If you’ve visited York’s St Helen’s Square this Christmas, you might just have picked up the scent of gingerbread in the air. That’s because the Mansion House has transformed itself with a gingerbread house theme, and we went along to experience it for ourselves. Here are our top five reasons to visit York Mansion House with children this Christmas.
1. The Gingerbread Man Trail
We do love a trail – it’s a simple but brilliantly effective way to engage children in almost anything, and this one is great. At the admission desk, we were given a trail sheet that challenged us to find the wooden gingerbread men that have been hidden throughout the house. Unlike some trails that we’ve done, this one is a proper challenge and you do have to look carefully to find them all. We managed to complete it and our efforts were rewarded with a chocolate coin – bonus!
2. See Georgian gingerbread being made
The historic kitchen is always our favourite room in the Mansion House and on our visit we really enjoyed watching Georgian gingerbread being made. It’s nothing like the gingerbread we’re familiar with but it smells incredible. We took home a recipe so that we can try making it for ourselves. While we were there, our eldest had to have a go at making a virtual Georgian meal. It’s a really clever hands-on activity that our children love doing, and brings to life the sort of things that would have been made in the kitchen in centuries past.
3. The house looks stunning
As one of York’s finest buildings in one of York’s prime locations, the pressure is on to look good at this time of year and the Mansion House certainly does. We loved seeing the State Room all set up for a Christmas feast, complete with a ‘gingerbread’ version of the Mansion House itself.
4. There’s an interactive audio tour
Trails aside, the other thing that engages our children at visitor attractions is, predictably, technology. We were very pleased, then, to be given a tablet to take around with us, complete with a short, entertaining commentary for each room, including parts that are specifically for children. It’s an accessible way to to find out more about the house and helps to really bring it to life.
5. There’s a 50% discount for York residents
Lucky enough to live in York? Take along proof of residence for a 50% discount on admission, making it just £3.25 for an adult and £1.75 for over 5s (and under 5s go free too). Sweet!