Rainy Days

Rainy Days Little VikingsWhile it’s definitely not grim up north, it does occasionally rain. Entertaining children when the weather’s bad can be difficult, but luckily there are plenty of things to do in York to keep them busy come rain or shine. Here are our top picks.


Okay, so you’ll still get wet, but swimming will help the kids burn off some energy even if the weather is poor. There are plenty of swimming options to choose from in York; Energise and York Sport are very popular with families as they’re new, purpose-built centres with good pools and decent changing facilities.


Who doesn’t love bowling? It’s fast and fun and gets everyone involved. Tenpin is the place to bowl in York. It’s not cheap, but if you book in advance or go off-peak, you can get great discounts.


Explore York Library is a good place to take shelter if you’re in town and it’s pouring down. The children’s section is well-stocked and is a good place to let crawlers loose. If you can time it so you arrive for a storytelling session, even better. There’s a cafe, too, and free internet access for library card holders.

The Museums

There’s no shortage of museums in York to take cover in. The National 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 to Jorvik, York Castle Museum to DIG. If you’ve got a YorkCard (available from York libraries for York residents for £5), you can buy a discounted YMT Card which gives free entry to York Art Gallery, the Yorkshire Museum and York Castle Museum for a  year. There’s more information about the YMT Card here. It’s not a museum, but you might not know that the Minster has more for children now than ever before and is under cover (except if you go up onto the roof of course).

Designer Outlet

As well as the shops, the Designer Outlet is popular for its covered outdoor play area. It might not be huge, but it’s dry and has a good range of play equipment. Parking is free.

Creepy Crawlies

If your children are still at the age of enjoying soft play, they’ll love Creepy Crawlies. It’s big, has an excellent range of equipment and a decent cafe. Families can – and do – spend hours here, especially if the weather is bad. It’s not cheap, but if you spend a while here then it ends up being a very reasonable hourly rate!

Wacky Warehouse

Another soft play option that will keep you dry. Wacky Warehouse is much smaller than Creepy Crawlies, and there’s not much for older children, but that’s reflected in the cheaper admission price.


With three cinemas to choose from, there’s usually at least a couple of family-friendly film options showing somewhere. Check out the websites for the latest what’s on information.

Paint a plate

If you’ve never done it before (or even if you have), ceramic painting is a fun way to spend an hour or two. Just choose what you’d like to paint – from bowls to tiles, mugs to ornaments and much more – and get cracking. The staff at Rainbows Ceramics are very friendly and more than happy to help anyone struggling to create their masterpiece. Pop in a week or so later to pick it up once it’s been glazed, or they can post it out. Ask for details.