11,000 years ago, a few hundred years after the last Ice Age, through an exciting new exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum, which brings together wonderful artefacts from one the most famous Mesolithic sites in the world. Through creative design and sensory space-making, visitors are immersed in the Mesolithic world of Star Carr through an interactive mural and soundscape. Children will also be able to follow the story of Star Carr through the eyes of a friendly dog who lived with the people by the lake. Included in admission www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk/

York's chocolate story - a family-friendly visitor attraction in york

Unwrap the history of chocolate at York’s Chocolate Story (and save 20%) – This award-winning attraction is located in the heart of the city, offering an interactive guided tour through 4000 years of chocolate history.  A tour guide will take you on a journey of York’s confectionary past and present, you’ll discover facts about iconic chocolate brands and even craft your own chocolate lolly. Save 20% with your Little Vikings Family CardVisit the website

Mansion House York

The Big Hob Hunt at York Mansion House – Hobs are little household faeries (old English)who have been haunting Yorkshire homes for centuries. There have been hobs in the 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 to York Mansion House to help find the little friends. The Hob Trail is included in admission. Visit the website

Stockeld Park summer

The Spring Adventure at Stockeld Park – Spend the day exploring the Enchanted Forest and its many play areas, laughing through the magical maze, bouncing on the outdoor inflatables, whizzing around the go kart track and much more. Why not visit the epic PlayHive indoor play area too? It’s one of the biggest in Europe and so much fun. 25th May to 2nd June 2024 Visit the website

Sewerby Wildlife Photographer of the Year 3

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 from 4th May to 14th July 2024 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.

Middletons Hotel York

Stay with the family at Middletons Hotel – Fancy a family break to York this half term? Middletons Hotel – part of Daniel Thwaites – is the perfect base for a family escape in York. The award-winning hotel also boasts the ultimate family-friendly ‘VI Little P’ package, expertly designed for little guests on-the-go. The Cottage rooms include a big king-size bed for adults and bunk beds for under 12s, so there’s plenty of space to unwind after a busy day. Look out for Terry’s Chocolate Oranges too! Visit the Middletons website

City Cruises York

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. Visit the City Cruises York website for more details

York golf range may half term

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+. Find out more about York Golf Range >

Harewood Food Festival 2022

Great British Food Festival at Harewood – The Great British Food Festival is returning to Harewood for 2024. 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 to make a fabulous foodie family day out. Saturday 25th to Monday 27th May 2024, 10am to 5.30pm  – Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds LS17 9LG – Visit the Harewood website for more details

Malton Food Festival

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. 25th to 27th May 2024 – Visit the Visit Malton website for details

Jorvik Viking Centre

Experience Viking-age York – Take your little Vikings to discover York’s Viking legacy at the award-winning JORVIK Viking Centre. Hop aboard our time capsule to 10th-century York, and take in the sights, sounds and even the smells – including rotting fish and cabbages – 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. Ask them what Vikings had for tea or if they did homework! This Spring is your last chance to see the Herefordshire Hoard at JORVIK! See 29 silver coins a beast’s head gold bracelet, a gold ring and a rock crystal pendant when you visit.  Visit the website

Clifford's Tower York

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

york dig an archaeological adventure

Head to JORVIK DIG – At DIG, kids get to discover 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, so… DIG IT! SHAKE IT! SEE IT! FEEL IT! FIND IT! Spring is the best time to explore the garden at DIG! See what plants and wildlife you can spot when you visit – it’s also a great spot to tuck into some lunch.

DIG, St Saviour’s Church, St Saviourgate, York, YO1 8NN booking recommended – Visit the DIG website

Northwood Trail

Explore the woods at the Dreamery Gardens (formerly Northwood Trail) – Dreamery Gardens is a magical place to visit with children (winner of the Little Vikings Award for Most Magical Experience, no less), especially during spring. Enjoy the woodland walk, spot the fairy doors, embark on the willow maze and refuel at the lovely Dreamery Kitchen.

Dreamery Gardens, Buttercrambe Moor Woods, Buttercrambe, York, North Yorkshire, YO41 1AP – Visit the website for more info

Make a paper ruff at Barley Hall – 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. This York Fashion Week. be stylish like Shakespeare, trendy like a Tudor and chic like Charles I. Get crafty with the kids from 3rd to 6th May and make your own paper ruff! Plus, you can explore medieval rooms, dress up like Shakespeare and sit at the Great Hall, ready for a feast. Visit the Barley Hall website

city walls experience

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

Plotters Forest Raby Castle

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

The Hole in Wand

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

city walls experience

Explore the history of York’s walls – 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. Visit the website

Sutton Bank Visitor Centre

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.

I Spy York walking trail

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.

Allerthorpe Lakeland Park

Do something active – From clip’n’climb to aqua parks, soft play and swimming, you’ll find a selection of some of the most fun activities in York on our website. Take a look here for our pick of the best.

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