York’s well known as an amazing place to visit for families with young children, but there’s plenty for teenagers to enjoy too. From immersive historical sites to outdoor adventures and cultural experiences, even the most hard-to-please older kids will find something to enjoy. Here’s our guide to the best things to do in York with teenagers and older children.
1. Explore York’s History at York’s Chocolate Story
Unwrap the history of chocolate at York’s Chocolate Story! This award-winning attraction is located in the heart of the city and offers an interactive guided tour through 4,000 years of chocolate history. It’s the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy and you’ll even make something sweet to take away. Save 20% on admission with your Little Vikings discount. York’s Chocolate Story, 3-4 King’s Sq, York YO1 7LD – Visit the website
2. Discover the Unexpected at Wonderlab (and Explore the Railway Museum)
Wonderlab, a new, ticketed interactive exhibition within the National Railway Museum, invites curious minds to explore the marvels of science through engaging exhibits and hands-on experiments. While you’re there, don’t miss the iconic engines and regular talks and demos. National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ – Visit the website
3. Do the Ninja Course at Agility
For an adrenaline rush, Agility York is an exhilarating ninja course with two options, one for younger children and one for bigger kids and adults. It’s a great place to run off some energy. Agility Parks, Millfield Lane, Nether Poppleton, York YO26 6QY – Visit the website
4. Get a Hole-in-One at The Hole in Wand
Test your putting skills at The Hole in Wand, a fun wizard-themed mini golf course in York city centre. With bubbling cauldrons and interactive elements along the way, it’s a lot of fun for all but the youngest children. Enjoy a FREE VIP upgrade with the Little Vikings Family Card. The Hole in Wand, 14-16 Coppergate Walk, York YO1 9NT – Visit the website
5. Sip a Butterbeer at The Potions Cauldron
Channel your inner wizard at The Potions Cauldron and indulge in their TikTok famous wizard-style butterbeer! The Potions Cauldron, 9¾, Shambles, York YO1 7LZ – Visit the website
6. Take Home a Ghost from York Ghost Merchants
If you’re willing to brave the queue, a little ghost from York Ghost Merchants is a wonderful souvenir of your time in York. Get there early, and even earlier if it’s spooky season! York Ghost Merchants, 6 Shambles, York YO1 7LZ – Visit the website
9. Tuck in at Spark:York
Spark:York is a bustling hub of independent street food vendors and retailers, with regular events and activities too. It’s one of York’s coolest spots and a change from the traditional tea rooms and cafes. Spark:York, 17-21 Piccadilly, York YO1 9PB – Visit the website
10. Tee Off at York Golf Range
From crazy golf to footgolf and a driving range, there’s loads of active fun to be had at York Golf Range. York Golf Range, Towthorpe Moor Lane, Towthorpe, York
YO32 9ST – Visit the website
11. Ride the Ramps or Get a Slam Dunk at Rowntree Park
Rowntree Park is a free for all, with loads of options for active teens. As well as a popular skate park, there’s a basketball court, tennis courts and loads of space just to wander, play and chill. Rowntree Park, Terry Ave, York YO23 1JQ – Visit the Rowntree Park website
12. Have a Kickabout at York Footgolf
For active fun in the great outdoors, footgolf is a great option. Have a kickabout, see if you can get a hole-in-one and warm up or chill out with a drink at the clubhouse afterwards. York Footgolf, Skelton Park Golf Course, Shipton Rd, York YO30 1XW – Visit the website
13. Meet the Vikings at JORVIK Viking Centre
Step into Viking history at the JORVIK Viking Centre, where immersive exhibits and interactive displays bring the past to life. Meet some real life Vikings, take a ride around a Viking village and find out how Viking life would have smelled (not good). JORVIK Viking Centre, 19 Coppergate, York YO1 9WT – Visit the website
14. Try a Watersport at Allerthorpe Lakeland Park
Allerthorpe Lakeland Park is the place to go for watersports near York, from stand-up paddle boarding to splashing about in the giant aqua park. On a sunny day it’s just like being abroad. Allerthorpe Lakeland Park, Melbourne Road, Pocklington, York YO42 4RL – Visit the Allerthorpe Lakeland Park website
15. Brave the Lake at Pool Bridge Farm
If open-water swimming is your thing, Pool Bridge Farm is the place to go near York. It’s a stunning family-run place with pretty lakes to swim in, a cafe (limited opening hours) and a family-friendly vibe during the warmer months. Follow the guidance on swimming outdoors, and don’t take your kids to the adults-only Monet lake! Pool Bridge Farm, Wheldrake Ln, York YO19 4SQ – Follow them on Facebook
16. Step Back in Time at York Castle Museum
York Castle Museum is one of the most charming attractions in York, with a Victorian street that you can stroll down. It’s a trip back in time that the whole family will love. York Castle Museum, Tower St, York YO1 9RY – Visit the York Castle Museum website
17. Scare Yourselves Silly at York Dungeon
Prepare for a heart-pounding experience at York Dungeon, where theatrical performances and special effects bring York’s gory history to life. Expect a welcome dose of humour with the horror. York Dungeon, 12 Clifford St, York YO1 9RD – Visit the York Dungeon website
18. Take Some Selfies on The Shambles
Stroll along The Shambles, York’s famous medieval street, and take some selfies in one of York’s most Instagrammable spots.
19. Follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter
We’d like to think that York inspired the Harry Potter books, and there are plenty of ways to explore this magical connection in the city. Take a look at our guide to the best Harry Potter things to do in York for ideas.
20. Walk York’s City Walls
Embark on a walk around York’s iconic city walls and enjoy incredible panoramic views. Hop off along the way to refuel at one of York’s many independent cafes. Find out more about walking York’s city walls here.
21. Cruise the Ouse with City Cruises
Relax on a leisurely cruise along the River Ouse with City Cruises, providing picturesque views and a relaxing way to experience York. Visit the City Cruises York website
22. Climb a Tower
For amazing views across York, climb! Clifford’s Tower is one of York’s most impressive landmarks with hundreds of years of history. Head to the top and see how far you can see. Read our review to find out what to expect. For another bird’s eye perspective, why not climb the tower at York Minster? It’s a must-see place to visit in York, and climbing the tower is the icing on the cake.
23. Hit the shops
Fancy a bit of retail therapy? York’s thriving shopping scene has everything from large department stores to designer boutiques and lots of lovely independent shops – visit the Indie York website for the best independent places to shop (and eat/drink ) in the city. Out of town, York Designer Outlet has big brands at low prices and is a good option for sports shops in particular.
24. Paint something lovely at Rainbows Ceramics
Pottery painting is a relaxing, creative activity for all ages and Rainbows Ceramics on Bootham is just the place in York. It’s welcoming, fun and you can save 10% with your Little Vikings Family Card. Rainbows Ceramics, 15-17 Bootham, York YO30 7BW – Visit the Rainbows Ceramics website
25. Go for a walk in the Moors, Dales or along the coast
We’re firm believers that you’re never too old – or too young – to go for a walk, and it’s the ideal way to enjoy some screen-free time together. Take a look at our guide to family walks around York for inspiration.
26. Tuck into something tasty at Plush Cafe
York’s Plush Cafe is one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city, and a really quirky place to hang out (literally – one of the rooms is decked out with swings!). Plush Cafe, 6 Stonegate, York YO1 8AS – Visit the website
27. Go for a workout
Kids can enjoy the joys of the gym sooner than you think. In fact, ours has been going along to the junior gym sessions at York Leisure Centre since he was 11 and loves it. Find all the details on the Better website.