We also stay up to date with all the events happening in York so you don’t have to – all you have to do is look at our daily events calendar.
In this post, we’ve listed 10 free (or very cheap) ideas to keep you all entertained in York during half term.
1. The 36th Jorvik Viking Festival🛡🛡🛡
This year’s theme is the Voyages of the Vikings, so you can take a journey in half term to discover the Viking’s extraordinary stories!
Free & cheap highlights for families include:
🛡Viking Encampment: Discover the trades and crafts of the Viking Age, Parliament Street. 10am – 4pm, 15th – 23rd Feb – FREE! 🛡Viking Crafting for Kids: Have a go at learning something new, Spark:York. 10am – 3pm, 15th & 15th Feb – £3/£5 for two children. 🛡Family Friendly Viking Fun: With story-telling, sword fighting and much more, St Sampson’s Square. 10am – 4pm, 15th – 23rd Feb – all events free, except ‘Have-A-Go-Sword’.
ℹ️ See Jorvik Viking Festival for an up to date list of events 💷 Cost? A lot of the festival is free, but some events must be pre-booked and charges apply 📅 When? Sat 15 Feb – Sun 23 Feb 2020 🗺 Where? Various locations around York City Centre
2. Murton Park – Yorkshire Museum of Farming 🚜 🚜🚜
Visit this reconstructed Viking village on the outskirts of historic York at Murton Park and enjoy all things Viking. You will get to dress as a Viking, learn how to use a spear and shield, play and make a Viking game to take home with you, and see what it was really like to live in a Viking Longhouse.
The experience will last for approximately 1 1/2 hours and is outside so sensible shoes and coat are advised. This event is not included in the year ticket.* There will be two slots each day and they will be at the following times: 10:00 – 11:30 and 13:00 – 14:30.
The café and playground will be open but please note the museum galleries will not be for this event.
ℹ️ See the Muton Park website for more information 💷 Cost? £7.50 per child. There must be at least one adult per party but they will not be charged. Year tickets are not valid for this event. 📅 When? Mon 17 Feb – Fri 21 Feb 2020. There are two timed slots each day at 10 – 11:30am and 1 – 2.20pm. 🗺Where? York YO19 5UF
3. National Railway Museum – Decoded 🚂🚂🚂
Along with all the usual fun to be had at the National Railway Museum, there are lots of brilliant hands-on activities over half term that explain technology and how coding makes so many things work in the modern world.
You can try creating code through dance in a special workshop, take charge of a robot to see how technology could improve our railways, and enjoy storytime with Technology in Play with their ‘Code-a-pillar’.
ℹ️ See the National Railway Museum website for more information 💷 Cost? Entry to the museum is free 📅 When? Sat 15 Feb – Sun 23 Feb 2020 🗺Where? National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ
4. Explore Libraries – Various Events 📚📚📚
There are always plenty of great (and often free) events going on at your local library. Here is just a small selection:
📚 Haxby Explore at Wigginton Recreation Hall: Meet the Danelaw Villagers, have a go at a Viking craft and hear stories by the camp-fire. Fri 19th Feb, 2.30-4pm, £2. 📚 Acomb Explore (17the Feb, 11-11.45am), Clifton Explore (20th Feb, 10.30-11.15am) & York Explore (20th Feb, 1.30-2.15pm): Hoglets Half Term Pirate Party. Join Hoglets on an interactive storytelling pirate adventure, £5 per child (aimed at 3-8-year-olds).
There are plenty of FREE storytime sessions, crafting and LEGO clubs running as usual throughout the week at many of the libraries.
ℹ️ For more information see the York Explore Events section 💷 Cost? Free, unless otherwise stated 📅 When? Various dates over February half term 🗺Where? Various Explore Libraries
5. Yorkshire Museum – Viking Activities 🏛 🏛🏛
From prehistory to Romans, Vikings and the city’s medieval splendour there is a lot to discover at the Yorkshire Museum. There are lots of fun Viking activities happening over half term too!
🏛 Viking Rune Making: The Vikings system of writing was called Runes. You can learn the Runic Alphabet, choose your stones, write your own name or a message for someone. Take your stones home in a hessian bag to keep them safe. £1.50 per child, no need to book. 🏛 Viking Voyages: Enjoy an interactive storytelling journey and imagine going back 1000 years in time! Try on a Viking costume and enjoy role play in a longboat. Free, no need to book. 🏛 Kids Collections Corner, Vikings: On Tuesday 18th Feb at 12.30pm you can enjoy a Kids Curator Talk. There is plenty of hands-on activities and demonstrations. Suitable for 7-11-year-olds. Free, no need to book. 🏛Vikings Sword & Drill: Every weekend 11am-1pm and 2 – 4pm you can take part in a Viking Sword and Drill session. Free, no need to book. 🏛Viking Play Area: Under 5’s can discover Viking themed toys and books. Free, no need to book. 🏛Viking Trail: Enjoy a trail around the museum to spot seven Viking characters and find the missing letters that spell a Viking word. Enjoy a chocolate treat if you complete the trail and enter a prize draw to win a Viking game! 50p per trail, no need to book.
ℹ️ For more information see the YMT half-term page 💷 Cost? Annual membership for YMT is £15 per adult York Resident. York children free 📅 When? Sat 15 Feb – Sun 23 Feb 2020 – special events dates & times are shown above 🗺 Where? Museum Gardens, Museum Street, York YO1 7FR
6. York Art Gallery – Art Sessions 🎨🎨🎨
Not only can you enjoy some wonderful paintings and ceramic at York Art Gallery, this half term there are some fantastic drop-in art sessions for children.
🎨 Prop Making Characters from the Snail and the Whale: Sat 15th & Sun 16th Feb at 11am – 1pm and 2-4pm. Free and all materials included. 🎨 Interactive Storytelling, the Snail and the Whale: 17th – 21st Feb at 10.45am – 1pm & 2-4pm. After the storytelling, there is an opportunity to stay and play and meet the characters. Free, no need to book. 🎨 Painted Pebbles – ART ROCKS: Sat 22nd & Sun 23rd Feb at 11am – 1pm and 2-4pm. Free and all materials included. Free and all materials included.
ℹ️ For more information see the YMT half-term page 💷 Cost? Sessions are free. Annual membership for YMT is £15 per adult York Resident. York children free. 📅 When? Sat 15 Feb – Sun 23 Feb 2020 – special events dates & times are shown above 🗺 Where? York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York YO1 7EW
7. York Castle Museum – Catnapped!🏰🏰🏰
There really is something for everyone at York Castle Museum. Take a trip down the Victorian Street, discover toys from days gone by and visit the original prison cells!
This half term you can become a detective…
🏰 Catnapped! The Police need your help to put a Victorian feline thief behind bars! Become a detective and help the police return the cat to its owner and catch the thief. Free, included in admission.
ℹ️ For more information see the YMT half-term page 💷 Cost? Events are free. Annual membership for YMT is £15 per adult York Resident. York children free. 📅 When? Sat 15 Feb – Sun 23 Feb 2020 🗺Where? York Castle Museum, York, YO1 9RY
8. Model Railway Exhibition 🚊🚊🚊
Enjoy the 9th annual Ebor Group of Railway Modellers show. It is held in aid of York Against Cancer and is sponsored by Monk Bar Model Shop. The charity supports the show by providing refreshments.
This is a small, intimate model show, displaying layouts from the club, members and local friends. As well as Monk Bar Model Shop there are also other traders and demonstrators.
ℹ️ For more information see York Mumbler 💷 Cost? £4 Adult, £1 Child 📅 When? Sat 22nd Feb at 10am – 5 pm and Sun 23rd Feb at 8am – 4pm 🗺 Where? Heworth Church Hall, Melrosegate, York
9. Dark Skies Festival, North York Moors 🌌🌌🌌
The Dark Skies Festival is all about discovering, learning and enjoying the dark and the stars. There is a huge range of events for families to encourage you to enjoy the night skies.
Here are some of our highlights for families:
⭐️ Little Boots Wednesdays – Little Stars, Sutton Bank: On Wed 19 Feb, follow the lunar trail and then enjoy space crafts. Suitable for 3-7 year olds. Adults free, Children £4.50. ⭐️ Can Fish See in the Dark, Sutton Bank: On Thur 20 Feb find out at this FREE drop in event if fish can see in the dark. Take part in trails, crafts and quizzes to find out. Suitable for age 4+. ⭐️ Inspired by…”Starry Night”, The Moors National Park Centre: On Thur 20 Feb try some art activities based on the famous painting by Van Gogh and discover what to look for in our winter skies. Suitable for all ages. Adults free, Children £4.50. ⭐️Stargazing Crafts, The Moors National Park Centre: On Sat 22 Feb enjoy creating some sparkly art before heading out with the telescopes to view the stars (weather permitting). Min age 3. Adults free, Children £4.50.
ℹ️ For more information see the Dark Skies National Parks website 💷 Cost? Lots of events are free or only £4.50 per child. Pre-booking is required for some events – check online first. 📅 When? 14 Feb – 1 Mar 2020 🗺Where? Various locations including Sutton Bank National Park Centre, near Thirsk, YO7 2EH & The Moors National Park Centre, YO21 2NB
10. More ideas to have fun at home in winter
It’s always trickier to think of easy ideas to keep everyone entertained when it’s cold and wet outside and that doesn’t cost a fortune. Here are some ideas to help give you a bit of inspiration!
💜 Who says picnics are just for summer? Try an indoor picnic and pretend the sun is shining! 💜 Play board games and do puzzles. Have a family competition and see who gets the highest score! 💜 Have a film marathon with your favourite snacks and turn your lounge into a mini cinema with lots of cushions and blankets 💜 Invite friends over for brunch or afternoon tea, share the cooking and enjoy a relaxing few hours 💜 Get outside whatever the weather, fresh air is always a good idea! Here are some blog posts to inspire you!
Water Babies have a limited number of spaces at this lovely venue to access a FREE swimming class with your little one on Saturday 15th February.
This is for little ones aged from birth through to school age. ☎️01904 607110 📧firstname.lastname@example.org
🧸👚🧸And finally, don’t forget the Mumbler Nearly New Sale! 🧸👚🧸
York Mumbler’s first nearly new sale for children’s items aged 3-10 years. Come and grab some bargains! For pre-loved clothes, toys, games and books.
These sales are always very busy so please, if at all possible, bring slings to carry babies rather than pushchairs. There will, of course, be enough space to push a pram around if needed though.
ℹ️ For more information see the Facebook event page. 💷 Cost? £1 entry. Limited parking. 📅 When? Sat 22nd Feb, 10.30am – 12pm 🗺Where? Poppleton Community Centre, Main Street, Poppleton, YO26 6JT
💜💜💜 We hope you enjoy some of these free or cheap activities around York this February half term. If you have any other great ideas of things to do over half term, then please let everyone know in the Facebook Group. 💜💜💜