Murton Park – Yorkshire Museum of Farming: A Mumbler Review
By Fiona Brook
Parenthood has brought many unexpected things into my life, including a new-found expertise in vehicles. Being a mum to a tractor-obsessed toddler means that I am now very familiar with a wide variety of construction vehicles, trains, and especially farm machinery. As a result, the Yorkshire Museum of Farming has almost become a second home to us this summer.
Situated at Murton Park just outside York, the Farming Museum is a brilliant place for your little tractor fanatic to let off a bit of steam. There are several real-life tractors and other farm machines to marvel at, as well as ride-on tractors to borrow in the yard. The play area is well equipped with climbing apparatus, slide, rockers, seesaw, swings and a playhouse; and there’s a clean spacious sandpit with plenty of sand play toys. The select number of farm animals (chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, guinea pigs) kept my toddler entertained, although it’s not a petting farm as such. The entire site is nicely laid out for a casual wander outdoors.
Older children and adults with an interest in early history may also enjoy the recreation Viking village, Stone Age village, Roman fort and Tudor Farmhouse. There are themed historical activities in the school holidays.
As a bonus, on Sundays and Bank Holidays the Derwent Valley Light Railway runs a little train every half hour or so along a length of track from a platform outside the museum. Rides are unlimited and at no extra cost (Santa Special events excluded). My little boy enjoyed getting on the train, giving his “ticket” to the guard, and riding the train for the short journey through the fields.
The on-site café (open 10-2pm on weekends and school holidays) offers simple lunch and snack options, including a child’s meal deal of sandwich, Pom Bears and juice carton. There are also a few picnic tables outside if you want to bring your own lunch.
It is best visited on a fine day to enjoy the outside spaces; however, if it does start to rain then there are exhibits to see in the indoor galleries, as well as a small enclosed indoor soft play area; and you are permitted to bring your own picnic to eat in the covered atrium area.
The 2019 entrance fee is a reasonable £7.50 for adults and £6.00 for children, with Under 2s going free. A Family Ticket is £21.00. What makes this an absolute bargain though is that admission prices give unlimited return visits for 12 months – this makes it a brilliant option to just dip into for the odd hour at the end of a day, at no additional cost.
Practical notes: Open from Easter until the end of October, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm (last admission at 3.30 pm). Free on-site parking. Baby change table. Accessibility: Some of the outdoor areas outside the main yard (such as the short nature walk and Viking village) can be a little tricky to negotiate with a pram or wheelchair due to the nature of the terrain.