5 reasons why York is a great place for a family break
There are many reasons why York is a great place for families to visit. The old city is easy to walk around so no matter the age of your kids, you won't have much trouble. There are plenty of historical attractions and museums that bring history to life and make it engaging for kids of all ages. And let's not forget that York has some beautiful green spaces, including free entry into many parks and gardens to explore.
Walking Around York
Old York, where most of the city attractions are, is super easy to walk around. Depending on where you are staying you may want to catch a bus to the city centre, but once you're in the city you can easily spend the rest of the day on foot.
York City Walls
A must-do walk on your first visit to York is the city walls. Walking the whole wall is just over 2 miles long but the great thing is you don’t have to do it all in one day if you don’t want to. If you do, it should take about 2 hours. It’s a simple route to follow; you just stroll along the top of the wall and stop whenever you feel like to enjoy the view. There are eleven checkpoints, conveniently situated cafes and walking the wall is something you can tie en-route to other attractions.
Please be aware that the wall is not buggy friendly and there are some flights of steps.
Love cats? Kids love treasure trails?
The York Cat Trail is a historic walk with the aim of seeking out 22 cats. Look up, look down, look all around; there are cat statues to be found! Start at the Shambles outside York Glass, where you can pick up a route leaflet that has clues and information on the cats you are seeking. The cat trail is a fun way for everyone to enjoy exploring the historic city.
Park to Park Walk
A planned walk that starts at Homestead Park and goes to Rowntree Park, all you have to is simply follow the trail and be rewarded with a playground and ice cream at the other end! Both parks have play areas and the easy walk is buggy friendly, dog on lead accessible and is expected to take about 1.5 hours.
You cannot ignore York Minster and neither should you. It's a fabulous building to behold from the outside and even more impressive when you venture inside. Child friendly and suitable for all ages, the Minster provides an activity trail and information stops, especially for children over seven years old. For children aged three to seven, there are Easter themed backpack explorer packs. There's a kids area with bean bags to sit on, fun things to do and books to browse.
History Brought to Life
With over 2000 years of history, York has a tale or ninety to tell! There are several exciting options for children, including the famous Jorvik Centre and a magical theatre experience - "A Very Magical Adventure".
Jorvik Viking Centre
Inspired by the famous Coppergate Dig that discovered the Viking trade routes, the Jorvik Viking Centre offers a lifelike exploration into the lives of the people who lived and traded in York during Viking times. Actors will immerse you in what it was really like to live during these times. There are artefacts, immersive displays, enactments and a ride.
A family ticket is £35.00
Adults cost £12.50
Children cost £8.50
Knights, Dragons and Princesses are all included in the live, interactive theatre featuring King Arthur, Merlin and more. The theatre runs from the end of July until the end of September and promises to be a “very magical adventure”.
Tickets from £16.95, use code “Magic” when booking for 10% discount.
As you would expect, with so much history and heritage to explore, York has some great museums.
Kids will love York Castle Museum; it’s an award-winning museum that will transport you through hundreds of years of York history. The museum building was a prison at one time so you'll get the chance to see the inmates, including the highwayman Dick Turpin. You'll also be able to stroll along a cobbled Victorian street, learn about World War One and there is a sixty’s exhibition.
Adults £13.00 (annual ticket)
Children £6.50 (annual ticket)
There is a long list of free concessions available.
Enjoy the Parks and Gardens
As well as those already mentioned, York has several other green spaces for you to enjoy. Centrally located are the Museum Gardens and Dean’s Park. They are both fantastic places to enjoy a picnic and many of the surrounding cafe’s offer takeaway or you can bring something with you.
The Museum Gardens are a registered botanical garden. There are some monuments and listed buildings within the space, including the remains of St Mary's Abbey. As well as plants and buildings, there is wildlife galore; keep a look out for squirrels gallivanting around. The gardens are open between 10.30-6pm daily and are free of charge. To encourage children to explore, the Squirrel's Trail takes in ten points of interest around the gardens.
Situated to the north side of York Minster, Deans Park is a public park managed by the Dean of York Minster. The park offers the opportunity to get close to the outside of York Minster and it’s a stroll upriver from Rowntree Park with its children’s playground and loads space to kick a ball about.
We could go on and on about why York is a great place for a family break, the history, the cafe’s, the attractions, the great accommodation and more!