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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Family friendly things to do in and near York for most ages

York is one of the best places to head for a family friendly day out, or even a holiday.

As a family we are always on the lookout for things to do together, the boys are all older now and doing things to suit there ages can be difficult. York is always a great place to head because it is compact and has lots to offer most ages.

Over the years we have spent many days in York and have been visiting with the boys ever since they were babies. We still love visiting, so here are my top family friendly things to do in York for most ages.

A popular choice for many, including families is Jorvik Viking Centre.

The museum transports you back to Viking times in Jorvik, once the name for York.

You start by taking a ride around and you are taking through different aspects of life complete with sounds and smells! After the ride you can then wander around the museum at your own pace. The museum isn't the biggest but if you take your time and read everything you could spend just over an hour at the centre. There's usually a demonstration in coin pressing and don't forget to find the giant poo! Also a half decent gift shop.

Pre booking is recommended


Adult: £16.50

Child: £11 Under 5s go free

Blue peter badges are accepted here

Tickets last for one year!

One of my favourite places to visit when we are in York is the Castle Museum. There's always lots to see and do here and I just love the Victorian street. I recommend a visit here at Christmas. There's also a toy exhibit and you must check out the Prison. The museum was once a prison for the area and it even housed Dick Turpin in one of its cells. Lots to learn about here and we always enjoy a visit.


Adult: £17

Child: 10.50 Under 5s go free

Tickets last for a year

A large second world war museum, this is somewhere we love to visit. There's always something you didn't notice on your last visit and we have been visiting for years!

The museum used to be a prisoner of war camp during the second world war and houses over 30 huts each filled with something different. The blitz is always a really popular hut complete with lights, sounds, smells and more. Lots of photo Opportunities.


Adult: £15

Child: £13 Under 5s go free

The Dungeons is more suitable to older kids as it can be a bit scary, We have now been a few times and have enjoyed each visit. Lots to see and learn. The minimum age is 8, Under 5s will not be permitted. You know your child and what they can manage with but please do some research first because some of the shows can be gruesome and scary.


Tickets vary as it is a Merlin attraction so it is best to check the website.

One of the oldest part of the castle is Clifford's Tower, managed by English Heritage.

The tower has a very dark past and it is so worth purchasing the guidebook. It is not recommended for those with mobility issues and you can not take pushchairs etc due to the steps to get into the tower. I highly recommend a visit as it has some spectacular views across York from the roof.

Free admission for English Heritage members

The railway museum is one of our favourite attractions in York. We have been coming here for many many years as we do love Trains. There's so much to see and do here and you can easily spend half a day here if not longer.

The museum is split into 4 sections Station Hall, North Hall, South Yard and the Open storage area. You can find historical royal carriages, Japanese Bullet Train, Mallard and so many more. The creepiest one they used to have was the postal train and you could definitely feel a chill when you peeked inside.

Currently the museum is undergoing extensive renovations so only one side of the museum is open. Entrance and exit is from Leeman Road. The museum will be reopening all sections in 2025.

This museum is free entry

A ride on the City Cruise is something you must do at least once. We took a ride a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. We learned so much and got to see the city from a different angle. You can also Hire your own row boat.

Prices are from £14

The worlds largest aviation museum, the boys absolutely love visiting here. It has so much to see and do and you can easily spend the day. You can see things like the Cayley Glider, The Wright flyer, Hawker hurricane and more


Adult: £15

Kids: £6 Kids under 4 Free

Tickets last a year

This is one of the best days out we have had. The boys absolutely loved it and we spent all day from opening to close here. We last visited a few years ago and to be honest I wasn't expecting it to be so good, I thought it was all for toddlers and that we wouldn't be there very long however I was proved very very wrong. We enjoyed pretty much all of the attractions and did the big maze after lunch. The only thing that let this place down was the toilets as they were dirty and messy but this was a good few years ago so hopefully this has now changed. The food is decent here too.

The maze opens on 13th July and will be open for the whole of the Summer holidays

Admission prices are yet to be released

I absolutely love visiting Castle Howard and we have been a few times now. Christmas is just spectacular and I love exploring room to room of the castle. The grounds are extensive and well worth exploring too. There's the walled garden, woodland garden, Lakes, Temples and Skelf Island Adventure playground.

Admission: Various ticket prices so it is best to check the website

Even if you are not religious, York minster in my opinion is somewhere every one should visit at least once. It is magnificent. There's lots to see at the minster and kids are encouraged to explore and learn about the history. There is a young explorers backpack to use, various trails and more. I love just sitting and looking up at the windows.


Adults £18

Kids under 17 Free entry

Tickets last a full year

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