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.
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. Visit the website to book your free tickets.
A nature-inspired May half term at Murton Park – Have a go at nature-inspired Lego and much more! There’s lots going on at Murton Park this half term. Take a look at all the details here.
Treasure Island at Mother Shipton’s – This May Half Term, gather all your SHIPmates and join an ARRRR-mazing expedition at Mother Shipton’s Treasure Island experience. During your quest, you’ll SEA plenty of KRACKEN photo opportunities and explore abso-LOOT-ley epic nautical scenes, but be sure to watch out for the swashbuckling PIRATE! Daily during half term – Visit the website
Around the World in 80 Stories at Lotherton – Delve into stories old and new and travel around the world in 80 stories at Lotherton. There will be stories for all ages, excitement and adventure around the estate: pick up a trail and follow the stories around the estate using your map. Pop into the house for more stories and dressing up, then head into the beautiful gardens for outdoor games and a picnic if it’s nice! Take a stroll to Wildlife World to see amazing animals and meet Edwardian zoologist Dr Henrietta Wright-Legge for lively tales of animals from around the world. Daily during half term; visit the Lotherton website
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
Farmyard fun at Beetle Bank Farm – There’s a selection of friendly animals to meet and feed this May half-term: cuddle a rabbit, guinea pig or chick in the large petting barn. During the week, Game On York will be back with inflatable games, Gosling Raptors are visiting with their beautiful owls and RugbyTots are heading down too. There’s also a new play area, ride-ons, zip wire, bouncy castles and plenty of space to play. The cafe serves locally sourced home-cooked food (the chocolate brownie is a must! Please check the website for details of the days and times of events.
Hidden Harriers Trail at the Yorkshire Air Museum – A new children’s trail for the Yorkshire Air Museum, find the Hidden Harriers around the Museum. ‘H’ the Harrier – one of the museum’s new mascots – is hiding around the site. Can you spot all ten of his hiding places and find the letters that make up the secret word? This is a great new trail for kids of all ages, and it’s free with admission. Find out more here.
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% on the early morning tour slots (9.30am and 9.45am) during half term – Discount automatically applied – Visit the website
The Big Hob Hunt at York Mansion House – Hobs are little household faeries (old English) that 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 and complete some fun Hob-stacles! The Hob Trail is included in admission. 27th May to 4th June 2023 – Visit the website
Woldie’s Queen Bee Quest – Woldie’s Queen Bee has a new quest! Find all the bees to crack the code and reveal the secret word to win a prize. Check out the Queen Bee and her colony in Woldie’s giant observation hive – book online. A new footgolf course is opening for May Half Term too – challenge your friends and family on the brand new course and obstacles! Visit www.woldies.co.uk – 27th May to 4th June 2023 – Woldies Lavender & Nature Farm, Wintringham, Malton YO17 8HW
The Spring Swashbuckle Pirates’ Adventure at Stockeld Park – Spend the day hunting down the hidden passwords in the Enchanted Forest, laughing through the magical maze, flexing your creative muscles during arrrrts and crafts and boogieing down during the pirate party dances. Catch all these activities and more around the park throughout the spring adventure. For indoor fun, don’t miss the fantastic Playhive indoor play area. 27th May to 4th June 2023 – Visit the website
Family fun at Dalby Forest – Embark on the Zog Trail, do the Gruffalo Orienteering Trail or do the high ropes at Go Ape this half term. On Friday 2nd June, you can also enjoy a free family sports day, with relay races, football, frisbee and more. Bring your competitive spirit and create lasting memories with your loved ones. Visit the Dalby Forest 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 16th 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.
Explore your imagination at York Castle Museum – It’s all about imagination and play at York Castle Museum this half term! Enjoy this much-loved museum with added ‘imagination’ stations positioned throughout, from creative craft activities to playful photo opportunities. Whether you’re taking a stroll on the cobbles of our Victorian Street, reminiscing in our 60s gallery or enjoying the fabulous fashion collections, there will be themed activities that’ll spark imagination for all ages to enjoy along the way! Open daily – Visit the website
Romans at the Yorkshire Museum – Learn all about the Romans at the Yorkshire Museum this half term! Meet a real-life Roman and listen to his stories, enjoy family-friendly games and crafts and explore the latest exhibition ‘The Ryedale Hoard: A Roman Mystery’, featuring some of Yorkshire’s most significant Roman objects. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5pm. Visit the website
Marvellous and Mischievous at York Art Gallery – This exciting new exhibition at York Art Gallery shines a light on the British Library’s vast collection of children’s literature and explores characters who break the rules and defy conventions, from Pippi Longstocking to Jane Eyre, Matilda and Dirty Bertie. There are hands-on activities too. Daily during half term – Visit the website
Stay with the family at Middletons Hotel – School’s out, but plans are in. Middletons Hotel – part of Daniel Thwaites – provides 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 great 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
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
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 >
Great British Food Festival at Harewood – The Great British Food Festival is returning to Harewood for 2023. 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. Saturday 27th to Monday 29th May 2023, 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. 27th to 28th May 2023 – Visit the Visit Malton website for details
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! Plus, you can discover even more beautiful Viking artefacts – the Silverdale Hoard, featuring jewellery, coins and hack silver, is at JORVIK this May half-term. Visit the 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 – 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
Explore the woods at the Northwood Trail – Northwood Trail 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 Northwood Kitchen.
Northwood Trail, Buttercrambe Moor Woods, Buttercrambe, York, North Yorkshire, YO41 1AP – Visit the website for more info
Discover a hidden medieval gem– 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. Little ones can make themselves at home, join in dress-up fun and activities in a Tudor School Room and experience what it would have been like to live in medieval England. Don’t miss The Bard at Barley Hall, featuring costumes worn by Al Pacino, Kate Winslet and more. Plus, visitors can dress up in Shakespearean costumes and perform their own scenes and stage their own shadow puppet performances.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.
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
The Women Who Made History at The Bar Convent – Did you know that the first schools for girls in this country were established by The Bar Convent’s religious order – the second school in their house? All while having to hide their true identity because Catholicism was illegal! Discover more about the trailblazing women of the Bar Convent whose bravery and determination made history locally, nationally and around the world. Complete the trail and you might win a voucher for the cafe! Included in admission price. Daily during half term except Sundays – 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.