You know that summer’s here when York Maze opens its doors for the season, corn-plete with terrible corn-based puns, attractions, live entertainment and much more. For the last two decades, York Maze has won countless awards for the quality of its family day out and we were excited to go along and see what to expect from the maze in 2022. We went along on the opening weekend to check it out, marking the unofficial start to our family’s summer (despite having another week of school to drag ourselves through). Our children – 12, 10 and 7- have been going all their lives, so there’s always the risk that one of them will have outgrown it. Happily, though, we all had a great time and would wholeheartedly recommend it for a summer day trip in York; here’s five reasons why.
1. It’s a full day out
If you’re planning a trip to York Maze, set aside a clear day for it because there’s so much to do. We’ve learned from experience that even if we get there early, we’ll still be there until almost teatime because time just seems to fly. By the time we’ve played several rounds of crazy golf, raced each other on the inflatable Cobstacle course over and over (it’s quite a workout, especially on a hot day), explored the various small mazes, tackled the massive maze, climbed aboard the Crowmania ride, done the jumping pillow, had several visits to the House of Cornfusion…well, I could go on but it’s exhausting just remembering how much we did. In spite of the fact that the site isn’t actually that big – it’s very walkable – there’s a lot packed in and no danger of being bored.
We love to return to our old favourites like the Volcorno (above), which is a good laugh, although don’t expect to look graceful on it if you’re a grown-up (and good luck getting to the top). The Corn Snake Slides (below) are always a hit, and it’s wonderful that they have different sizes so that everyone can have a go.
2. The whole family will enjoy it, from young to old
One of the best things about a day at York Maze is the fact that it encourages families to play together. Although you certainly could stand on the sidelines and watch – depending on the age of your little one(s) – it’s more fun to have a go as a family. Although our eldest is a bit big for some of the attractions that he used to love, he really enjoyed us all playing crazy golf together and we all raced each other on the inflatable Cobstacle course (above) several times (the benefit of going on opening weekend was that there weren’t any queues for anything). We got wet together on the Crowmania ride and experienced the weirdness of the House of Cornfusion together too. The large adventure play/sand/water play area is brilliant for younger children, and they’ll enjoy the jumping pillows too (there are separate sessions for younger children and bigger kids to avoid accidents). The mazes are suitable for all ages, too, but here’s our annual reminder from bitter experience: make sure everyone’s gone to the loo before you embark on the giant maze.
3. There’s something new every year
Although the winning York Maze formula and the old favourites remain the same from one year to the next, there’s always something new to discover. Last time it was a new Crowmania ride – hilarious and well worth a trip on – and this year it’s the Cornula One racing. Part drag race, part panto, it’s a funny, corn-petitive part of the day where you can watch four visitors in corn-on-the-cobs-on-wheels vying for pole position. It’s very silly and very York Maze – catch it if you can.
4. There are more mazes than you can imagine
With ‘maze’ in its title, it’s no surprise that York Maze does mazes very well. Having been scarred by our attempt at the giant maze last year (again, check whether your kids need the toilet BEFORE you embark on it), I’d have been happy to give it a miss this year. No chance: our children – who only have happy memories of last year’s effort, it turns out – insisted on us tackling it again, not least because of the LEGO theme. This time was much more relaxed and didn’t take us too long either. We took some great selfies with the Lego characters along the way and definitely earned our maze completion sticker.
As well as the giant maze, the two younger ones did the Mineshaft Maze (excellent for hide-and-seek) and we all did the Jurassic Maze (ideal for dinosaur fans), the Maze of Illusions (again, brilliant for photos and general silliness), the musical maze and the finger fortune maze.
5. It’s good value
This year, more than ever, we’re very conscious that families will be watching how much they spend this summer and will want their money to go as far as possible. Days out with children 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 this summer 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.
What’s expensive for some families isn’t for others, so it’s very personal and impossible to generalise. Adult and children’s tickets at York Maze are both between £16.95 and £19.95 depending on when you buy them, with under 2s going free, which seems fair compared to similar attractions of this type. You can see where the money goes: The site is very well maintained, there’s plenty of staff and a good range of things to do to fill a day depending on the age of your children.
We arrived at 11am and didn’t leave until 3.30pm when we’d run out of energy, and there was quite a lot that we hadn’t got around to doing, from watching the brand new show (the Corniest Show on Earth) to water wars and the end-of-day Cornival and Foam Party. We packed a picnic to keep costs down, but treated ourselves to ice creams and coffee to keep us going in between activities. With very few exceptions, the activities are free so you know what you’ll spend – no budget-setting or negotiating required with the kids like we often have for fairground rides (phew). Parking is free, too, and you’ll save a little bit if you book in advance. For a fun, good quality family day out it feels worth the admission fee. Well done to York Maze, and corn-gratulations on 20 years of entertainment!
York Maze, Elvington Lane, York YO19 5LT – Open daily from 10am to 6.30pm (last admission 3pm) until 5th September 2022 – Tickets must be booked online in advance
Visiting York Maze – Our top tips
– All tickets must be booked in advance
– You can access the site from 10am, and we’d recommend getting there early to avoid crowds, get a good parking spot and to have as long as possible to enjoy everything there is to do
– 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 and sunscreen. 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.