Who doesn’t love a trail?! 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 (most free or very low cost) for you to enjoy.
Permanent Year Round Trails
Squirrel Trail in Museum Gardens
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’s 10 fact points to find and then a quiz at the end. Find the trails and quiz HERE
Address: Museum Street, York, YO1 7FR
The Cat trail
“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.”
Mumbler JK, June 17
Download the PDF Trail Leaflet HERE Address: 34 Shambles, City Centre, York, YO1 7LX
York University Campus Tree Trail
A 1 hour walk (2.3 miles) finding 34 trees. Click HERE for the trail map. It’s great for wildlife. The campus is home to rabbits, fish, ducks, geese and squirrels,so keep an eye out!
Visit York Selfie Trail
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.
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. 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. Route goes via Brunswick Organic Nursery & various pubs for refreshments.
Click HERE for more information & quiz is also available to accompany the trail HERE.
York City Walls Trail
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.
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 its interactive and all on your phones. Great for kids 8+ (£9.99 for adults, FREE for 15 & unders) Fun or your money back!
Rowntree Park Tree Trail
Maps can be found for £1 in the Rowntree Park cafe.
Homestead Park Tree Trail
Address: 40 Water End, Clifton, York YO30 6WP. “Homestead Park is a beautiful 14-acre garden in Clifton, York. It is owned, managed and maintained by Joseph Rowntree Foundation for visitors to enjoy.” 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 it’s own car park for park visitors (use this post code for the car park YO30 5RE). Scroll down to the bottom of THIS PAGE and you can download the tree trail map.
York Chocolate Trail
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.
When construction of the Vangarde Shopping Park was about to take place a colony of rare Great Crested Newts were 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’s lot’s of fun newt facts along the main walkway outside M&S, Next and John Lewis & Partners. There’s also a number of stainless steel newts, which can be spotted around the entire Shopping Park. Get new spotting!!
A fairly flat walk so it will be suitable for most buggies – it’s a circular walk with lots of interest points like carved trees, a tree house 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. Unfortunately Dogs aren’t allowed as it’s a nature reserve. Address: Moor Lane, York, YO32 2RE
York Minster Discovery Trails
One of the few indoor trails, so a perfect rainy day option.
2 trails are on offer.
For the youngest visitors join Monty the Monkey for a tour of the cathedral, spotting the Minster’s 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 our Welcome Desks or downloaded using the links above.
Free Entry for York Residents, just take proof of address. Mention discovery backpacks too.
National Railway Museum
Designed as learning resources for educational visit, these trails and treasure hunts are perfect for encouraging children of different ages to explore and engage with all the displays and resources on offer at the railway museum. Click the links below for the PDF trails which you can download/print prior to your visit.
“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!”
Download from the APP store or Google play – search for “Treasure Hunters, Science Museum”.
Address: National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York, YO26 4XJ
York Museum Trust
All 3 museums offer indoor trails, see below for more information. Don’t forget the YMT card, it’s EXCELLENT value annual membership and covers all 3 museums, children go free! This annual pass is £15 for York Residents or via annual direct debit it’s reduced to £12. Find out more HERE.
York Castle Museum
Designed for educational visits, the castle museum has a number of trails and quests for it’s younger visitors. This includes numeracy and literacy trails for various ages (early years up to secondary school), a toy trail and a York Castle Museum Quest!
2 trails are available to view and print before you visit. Click HERE to access them.
Roman Gallery Trail – This trail, suitable for KS2, takes you around our Roman galleries asking questions along the way.
Prehistoric Progress – Learn about the prehistory of Yorkshire by following the trail around the museum.
York Art Gallery
A free artists trail is available from the welcome team at the York Art Gallery. More information TBC.
York Mansion House
They now have a self-guided trail as a permanent fixture. The self guided “Little Mayor” trail will be running from now on included in your admission.
Seasonal / Temporary Trails
The Friends of Rowntree Park run various trails through the year. Keep an eye on their FACEBOOK PAGE for the latest information.
Visit York Easter Bunny Trail
Visit York have organised Easter trails in recent years, involving hunting for bunnies across York. We’ll update the EASTER PAGE as soon as we know what is happening for next Easter.
Visit York Great Ghost Trail
The Visit York Great York Ghost Search was great fun for Halloween in 2019. Hopefully it returns in 2021. As soon as we know,we will let you know!
A VERY popular annual trail in York. Now held over a weekend in February. The last trail was last held February 1st & 2nd 2020.
We will update the Ice Trail Blog when we know more about what’s to come next year!!
Keep an eye on the Mumbler events calendar, where we list all the information for any upcoming Scarecrow Trails that we know about.
If you are running a scarecrow festival and would like it listing on our events calendar, click HERE to let us know the details.
These are a great idea if you are visiting a park or garden where there is no specific trail set us. Have a google for “free scavenger hunts” and lots of options will come up.
Hunts could involve finding items of different colours, different textures, or finding something for each letter of the alphabet. They can be quite generic so you should be able to utilise them in whatever outdoor space you are visiting.
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 / treasure.
Once you find it, 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!).
For even more ideas….
If you enjoy getting out and about, there’s lots of other useful pages on the Mumbler website for you too: