Where do you go when one child wants to see animals, the other wants to go to the park to play on the swings, and the last one just wants to run about? For us, the answer to that conundrum one sunny Sunday was Murton Park, or the Yorkshire Museum of Farming as it’s also known. Here’s what we made of it.
What is The Yorkshire Museum of Farming?
Like a supermarket ‘buy one get two free’ deal, a visit to Murton Farm gives you access not only to the little museum of Yorkshire history, but also the Danelaw Centre for Living History and The Derwent Valley Light Railway (not running when we visited, but hopefully up and running again soon). In practice, what that means is that families have a good range of activities to enjoy.
The museum & outdoor area
The museum itself is unlikely to be the part of Murton Park that has kids asking to return: although it’s interesting for adults, it’s small and full of vintage farming equipment that you wouldn’t want a toddler hurling itself towards at full pelt. There is a very small soft play zone that’s currently off-limits thanks to the old Corona killjoy, but would be a life-saver for parents of small children during virus-free times.
No, it’s the outdoor area that is the jewel in Murton Park’s crown: although it’s not the largest, the playground has more than enough equipment to keep our three children occupied for a good half hour (and the picnic benches are a bonus for supervising parents). There was plenty of hand sanitiser to reduce the spread of germs – just one of a few Covid-related safety measures that we were grateful for.
Once we managed to extract the kids from the playground, we embarked on the nature trail, a one-kilometre walk around the site that’s unlikely to challenge little legs too much. We might not have spotted much in the way of rare breeds of birds or bees, but we did spot some butterflies, run around in the long grass and play yet another game of hide-and-seek.
The Roman Fort and Viking Village
We’ve done an awful lot of nature trails, but we can confidently report that very few of them (none, in fact) have included stop-offs at a replica Roman fort or Viking village. This was an unexpected bonus for all of us: the kids enjoyed running around them and poking their noses into the houses, grain stores and toilets (obviously), while the adults awarded themselves several homeschooling points (and at the weekend, too!).
Meeting the animals
Our kids, like most, are animal-mad, so they were delighted to see Murton Park’s little selection of furry and feathered friends: sheep, hens, guinea pigs and the fluffiest rabbit you’ve ever seen.
Food and drink
The cafe at Murton Park was operating a very limited take-out service when we visited, but you are also welcome to take your own picnic. There are picnic tables and plenty of space.
Good to know
There’s no need to pre-book your ticket. Parking is free and there’s plenty of it. Look out for the popular Santa Specials during December.
We spent a good couple of hours at Murton Park and really enjoyed all of the outdoor activities. Traditional but quirky, we appreciated the lack of structure and hands-off approach to our visit. Exploring the Roman fort and Viking village was a real highlight, and the kids just loved the freedom of running about in the grass and seeing the animals. It felt like good value for an afternoon out, and the fact that the tickets are valid for a year is a real bonus. We’ll definitely be back.
Time from York – 15 minutes (approx)
Price – Family of four £25 (tickets valid for 12 months); under 2s free
Address – Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton, York YO19 5UF