Looking for things to do on a rainy day in York with kids, and still having fun…whatever the weather? We’ve got some great ideas for you!
A good mantra is…there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing! Wrap up well, get your waterproofs and wellies on and get out to enjoy some fun in York!
We got lots of ideas of things to do on a rainy day in York with kids, so don’t let the weather hold you back from having a good time!
Pottery Painting at Rainbows Ceramics 🎨
Rainbows Ceramics Painting Studio is a well-established pottery painting studio in the heart of York on the corner of Bootham & Gillygate. Parking is available on Bootham Row, just behind the shop. They have a vast selection of pottery and all the stamps, stencils and sponges you need to help your little one get creative.
What do Mumbler’s think?
“I took my 3 year old to Rainbow Ceramics and had a good time painting a small plate and cup for him. They were very helpful. I LOVE Rainbow Ceramics, always very helpful, friendly, relaxing.”
📍 Where is it? 15-17 Bootham, York, YO30 7BW
⏰ How long should I spend there? On average about one and a half to two hours but it can take longer. Younger children tend to take less time than older ones. You are welcome to stay as long as you like.
Enjoy a trip to the cinema – the perfect rainy day activity for kids in York 🍿
There are four cinemas in York, and we’ve listed everything you need to know about them in our Cinema & Theatre blog here. Find out the highlights for families and younger visitors below. But if you have any more questions about cinemas and theatres in York, then we recommend you have a read of our cinema blog!
📽 Cineworld at York Community Stadium, York is the newest cinema offering in York and is based at the Vangarde Centre just close to Monks Cross. It also offers:
Baby & Toddler Cinema: CineBabies screenings are held on a Monday around 11am depending on the film. Standard ticket pricing, Designed for parents and babies under 18 months are free, older children are charged are the normal rates. More details here.
Family Cinema: Movies for juniors Saturday and Sunday mornings around 10am tickets from £2.50 for all, extended throughout the week during school holidays. More details here.
What do Mumblers think?
“We went there today and the cinema is brill comfy reclining seats. They don’t need to sit on a booster seat which is loads better as the seats are stepped up they will see the screen perfectly without other peoples heads in their way. Seats are spaced out leg room good”
📽 City Screen Picture House on Coney Street in York is handy if you need to visit the city centre. Plus the Riverside Café-Bar is welcoming to new parents and children. High-chairs are available if needed. It also offers:
Baby & Toddler Cinema – The Big Scream: This session is for parents and guardians with babies under one year old, every Wednesday morning at 11am. Membership is free and valid until the baby’s first birthday. Toddler Time is for pre-school children and their parents and carers, every Friday morning at 11.30am. Tickets are £3 for children, free for accompanying adults.
Family Cinema: The popular Kids’ Club screenings are every Saturday morning, for children aged 3 – 12. There are activities in the cinema screen from 10.30, followed by a film at 11.15. Tickets for children and accompanying adults are £3 each.
What do Mumblers think?
“City Screen is brilliant. They have a kids half hour on Friday morning to get kids used to it. Usually, things like Bing, Hey Duggee etc. It’s really good.”
📽 Everyman is on Blossom Street just outside the city walls. It offers a warm and friendly atmosphere, with excellent food & drink selection and fantastic customer service. It also offers:
Baby & Toddler Cinema: £11.50 per parent – Baby Club is a weekly screening event that enables anyone with a child under 12 months to attend. We show a new release with softened sound and dim lighting throughout for the comfort of the baby. A ticket includes a hot drink and a slice of cake. The seating is unallocated. Please understand we are unable to allow entrance to customers without babies in attendance for these screenings. Some weeks we may run two baby club screenings in one week.
Family Cinema: There are family ticket options from £27.30which is 2 adults and 2 children
What do Mumblers think?
“I’ve been to the baby cinema at Everyman and it’s fab. You get a hot drink and yummy cake included too”
📽 Finally, Vue is at Clifton Moor in York. It has 12 screens with 922 seats. It also offers:
Family Cinema –MINI MORNINGS. SMALL PEOPLE. BIG EXPERIENCE
Fancy seeing the best kids films and family films with both adult and child tickets from only £2.49 per ticket? Vue’s Mini Morning sessions give both adults and kids the chance to experience big-screen entertainment for a very small price. Mini Mornings are run every Saturday and Sunday morning from 10am, plus every day in the school holidays (with availability likely to change depending on when your child’s holidays occur)
Visit Soft Play in York 🎈
A visit to a soft play centre is often every parent’s standby when the weather turns! How else to burn off all that energy without getting really wet and cold outside? In York, there are four soft play centres, where your little ones can have fun, while you get to enjoy a sit-down and a drink whilst you keep an eye on them having fun. One of our favourite rainy day activities for kids in York for sure!
Creepy Crawlies/Web Adventure Park – Wigginton Road, York
The Web Adventure Park in York has a large indoor play area called Creepy Crawlies, a large outdoor adventure park with a water play area, animal zone and more! The animal zone has goats, shetland ponies, rabbits, sheep, pigs and more!
The water play area is the perfect place to cool down, splash and paddle with lots of fun things to play with.
What do Mumblers think?
“If you have kids, this place is great value for money! Highly recommended.”
This small /medium-sized soft play area. Ideal for pre-school aged kids as it’s not too big. Separate area for under 5’s with slide and ball pool. Can sit close to the play area and see your little one from most angles!
Where is it? Stirling Road, Clifton Moor. YO30 4XY
Riverside Farm – Shipton Road, York
Looking for somewhere suitable to take the kids for lunch? Look no further. The Riverside Farm is charming, unpretentious, and comfy. Has a soft play area at an additional cost.
Where is it? Shipton Road, York, YO30 1XJ
Burn off some energy inside 🤸♀️
There are lots of brilliant indoor places in York where you can burn off some energy and be active. From bowling to climbing and trampling to indoor golf, you won’t be short of choice.
Where is it? Kathryn Avenue, Monks Cross, York, YO32 9AF
The Hole in Wand Wizard Golf – Coppergate, York
Enjoy 9 magical golf holes and the World’s Most Magical Golf Course in York! With bubbling cauldrons, a giant picture frame where you become part of the paint and the opportunity to do a Light Spell, there is magic everywhere.
York’s Premier Trampoline Park, Winner of the Small Visitors Attraction of the year 2020 by Visit York. Bounce, Flip and tumble over 100+ trampolines. You can test yourself on our assault course or jump off the heights of mount Enzo into the giant Air Bag. Family Packages available, for the whole family, to enjoy the park together and Toddler Sessions now for ages 1-5 yrs. Find out more information about Point Zero Trampoline on York Mumbler
Where is it? 3-7 Rose Avenue, York Business Park, York, YO26 6RU
Tenpin Bowling & Sector 7 Laser – Clifton Moor
Bowling in York is a great way to have fun with friends and family. There’s a wide selection of food and drink available from ‘The Lanes’ menu, you’ll be fuelled to bowl as long as you like.
Where is it? Stirling Road, Clifton Moor Centre, Clifton Moor, York YO30 4WZ
Visit a Museum 🎫
A trip to a museum makes the perfect rainy-day activity, and there is a brilliant selection of museums in York!
National Railway Museum – Leeman Road York
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, enjoy lively science shows, take a ride on the miniature railway and learn through the interactive exhibits. Find out more information about the National Railway Museum on York Mumbler
Walk along the cobbled streets of Kirkgate, delve in to the creepy cells of York Prison, swing by the Sixties gallery and return to the front with the First World War Exhibition, 1914: When the World Changed Forever. Shaping the Body: 400 years of fashion, food & life. Find out more information about York Castle Museum on York Mumbler
Where is it? York Castle Museum, Tower St, York YO1 9RY
Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens – York
The Yorkshire Museum has galleries showcasing treasures from the city’s Roman, Viking and medieval past.
Where is it? Museum Gardens, Museum Street, York YO1 7FR
Visit your local Explore library 📚
There are 15 libraries around York, so there is bound to be one local to you. On a rainy day, you can enjoy a trip out to read and borrow some books.
Plus there are two Explore cafes in York city centre, which are very family-friendly!
Hungate – Snacks, ice creams or homemade pizza in Explore’s newest café. Families will love the children’s area
Address: Ground Floor, Bellerby Court, Hungate, York YO1 7AF
Open Mon-Fri 9am to 4pm & Sat 10am to 4pm
York Explore – Open Monday to Saturday until 4pm with a spacious family-friendly café
Address: Library Square, York YO1 7DS
Open Mon-Thu and Sat 9am to 4pm, Fri 10am to 4pm
Find all the details about your local Explore Library here.
Go for a swim 🏊♀️
Why not get wet anyway, but inside! Going for a swim is the perfect thing to do on a rainy day with kids in York and there are lots of swimming pools to choose from.
Better York Leisure Centre – Huntington, York
Part of the York Stadium Leisure Complex, the swimming area offers a 6 lane, 25-metre pool, plus a shallow learner and toddlers splash pool.
Where is it? Kathryn Avenue, Monks Cross, York, YO32 9AF. Find out more here.
Better Energise Leisure Centre – Acomb, York
With a 25-meter and learner pools.
Where is it? Cornlands Road, Acomb, York YO24 3DX. Find out more here.
Swimming, Fitness classes, 3G Pitches, Cycling, Fitness Suite, Health & Spa and a Cafe! Conveniently located near the Park & Ride at Grimston Bar, York Sport Village is easily accessible on foot, by cycle, car or public transport. We have 250 car parking spaces, in addition to the Park & Ride, and there is also regular bus service from the number 66.
Where is it? York Sport Village, Lakeside Way, York, YO10 5FG. Find out more here.
Yearsley Swimming Pool
Close to the Nestle factory on Haxby Road. 50 yard (45.7 metre) 6 lane swimming pool. Balcony and spectator area.
Where is it? Haleys Terrace, York, YO31 8SB. Find out more here.
Visit York City centre ⛪️
Even if the weather isn’t great, you can still have a brilliant time in York City Centre – maybe just plan your day out! Here are some great places to visit on a rainy day with kids in York.
The Georgian house hiding a big secret…To the outside world, this house was York’s first school for girls. To those in the know, it was hiding an illegal convent. With special activities for our younger visitors, a café and garden, the Bar Convent is a unique experience for the whole family to enjoy
Go on an archaeological adventure at DIG, from the people who brought you JORVIK Viking Centre! Four excavation pits are filled with Roman, Viking, medieval and Victorian finds, so you can grab a trowel and dig up the clues that show how people lived.
Discover a unique collection of 1,000-year-old artefacts. Travel around 10th century York, experiencing what it was like living in the city. The sights, sounds and even the smells of the Viking Age are brought vividly back to life as you journey back 1,000 years.
Find out more on York Mumbler here.
York Chocolate Story
Enjoy a fully guided tour and three floors of interactive exploration as you go on a journey through the city where chocolate made history. Treat yourself in the cafe!
And finally, if you’ve decided to stay at home on a rainy day with your kids in York 🏚
We’ve got 10 brilliant ideas of activities you can set up and enjoy at home.
1. Make shadow puppets
This website has STAR WARS shadow puppet ideas! But you can make anything you want really. The kids will have hours of fun making and playing with these.
2. Make Lazer beans
Stick some cotton or string in a zig-zag pattern across the hall or landing to create ‘laser beams’ the kids have to climb through without touching to win some treasure on the other side.
3. Make a den
Get out some sheets and create a fabulous den behind the sofa or between some chairs. Fill with all kinds of things to keep them busy… Lego, reading and drawing activities, a torch, dress-up clothes, snacks, books or maybe a podcast.
4. Enjoy a free Mumbler activity sheet
Did you know we’ve got lots of free activity sheets to download? From colouring to indoor scavenger hunts you will find something to enjoy. Download & print all our free activity sheets here.
5. Make your own scented playdough
You can create all kinds of colours if you’ve got some food colouring knocking around.
All you need is
250g plain flour
1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil
A few drops of food colouring (optional)
For ‘scented’ play dough try adding cinnamon or vanilla.
Mix together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Add the water and oil.
Knead well until mixture is smooth (about 10 mins).
Add a bit more flour or water until the consistency is smooth but not sticky.
Add food colouring and knead until the colour is fully blended.
Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until chilled enough to use.
6. Make your own invisible ink
Write secret messages to each other in invisible ink. When the ink dries you can heat it over a light bulb (adult supervision required) to reveal your message.
What you’ll need:
Half a lemon, Water, Spoon, Bowl, Cotton bud, White paper, Lamp or another light bulb.
What to do:
Squeeze some lemon juice into the bowl and add a few drops of water.
Mix the water and lemon juice with the spoon.
Dip the cotton bud into the mixture and write a message onto the white paper.
Wait for the juice to dry so it becomes completely invisible.
When you are ready to read your secret message or show it to someone else, heat the paper by holding it close to a light bulb.
7. Build a spaghetti and marshmallow tower
This activity can be as complex as you want. The basic idea is to build a tower using just a few marshmallows, 20 sticks of dry spaghetti and some tape. This is a good activity to keep older kids entertained and you can always use any left over marshmallows in hot chocolate when they’re finished.
8. Play Hide & Seek
Always a good, easy game. If you start the kids off hunting for you at the top of the house you have just enough time to make a quick cup of tea for yourself in the kitchen before they ‘find you’.
9. Do some box modelling
This requires nothing other than a pile of recycling – boxes, plastic containers etc – and some glue or tape and paint (depending on how much mess you’re willing to create). This is an easy one, let the kids make anything they want from the materials available.
10. Make a fluffy painting
If you have these two ‘ingredients’ then try making this. You’ll need some white, school glue – the runny kind that you can squeeze out of a bottle or that kids use the glue spreaders for and some shaving foam. Adding food colouring is optional. This mixture will dry to become soft and fluffy to the touch. A really good recipe is
3+ cups of shaving cream (foam not gel)
1 cup flour
1 cup white glue
Food colouring or paint
Ziploc-style sandwich bags
Sturdy paper or board
Measure out all the ingredients, except for any colouring, into a large mixing bowl.
Mix the shaving cream, flour and glue together without over mixing. (You want to keep the air bubbles in the shaving cream.)
Divide the white puffy paint mixture between 3 to 4 small bowls and add a few squirts of food colouring or paint to each bowl, stirring in, but again being careful not to over mix.
Spoon the puffy paint into sandwich bags. Seal each bag (add duct tape as well to help keep it closed if your kids are extra vigorous squeezers), then cut a small corner off.
Squeeze the foam paint through the small hole onto your paper or board, making puffy lines, dots, and designs as desired.
Let dry overnight. You’ll notice the foam paint gets even puffier over time then sets, but is still puffy to the touch even after it dries.
☔️ ☔️ ☔️ We hope the rain doesn’t put you off having a fun day out. There are so many things to do on a rainy day in York with kids, we hope you have lots of fun! ☔️ ☔️ ☔️
Last updated April 2023 – all details correct at time of publication.