For our kids, a school holiday isn’t a school holiday without a visit to York Castle Museum. They love it there (the eldest even had his birthday party there – this and lots of other York birthday party options here). In fact we seem to spend almost as much time on Kirkgate – the recreated Victorian street – as on our own street. We had an afternoon to fill so we headed over to the museum with a hunch there’d be more than enough to entertain the kids. And we were right.
There’s so much to see and do at the Castle Museum that it’s hard to know where to start, so we’ll focus on the highlights. We usually head left after the welcome desk (having not paid a penny to enter – that YMT Card has paid for itself several times over) but this time we headed right towards the World War One exhibition. There are lots of interesting exhibits that bring the era to life, from fancy cars to hats you can try on and train carriages you can sit in. Our eldest (6) found it really interesting and all three children enjoyed going through the trench tunnel and getting hands-on as we worked our way around.
From there, we went forward in time to the 1960s where we listened to The Who’s Our Generation and marveled at the size of the TVs (‘it looks like it’s been knitted!’. It did too). The whole exhibition is bright, colourful and cheered us all up after the harsh realities of the First World War.
Then onwards past the Castle Prison (too dark and scary for my brood) to the Toy Stories exhibition. We must have visited a hundred times, but they never tire of seeing the old toys – and lots of new ones – and doing the teddy bear trail.
From there we moved onto the new Shaping the Body exhibition, a journey through fashion, food and lifestyle. They loved seeing all the old clothes, trying some on and even having a very shy turn on the illuminated catwalk. It’s great, and made us feel very lucky to live in a time when we can get away with jeans and a T-shirt – no corset required. Last stop was our favourite place: Kirkgate, the Victorian street. We never get bored of looking at the vintage window displays or popping into the recreated shops. Well, one shop in particular if we’re honest: the sweet shop. Sugar mice all round. Summer holiday magic.
York Castle Museum, Eye of York, York YO1 9RY – open 9.30am to 5pm – adult £9.09/under 16 free/YMT Card holders free – more information here