Days Out York

Free activities

Free Activities


What will your family discover at the world’s greatest railway museum? From Mallard, the world’s fastest steam locomotive, to the replica of Stephenson’s world-changing Rocket, explore giant halls full of railway legends. Get on board awe-inspiring locomotives and watch our engineers at work in the Workshop.

Kids can let off steam in the outdoor play area, enjoy lively science shows, take a ride on the miniature railway and learn through the interactive exhibits. With daily demonstrations, talks and a special events programme, there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy.

Soak up the atmosphere in our Station Hall. Climb on board historic carriages and travel back in time to experience working life in a station. From the opulent carriages of Queen Victoria to the armour plated war transport of George VI, there’s plenty of incredible history and fascinating stories to discover with our stunning collection of royal carriages.

Free entry
Plan your visit at nrm.org.uk

NRM York, Leeman Road, York, YO26 4XJ


03330161010
info@railwaymuseum.org.uk
www.railwaymuseum.org.uk

Social  

Why not walk from Rowntree park to Homestead park?

Download the map here: Childrens Walking Map which has things for children to spot on the way.

The walk takes approximately 1 ½ hours. The last section is not suitable for wheelchairs or large buggies, but an alternative route is suggested.


01904 552 828
contact@exploreyork.org.uk
www.exploreyork.org.uk/park-to-park-walking-trail-and-childrens-activity-map/

Social  

Spot the L.S. Lowry, Turner and Hockney and surround yourself with some of the best ceramic art in the world at York Art Gallery.
With a programme of changing exhibitions and events for all ages, there is always something new to see and do.
Adult £8, Child (0-16) Free with paying Adult, YMT Cardholder – Free.
Open 10am-5pm
Exhibition Square, York, YO1 7EW


01904 687687
enquiries@ymt.org.uk
www.yorkartgallery.org.uk

Social  

A trip down our Victorian Street, Kirkgate, is something you will never forget. Meet the local characters, visit authentic shops and discover the weird and wonderful collections from this bygone era.

Swing by the Sixties gallery, discover toys from days gone by, venture into the original prison cells that held Dick Turpin and surround yourself with a spectacular costume collection from the past 400 years.

With family-friendly activities and fascinating exhibitions, there is something for everyone at York Castle Museum.

Adult £12, Child Free (with paying adult). With YMT Card – Free.

Open 9.30am – 5pm.

York Castle Museum, Eye of York, YO1 9RY


01904 687687
enquiries@ymt.org.uk
www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk

Social  

From prehistory to Romans, Vikings and the city’s medieval splendour; see some of the finest collections of archaeological and geological finds in Europe.
Don’t miss our ground-breaking exhibition Yorkshire’s Jurassic World, opened by Sir David Attenborough. Take an epic journey back through 150 million years of Yorkshire to discover lost giants and the changing worlds they inhabited in.

Adult £8, Child (0-16) free with paying adult, YMT Cardholder – Free.
Open 10am-5pm.
Museum Gardens, York YO1 7FR


01904 687687
enquiries@ymt.org.uk
www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk

Social  

10 Brilliant Parks & Playgrounds in York

We’ve compiled a list of ten great parks and play areas in York so you can add some variety to your days out and enjoy even more of the many beautiful green spaces that York has hidden away.

Aeroplane Watching in York at Chocs Away

Update: Cafe remains closed until September

Chocs Away is a cafe at the Rufforth Airfield. You can go along for a very reasonably priced breakfast or lunch and your mini mumbler can watch the gliders and planes on the runway from the large, safe balcony. They also do parties.

Open 10am – 2pm
T: 07885 810189
Rufforth Airfield, East Rufforth, York, YO23 3NA

Fruit & Veg Picking

There are some great groups in York such as Edible York who map out edibles around the city and you can join in with Abundance York who pick and distribute surplus fruit growing on common land & private gardens. Both links will take you to other fruity projects like Friends of Dormouse OrchardFulford Community Orchard (loads more if these aren’t local to you).

Lots of free treats if you know where to look!

(Thanks to LC for the tip!)

Solar Way – Cycle Ride

This scale model of the Solar System is spread out along 6.4 miles of the old East Coast main-line railway. Along it you can find scale models of all the planets in our solar system as well as  models of the Cassini and Voyager spacecraft. The track is a wonderful nature reserve with many different species of trees along the way, and an abundance of wild life to see and hear.

“I recommend Cycle track solar way”

KLF, Aug 18

“I can recommend this route. lovely area to walk around”

VH, Feb 18

Route goes via Brunswick Organic Nursery & various pubs for refreshments.
https://www.york.ac.uk/solar/index.html for more information.

St Nicks Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve is open all year round, just come and wander round. Come and explore 24 acres of unique green space on the site of a former rubbish tip. Many birds live on or visit the nature reserve and just under 20 species of butterflies have been recorded. There are all kinds of other insects and some mammals too. There is a great variety of plant species, trees and shrubs.
St Nicks Environment Centre is open: Mondays – Fridays 9am-4pm and during our on-site events

“St Nicks reserve is good…its a cycle track but lots of bits to look at too…you can head left and come out at Morrisons Foss Islands or right to Tanghall/osbaldwick & dewenthorpe.”

LT, Jan 19

“St Nick’s nature reserve off Hull Road. Outsdoorsie with play park plus general running around space, & an environment centre if your older kids are into that sort of thing.”

LH, Feb 18

St Nicks, St Nicks Environment Centre (formerly York Environment Centre), Rawdon Avenue, York, YO10 3ST
T: 01904 411821

York’s Lucky Cat Trail

York Glass is the home of York Lucky Cats where we celebrate the York Cat story.

” the cat trail is fab! We have over 20 ceramic cats that are dotted around the city and there’s a shop in the shambles where you can get a free map to find them all”

BW, Oct 18

“They have a ‘kitten trail’ too if you don’t have time to find them all. Think it includes the first 9 or ten from the complete trail.”

LN, Oct 18

You can pick up a leaflet from the shop on the Shambles.
34 Shambles, City Centre, York, YO1 7LX
T: 01904 541122

The Squirrel’s Trail

Explore some of the hidden treasures of York Museum Gardens.
Follow The Squirrel’s Trail of 10 fascinating fact points!

Follow the interactive trail and take part in our online quiz at the end.

Find the Questions at…
http://www.yorkmuseumgardens.org.uk/squirrel/

Museum Street, York, YO1 7FR

Walks and Woods in York with Kids

There aren’t many better things to do with kids than get out into the great outdoors for a walk. York has lots of great walks and woodlands and we’ve got some of the best options listed HERE

York City Walls Walk

Please note there is a one-way system in place.

On a nice day, there isn’t a much better way to see the beautiful city of York than walking around the walls.

Children can enjoy following the route via the golden disks on the floor and remember to take some paper and crayons so they can complete the map rubbings at each of the bars.

The walls go most of the way around the city, just having to get down to street level a couple of times. Not strictly buggy friendly but I know many who have managed it fine. Always a friendly visitor or local on hand to help!

“Walk round the city walls- my little boy loved it and is free x”

LH, Aug 2018

“Walls are walkable, open until dusk. Lovely to walk around and see all of york.”

EB, Oct 2018

York Libraries – Details and children’s sessions

Explore York Libraries and Archives Regular Times and sessions.

We’ve got all of the libraries in York Listed here with their address, contact details and opening times as well as details of all the regular sessions they hold for babies, children and families in York.

1. York Explore Library

Address: Library Square, York, YO17DS
Tel. 01904 552828
Email: york@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Mondays: 9.00am – 8.00pm
Tuesday: 9.00am – 8.00pm
Wednesday: 9.00am – 8.00pm
Thursday: 9.00am – 8.00pm
Friday: 9.00am – 6.00pm
Saturday: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Sunday: 11.00am – 4.00pm

Regular Sessions
* Story and Play: Monday 10am-10.45am
* Storytimes: Tuesday 10.30-11am, Thursday 1.30-2pm
* Rhymetimes: Wednesday 1.30-2pm, Friday 10.30-11am
* Chatterbooks: Saturdays 10.30-11.30am

2.  Acomb Explore Library

Address: Front Street, York, Y024 3BZ
Tel. 01904 552651
E-mail: acomb@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Monday: 9.00am – 7.30pm
Tuesday: 9.00am – 7.30pm
Wednesday: 9.00am – 2.00pm
Thursday: 9.00am – 7.30pm
Friday: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Saturday: 9.00am – 3.00pm

Regular Sessions

* Under 5s Storytime: Thursday 10:30-11am.
* Play Morning: Wednesday 10:30-11am.
* Knits and tots: Monday 10:30am-12pm.
* Lego Club: Saturday 11am-12pm.

3. Bishopthorpe Library

Main Street, York, YO23 2RB
Tel. 01904 552678
Email: bishopthorpe@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Monday: 2.00pm -7.00pm
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 10.00am -12.30 pm & 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Thursday: 10.00am -12.30pm & 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Friday: 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Saturday: 10.00am – 12.30pm

Regular Sessions

* Under 5s Storytime: Thursday 10.30 – 11.00 am
* Fun Friday craft session (all ages): Fridays 15.30 – 16.30pm ( term-time only)

4. Clifton Explore Library

Rawcliffe Lane, York, YO30 5SJ
Tel. 01904 552662
Email: clifton@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Monday: 2.30pm – 5.30pm
Tuesday: 10.00am -1.00pm & 2.00pm – 5.30pm
Wednesday: 10.00am -1.00pm & 2.00pm – 5.30pm
Thursday: 2.30pm – 7.00pm
Friday: 10.00am – 1.00pm & 2.00pm -5.30pm
Saturday: 10.00am – 1.00pm

Regular Sessions
* Under 5’s stories & rhyme time: Tuesdays & Fridays 10.30-11am
* Play morning: Wednesdays 10-11am
* Yorky Dads Lego: The last Saturday of the month 11.00am-12.30pm

5. Copmanthorpe Library

Village Centre, Main Street, York, YO23 3SU
Tel. 01904 552672
Email: copmanthorpe@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times:
Monday: 9.00am – 1.00pm & 2.00pm – 5.30pm
Tuesday: 2.00pm – 6.30pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 9.00am – 1.00pm
Friday: 2.00pm – 5.30pm
Saturday: 9.00am – 1.00pm

Regular Sessions
* Under 5s Story Time: Thursday 10.30 – 11am
* Fun Fridays: Friday during term time 3.30-4.30pm
* Tech Free Time: Tuesday during term time 3.30pm
* Children’s Crafts: the first Saturday of each month 10-11.30am

6. Dringhouses Library

Tadcaster Road, York, YO24 1LR
Tel. 01904 552674
Email: dringhouses@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Monday: 2.00pm – 6.00pm
Tuesday: 9.30am – 12.30pm & 2.00pm – 5.30pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 9.30am – 12.30pm & 2.00pm – 5.30pm
Friday: 2.00pm – 5.30pm
Saturday: 9.30am – 1.00pm

Regular Sessions
* Under 5s storytime: Thursday and Saturday 11-11.30am
* Lego Club on Tuesdays from 3.30-5pm free drop in
* After-school craft club: Thursday 3.30-5pm(for primary age children)
* Duplo play session every Saturday morning from 10-11am

7. Dunnington Library

The Reading Room, Church St, York, YO19 5PW
Tel. 01904 552668
Email: dunnington@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times:
Monday: 10.00am – 1.30pm
Tuesday: 2.00pm – 5.30pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Friday: Closed
Saturday: 9.00am – 12.30pm

Regular Sessions
* Under 5s storytime:
Thursday 2.15p.m.-2.45pm (throughout the year)
Monday 9.15a.m.-9.45a.m (term-time only)

8. Fulford Library

St Oswald’s CE School, Heslington Lane, YO10 4LX
Tel. 01904 555444
Email fulford@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times:

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Friday: 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Saturday: 10.00am – 12.30pm

Regular Sessions
* Lego Club: Tuesday 3.15-4.30pm
* Under 5 storytime:
Tuesday 2.10 – 2.40 pm
Saturday 11:00-11:30am

9. Haxby Explore Library

Station Road, York, YO32 3LT
Tel. 01904 552660
Email: haxby@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Ethel Ward Playing Field: Monday 9.30am – 6.30pm
Haxby Memorial Hall: Tuesday 9.30am – 5.00pm
Wigginton Recreation Hall: Wednesday 9.30am – 5.00pm
Thursday Closed
Oaken Grove Community Centre: Friday 9.30am –5.00pm
Oaken Grove Community Centre: Saturday 9.30am – 12.30pm

Regular Sessions

* Under 5 Storytime at The Memorial Hall: Tuesdays 10.30-11am
* Explore & Play mornings at Oaken Grove: Fridays 2-3pm

10. Huntington Library

Garth Road, York, YO32 9QJ
Tel. 01904 552669
Email: huntington@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Monday: 9.30am – 12 noon & 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Tuesday: 9.30am – 12 noon & 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 9.30am – 12 noon & 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Friday: 9.30am – 12 noon & 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Saturday: 9.30am – 12.30pm

Regular Sessions

* Explore Play Sessions: Tuesday 10.30-11.30am
* Thursdays from 2.15-2.45pm
* Lego club: Saturday 10.30am-12pm

11. New Earswick Library

Folk Hall, Hawthorn Terrace, York, YO32 4AQ
Tel. 01904 552629
Email: newearswick@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Monday: 9am – 12.30pm
Tuesday : 9am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4.30pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 1.30pm – 5pm
Friday: 1.30pm – 5pm
Saturday : 10am – 12 noon

Regular Sessions
* Under-5s Rhymetime: Tuesday 10-10:30am

12. Poppleton Library

The Village, York, YO26 6JT
Tel. 01904 552680
Email: poppleton@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Monday: 10.00am – 12.30pm & 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 10.00am – 12.30pm & 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Thursday: 10.00am – 12.30pm
Friday: 10.00am – 12.30pm & 2.00pm – 5.00pm

Regular Sessions
* Under 5 storytime: Wednesday 2.15-2.45pm

13. Rowntree Park Reading Cafe

Rowntree Park Lodge, Richardson Street, York, YO23 1JU
Tel. 01904 551489

Opening Times
The opening hours change throughout the year according to the seasons & the opening hours of the park itself.
Roughly: Summer 10.00am – 7.00pm,
Autumn & Spring 10.00am – 5.00pm
Winter 10.00am – 3.00pm.
See Explore Library webpage for precise dates and times

14. Strensall Library

19 The Village, York, YO32 5XS
Tel. 01904 552677
Email: strensall@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Monday: 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Tuesday: 10.30am – 12.30pm & 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Wednesday: closed
Thursday: 9.30am – 12.30pm & 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Friday: 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Saturday: 10.00am – 12.30pm

Regular Sessions
* Under 5 story time: Thursday 11-11.30am
* Lego Club: Tuesday & Saturday 10am-12pm

15. The Centre @ Burnholme

Tang Hall Explore Library, Mossdale Avenue, York, YO31 0HA
Tel. 01904 552655
Email: tanghall@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Monday: 9.00am – 8.00pm
Tuesday: 9.00am – 8.00pm
Wednesday: 9.00am – 8.00pm
Thursday: 9.00am – 8.00pm
Friday: 9.00am – 6.00pm
Saturday: 9.00am – 4.00pm
Sunday: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Regular Sessions
* Play Time: Tuesdays 10.30-11am
* Story & Rhyme time for under 5s: Wednesday 10.30-11am
* Young Adults Book Club: Thursdays 5-6.30pm.
* Chatterbooks: alternate Fridays 3.45 – 4.45pm (Term time)
* Lego cafe: Saturday & Sundays 10am-2pm

16. Hungate Reading Cafe

Hungate Reading Cafe, Ground Floor, Bellerby Court, Hungate, York YO1 7AF
Email: hungate@exploreyork.org.uk

Opening Times
Tuesday: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Wednesday: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Thursday: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Friday: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Saturday: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Please visit https://www.exploreyork.org.uk for details of other special events and information about York Explore Libraries

Please check all listings before visiting as can be subject to change.

York Minster

York Minster is a fantastic destination for family days out in York with loads of things to see and do. We have lots of activities, events and learning resources to enjoy in the Minster to make the most of your family’s visit. Visit the website for free family-friendly trails before you visit and get the most from your trip to York Minster.

“I just want to recommend York Minster as a free trip out with little ones. We’ve just been this morning and it was marvellous. Our little girl was given a little explorers back pack that you hand back in on your way out containing binoculars, a magnifying glass, torch, mirrors, colouring pencils and note pad as well as several activity cards with things to look out for, maps and information. In addition to all that there were lots of activities in the undercroft including building arches and fancy dress as well as a separate area with books, puppets and building blocks. The toilet and changing facilities are also very good. It really was excellent and is free for york residents, you only need to show proof of address and don’t need to have purchased a York card.”

 RW, Jan 18

“York Minster! As a York resident you get free entry (take some proof like a york library card if you have got one) and ask for one of their little backpacks (free to borrow) to explore with. They have torch, map, magnifying glass etc to see all the nooks and crannies!! Check the website to be on the safe side there isn’t a special service on. Kx”

KW, Sept 18

York Minster, Deangate, York, YO1 7HH
T: 01904 557200

York University – AstroCampus

The Astrocampus is open to the public once a fortnight throughout the winter months (October-March) and monthly throughout the summer (April-September). Our visits are designed to be suitable for all ages, with the earlier session timed for those with younger children.
At each event, you will have a tour of our observatories and an introduction to the night sky. When possible, you’ll have the opportunity to observe the Moon, planets, and stars with our telescopes and binoculars. If the weather lets us down, our team will equip you with some handy hints and tips for finding your way around the night sky, so the events go ahead whatever the weather.

“We took our Beavers group last year (6 – 8 year olds) and they definitely enjoyed it.”

JC, Jan 2018

“I recommend the AstroCampus”

DC, Feb 2018

University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD
T: 01904 322209

YorkCard

Local Residents can qualify for discounted or free entry to a number of local places if they have a York Card. You can get them from the libraries for a small fee (or free for under 18’s)

Every member of the family needs a card but they get you discounts in lots of attractions such as the Yorkshire Museum, York Castle Museum, York Chocolate Story and York Sport swimming. You also get free entry to the Minster.

Find out more HERE