As you’ll probably have heard, the lockdown restrictions around travelling for exercise have been eased, and lots of family-friendly attractions in Yorkshire that were closed are now starting to open. Here’s the current status of some of our favourite places in Yorkshire – please do keep checking back as we will update this list regularly, and do check before you travel as things can change at short notice. Wherever you decide to go – whether it’s local to your home or otherwise – remember that the government’s social distancing measures will apply to keep your family and everyone else safe.
WHAT’S OPEN IN YORK CITY CENTRE
York Museum Gardens
The glorious York Museum Gardens are now open seven days a week, from 10.30 am to 6 pm, and we couldn’t be more pleased. Why do we love it so much? Well, it’s beautiful – with lovely views of the river – and there’s lots of wildlife to spot (if you don’t see a couple of squirrels, you’ve been unlucky). It’s a stone’s throw from the shops and close to lots of great options for takeaway food. It’s also near some of our other favourite places to take the kids (Explore York Library, York Art Gallery and York Theatre Royal – when they’re open, of course) and it’s free for us all to enjoy. Social distancing is in place, and there are two takeaway food and drink options. Find out more about the re-opening here.
City Cruises York
City Cruises York is reopening for sightseeing cruises and self-drive boat hire on Saturday 4th July 2020. If you are planning to sail with City Cruises York, you can find out about the new measures for social distancing pre-boarding, and whilst on board, along with their cleaning procedures and hygiene facilities supplied on board, by clicking here. They have also acquired the ‘Good to Go’ mark from Visit Britain. For all other cruises including the dining and party cruises, they are awaiting Government advice. Visit the City Cruises York website for more details and to book
Dean’s Park, York Minster
One of the most popular green spaces in York city centre – Dean’s Park, just in the shadow of York Minster – is now open. Social distancing is required, of course, and ball games, dogs and smoking are prohibited. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic, and it’s just around the corner from some lovely takeaway options (Brew & Brownie and Mannions, among others. Find out more about the Dean’s Park reopening here.
Rowntree Park is hugely popular with families, so it’s great news that it has finally re-opened after the flooding. The play areas remain closed, but it’s still a really nice place for a stroll.
Another popular York park, Homestead, is open again for exercise. It’s open from 10am to 5pm daily, but note that the toilets and play areas are closed. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for the latest updates
York City Walls
We are SO looking forward to the re-opening of York’s city walls. It’s the best way to see the city, with amazing views and lots of history to drink in along the way. Hop on and off whenever you feel like it, and rest assured that you’re never too far from a tasty coffee, ice cream or slice of cake. The city walls will reopen on 4th July and will be one-way (clockwise) for the time being (if you’ve ever tried to squeeze past a group of people coming in the opposite direction, you’ll know why – social distancing is impossible!).
York’s Chocolate Story
York’s Chocolate Story reopens on 4th July, with new safety and social distancing measures in place. You need to book your visit online in advance, so there’s no queuing required. There’s reduced capacity, cardless payment and a one-way system among other measures. Visit the York’s Chocolate Story website for more information and to book your tour.
WHAT’S OPEN BEYOND YORK
Beningbrough Hall, Gallery & Gardens
The car park, garden, parkland and toilets at Beningbrough are now open, but you need to pre-book your visit. There’s lots of space to roam, beautiful gardens to explore and nature galore. Find all the details about Beningbrough’s re-opening here.
Northwood Trail – England’s Fairy Sanctuary
Escape to the woods and hunt for fairies by embarking on the Northwood Trail. England’s Fairy Sanctuary is taking bookings for their reopening on 4th July and beyond, with a reduced capacity and safety systems in place. Visit the Northwood Trail website to pre-book your slot.
PYO at The Balloon Tree
The Balloon Tree is a wonderful place to go and pick some fruit, with lots of sensible social distancing and Covid-safe measures in place. Do book your fruit-picking before you turn up or you will be disappointed – you need to choose a time slot online, and the amount you’ve paid is redeemable against the fruit you pick. Visit The Balloon Tree’s website for more info.
Wolds Way Lavender & Nature Farm
As well as the lovely lavender, there’s a lot for children to enjoy from a trip to Wolds Way Lavender, from the willow maze to mini football golf, den zone and lots of nature to spot. Pre-booking is required. Find out more about the re-opening here.
Murton Park has re-opened, with 16 acres to explore outdoors. You can enjoy the outdoor museum exhibits, farm animals, nature trail, Viking village, Roman fort and railway station platform. From Saturday 4th July, the playground will also be open. Visit the Murton Park website for more information.
Yorkshire Air Museum
Explore the world of aviation as Yorkshire Air Museum reopens on 4th July. There’s a huge amount of space to play, lots of incredible engines to see and fascinating history to discover. Visit the Yorkshire Air Museum website for more details.
The car park has reopened at Lotherton and there are no admission fees at present, but the Hall, Wildlife World, playgrounds, toilets and cafe remain closed. The cafe is offering a limited takeaway service. More info on the Lotherton Facebook page.
Newby Hall has re-opened to the general public. There are a lot of restrictions in place, with the adventure playground and railway closed for now, but there are lots of gardens to explore. Find out about Newby Hall’s opening here.
The car parks, toilets and trails are open. Due to government advice, the pay equipment and play areas are closed, as is Go Ape, the visitor centre information desk cafe and bike hire. Toilet facilities will be limited to allow social distancing measures. If the site becomes full, it may need to be closed. Visitors are asked to be kind to staff, respectful of residents and fellow visitors. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.
Castle Howard’s grounds are now open, with new procedures and restrictions – here’s what you need to know. The garden centre is now open. Follow the Castle Howard Facebook page for more details.
Fountains Abbey is now open, but you’ll need to book in advance or you’ll be turned away. The car park and toilets will be open, but everything else will be closed. Visit the Fountains Abbey website to pre-book your tickets.
Moorlands Nature Reserve
Moorlands Nature Reserve is a lovely place for a walk, especially when the rhododendrons are in bloom. It’s the ideal size for little legs, with enough interesting things to look at and do to keep moaning to a minimum. It’s currently open for social distanced exercise. Note that there are no toilets or other facilities, and parking is on the road. Check the website for more details
Mother Shipton’s, England’s oldest tourist attraction, is now open and you can enjoy their new Pixie Trail this summer. The playground is open from 4th July, as well as the museum, gift shop, petrifying well and cave. Ice cream, hot drinks and ice cream for dogs are on sale too! As always, you will need to be organised by pre-booking your tickets. Find out more here.
Scampston’s walled garden, hall gardens, parkland and plant nursery are now open. Initially it will be open four days a week (Thursday to Sunday inclusive) plus bank holiday Mondays. Opening hours are 10am to 5pm (last entry 4.30pm). The cafe, hall and conservatory are closed for now. Visit the Scampston website for more information.
Yorkshire Arboretum has re-opened. See our feature for everything you need to know about their re-opening here, including booking information.
North York Moors
The car parks at Newton under Roseberry, Sutton Bank and Saltergate have re-opened, and the toilets at Sutton Bank are now open too, as is the Sutton Bank National Park Centre. The North York Moors National Park Authority have reiterated that visitors must keep apart and that there must not be any large gatherings at beauty spots. Follow the North York Moors National Park Facebook page for more info.
Wonderful Whitby Abbey reopens on Saturday 4th July! There’s tons of space to run around, and unrivalled views of the gorgeous town of Whitby. You’ll need to pre-book your visit online before turning up. Visit the Whitby Abbey website for more information.
Treetop Nets Yorkshire (Ripon)
Bounce off all the energy of the last few months at Treetop Nets in Ripon. They re-open on 18th July with smaller group sizes and other safety measures in place. Read our review of Treetop Nets here (from a visit pre-Covid). Find out more about the re-opening by following the Treetop Nets Ripon Facebook page.
Allerthorpe Lake is reopening on 14th July for day visitors, camping, open water swimming, fishing and boating activities. You need to book in advance online. Follow the Allerthorpe Facebook page for more details.
The Bolton Abbey Estate is now open. There are various social distancing measures in place and you MUST pre-book your visit. Read about the restrictions and guidance on visiting Bolton Abbey here. Keep an eye on the Bolton Abbey Estate Facebook pages for the latest developments.
Burnby Hall Gardens
Burnby Hall Gardens has re-opened. You will need to pre-book, and more details will be released soon. For more updates, follow the Burnby Facebook page.
York Footgolf is now open. There are strict social distancing rules in place and pre-booking is essential. Find out more on their Facebook page.