York Residents' Festival 2016: The best bits for kids

Once a year, many of the attractions throw their doors open for free as a thank you to residents for welcoming York’s millions of visitors and not grumbling too much when it takes twenty minutes to get from one end of Stonegate to another because of the crowds. This year it takes place on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st January 2016 and lots of attractions are taking part. Pre-booking is not necessary, and events taking place on both Saturday and Sunday, unless stated. Take your YorkCard/proof of residence and enjoy a day out with the kids in our lovely city.

RUINSSomething historical

Barley Hall – One of York’s hidden gems with a great Henry VIII exhibition with hands-on stuff for kids. Free admission  on presentation of York card or proof of residency. 10am to 4pm – www.barleyhall.co.uk

Clifford’s Tower – See the city from above. 10am to 4pm (last admission 3.45pm). 100 free entry tickets will be available on a first come first served basis (book in advance on 01904 646940) and all residents will receive a discounted entry rate of £1 with YorkCard (no pre-booking needed) – www.english-heritage.org.uk/cliffordstower

DIG – making archaeology fun. 10am to 4pm. Residents can’t pre-book tours but spaces will be allocated on arrival. 32 places will be made available on each DIG tour throughout the day, and tours take place on the hour from 10am. Pre-booking not available. Special Little Diggers sessions for 2-5 year olds will take place throughout the weekend – www.digyork.co.uk

Yorkshire Museum – Dinosaurs, Romans and more. Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm. www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk/

Richard III Experience at Monk Bar – the gruesome history of one of York’s major gateways. 10am to 4pm – www.richardiiiexperience.com

masksSomething theatrical

York Theatre Royal’s De Grey Rooms – Visit the stunning Victorian ballroom, see costumes from past productions (including the pantomime of course) in the Costume Hire department and take tea in the Cocktail Bar Cafe. Saturday 30th January, 10am to 4pm – www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

Joseph Rowntree Theatre – One of York’s finest community theatres. 10am to 4pm on Saturday 30th January only. Behind the scenes tours and children’s treasure hunt – more details on the website.


York Cocoa House HogletsSomething different

York’s Chocolate Story – Join one of three free tours of this chocolate attraction at 9.30, 9.45 and 10am on Saturday and Sunday. There’ll also be 1/3 off all other tours for York residents throughout the weekend (visit the website for more info)

York Art Gallery – Now’s your chance to visit our fantastic, reopened art gallery for free. Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 11am to 4pm. More details on the website.

York Castle Museum – One of our favourite museums, not least because of Kirkgate, the recreated Victorian street. Saturday and Sunday, 9.30am to 5pm. More details on the website.

Holgate Windmill – Visit York’s only surviving windmill. Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st January, 11am to 4pm. More info on their website.

York MotorSports Village – Discounted karting sessions for kids aged 4 and above. Sunday 31st January only; visit the website for further details.

YorkBoat30-minute sightseeing tours through the city, departing from Lendal Bridge and King Staith landings – tours depart 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm & 3pm on Saturday and Sunday- more info on the website Due to adverse weather conditions, YorkBoat is no longer taking part. See their website for details of how you might be able to pick up a voucher from Visit York Information Centre instead.

York Cold War Bunker – Uncover the secrets of Britain’s Cold War at this spine-chilling English Heritage property. Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm. More details on the English Heritage website.

York City Football Club – Children can enjoy a match when YCFC meet Stevenage Borough. Kick-off is at 3pm on Saturday 30th January and kids get in for free with a paying adult (£19). Pre-book to avoid disappointment

 Things to do in York with kidsFurther afield

Beningbrough Hall, Gallery & Gardens – one of our top local days out for families. Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 3.30pm – more on the website

Castle Howard – the perfect place for a bracing winter walk (the house itself is closed). Saturday 30th January until Sunday 7th February, 10am to 5pm – more info on the website

Eden Camp – Be transported back to World War 2 in the grounds of this original prisoner of war camp. Saturday 30th January and Sunday 31st January, 10.00am – 5.00pm, last admission 4.00pm – www.edencamp.co.uk

York Residents’ Weekend – January 30th and 31st 2016 – across and beyond York – YorkCards are available from York’s public libraries. Things can change, so please check before you travel. Have a wonderful weekend!

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