Whether you’re here for a day, a weekend or longer (or you’re lucky enough to call it home), York’s brimming with activities for families, including the littlest ones. There are lots of family-friendly places to eat and drink, and some excellent places to stay too. But what to do? From interactive experiences to outdoor adventures, here are some of the best things to do in York – or just beyond – with a baby or toddler.
1. Paint something memorable at Rainbows Ceramics
Make some memories with your little one at Rainbows Ceramics. Paint your own pottery at this Little Vikings Award-winning ceramics studio and create a personalised keepsake to cherish. From handprints on mugs to footprints on plates, it’s a fun activity for both babies and parents alike (and a lot easier than when grow a bit and turn into a toddler in a china shop…). Rainbows Ceramics, 15-17 Bootham, York YO30 7BW – Click here to visit the website
2. Visit one of York’s parks or green spaces
Need some fresh air? Bundle them up into the buggy or strap on your baby carrier and head to one of York’s many parks and green spaces. Rowntree Park is one of our favourites, with a great play area, little lake and fantastic family-friendly cafe where you can browse children’s books and enjoy a coffee or lunch. Homestead Park, in Clifton, is another lovely option, as is West Bank Park in Acomb. In the heart of the city, York Museum Gardens is a gorgeous place to stroll with a buggy or enjoy a picnic.
3. Enjoy the big screen experience at baby cinema
Becoming a parent doesn’t mean bidding farewell to your cinema-going days. Baby cinema is one of the highlights of maternity/paternity leave for many parents in York (well, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to sit in a dark room for a couple of hours; you’ve just got to hope it works with naptime!). Everyman York, City Screen and Cineworld all offer special screenings specifically designed for parents with babies where you can enjoy a movie with your little one without worrying about disturbing other moviegoers.
4. Head to the library
For book-loving families, a visit to the Explore York Library is a perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon. There’s a welcoming children’s area with plenty of books for babies and young children and space for your baby to crawl, play, and enjoy you reading them a story (or ten). The cafe is lovely and reasonably priced, and there’s a nice outdoor area if the weather’s good. Explore York, Library Square, Museum Street, York YO1 7DS – Click here to visit the website
5. Meet the animals and play your heart out at Piglets Adventure Farm
Located just outside of York, Piglets Adventure Farm is a fantastic attraction for families with babies. This award-winning farm park has a brilliant selection of play options for all ages, including areas that are great for younger visitors. You might even meet some baby animals! During the warmer months, the beach area is perfect for babies who’d like to feel the sand between their toes. Piglets Adventure Farm, Towthorpe Grange, Towthorpe Moor Ln, Towthorpe, York YO32 9ST – Visit the Piglets Adventure Farm website
6. Go swimming (or try a baby swimming lesson)
Babies generally love the water, and you can take them swimming earlier than you think. York Leisure Centre has a lovely learner pool with toddler splash area (find out more here). Fancy some guidance on your baby’s swimming journey? York boasts a variety of baby swimming classes that are not only a great way to introduce your little one to the water but also an opportunity for bonding and playtime. With expert instructors, trained to work with babies, these classes provide a safe and nurturing environment for your baby to learn water skills and build confidence in the water. Take a look at our selection of the best classes in York, including baby swimming classes.
7. Meet sealife at The Deep in Hull
Just a short drive from York is The Deep, a spectacular aquarium located in Hull and it’s great for little ones. With stunning underwater exhibits and interactive displays, The Deep is a sensory experience for babies and young children. Little ones can marvel at the colourful marine life, and walk through the glass tunnel surrounded by sealife. It’s an underwater adventure that will captivate your baby’s imagination and stimulate their senses. We love it as a special day out for their first birthday. The Deep, Tower St, Hull HU1 4DP – Visit The Deep’s website
8. Play for all ages at The Web Adventure Park
Another excellent place for families with babies and younger children is The Web Adventure Park. It’s famed for its high-quality soft play, ball pools and excellent variety of activities. There’s even a dedicated area for babies, keeping them out of the way of more boisterous older children. Outside there are animals to meet, sandpits to explore and swings galore for when they’re old enough. The Web Adventure Park, Cliftongate Business Park, Wigginton Rd, York YO32 2RH – Visit The Web Adventure Park’s website
9. Head to the Playhive at Stockeld Park
Don’t wait until your little one gets big before you check out Stockeld Park near Wetherby. We love it for all ages as there’s so much to do, and it’s just got even better with the addition of one of the biggest (and most imaginative) indoor play areas in Europe. Outside there are even more play areas in the wonderful Enchanted Forest, as well as enough other activities to easily fill a day. Stockeld Park, Wetherby Rd, Wetherby LS22 4AN – Visit the Stockeld Park website
10. Join a baby or toddler class
York offers a range of classes designed specifically for babies and young children. From music and movement to sensory play and baby yoga, there’s no shortage of options so you’re bound to find something to fit in with your schedule and that your little one will love. Take a look at our selection of the best classes in York for children here
11. Make furry friends at Beetle Bank Farm
Beetle Bank Farm is a family-run farm attraction on the outskirts of York where you can meet (and feed) sheep, goats, guinea pigs and more. Younger visitors will enjoy the ride-ons and swings, while older kids can climb, zip and balance at the newly expanded play area. Keep an eye out for special activities during the school holidays. Beetle Bank Farm, Moor Ln, Murton, York YO19 5XD – Visit the Beetle Bank Farm website
12. Visit one of York’s museums
York’s brimming with museums and attractions that are perfect for families with babies and toddlers. York Castle Museum has interactive exhibits and displays that cater to young children, including Kirkgate, the recreated Victorian street, and even a toy gallery celebrating toys of the past. The National Railway Museum is a great option, with its impressive collection of locomotives and interactive displays as well as a small indoor train-themed play area. Find the top attractions in York for families here