The longest holidays of the year are upon us, but don’t panic! It’s a long time to keep children entertained, but there are lots of things going on in and around York to get involved with. As always, we’ve handpicked the very best events and activities, with plenty of ideas for every budget and weather condition (but it’s going to be sunny the whole time, right?). Here are our highlights so far, and keep checking back for our very best things to do in and around York during summer 2022. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter through our website, too, so you never miss a thing.
– Summer holidays in York 2022 –
Magical Woodland Adventure at Mother Shiptons – There’s something truly magical happening this Summer in Knaresborough for all the family. Explore an enchanted wood filled with fairy houses, giant toadstools, and fairy-tale themed displays. Second star to the right, and straight on ‘til morning. To follow the fairy door trail, all you’ll need is faith, trust, and pixie dust! Dressing up in your sparkliest fairy wings or pointiest elf hat is thoroughly encouraged. 22nd July to 5th September 2022 – Visit the Mother Shipton’s website
Have an ice cream! – Cool down with a delicious ice cream this summer. We’ve put together a handy guide to our very best places in York for ice cream, from ice cream boats to a traditional Sicilian gelateria – Read our guide to where to find the best ice cream in York.
Visit the Yorkshire Coast – There’s no better time than summer to visit the Yorkshire Coast, and there’s a whole host of things to do. As well as the pretty beaches (Hunmanby, Fraisthorpe, Runswick Bay, Robin Hood’s Bay and Bridlington are some of our favourites), there are some excellent attractions too. Sewerby Hall & Gardens, Scarborough Sea Life, Peasholm Park in Scarborough, Alpamare, Whitby Abbey and Scarborough Castle are all well worth a trip. Read our guide to the best of the Yorkshire Coast for families here.
See Clifford’s Tower transformed York’s iconic Clifford’s Tower has reopened after a £5m transformation by English Heritage and it’s amazing. It’s also a lot easier to visit with children, and has some of the best views of the city. Read our review here.
Open daily – Clifford’s Tower, Tower St, York YO1 9SA – Visit the Clifford’s Tower website for all the details
Head to JORVIK DIG – DIG is a hands-on archaeological adventure, from the Viking experts at JORVIK, that gives kids the chance to become trainee ‘diggers’ and discover the most exciting artefacts from 2000 years of York’s history! Tours last one hour and you are strongly advised to pre-book your place.
DIG, St Saviour’s Church, St Saviourgate, York, YO1 8NN – booking recommended – Visit the DIG website
Get lost in the willow maze at Northwood Trail
Northwood Trail is a magical place to visit with children (winner of the Little Vikings Award for Most Magical Experience, no less). Enjoy the woodland walk, spot the fairy doors, embark on the willow maze and refuel at the lovely Northwood Kitchen.
Northwood Trail, Buttercrambe Moor Woods, Buttercrambe, York, North Yorkshire, YO41 1AP – Visit the website for more info
Explore a medieval house at Barley Hall – Barley Hall is one of York’s hidden gems, and another great JORVIK Group attraction with plenty of hands-on activities for children. Tucked away down Coffee Yard, it’s a stunning medieval townhouse that’s been painstakingly restored. Hands-on activities will keep the kids entertained – Visit the Barley Hall website
United Adventure holiday camps – United Adventure’s ever-popular holiday camps return to venues in and around York this summer, including The Mount School. Use the Little Vikings discount code for 10% off your booking: LVUAC10. Visit the United Adventures website for more details.
Take a jeep ride and pick some fruit at The Balloon Tree – Head over to The Balloon Tree, just outside Stamford Bridge, this summer. Enjoy something to eat and drink in the cafe while the kids play in the play area and then treat them to a go on the Jeep track. Why not pick some asparagus while you’re there? Visit The Balloon Tree website.
Discover the City Walls Experience at Micklegate Bar – A brand new museum for York, City Walls Experience at Micklegate Bar, is now open. Take the kids to visit one of the historic gateways into the city – and discover 2,000-year stories involving battles, imprisonment and near destruction! Visit the City Walls Experience website for info
See the engines at the National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum is one of the best family-friendly attractions in York, with plenty of hands-on activities for children. And it’s free too! Pre-booking is required. Open daily; visit the website.
Check out the new Plotters’ Forest at Raby Castle
The Plotters’ Forest is a bespoke children’s play area to the north of Raby Castle nestled in the magical Christmas tree plantation. From stargazing decks to towers and tunnels, high-level walkways and three-storey forts in the forest, this incredible space offers an imaginative playground for all ages to enjoy. The new attraction has purpose-built areas for toddlers, with mini turrets and lookout decks. Visit the Raby Castle website for details
Play a round of wizard golf
Head to The Hole in Wand in York’s Coppergate Centre and have a go at wizard-themed minigolf at the city’s newest attraction. It’s great fun and good value, too. Visit The Hole in Wand website to book
Go for a family walk around York
Spring is the perfect time for a family walk: see the flowers in bloom, keep an eye out for butterflies and enjoy some fresh Yorkshire air. Take a look at our guide to the best places for a family walk in and around York for inspiration for all ages and abilities.
Do the Little Vikings I Spy Trail
Recommended by The Sunday Times, the free Little Vikings I Spy Trail is one of the best ways to explore York on foot with children. Collect a map from the Visit York Information Centre or click here to download it from our website.
Firewatchers of The Bar Convent – This year marks the 80th Anniversary of the Baedeker Raids in York. As part of The Bar Convent’s display, Baedeker: 80 Years On, younger visitors can discover more about the bravery of the sisters and the school pupils during the war. Find out about what the firewatchers did during the war and make your own firewatcher badge. Included in admission to the exhibition.
Daily until November 2023 – Visit The Bar Convent website