Sometimes, say parents, it’s difficult to keep the kids entertained. You’ve taken them to their places of choice (again) and now they’re bored, or now you’re bored. What next? If only there were more child friendly stuff to do around here…..
Well, York is spoilt for choice! It has museums, galleries, shops and attractions coming out of its ancient ears. For families and kids, there is no excuse to be stuck inside now that the weather is improving, and if it ain’t, there’s no excuse to not be stuck inside somewhere ace! Here are a few suggestions of where to go and what to do in York with the kids…..
A great place to start is with Little Vikings. This print and online magazine showcases the best goings on in York – potentially making this article redundant – oops! Run by a family for families, it is personal and professional, offering an array of updated activities, offers and ideas for children and parents alike to be inspired by and not miss out on.
As well as one-off and occasional happenings, there are several permanent visits that they regularly include: keeping with the Viking theme, Jorvik is the world famous Viking centre that’s well worth a trip to all year round, and folk from all over certainly take advantage of that. From school tours to family outings, Jorvik is always pleasingly busy, as the grizzly stories and lifelike insight are a historic blast for young and old. Another award winning space that rewards is the National Railway Museum. With over 100 locomotives and multiple times that stock, it’s an engineer and trainspotter’s dream, but more so, a free and fun family day out.
There are various other marvellous museums that are of interest to children and don’t disappoint adults: Yorkshire Museum hosts entertaining and educational exhibitions such as Jurassic World, and at its Museum Gardens home, there are outdoor events for youngsters, such as Forest School, in a beautiful setting. Similarly, Museum Monkeys is a regular series of activities for under 5s to engage with, inside and out, across the York Museum Trust.
If you’re all museum’d out, then how about introducing the kids to the animals? It’s out of the centre but worth the short weekend journey to Askham Bryan Wildlife Park, where amazing creatures like meerkats and reptiles live alongside rare and cared for plants and nature. Or head to Piglets Adventure Farm for a fun-filled rural experience. Here, kids can say hello to bunnies, chicks, pigs, ponies, goats and even alpacas. More than just a farm, there’s plenty of playtime too, to bounce, hunt, swing, sculpt and ride. More energy can be expended at The Web Adventure Park, and in particular their Creepy Crawlies soft play, and at York Maze, a giant maze made of maize!
Beyond these major family friendly set ups, there’s a lot to come across on a simple walk around the city too. Indeed, the city walls are an intriguing stroll if you keep a look out, and guided tours of York’s history can be fun too, especially for kids who love a ghost story. Parks Dene, Rowntree and Homestead offer differing delights, from scenic spaces to playgrounds to ice cream boats, and even just ambling the centre’s famous streets is an exploration in itself.
On these, you’ll come across a selection of places to stop off at: independent cafes such as Teddy Bear Tea Room are a perfect eat and drink spot for all ages. York’s Chocolate Story is a popular visitor attraction, and York Cocoa House and Monk’s Bar Chocolatiers provide equally sweet pleasures of artisan makings. There are specialist indie shops such as OG and BARE to swing by and get deep into gaming for adults and children and clothing for kids respectively. Less independent but sure to catch many a child’s eye is the Harry Potter shop on The Shambles. This very street was the inspiration for Dragon’s Alley, and Hagrid and Harry also walk across the bridge in York station.
To keep both youngsters and oldsters entertained into the evening, why not book seats at one of York’s theatres or cinemas? The big names of Vue and Everyman of course have all the new releases, and more intimate screenings of films, both classic and modern, are shown at the art-house City Screen Picturehouse, including Toddler Time sessions. Film At The Folk Hall puts on warm hearted community pop up events which occasionally caters for kids with the likes of Wall-E. And for live action, there are always plays and pantomimes on at York’s impressive theatres, plus independent acting, art, music, dance and sports groups that children can join up to and join in with.
With all of the above and much more besides, this is a city using both its unique old charms and popular modern enjoyments to provide an array of activities keeping kids and parents happy, morning noon and night. York is making it difficult for parents to say it’s difficult to keep the kids entertained.