Summer holidays in York 2019: The Little Vikings Guide


From heading to the beach at Piglets Adventure Farm to getting lost at York Maze, exploring new Skelf Island at Castle Howard and getting crafty at York Minster, there’s lots going on in and around York this summer for families. Don’t forget the shows, too, with the return of the Great Yorkshire Fringe and Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, and Swallows & Amazons at York Theatre Royal. Looking for something free to do in York? The Railway Museum is one of our favourites. Why not sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge at the York libraries too? Without further ado, here’s our pick of the best summer holiday activities in York and beyond in 2019.

Head to DIG summer with your little ones and discover the fun of archaeology and history with these special Little Diggers sessions! Each session has a different theme and includes an opportunity to explore the DIG pits for longer than usual as well as taking part in a crafting activity which you can take home
DIG, St Saviour's Church, St Saviourgate ,York
Sundays in August and 1st September, 10am
£5 per child including one adult
Here’s what’s coming up at the Yorkshire Museum this summer. One Giant Leap! Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the moon landings with a cosmodome, film screenings, activities and more, this weekend at the Yorkshire Museum and York Observatory. Included in admission. No need to book. Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July The Fifty Six Million
The Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens, York YO1 7FR
Tuesday 23 July – Sunday 1 September, 11am – 4pm
Here’s what’s coming up at York Art Gallery for families this summer. Creative Collage   In response to the exhibition, Sounds Like Her, join local photomontage artist, Adele Karmazyn, and find your creative voice through the medium of collage. Using 19th century photographs, scanned images, textures and drawings, take inspiration from Adele’s collection and create a
York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York
Throughout the summer holidays
Summer is here, and from July 17th York Mansion House comes alive with hidden trails, sparkling treasure, and delicious smells winding up the stairs from the kitchen. An interactive adventure is waiting for you as you walk through dark corridors and vast halls, discovering York’s original house party, and your new home from home. MR
York Mansion House, St Helen's Square, York
17th July to 1st September 2019
The Summer Reading Challenge is a highlight of the summer for lots of York children, and it’s great for parents too. It encourages kids to work their way through lots of books in exchange for some fab prizes, and it’s totally free to take part. You might even get five minutes of peace while they’re
Join up at your local York library
13th July - 14th September 2019
From Swallows & Amazons at York Theatre Royal to children’s shows at the Great Yorkshire Fringe and Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, there’s a lot of family entertainment going on in York this summer. That’s as well as the various open-air cinemas popping up across the city and beyond. Find our pick of the best summer shows
Storytime and Rhyme with Christina Gabbitas Christina Gabbitas is an English children’s author and has created a story specifically for York Castle Museum. Come along and join one of our interactive storytelling workshop sessions led by Christina, based on her new story. Included in admission. No need to book. 7, 14 and 21 August –
York Castle Museum, Eye of York, York, YO1 9RY
Grab your wellies, it’s Countryfile Live! Coming to Castle Howard for the first time ever, this celebration of all things country promises to be a cracking summer day out for the whole family. Meet all your favourite BBC Countryfile heroes on The Main Stage, get up-close-and-personal with nature in The Wildlife Zone, watch spectacular stunts
Castle Howard, York
15th to 18th August 2019
A day out at Castle Howard with children just got better, and we couldn’t be more excited! From July 2019 there’s a brand new adventure playground called Skelf Island, with treetop nests connected by rope bridges, slides, nets and climbing equipment. For centuries, Skelves have lived in a secret world over the water from Castle
Castle Howard, York YO60 7DA
Open daily
There’s a jam-packed programme of animal and nature-related activities at Nunnington this summer, including the Bare Bones exhibition: get up close to intricate skeletons like the Burmese python and the tiny Papua New Guinea frog.  Why not head outdoors for the Summer of Sport – can you run like a cheetah or jump as high
Nunnington, near York, North Yorkshire, YO62 5UY
Enjoy summer days out and about at Beningbrough with a fun-filled holiday programme this August. Get hands-on with the garden team and become an apprentice on Mondays, head to the hall on Tuesdays for some bug busting with the conservation team and get ‘Artrageous!’ on Wednesdays and Fridays crafting in the hayloft. Celebrate all things
Beningbrough Hall, Beningbrough, York YO30 1DD
Open daily during the summer holidays, 10.30am to 5pm
No summer holiday in York is complete without a trip to the Railway Museum, and as always there’ll be plenty for children to do. Get involved in hands-on games and puzzles, invent new solutions to age-old problems, explore the locomotives and discover why this is a multi Little Vikings Award-winning York attraction. It’s great on
Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ
20th July to 1st September 2019
The craft activities at York Minster are always a hit with children and run on Wednesday 7th, 14th and 21st August; the first session’s free and the others are £2.50 in addition to admission (free for York residents). There are FREE activities going on in Dean’s Park too, from falconry viewing to crafts and more. 
York Minster, Deangate, York
27th July to 1st September 2019, 9am to 4.30pm
Pack an extra set of clothes and your swimwear for everyone as Piglets’ famous end-of-the-day foam parties return for the summer and there’s new sand and water fun. Splash your way through 2 acres of sand and water fun, take a selfie in the giant deck chair, climb Truffles Lifeguard tower and laze in a
Piglets Adventure Farm, Towthorpe Grange Towthorpe Moor Lane York, YO32 9ST
20th July to 1st September 2019
Book online to save
The barge, Selby Tony, comes to York in July and opens as a temporary festival venue from 16th July to 8th August 2019. It will be moored by Tower Gardens next to Skeldergate Bridge, with free and ticketed events. Here are some of the highlights for families: Phoenix Puppet Workshop (24th July) Kindermusik sessions (25th
Tower Gardens, Skeldergate Bridge, York
16th July to 8th August 2019
Price varies according to activity
Roll up and stay cool with some summer water fun at the Web Adventure Park! Squelch, squish and splish-splash with their new water activities this summer including: • Family fun and games led by the Splashtastic Activity Co-ordinator • Water battles – think balloons and supersoakers! • Water Sling Challenge (small additional charge) • Giant
The Web Adventure Park, Clifton Gate Business Park Wigginton Rd York
For an amazing family day out this summer, get lost at York Maze, home to Europe’s biggest maze and winner of many awards including Yorkshire’s Best Tourism Experience. York Maze is a complete family day out with over 20 rides, shows and attractions. NEW for 2019 come face-to-face with giant dinosaurs in the Jurassic Maize,
York Maze, Elvington Lane, York
13th July to 2nd September 2019
There’s lots going on at Beetle Bank Farm during the summer holidays, with various themed weeks. From 29th June to 2nd August, bring your bear to the teddy bears’ picnic; from 5th to 9th August, join the summer safari and meet some exotic animals; from12th to 16th August, it’s Family Fun Week with inflatables and
Beetle Bank Open Farm Moor Lane, Murton, York YO19 5XD
Throughout the summer
Take a trip to the pretty coastal town of Whitby and climb the steps to the Abbey to meet brave heroes and formidable foes from myths and legends. Get hands-on, enrol in sword school and enjoy exciting storytelling.
Abbey Lane, Whitby, YO22 4JT
20th July to 1st September 2019
Watch a tournament of strength, skill and horsemanship. Charging at each other at full speed, each knight will attempt to knock their opponent from their horse. The encampment will be alive with the sights, sounds and smells of medieval life: merry music, jester’s jokes, cookery and crafts.
Scarborough Castle, Castle Road, Scarborough, YO11 1HY
10th & 11th August 2019
Most Wednesdays throughout the summer holidays, head to lovely Burnby Hall to enjoy themed days, from sports day to pirates and a teddy bear’s picnic: July 24th – Sports Day, July 31st – Pirates of Burnby, 7th August – Teddy Bear’s Picnic, 14th August – Percy’s Adventures  
Burnby Hall Gardens, The Balk, Pocklington, York, YO42 2QF
There’s magic in the air at Mother Shipton’s in Knareborough this summer, with little witches and wizards welcome to wave their wands and enjoy the themed activities, petrifying well and adventure playgrounds. 24th July t 1st September 2019 – mothershipton.co.uk
Mother Shipton's Cave Prophecy Lodge, High Bridge Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 8DD
24th July to 1st September 2019

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