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