Review: York Maze 2018

When the year ticks over to July and I start to panic about how we’re going to fill the summer holidays, I always ask the kids what they’d like to do while they’re off. We write a list,  and I can guarantee that somewhere near the top of it is a visit to York Maze. Open for just a few weeks a year (over the summer holidays and a week for October half term), there’s a real sense of catch-it-while-you-can. Without a moment to lose, we headed over to Elvington on the day it opened for summer to find out what’s on offer for families this summer.

We started off as we always do: at the giant play area and sandpit, where all three children (3, 6 and 8) found plenty to occupy themselves: climbing, swinging, digging and clambering to their heart’s content. It’s great that there’s enough to do for children of all ages. Eventually, we lured them out with a mention of the giant jumping pillow, always a firm favourite and well-managed so that younger and older children jump separately.

From there it was onto the Mineshaft Maze, their absolutely favourite: it’s a wooden complex of tunnels and towers that’s perfect for hide-and-seek and they would happily spend all day exploring it. Only the thought of a go on the new Volcorno persuaded them out. The youngest two opted out but the eldest enjoyed the challenge of climbing up it using the hand-holds and sliding down. It’s a great addition for slightly older kids.

No sooner had he conquered it than it was time for the show, Mazey and Willie’s Get Lost Show. If you’ve enjoyed the Maze’s shows before, you won’t be disappointed: it’s a suitably silly story, brought to life by a talented cast, hilarious props and a sparkling script. Expect daft songs, innuendos and audience participation: the kids loved it so much that they kept asking if we could see it again. But there was no time for that if we were going to fit everything in: we navigated the Maze of Illusions, met the birds of prey, stroked a hedgehog, clambered across the Cornwall climbing wall, did the Finger Fortune Maze, saw a ‘real’ dinosaur and braved the House of Cornfusion (not for the faint-hearted!) among other things.

Somehow we managed to squeeze in a quick lunch, too, where we were impressed by the quality and value of the food. Prices are remarkably low for an attraction of this type, and picnicking is encouraged too, so you can pack your sandwiches and save money.

While this might not be the cheapest summer family day out in York, it is one of the best and you never get the impression that the Maze is taking advantage of its captive audience. Far from it: we found that the friendly staff were eager to please and genuinely keen to make sure that people were having fun. We had a full day there and still didn’t have time to attempt the giant maze – this year with a Jurassic World theme. The kids are delighted though – as far as they’re concerned, we’ve not ticked it off the list yet because we didn’t do the maze, so they’ve got the perfect excuse for a return visit.

York Maze is open until Monday 3rd September 2018. Visit the York Maze website for more details and to book.

Thank you to York Maze for inviting us to visit. As always, our reviews are entirely genuine and we will never recommend something unless we have enjoyed it. Sometimes we do things that we wouldn’t recommend, but we keep those experiences to ourselves and tell you about the places we love instead.

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