Kids are easily pleased, so you really don’t need to spend a fortune to have a good time. Luckily there are lots of free and fairly purse-friendly ways to have fun in and around York. Here’s our pick of the best things to do in the city and beyond that don’t cost the earth.
Admission’s free at the National Railway Museum
Just pay for parking at Dalby Forest
Walk the Walls
Why not take a walk around the City Walls? There’s almost 3.5km of medieval wall to choose from, all with fantastic views, and it’s totally free. If little feet aren’t up to a big hike, just choose a small section. It’s easy to hop off once you’ve had enough.
Larks in the Parks
York is full of fantastic parks and open spaces, available to everyone at no cost. Take a picnic if you’re peckish. For squirrel-spotting and balancing along the ruins (where permitted!), try the Museum Gardens. There’s no play equipment as such, but plenty of history, nature and open space to appeal. For swings, slides, ducks and more, try Rowntree Park. We’re very fond of Homestead Park, too, with its outdoor gym equipment and pop-up Reading Cafe during the spring and summer months.
Climbing Under Canopy
If it’s raining and your children need to run off some steam, there’s a free, covered outdoor children’s play area at York Designer Outlet. McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, St Nicholas Avenue, York YO19 4TA
Stroll Through the Streets
Wandering around the city streets is one of the best things you can do in York and it costs nothing. There’s plenty to interest everyone, from fantastic street entertainers to genuinely talented buskers to tiny alleyways and secret passages, cobbled streets and grand squares. Marvel at the Minster, take a turn around the bottom of Clifford’s Tower, skip along Whipmawhopmagate and amble through The Shambles.
Parking charges only at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Just pay for your fruit at The Balloon Tree
Kids go free at lots of York museums
Lucky under 17s can visit York Art Gallery, the Yorkshire Museum and York Castle Museum in 2018 for free with full-paying adults. Consider a YMT Card which gives unlimited access to all three museums for a year.
Free entry at The Royal Armouries
Head to the libraries
Trips to the great Yorkshire countryside needn’t cost much – pack a picnic, find a free parking space and let the kids run wild. The Yorkshire Dales and Moors and our glorious coast are all great options. Closer to York, grab or hire your bikes and take a trip along the river or out of town on the family-friendly cycle routes.