Things to do in York with kids – York is a fabulous place to live and to visit. I grew up in York, and live just outside York now, so am very familiar with all the lovely things to do.
You will find lots of reviews of things to do with kids in York on this blog, but to save you searching, here is a handy list. Do click around though as we have lots of other suggestions and reviews. I’ve divided the list into things to do in York itself and things to do just outside of York.
Things to do in York City Centre
The Magic Hatter is bringing his award-winning entertainment to the streets, with his Wizard Walk of York.
“Magic, mystery, comedy and excitement plus a dash of York’s history…the ingredients for a truly unforgettable experience for all the family!”
Public tours are running on selected evenings, starting from the bottom of The Shambles opposite The Golden Fleece. Pre-booking required. Private tours are available for birthdays, school groups, brownies, cubs and more. A wonderfully whimsical tour that wizard fans will go Potty for!
Wizard Wand Kits are also available, subject to availability. A handcrafted wand and instructions for seven tricks that young witches and wizards can learn at home. Plus a FREE printable certificate!
** Note from Nikki: If you have younger kids with you, there is no better tour for you. We have seen The Magic Hatter many, many times when the kids were little and wholeheartedly recommend him. **
Treasurer’s House is a National Trust property in the centre of York, right next to York Minster. The house itself is a quirky eclectic mix of styles and the gardens are a beautiful oasis is the middle of busy York. Usual National Trust fees apply to the house, but the gardens are free to enter.
Have a look at our review of Treasurer’s House.
The Hole in Wand is a fabulous wizard themed mini golf just opposite Jorvik Viking Centre. “Visit the World’s Most Magical Golf Course in York’s Coppergate Shopping Centre in York, and take on 9 magical golf holes.
Along the way there will be bubbling cauldrons, magical portals, a giant picture frame where you become part of the painting…and can you do a Light Spell to illuminate the way in our dark hole?
At the end of your adventure you will find out if you have the magical powers of a Serpent, Basilisk, Unicorn or Wizard and every player will receive a magic potion gift to take home, plus hopefully find Grobblenook!”
It might not immediately spring to mind as one of your top things to do with children in York – but do consider it. It is such an amazing building – awesome in the purist sense of the word. My two love it when we visit and there is so much for them to do and explore there.
Young explorers are encouraged to get hands-on during a visit to York Minster with a range of activities to help them explore the cathedral’s stories and discover fun facts.
Little Explorer Backpacks can be borrowed for free from our welcome desks and are packed with gadgets to help young adventurers explore the Minster including:
- I-Spy challenge – can you spot these details around the cathedral?
- Binoculars – to see those amazing features up-close
- Torch and mirror – to investigate the nooks and crannies
- Compass and map – to find your way
- Magnifying glass – to spot those hidden details
- Coloured pencils and paper – sketch what you see!
- Tape measure and pencils – for measuring and recording
York is a walled city and the Bar Walls are a fabulous place to walk around with children. They are quite high, and there are places where there is no guard to stop you falling off (less so now than when I was a child though!). But if the kids are older, or you don’t mind holding their hands over the less safe bits, then the Bar Walls are an absolute must for a visit to York.
They are not complete and don’t entirely circle the city any longer, but are long enough to provide a good long walk. There is no cost to walk the walls and you get to see the city from a completely different perspective. In the spring, the banks of the walls are covered with daffodils. I recently walked the walls from Bootham Bar to Monk Bar and can confirm there are railings all the way along that stretch.
Jorvik Viking Centre is a must see place to visit in the centre of York. You begin your journey in an anteroom with a glass floor where you can see the foundations of an actual Viking house. From there you are taken on a carriage journey back in time to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a Viking settlement. It’s the stinky smells that the kids love! Make sure you book ahead of time as the queues can be huge!
Have a look at our full review here.
York Castle Museum is a fab day out with the kids and so much more than your average museum. It’s huge and you could happily spend a day there. There’s lots of interesting things for the kids to look at and touch as well as a whole section on the history of toys!
We have reviewed York Castle Museum here.
Things to do in York with kids
This is a lovely visit to do if you are in York for the day. Learn all about the history of chocolate in York and make your own chocolate bars. Lots of chocolate tasting throughout the tour to keep the kids amused. They do a brilliant day with Santa at Christmas too.
Have a look at our review of York’s Chocolate Story.
National Railway Museum, York
From steam rides to storytelling, we’ve got lots of hands-on fun for the whole family. The National Railway Museum is a FREE attraction in York, and perfect for little train enthusiasts! They also do a splendid afternoon tea in a restored carriage!
Looking for something a bit different? DIG is a hands-on archaeological adventure giving kids the chance to become trainee ‘diggers’ and discover the most exciting artefacts from 2000 years of York’s history!
Have a look at our review of Jorvik Dig.
Things to do on the outskirts of York
York Maze is brilliant and a fantastic day out, we love it there and go every year. They are only open during the Summer and at Halloween – we have reviewed both! It’s so much more than a maze with bouncy pillows, giant slides, and enormous sandpit and playground and panto like shows, it’s an ideal family day out near York.
See our review of York Maze here.
Let off steam in the fields, go wild in the adventure playground, have fun in the sand pit or ride on the tractors and play with the inflatables. We predict two things: you won’t be bored and you’ll sleep well tonight! One of the many great things to do in York with toddlers.
Piglets Adventure Farm Park is a fabulous place to visit just outside York, and a great day out for younger kids. They have lots of seasonal events, play equipment, animals and theatrical entertainment. One of my favourite things for kids to do in York when they were younger!
Have a look at our review of May-Hem at Piglets.
Creepy Crawlies is a huge softplay and outdoor adventure playground in York and an excellent choice on a wet day when you are looking for things to do in York with kids. Suitable for babies right up to older kids.
See our review of Creepy Crawlies here.
A brilliant place for the kids to bounce and let off steam to their hearts content! There is a reasonable priced cafe selling teas, coffees and snacks too with a great view over the trampolines.
See our review of Energi Trampoline Park, York here.
Things to do Just outside of York
This is a brand new attraction about 15 minutes East of York. Set in a hundred acres of woodland, the Northwood Trail is an enchanted walk around fairy houses with surprises around every corner. There is maze around halfway around and a play area and den building site at the end of the walk.
Have a look at our review of the Northwood Trail here.
Beningbrough Hall is a fab stately home just outside of York, and on our list of places to visit in Yorkshire. There is lots to see in the Hall itself and they have extensive gardens and a large, newly refurbished adventure playground. They also have organised activities on for children over the school holidays.
Have a look at our review to see what else there is to do with the kids at Beningbrough Hall.
Castle Howard is a little bit further out of York but I wanted to give it a mention as it’s a stunning places to visit. It has both a magnificent house and grounds. A recent addition of a brand new adventure playground – Skelf Island – has made it an even more attractive proposition to visit with kids.
For more ideas check out What To Do In.
If it’s raining there is still plenty to do! Have a look at my list of ideas for rainy days in Yorkshire.