Things to Do in York for Families

With its walkable town centre, glorious green spaces, and fascinating nooks and crannies, York is a naturally family-friendly place to visit. From interactive museums, to magical walking tours and fun on the farm, there’s no end to the list of family activities that you can get stuck into in York.

If you’re planning to stay in York for a family break, you’ve come to the right place to discover all the fun things to do in York with kids.


Top Family-Friendly Attractions in York

Jorvik Viking Centre

No ordinary museum, this hands-on experience will capture everyone’s imagination! See, feel, learn, and even smell what it was like to live in Viking-ruled York in early medieval times. Ride around the realistic recreation of Jorvik, meeting the characters who lived there. You can also stop by the nearby Jorvik Dig, where the whole family can get a taste of what it’s like to uncover real-life Viking age artefacts!

York Dungeon

Come face to face with notorious York ghosts like Dick Turpin and Guy Fawkes as you walk through this hair-raising experience! Ideal for older kids, this attraction will have you laughing, screaming and marvelling at the interesting stories of York’s dark past.

York Castle Museum

Kids and adults alike will be entranced walking down the Victorian street, meeting the larger-than-life guides as you go. You can also explore what life was like in York Castle Prison and learn about the role that Yorkshire folk played in WW1. Little ones will particularly enjoy looking at all the toys that the children of York used to play with over the last 150 years.

National Railway Museum

This free, family attraction is great for a rainy day and has plenty to explore. With a VR headset, you can experience what it was like to be chugging along on the Flying Scotsman. As well as the interactive exhibitions, you can also see many trains from the past in all their glory. Youngsters can enjoy the model railway and the play area.


Outdoor Activities for Families

Wizard Walk of York

A must for Harry Potter fans, this is without a doubt one of the best York attractions for families looking for something a little different. See the city’s sights whilst keeping kids enthralled by jokes, magic and mystery as well as learning about York’s fascinating history.

Treasure and Scavenger Hunts

Work together as a family to solve the clues and find the treasure! A great way to explore the city whilst keeping children entertained, you’ll receive clues on your phone, which, once deciphered, will lead you on a trail around the corners of this beautiful city. You’ll also be recommended tasty places to stop for food along the way.

York City Walls

The ideal activity for a sunny day, York’s ancient city walks can be explored on foot, for free. Follow the trail, and take in the sights, whilst listening to a downloadable audio trail. The longest surviving town walls in England, there are two miles of walls to discover, but you can just do a small section if you have toddlers in tow.

Rowntree Park

Let off some steam at this beautifully green park, that has a cracking play area, a lawn to run around on and a lake where you can feed the ducks and paddle on model boats. You can stop for some refreshments at the Reading Café, which is also a library.


Things to do Near York for Families

Beningbrough Hall

This grand stately home has acres of gardens that are a haven for kids. There are swings, slides, climbing frames, and a den zone in the wilderness play area, there’s also a giant green lawn area to play games and have picnics on. Parents will enjoy the beautifully landscaped formal gardens, and the plant shop and café. The inside of the hall is currently closed for refurbishment, but will re-open on the 1st of July 2023.

York Maze

Open for the school holidays from July 15th, including spooky Halloween events during October half term, York Maze is an epic family day out. Get lost in the multiple giant corn mazes, slide down the Corn Snake Tower, bounce on the Popcorn Pillow, and dunk your opponent at the Utter Cornage attraction! There’s also quad bikes, remote control boats and mini golf.

Piglets Adventure Farm

Meet cuddly baby piglets, fluffy bunnies, guinea pigs and alpacas in the Animal Barn, plus ponies, goats, chickens and more outside in the paddock. As well as petting the animals, there’s plenty of activities for kids to enjoy like crazy golf, an Olym-Pig Assault Course, a giant sand pit, pedal go karts and other fun stuff to try. There’s also plenty to eat from the café and pizza parlour.

Stockeld Park

Located in the rolling countryside just outside of York, Stockeld Park is one of the best York days out to enjoy with kids. During the school holidays, they put on special themed events with outdoor and indoor adventures to explore. With their very own maze, theatre, go kart track, and woodland playground, it’s rest assured that you won’t get bored here. At Christmas, there is also an ice rink along with an outdoor light show.


Family-Friendly Events and Festivals

The York Proms Picnic Concert

Held every year in the charming museum gardens, this lovely event featuring live performances from the best local musicians is always a sell-out hit. This year the theme is musicals, with tracks from the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber sure to entertain. Plus, kids will love the big finale, complete with fireworks!

When: 18th June 2023, 5:00 pm

Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta

This extraordinary family festival takes place in the stunning grounds of Castle Howard and has something to entertain the whole family. With amazing live music from the likes of Sam Ryder and Sister Sledge, to balloon launches, and family entertainment acts like Raver Tots, it’s safe to say that the whole family will be on cloud nine! Plus, there’s a funfair, plenty of street food and bar stalls, craft hubs, a storytelling corner and plenty more.

There’s also a shuttle service from York train station, just a few minutes walk from many of our city-centre holiday properties, which runs every 15 mins so transport is no problem.

When: Friday 25th– Monday 28th August 2023

York Food and Drink Festival

Celebrating the very best of local food and drink, this mouth-watering festival is a must for foodies planning a trip to York. With markets selling take-home goodies and yummy street food, plus chef demonstrations, free cookery workshops, and taste trails- it’s a family-friendly feast for all the senses! There’s also a stage for live music and a bar for the adults. York businesses also take part, offering special menus and events for the duration of the festival.

When: 22nd September to 1st October 2023

York Christmas Festival

Once of the most enchanting York events, the St Nicholas Fair is full of twinkling lights, and alpine stalls selling sweet treats and gifts, as well as street food vendors offering festive delights like German sausages and loaded fries. Adults can stop for a mulled wine at Thor’s Tipi Bar, and kids can enjoy the magic of a visit to Santa’s Grotto on Coppergate.

When: 16th November-22nd December 2023


Can’t wait to start your Yorkshire adventure and try your hand at one of these brilliant York activities? Book one of our family-friendly holiday homes today to enjoy a York break you’ll never forget.

If you need help finding your dream holiday property that suits the whole family, just give our local team a ring on 01904 228007.