It’s officially picnic weather, so shake out your blankets, dust off the Tupperware and enjoy some meals in the great outdoors. No need to worry about crumbs or restaurant meltdowns – hooray! There’s no doubt that eating outside is, on the whole, more relaxing than attempting a proper sit-down meal where kids are involved. There are more picnic places in York city centre than ever before, with wild grass animals and colourful picnic benches popping up all over the place. Here’s our pick of the very best picnic spots for kids in York (and for ideas for picnic places further afield, take a look at our handy guide).
York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square – Eat under the watchful eye of a lion outside York Art Gallery! As well as picnic benches, there’s a little fountain that will keep children amused. Admission’s free to the gallery if you fancy popping in, and there’s a cafe too (takeaway available).
Dean’s Park, York Minster – This beautiful spot outside York Minster is now home to a little picnic corner. There’s plenty of space for children to run about, and even an ice cream van to cool you down when the sun’s out. Don’t forget that kids go free to York Minster, if you’d like to call in when you’re there, and York residents get in free too.
Tower Gardens – Just across the road from Clifford’s Tower is a lovely little pop-up picnic area with colourful benches and pollinators. It’s a lovely riverside spot to watch the boats go by. Dyls cafe bar is a great place to pick up a takeaway drink, and CS Sourdough on Tower Street does amazing pastries, sandwiches and coffee.
The Eye of York – Right next to York Castle Museum is another little picnic area with a wonderful photo opportunity. Chill out with an ice cream or drink and enjoy an amazing view of Clifford’s Tower.
St William’s College – This brand new pocket park at St William’s College, around the side of York Minster, is a hit with children thanks to the balancing stones. It’s a peaceful place in beautiful surroundings, with plenty of independent cafes nearby if you’d like something to eat or drink.
Library Garden, Explore York – The garden of Explore York Library is a bit of a hidden gem, and almost guaranteed to be quiet even when York is heaving with crowds. If you’re lucky, you might even get to have a seat on the big deckchair if it’s still there! The library cafe is a good option for homecooked food and hot and cold drinks.
York Minster Gardens – Another new green space that’s now open to everyone is York Minster Gardens, opposite York Minster and adjacent to the new York Minster Refectory. It’s free to enter and has a stunning view of one of the country’s finest cathedrals.
Duncombe Place – You’ll find another fun green space close to York Minster at Duncombe Place, opposite the Dean Court Hotel. As well as a bear watching over proceedings, there’s a decent number of picnic benches.
York Museum Gardens – One of York’s most popular summer spots is the Museum Gardens, a beautiful botanical garden in the heart of the city. There’s oodles of space to lay out a picnic blanket and lots of nooks and crannies for kids to explore. There’s always lots to do at the Yorkshire Museum, which is right in the centre of the gardens, so that’s worth checking out while you’re there.