Fresh air, endangered species and a bit of a treasure hunt: if it’s a unique York family experience that you’re after, hunting for tansy beetles is high on the list. Not only is it a great free thing to do in York, but it’s screen-free too and will encourage kids to engage with nature and their surroundings: win-win.
What are tansy beetles and why are they special?
Tansy beetles are an endangered species of beetle that are only found on short stretch of York’s river Ouse. Take one look at a tansy beetle in real life and you’ll see why people are so keen to spot them: they are absolutely beautiful. The colours are stunning: this is no-filter nature at its best, and the green, jewel-like shell has to be seen to be believed.
Where to find tansy beetles in York
Locals have their favourite spots for finding tansy beetles – many of which remain a closely guarded secret! It’s important to note that tansy hibernate during the winter, and the best months to find them are April and May and August and September. They are most often found on the yellow tansy plant that they’re named after.
For lots of families, the joy of a tansy beetle hunt is in trying to find them without being given a specific location. If that’s you, look away now! We took our three children on a tansy beetle hunt recently and, despite very vocal protests about the idea of going for a walk, they were completely spellbound when we finally spotted them. It was absolutely worth the hunt and the whinging, and they’ve talked about it a lot since.
The two top places we’d recommend for where to find tansy beetles in York are:
– Fulford Ings – Park on Fulford Main Street near to the Bay Horse pub (there’s limited free on-street parking) and walk down the public footpath to Fulford Ings. It’s a very short walk down to the riverbank where you’ll see a picnic bench or two and an information board all about the tansy beetles.
– York Museum Gardens – Tansy beetles were introduced to York Museum Gardens a few years ago, and can often be found on the yellow tansy plants.
If you’re in York city centre, the tansy beetle mural is well worth a look. Find it on Queen Street, a short walk from York station. And for a grown-up night out, The Rattle Owl’s new Tansy Beetle bar is a lovely place for a relaxed drink in gorgeous surroundings. Happy tansy beetle hunting!