York Maze is one of Yorkshire’s most popular summer days out, so it certainly wasn’t just our children who missed being able to visit in 2020. One year on and York Maze is back, bigger and better than ever, and we were invited along to see if it’s still a day out that we’d recommend. Here’s what to expect, and five reasons that we think it deserves its status as one of the best summer destinations for families in and around York.
1. There’s loads to do
If you’re going to go to the effort and expense of booking a family day out, you want to know that there’s going to be enough to entertain everyone until they run out of energy. Well, York Maze definitely ticks that box. There’s sand to play in, a water bomb zone, adventure playground, several mazes, lots of things to jump on, slide down, climb up and run around, as well as shows that take place at different times throughout the day. We also saw owls, stroked a tortoise and rode quad bikes (small charge applies). Our eldest (11) enjoyed the House of Cornfusion best, with its bizaarre, disorientating, gravity-defying rooms, while our two girls (8 and 6) said that climbing up and sliding down the massive Volcorno was their favourite activity of the day. There was plenty that we could do as a family which was really nice, especially the Crowmania ride.
2. There’s something for children of all ages
With three a gap of a couple of years between each of our kids, it’s not always easy to find a day out that works for all of them, but York Maze does. It’s been designed with families in mind so, for example, the jumping pillow has two sessions, one for bigger kids and one for younger kids so that the older ones don’t send little ones flying and the younger ones don’t get in the way of the bigger ones’ fun. The friendly staff are happy for parents to accompany children on the Cobstacle course and other activities, too, so younger children can join in without feeling scared. If you can, we’d recommend getting stuck into the activities rather than standing at the side and watching your children have all the fun (and sliding down the Volcorno is brilliant). There are buggy parks, baby changing and plenty of opportunities for little ones to have as much fun as the big kids.
3. The Crowmania ride is hilarious
In previous years we’ve run out of energy by the time we’ve got to the Crowmania ride, but this year we were determined to climb on board the trailer and see what all the fuss is about. We took our seats and enjoyed a hilarious ride through the maize, helping to defeat the evil Crowman along the way. We laughed, we booed, we got wet (thankfully it was a really hot day when we visited so we soon dried off) and we all agreed that we’ll definitely make it a regular part of our York Maze trips. With live actors, amazing sound, light and smoke effects, cracking costumes and a funny (punny) script, they’ve put corn-siderable effort into the ride and it really is a-maizing.
4. There are mazes galore
Even if, as a family, for some reason you really don’t like mazes, there’s so much else to do at York Maze that it really doesn’t matter. And if you’re a family of maze-lovers, you’re in luck! As well as the huge main maze, there’s a mini Mineshaft Maze (our kids’ favourite and brilliant for hide-and-seek), the Jurassic Maze, packed with massive dinosaurs, the Maze of Illusions, full of brain-boggling optical tricks, and the finger fortune maze where you might just discover your destiny (a delicious ice cream, hopefully). This year’s theme for the main maze is Mr Men and Little Miss, and there’s a helpful QR code that you can scan to download the map in case you get lost. In spite of having the map, we went round in circles a thousand times before eventually popping out just before the cries of ‘I need the toilet!’ reached desperation level. Top tip: go to the loo BEFORE you embark on your adventure and make sure you’ve got at least one bottle of water! It’s fair to say we all got our 10,000 steps in, and we definitely earned our maze completion sticker.
5. It’s good value
We’re really conscious that the cost of day trips can be astronomical, and we’re always keen to promote the many free and cheap things to do around York (take a look at our selection of free and cheap things to do in York here). If a day out is at the pricier end of the spectrum, we really need to be convinced that it’s good value before we’ll recommend it to other families, especially during the summer when costs can add up. Adult and children’s tickets at York Maze are both between £15 and £18 depending on when you buy them, with under 2s going free, which – although at the steeper end of things compared to some local days out – seems fair. We arrived at 10.30 am and didn’t leave until 3.30 pm when we were flagging, and we hadn’t even got round to all of the activities. If we’d have had the energy, we could have done more of the mazes, had a round of minigolf, watched the pig racing and even stayed for a foam party! Taking your own food is an obvious way to keep costs down, but the price of food is actually pretty reasonable: our kids had the mozzarella stick kids’ meal which was £6 including a drink and more chips than they could manage! Likewise, the drink and ice cream prices aren’t bad either. Parking is free, too. Hats off to York Maze for continuing to offer a corn-pletely brilliant family day out.
Visiting York Maze – Our top tips
– Book your tickets in advance to keep costs down (and all tickets need pre-booking now anyway)
– Book as early a slot as possible to enjoy it before it gets busy and get as much playing time in as you can
– Dress for the weather. We were lucky with sunshine, but it can get muddy if it’s been raining so wear the right shoes. If it’s hot, don’t forget hats. There’s some shade, but not a huge amount.
– The site is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, with level access to the coffee shop and toilets, but be careful in the maze if there has been heavy rain
– If you’re bothered about getting wet, on the Crowmania ride for example, then take a towel
– The Maze is now cashless, so take a card/some form of digital payment
Thanks to York Maze for inviting us along. As always, a Little Vikings recommendation is one you can trust as independent and genuine.