The best things to do around York this Easter with kids

Easter York 2021

It’s been a long time coming – and we’re not back to normal just yet – but as of March 29th 2021, we’re finally allowed to travel slightly further from home. What’s more, up to six people or two households are able to met in an outdoor space, including gardens and parks (no hugging or kissing though – social distancing is still required).

The ‘stay at home’ rule will be relaxed, with ‘minimize travel’ as the new message. It’s not clear exactly what that means, but it sounds as though days out from home are back on the agenda. Although zoos, theme parks and so on won’t open until 12th April at the earliest, there are plenty of places that are able to open their doors from 29th March for day-trippers. Note that most will require pre-booking, but, after waiting this long, we won’t be complaining about a bit of pre-planning getting in the way of a change of scene! Here’s a selection of some our favourites places that will be open from March 29th (or even, in some cases, before that date). Please do check their websites for exact opening hours and pre-booking requirements.

Skipper your own boat with City Cruises York

City Cruises York - River cruise

Take to the water with City Cruises York this Easter. Their self-drive red boat hire returns from 1st April 2021, so you can skipper your own boat along the Ouse (our kids absolutely love it).

Save £5 on self-drive boat hire on any day in April if you pre-book your hire online by the 31st of March using the promo code littlevikings5. They will also give £5 off for walk-up visitors with their Little Vikings Family Card on the day.

Explore York with the Little Vikings I Spy Trail

Little Vikings I Spy Trail Map York

We’ve just launched a brand new family walking trail around York, so why not give it a go? It’s fun, free and the best way to explore York on foot with kids! Download the I Spy Trail map here, or pick one up from the Visit York Information Centre on Museum Street when it opens. There are 22 things to spot along the way – see if you can find them all!

Discover Dalby Forest

Dalby Forest

Escape the madness and enjoy some Yorkshire air and exercise at Dalby Forest. Pick up a walking trail map from the Visitor Centre, and don’t miss the fantastic adventure playgrounds while you’re there. No pre-booking required.

Be adventurous at Castle Howard

Castle Howard

Castle Howard’s gardens and adventure playground, Skelf Island, are open to visitors for a run around in the beautiful Howardian Hills. You need to pre-book, and popular slots tend to go fast.

Enjoy the Easter trail at Mother Shipton’s

Mother Shiptons

Enjoy a trip over to Knaresborough and a visit to Mother Shipton’s. As well as a riverside walk, there’s an Easter trail and the adventure playground will be open. Pre-booking required.

Do the Easter trail at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery & Gardens

Beningbrough Hall

Beningbrough Hall’s opening hours will increase as the weather improves and we reach spring and summer, and it will be open for walks in the gardens and fun in the play area. While stocks last, there will be an Easter egg trail with a chocolate reward (From 1st April while stocks last). Pre-booking required.

Splash around at Allerthorpe Lakeland Park

Allerthorpe Lakeland Park

Allerthorpe Lakeland Park is a lovely place for some fresh air and exercise, whether you fancy a lakeland stroll or you’re in the mood for watersports. There are canoes, catamarans and stand-up paddleboards among other activities, as well as a couple of play areas. The park reopens on 30th March 2021, and pre-booking is necessary.

Play at Lotherton

Lotherton Hall

Lotherton is a popular option for families thanks to the numerous play areas, Wildlife World, walking trails and the fact that it’s a good value day out. Pre-book your tickets in advance.

Embark on a magical trail at Newby Hall

Newby Hall

Newby Hall opens its gates again on 1st April 2021. There will be an Enchanted Wood Trail through the magical woodland walk, with mysteries to solve, trees to hug, rhymes to learn, fairies to meet and troll bridges to cross. The trail will run until 11th April 2021.

Visit the Enchanted Forest at Stockeld Park


Stockeld Park is open again from 27th March 2021 with a magical Easter egg trail around The Enchanted Forest. See how many giant eggs you can find! The trail is included in the price of a day pass, and the Easter Adventure runs until 18th April 2021. Pre-booking required (be organised – tickets sell out fast).

Explore the gardens at Harlow Carr

Harlow Carr Free Entry 2019

Harlow Carr, just outside Harrogate, continues to be open for exercise (and jumping/climbing/running around the adventure playgrounds). See the seasons change and the flowers blossoming for spring. Pre-booking required.

Cross the stepping stones at Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey is open for walks, with plenty of options for little legs and more adventurous walkers. Our highlights are always the stepping stones and Welly Walk. Entry’s free, just pay to park (pre-book).

Easter holiday camps at The Mount School with United Education

United Adventures York The Mount

Get back to nature and make new friends at United Adventure Camps this Easter for children aged 3-14. Held at The Mount School, York, these unique holiday day camps give children and young adults an exciting multi-activity experience with the chance to enjoy loads of activities like team sports, craft, archery, games, drama and bushcraft to name a few.

Paint something Eastery with Rainbows Ceramics

Rainbows Ceramics easter

Here’s a lovely Easter activity: get creative and paint something from Rainbows Ceramics. Hop over to their website to order a selection of things to paint at home. You can then collect your selection from the Bootham studio, get creative at home, return to the studio and then collect once everything is glazed and fired.

Heaven’s Big Secret: An Easter Story with The Bar Convent

Bar Convent York

Discover ‘Heaven’s Big Secret’ as internationally best-selling York author and composer, Karen Langtree, leads us on a storytelling session of the Easter story through two of heaven’s smallest but very curious angels, Alfie and Alia. Her mesmerising and engaging storytelling is the perfect way to keep your children entertained and to discuss the Easter story in a child-friendly way. Complete the storytelling session with a fun sing-along of songs composed by Karen to the tune of fun and familiar nursery rhymes. The live-stream will be available through Karen Langtree’s YouTube Channel Friday 26 March, 9:30am to 10am, and a pre-recorded storytelling session is available through the Bar Convent website from 27th March 2021.

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