York for Kids

Hands-on experiences for younger visitors

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There are plenty of things in York to stimulate and entertain children. Here are a few popular ones to choose from:

York Minster

The Minster is awe-inspiring on account of its sheer size, grandeur and decoration, but don’t forget the small details, such as the scurrilous carvings by cheeky medieval stonemasons (eg gargoyles outside, or in the Chapter House). A trip to the roof is an exciting add-on for older children (8 and over). (Allow at least 2 hours for a full visit.) Don’t forget that your entry ticket to the minster is valid for a year, so it may be an idea to spread the experience over a couple of shorter visits rather than one long one.

Pick up a free junior visitor backpack with discovery kit and ideas for  young visitors.

Barley Hall

Barley Hall is all about finding out about medieval life– including school – with guides in period dress and plenty of rooms and exhibits to be handled. (Allow about an hour)

Castle Museum

The Castle Museum is usually a lasting memory of York for children. Realistic street, shop and room reconstructions, with special materials aimed at children. (Allow about 2 hours.)

The Walls Walk

Walking the walls is always a hit because it’s a fun physical activity with so many things to see and do en route, especially at the bars over the roads. (Allow 2 ½ hours for the whole length, or  around ½ hour for Section 1, Monk Bar to Bootham Bar.)

If you are going to walk the whole length of the walls don’t forget to get a Retrace kit from the Information Centre to make a relief rubbing map.

===> Explore more local itineraries via the RELATED links below.

Jorvik Viking Centre

Jorvik provides a ride through an imaginative reconstruction of life in the Viking  settlement, with its sights, sounds – and smells. (Allow an hour – more if there is a queue and you don’t pre-book.)

Cliffords Tower

Cliffords Tower is a real castle keep with views over the city. (Allow half an hour or so.)


At DIG kids can get down and dirty with the past. Enthusiastic young archaeologists help with hands-on searches for bones, pots and other relics of earlier generations. (Allow an hour or so.)

National Railway Museum

The Railway Museum is  real (free) treat for children, combining railway engines and technology with carriages, including former royal coaches. A miniature steam train adds to the experience. (Allow 2 hours.)

The National Railway Museum is away from the centre of town. To spare young legs, consider taking
the train bus from in front of the Minster (Duncombe Place)

Yorkshire Museum

The Yorkshire Museum is a museum with Roman and other finds not too big as to be daunting for younger visitors. Plus opportunities for dressing up! (Allow an hour or so.)

York’s Chocolate Story

York’s Chocolate Story is a determinedly child-friendly attraction about York’s chocolatey past and present. Costumed guides. Demonstrations, and a chocolate café at the end. What child doesn’t like chocolate? (Allow 2 ½ hours)

Also with children in mind, for a family-friendly lunch or refreshment break, try the Spurriergate Centre (toys in the corner!). And for a treat, ice-cream from LICC usually hits the spot.


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