York Residents' Festival Weekend 2017: Best bits for kids

Got any plans for the weekend of 28th/29th January? You do now! It’s the annual York Residents Festival, when lucky York residents get to brandish their York Cards for free access to some great attractions and some fun experiences. There’s loads going on all weekend, with lots for children to enjoy. Highlights include trips down the river on a YorkBoat, the chance to visit Clifford’s Tower, York Castle Museum and DIG and, new for 2016, gory tours of York Dungeon. More info below, and don’t forget to check if you need to pre-book. Top tips: arrive early if you want to beat the crowds, and make sure you know where your York Cards are!


Barley Hall

Join JORVIK at Barley Hall, home of the Priors of Nostell and a Lord Mayor of York, for this special weekend. Lots of hands-on exhibits for kids – ours love it here.
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th January – 10.00am to 4.00pm – Pre-booking not required – Coffee Yard, Off Stonegate, York, YO1 8AR – www.thejorvikgroup.com/residentsweekend

Clifford’s Tower

Visit one of York’s most iconic landmarks for free and get some amazing views of the city.
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th January – 10.00am to 4.00pm – Pre-booking not required – Tower Street, York, YO1 9SA – www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/cliffords-tower-york/

DIG: An Archaeological Adventure

Places will be made available, free of charge to York residents, on each DIG tour throughout the day over the weekend. It’s a great place for kids to get hands-on with archaeology. We’ve been tons of times and never get bored.
Saturday 28 Jan & Sunday 29 Jan – 10.00am to 5.00pm – Tours take place on the hour from 10am – Last admission on both days 4.00pm. Pre-booking not available and places are allocated on a first come, first served basis – St Saviour’s Church, St Saviourgate, York, YO1 8NN – www.thejorvikgroup.com/residentsweekend

 York Castle Museum

Walk along the cobbles of the world-famous Victorian Street, visit York Castle Prison where notorious highwayman Dick Turpin was held, return to the front with the First World War Exhibition and see amazing clothes in the new exhibition ‘Shaping the Body’.
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th January – Pre-booking is not required – www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk

York’s Chocolate Story

Join one of five free tours of the attraction at 9.00am, 9.15am, 9.30am, 9.45am and 10.00am on both Saturday and Sunday. There will also be 1/3 off for York residents throughout the whole weekend. Discover how chocolate made history and played its part in York’s wonderful heritage.
Selected times on Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th Jan, 9am to 4pm – Pre-booking not required and tours will operate on a first come first served basis – King’s Square, York, YO1 7LD – www.yorkchocolatestory.com

York Dungeon

Celebrate 2000 years of York’s history by taking a plunge into York’s murkiest past at the York Dungeon. Featuring 10 live actor led shows, you will meet some of York’s most infamous characters including the Vikings, Dick Turpin and Guy Fawkes. Not recommended for under 10’s.
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th January – 11am to 4pm – Pre-booking not required. 12 Clifford Street, York, YO1 9RD – www.thedungeons.com/york/en

Fairfax House

Go behind the scenes and see Fairfax House as never normally seen during its deep-clean winter hibernation. It’s a beautiful house and interesting for children – ours loved counting all the grandfather clocks and daydreaming about how people used to live.
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th January (Saturday 11am to 4pm, Sunday 11am to 2pm)  – Pre-booking not required – 27 Castlegate, York, YO1 9RN – www.fairfaxhouse.co.uk

York St Mary’s, Coppergate (next to JORVIK Viking Centre)

Discover the hustle and bustle of Viking-age York in this special JORVIK Group exhibition exploring trade, industry and everyday life in the city over 1,000 years ago.
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th January, 10am to 5pm – Pre-booking not required. www.thejorvikgroup.com/residentsweekend

The Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre

Explore 300 years of danger, bravery and history at England’s oldest living convent and then relax with home cooked food and baking in the café. Free exhibition admission. Complimentary glass of wine, beer or soft drink on main meals over £7.00. It’s a fascinating place that we’d really recommend visiting.
Saturday 28 January, 10am to 4pm – Pre-booking not required – 17 Blossom Street, York, YO24 1AQ – www.bar-convent.org.uk

Yorkshire Museum

Discover how Roman Legions founded the city more than 2000 years ago, marvel at Viking and Medieval Treasures and travel back to prehistoric times as you go on a journey through thousands of years of York’s history, discovering some of Britain’s most significant jewels, stunning objects and fascinating stories.
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th January,10am to 5pm – Pre-booking not required – Museum Gardens, York, YO1 7FR – www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk


The Stained Glass Centre

Head to the Stained Glass Centre for family-friendly activities, craft stalls and delicious refreshments. Watch craft demonstrations or have a go yourself!
Sunday 29th January, 11am to 3pm – Pre-booking not required – St Martin-cum-Gregory Church, Micklegate, York, YO1 6LN – www.stainedglasscentre.org

York Art Gallery

Head along to York’s award-winning gallery to their amazing collection of paintings and ceramics.
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th January – 10am to 5pm – Pre-booking not required – Exhibition Square, York, YO1 7EW

Map Attack! At York Explore Library

Get creative with Lego to make buildings, scenes and sculptures inspired by documents that tell stories of York’s past. There will be opportunities to suit all ages, inspired by the city’s archives. Please bring a responsible adult with you if you are under 14.
Saturday 28th January – Map Attack! – 10.00am – 5.00pm, Marriott Room, York Explore Library – www.exploreyork.org.uk

York Theatre Royal

Join an access all areas tour of the theatre and see parts of the building normally off limits to the public. Tours every 30 minutes from 10.00am – 4.00pm. Places are limited.
Sunday 29th January, selected times from 10am to 4pm – Pre-booking is required (01904 623568 or )


St Nicks Environment Centre & Nature Reserve

Explore the green heart of York with free guided tours start at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. There’ll also be demonstrations of coppicing and hedge-laying, a crafts display and sale, garden birdwatch, refreshments and more.
Saturday 28th January, 12pm to 4pm – Pre-booking not required – York Environment Centre, Rawdon Avenue, York, YO10 3ST – www.stnicks.org.uk

Enjoy a river cruise with YorkBoat

Sit back, relax and enjoy a 30 minute York City Cruise with YorkBoat. Enjoy the sights and commentary as you cruise along the Ouse. Available with a valid YorkCard or proof of address.
Selected times on Saturday 28 Jan & Sunday 29 January – Pre-booking is not required. Sailing from King’s Staith & Lendal Bridge. www.yorkboat.co.uk

Drive around at York MotorSports Village

Free and reduced price racing for kids aged 4+. F3 Racing (ages 4-7) 10.00am – 12.00pm FREE – 10 minute drive experience, F2 Racing (ages 8-12) 12.00pm – 4.00pm £5pp – 15 lap timed practice (Max.Track time 10 mins, F1 Racing (13+ Years) 4.00pm – 6.30pm £5pp – 15 lap timed practice (Max.Track time 10 mins), F1 R-Factor – Racing Simulator (10+ years) 10.00am – 6.00pm £5pp – 10 Minute session.
Sunday 29th January; visit the website for the timetable. Pre-booking required and must be paid for in full, where applicable (call 01904 6735555, email or visit www.ymsv.co.uk/york-residents-festival) Kathryn Avenue, Monks Cross, York, YO32 9JS


Visit Castle Howard

Explore 1,000 acres of parkland and garden, with the 18th century walled garden, woodland trails, lakeside paths, statues and temples as well as the adventure playground and variety of shops and cafés.

Castle Howard, York – Saturday 28th January to Sunday 5th February 2017 – Visit the Castle Howard website for details

Polish the floor at Beningbrough Hall

Head to Beningbrough to enjoy the gardens, adventure playground and the hall itself. Fancy a bit of spring cleaning? You’ll be able to lend a hand with polishing a bit of the wooden floors as part of the essential winter clean!
Saturday 28th January 2017 – Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens – 11.30am to 3pm – free to York Card holders – more details here

There’s a lot going on for York Residents’ Weekend and things can change, so please check with the venue before you travel. There’s nothing worse than a disappointed little Viking! For full details of what’s on throughout the weekend, visit the Visit York website.

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