Don’t let rain stop play! There are plenty of things to do in and around York when the weather turns northern, and these are some of the best things to do on rainy days in York with kids.
National Railway Museum
Explore, learn and play at the National Railway Museum, unofficially York’s umbrella. There’s lots for children to see and do, with incredible engines and hands-on activities galore. There’s a small indoor play area for younger children and you can take a ride on the miniature train (small charge) or even take the road train into town (small charge). Children’s activities run during the school holidays. Admission’s free, too. Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ – Visit the Railway Museum’s website
Paint something at Rainbows Ceramics
Paint a pot, tile, mug, piggybank or anything else at York’s popular ceramic painting place on Bootham. Refreshments are available, too, if you need some fuel for your creativity. 15 – 17 Bootham, York YO30 7BW – Visit the Rainbows Ceramics website.
Head to one of York’s indoor attractions
There’s no shortage of museums in York to take cover in. The Railway Museum is excellent, free and can keep a family occupied for a good few hours. If that’s not your thing, there are lots of other options, from the Yorkshire Museum (dinosaurs, Romans, Vikings and more) to York Castle Museum (visit the Victorian street, Kirkgate, and learn about times gone by) to DIG – An archaeological adventure (one of our favourites).
The world-famous JORVIK Viking Centre is world-class, and its younger sibling, DIG: An Archaeological Adventure lets children channel their inner Indiana Jones. York Minster also has more for children now than ever before and is under cover (except if you go up onto the roof of course). Kids can borrow an Explorer Backpack (free), packed full of fun stuff to capture their imagination during your visit. York’s Chocolate Story is a fab chocolate attraction full of fascinating facts and hands-on activity. York Explore Library is a good place to seek shelter, too, with a great children’s section and cafe.
Further afield, The Deep is a fantastic aquarium in Hull that all the family will enjoy. Over in Leeds, the Royal Armouries is a good day out and admission is free there too. Tropical World is a good option too – see the butterflies, meerkats and other exotic creatures. Over in Halifax, children’s museum Eureka! is hard to beat.
Play at Creepy Crawlies
Let them climb, slide and play to their heart’s content at Creepy Crawlies at the Web Adventure Park. There’s a huge indoor climbing frame, play village, football zone and regular activities. See if you can persuade them outside for some fresh air and to play in the adventure playground too. Wigginton Road, York YO30 7BW – Visit the Web Adventure Park website
Catch a movie
With four cinemas in York to choose from, you should be able to find something to please the family. City Screen is a lovely city-centre cinema with a fab café and riverside views. It has a regular Saturday morning kids’ club, toddler time (usually a short 30-minute show), Big Scream viewings for parents/carers with babies under a year old and autism-friendly showings (City Screen Picturehouse, 13-17 Coney Street, York YO1 9QL).
Everyman York is a sumptuous cinema showing mainstream and arthouse films. There’s a Baby Club so you can take your little one and enjoy a hot drink and cake with your ticket (Everyman York, Odeon Buildings, Blossom Street, York YO24 1AJ; visit the website). Vue is an out-of-town, multiscreen extravaganza showing all major new releases (Vue York, Clifton Moor Centre, Stirling Road, York YO30 4XY). Brand new to the York cinema scene is Cineworld York with thirteen state-of-the-art screens, IMAX and more. Community Stadium, Kathryn Avenue, York YO30 4XY – Visit the Cineworld York website
Jump off some energy at Energi York
Stop the kids bouncing off the walls at home and let them bounce off some energy at York’s only indoor trampoline park instead. Book a one-hour session – as well as standard jumping sessions, there are toddler sessions, family sessions and sessions for children with additional needs – and let them jump to their heart’s content. There are various zones like the foam pit, dodgeball area and basketball. 3-7 Rose Ave, York YO26 6RU – visit the Energi website