Trails & Treasure Hunts in York – updated for 2022
Who doesn’t love a trail or treasure hunt? Equip your mini explorers and little detectives with a map and things to find along the way and you won’t be able to keep up with them!
We’ve tracked down all the trails and treasure hunts in York for you to enjoy. Plus most of them are free! Use the links below to jump to each section, or scroll the whole list and find something fun to do with the kids!
Mumbler Mythical Creature Quest, York City Centre 🐉
Our Mumbler Mythical Creature Quest takes you on a short but magical walk around York to seek out eight mythical creatures that are hiding in the city. Perhaps you’ve walked past some of them before and never even noticed them? Once you find each creature you’ll need to unscramble the clues to uncover the magical Mumbler password! Download your Mumbler Mythical Creature Quest map for FREE here or pick up your FREE quest map from Visit York Information Centre.
Squirrel Trail in Museum Gardens, York City Centre
This trail helps you to explore some of the hidden treasures of York Museum Gardens. It’s an interactive quiz so you will need to use your phone.
There are 10 fact points to find and then a quiz at the end. It does take too long so is a great trail to do if you are in town and what a bit of a run-around!
Cost: Free 📍 Museum Street, York, YO1 7FR Time to complete: Takes less than an hour ℹ️ Find the trails and quiz here
The Cat Trail, York City Centre
Statues of cats have been placed on buildings around York for hundreds of years, originally to frighten away rats and mice which carried plague and illness. They were also thought to ward off evil spirits and generally bring good luck!
Now you can enjoy finding 21 cat statues hiding around York city centre!
“If you have kids that love treasure hunts and looking for things I can highly recommend the York Cat trail. For FREE you can pick up a map from the Cat gallery shop on Petergate or download it from the internet. It has clues and a map of where cats are on buildings around the city of York. There are a few questions to answer whilst going round and when complete you hand the form in to the Cat gallery shop and child receives a little free gift. My 4 yr old and I loved it today. Highly recommended.”
Cost: Free 📍 York Lucky Cats, 34 Shambles, City Centre, York, YO1 7LX Time to complete: Takes an hour or two depending on how quick you are! ℹ️ Download the PDF Trail Leaflet here
York University Campus Tree Trail, York University
A 1 hour walk (2.3 miles) to discover 34 different trees. It’s great for wildlife lovers. The campus is home to rabbits, fish, ducks, geese and squirrels, so keep an eye out! The trail starts at Derwent College reception.
Cost: Free 📍 York University, University Rd, Heslington, York YO10 5DR Time to complete: Takes about an hour ℹ️ Click here for the trail map.
Visit York Selfie Trail, York City Centre
Check out the Visit York Selfie Trail. This includes some of the city’s most iconic photo opportunities. Get your smiles and selfie sticks out! You are encouraged to share your photos with the tag @visityork and #yorkselfie on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Cost: Free 📍 Starts at York Railway Station Time to complete: Takes about an hour ℹ️ There’s an online map here
Solar Way, York
A longer one for the bikes! This scale model of the Solar System is spread out along 6.4 miles of the old East Coast main-line railway. On the route 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 wildlife to see and hear. The route goes via Brunswick Organic Nursery & various pubs for refreshments.
Cost: Free 📍 A good place to start from is Rowntree Park or Askham Bar Park & Ride Time to complete: Depends on how much you decide to cycle. The full route is 6.4 miles ℹ️ Click here for more information & quiz is also available to accompany the trail here.
York City Walls Trail, York City Centre
Free to walk around. The Friends of York Walls have various trails on their website to cover all the different sections of the wall and the key points along it. You can walk the whole trail or just dip in and out as you fancy.
Cost: Free 📍 A good place to start is Bootham Bar as there is plenty to see such as York Minster Time to complete: Depends on how much you decide walk – in total it is 2 miles and includes quite a lot of steps. ℹ️ For more information and maps click here. There’s a “City walls from the ground” map too. Perfect for those with buggies or wheelchair users to enjoy the walls too.
Treasure Hunt York City Centre
Turn today into a family adventure with Treasure Hunt York. See hidden gems and uncover clues all at your own pace. It works like WhatsApp so it’s interactive and on your phone. Great for kids 8+. Fun or your money back!
Discover all the different trees in Rowntree Park. Once you have your leaflet, the trail starts near the cafe.
You will need to look for wooden numbered discs high up on the tree trunks.
Cost: £1 each – available from Rowntree Park cafe 📍 Rowntree Park, Terry Avenue. Micklegate, York, YO23 1JQ Time to complete: The 20 tree trail is a 1.5km walk suitable for pushchairs. There is also a shorter version that takes 20-30 minutes – great for little legs! ℹ️ For more information see Rowntree Park website.
Homestead Park Tree Trail, Clifton, York
Homestead Park is a beautiful garden, owned, managed and maintained by Joseph Rowntree Foundation. There’s a large children’s play area to enjoy before or after the tree trail and plenty of room for picnics. Homestead park is about 1.5miles from the city centre and it has its own car park for park visitors (use this post code for the car park YO30 5RE).
Cost: Free 📍 40 Water End, Clifton, York YO30 6WP Time to complete: Less than an hour ℹ️ Scroll down to the bottom of this page and you can download the tree trail map.
York Chocolate Trail, York City Centre
A trail exploring York’s chocolatey past, highlighting all the venues/landmarks that play a key role. This trail could extend to much more than a day if every venue was properly explored, so maybe a trail to spread out over a few visits into York.
Cost: Free 📍 Starts at Visit York Information Centre, Blake Street, York Time to complete: At least 2-3 hours ℹ️ Click here for the trail map
Newt Trail Vangarde Shopping Centre, Huntington, York
When construction of the Vangarde Shopping Park was about to take place a colony of rare Great Crested Newts was found to be living on the site. It’s Britain’s most threatened newt, so they needed to be carefully rehomed nearby before construction could commence.
The newts are doing well in their new home!
To honour this bit of history, there are lots of fun newt facts along the main walkway outside M&S and Next. There are also a number of stainless steel newts, which can be spotted around the entire Shopping Park. Get newt spotting!
Cost: Free 📍 Vangarde Way, Huntington, York YO32 9A Time to complete: Less than an hour ℹ️ The Vangarde Newt Guide includes more fun facts, word search, colouring and a map of the park.
Moorlands Trail, York
A fairly flat walk so it will be suitable for most buggies. Moorlands Trail is a circular walk with lots of interest points like carved trees, a treehouse and ponds along the way.
From York, take the A19 Thirsk road for about 3 and a half miles to Skelton. Turn right off the A19, continue through the village and the nature reserve is another 2 miles further on, on the left of the road. Parking is allowed on the verge near the entrance gate. Dogs aren’t allowed as it’s a nature reserve.
Cost: Free 📍 Moor Lane, York, YO32 2RE Time to complete: Less than an hour ℹ️ More information is available here
Indoor Trails in York 🗺
York Minster Discovery Trails, Deansgate, York
One of the few indoor trails, so a perfect rainy day option. There are two trails to complete.
For the youngest visitors join Monty the Monkey for a tour of the Minster, spotting fun and quirky features along the way.
Those aged 7+ can collect a Treasure Trail to help them find special details around the cathedral which tell stories from the Minster’s rich history.
Both trails can be collected from the Welcome Desks or downloaded using the links above.
Cost: Free Entry for York Residents, just take proof of address. 📍 Deangate, York YO1 7HH Time to complete: Less than an hour ℹ️ More information is available here and here
National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York
Designed as learning resources for an educational visit, the trails and treasure hunts at the Railway Museum are perfect for encouraging children of different ages to explore and engage with all the displays and resources on offer at the railway museum.
The NRM also offer the Treasure Hunters App:
“Accept challenges, battle against your friends and family, and team up to win badges with our new app, Treasure Hunters (recommended for ages 5+). Create a unique tour of the museum that changes every time you play. Then continue the fun at home and make connections between our amazing collection and the objects you use every day. It’s free to download and taking part is as easy as taking a photo. Get ready to explore, snap and score!”
Cost: Free 📍 Leeman Road, York, YO26 4XJ Time to complete: Less than an hour ℹ️ Download from the APP store or Google play – search for “Treasure Hunters, Science Museum”. Visit the resources section of the NRM website to find various trails.
York Castle Museum, York
There is so much to do at York Castle Museum where you can discover over 400 years of York’s part. From the Victorian street to Dick Turpin’s prison there is plenty to see.
There are also lots of trails and quests you can complete whilst you are there.
Designed for educational visits, the castle museum has a number of trails and quests for children of all ages. There are numeracy and literacy trails for various ages (early years up to secondary school), a toy trail and a York Castle Museum Quest!
Cost: Adult (pre-booked): £13 & valid for 1 year, York Resident Child: Free 📍 Eye of York, York, YO1 9RY Time to complete: Less than an hour ℹ️ All available here
Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens, York
Learn more about Romans, Vikings and York’s medieval splendour at the Yorkshire Museum. You can also travel back through 150 million years of Yorkshire at Yorkshire’s Jurassic World exhibition.
Two free trails are also available to download and print off before you visit. The Roman Gallery Trail is suitable for KS2, and takes you around the Roman galleries. You can learn about the prehistory of Yorkshire by following the trail around the museum with the Prehistoric Progress Trail.
Cost: Adult (pre-booked): £8 & valid for 1 year, York Resident Child: Free 📍 Museum Gardens, Museum Street, York, YO1 7FR Time to complete: Less than an hour ℹ️ All available here
York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York
Discover some brilliant art for free at York Art Gallery. You can also see lots of ceramic art at the Gallery.
To add extra interest for younger visitors there is a free artist trail available form the welcome team at York Art Gallery. Plus there are lots of Art Hero Fact Sheets you can download and print before your visit.
Cost: Free (entrance charges apply for special exhibitions) 📍Exhibition Square, York, YO1 7EW Time to complete: Less than an hour ℹ️ All available here
Scavenger Hunts – free downloads from York Mumbler 💜
This involves downloading the free Geocaching App onto your phone where you create an account. You then use to App to navigate your way to the hidden geocaches. A geocache is basically some sort of hidden item and there are lots of them in and around York.
Once you find the geocache, it should have a log book with it which you sign and date (don’t forget to take a pen!). Hide the geocache again for the next person and make a note online about how you got on.
Geocaching relies on people putting back anything that they do find in the same place! Be aware there’s no guarantee it will be there on your visit, so plan your route bearing this in mind!
We hope you enjoy one of the many trails and treasure hunts in York. If there are any trails that you know about that we haven’t included, do let us know so we can add them to our blog. Contact us HERE.