Are you going to York for a trip with young kids and not sure where to go?

York is one of the most charming cities in all of England but it can be difficult to find things to do suitable for young ones.

The area is perhaps most famous for the medieval walls that surround the city.

Today, it offers fascinating history, stunning architecture, and plenty of fun attractions which kids will love.

We’ve done the research and found 27 fun things to do in York for kids so you can ensure a great time out when you visit.

1. City Tour in York

Only have one day in this North English city?

Then the York Walking Tour is for you!

On this comprehensive walking tour, you’ll be introduced to this beautiful city.

Over the course of 2 hours, you’l pass by all the biggest sites.

These include York Minster, St Mary’s Abbey, York City Walls, Clifford’s Tower, Monk Bar, and Fairfax House.

Along the way, your expert guide will explain the rich history behind each attraction so kids can learn about these awesome landmarks.

Tour details

  • Duration: 2 hours 
  • Departure Point: Stonegate, central York
  • Departure Times: 11:00 am or 2:00 pm
  • Inclusions: All taxes and fees, professional guide, entry fees

Book Tour


2. York City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Get the most out of your time in York with a Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour!

This is hands down the most fun and convenient way to get around the city, especially when kids get tired easily.

Simply hop aboard, and you’ll have 24 hour access to the best sightseeing in York.

The route takes 1 hour in total and consists of 20 stops.

Stops include Memorial Gardens, Museum Street, Monk Bar, Clifford’s Tower, Minerva House, and Barbican Road.

Double decker buses have on-board commentary in 10 different languages.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Inclusions: Unlimited hop on hop off for 24 hours, audio commentary, discount booklet

Book Tour


3. York by Pedicab

Why take a normal car when you could hop in a pedicab?

This unique York tour is a fun way to see the city.

This is an all-new attraction so now’s the time to try it out for yourself!

Pedicabs get places that larger vehicles like buses can’t reach.

That means you’ll visit the biggest attractions, as well as off the beaten path sites.

Prepare to see York Minster, King’s Manor, Exhibition Square, St. Mary’s Abbey, and much more!

Tour details

  • Duration: 60-90 minutes
  • Departure Point: Duncombe Place, Duncombe Pl, York
  • Inclusions: £5 million Hackney Carriage Insurance

Book Tour


4. York by Bike

York isn’t a very large city, which makes it perfect for exploring by bicycle.

This cycling tour is ideal for active families with young kids.

On this tour, you’ll spend between 2 and 2.5 hours biking both inside and outside York’s walls.

There will be multiple stops along the way, including York Minster, Treasurer’s House, and Rowntree Park.

At each stop, your guide will share some fascinating information about it’s history.

The biking route is extremely safe and also boasts the best viewing points that York has to offer.

Tour details

  • Duration: 120-150 minutes
  • Departure Point: Gillygate, York
  • Departure Time: 10:30 am
  • Inclusions: Guide, use of bicycle and helmet

Book Tour


5. Ouse River Cruise

Kids will adore cruising along the Ouse River.

The banks of Ouse River is one of the most picturesque areas of York.

But there’s nothing quite like getting out on the water yourself.

Double decker cruises will meander down the river.

You can sit up on the open-air viewing deck or lower down, in the more sheltered area.

Evening, lunch, and afternoon tea cruises are available, where you and your kids can enjoy a meal of your choice while on board. 

Inclusions on most tours

  • 2-course meal
  • Tea or coffee
  • Local guide
  • Live commentary on board

Evening Cruise Lunch Cruise Afternoon Tea Cruise


6. Magical Harry Potter Walk

Are your kids full-on Potterheads?

You’ve come to the right place!

York offers a Magical Harry Potter Walk that fans of all ages are sure to love.

All tours are interactive and 2 hours in length.

Each tour will delve into J.K. Rowling’s writing process and will take you to multiple filming locations.

You can expect to see the entrance to the station where the Hogwart’s Express passed through, the original Diagon Alley, as well as the historic York city centre.

Get your kids dressed up for the occasion as there’ll be plenty of opportunities to take photos.

Tour details

  • Duration: 2 hours 
  • Departure Point: Rail Station, York
  • Departure Time: 10:30 am
  • Inclusions: Local guide

Book Tour


7. Northwood Fairy Trail

Who wouldn’t want to visit a fairy’s playground?

The Northwood Fairy Trail is one of the best activities for kids in York.

The trail will have your kids meandering through a 100 acre woodland estate.

Trails are 1.5 km in length and include a willow walled maze, a large collection of fairy doors on trees, fairy treehouses connected with rope bridges, and a tree stump village.

There’s also a rustic, nature-inspired play area complete with a sand pit, mud kitchen, and den building.

After your walk, you also have the option of visiting the indoor Fairy Museum for more magic.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm November – March; 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Easter – October
  • Address: Northwood Trail – England’s Fairy Sanctuary, Buttercrambe Moor Woods, Buttercrambe, York

Official Site


8. York Ghost Tour

York has an eerie history that dates back thousands of years.

In fact, many people regard it as the most haunted city in the world.

That makes it a prime location for a family-friendly ghost tour.

Multiple tours, by foot or bus, are available to families.

Whichever you choose, you can expect to hear some pretty spooky ghost stories.

Plus, you’ll be taken to the city’s most haunted sites at night, which include the Castle, York Minster, and the Shambles. 

Inclusions for most tours

  • Professional guide
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
  • Private tour
  • Round-trip transportation

Check Tours


9. York Dungeon

Are you into time travel?

Then dare to step back in time at the York Dungeon.

This creepy attraction is fun for the whole family.

You’ll learn a bit about the darkest part of York’s history, while enjoying an interactive experience.

Included in each ticket is access to live shows, gripping rides, and state-of-the-art special effects and staging.

You’ll learn about the exploits of infamous people like Dick Turpin and Guy Fawkes.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Departure Point: The York Dungeon, 12 Clifford Street, York 
  • Inclusions: Entry fees

Book Tickets Official Site


10. York’s Chocolate Story

Calling all childish chocaholics! 

If you and your kids have a sweet tooth, then you have to visit York’s Chocolate Story.

At this sweet and educational attraction, visitors will learn about the chocolate-making process.

You’ll even get to become a chocolatier for a day.

Over 75 minutes, you’ll explore three interactive floors that will also teach guests about the history of chocolate.

And of course, you’ll get a delicious sample at the end!

Tour details

  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Departure Point: Kings Square, York
  • Departure Times: 10:00 am or 2:00 pm
  • Inclusions: Guided tour, entry fees

Book Tour Official Site


11. Historic Walls of York

If you don’t walk along the city’s medieval walls, were you really in York?

The city’s stone walls are by far the area’s top rated attraction.

They are a sight to behold in and of themselves.

But walking along them is another experience entirely.

Feel like a medieval knight for a day on this York City Walls Private Walking Tour.

Each tour will take you along the walls at your own pace, explaining the fascinating history behind them at each turn.

This is a great learning experience for kids and an attraction they should definitely see if you’re visiting York.

Tour details

  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Inclusions: Tour guide, hotel pick up and drop off

Book Tour


12. Castle Howard

Become a royal family for day at Castle Howard.

Castle Howard is one of the most breathtaking sites in the York area.

The castle was built over 300 years ago and is located in the picturesque countryside.

The interior is immaculate and the exterior architecture is nothing short of breathtaking.

In addition, the estate consists of 1,000 acres.

The gardens, with their lakes, temples, statues, and fountains, serve as a natural playground for kids.

Tour details

  • Duration: 1-6 hours
  • Departure Point: Castle Howard, York
  • Inclusions: Entry fees

Book Tickets Official Site


13. Clifford’s Tower

Clifford’s Tower is one of York’s most famous attractions.

From down below, it looks like a quaint castle on a hill.

But walk up the hill and you’ll find yourself inside a 13th century medieval tower.

The tower was built by Henry III in the mid 1200s. 

Today, families can climb 55 steps to the top and walk along the tower ramparts.

Be sure to bring your camera as from up there, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of York.

Inclusions for most tours

  • Professional guide
  • Entry fees
  • Phone chargers available

Check Tours


14. The Shambles

Shopping and history rolled into one?

Yes, please!

The Shambles is one of the finest preserved medieval shopping streets in the world.

Its history goes back over 900 years and is often regarded as “Britain’s most picturesque street.”

While none of the original storefronts remain, there are many window sills and meat hooks that date back to the medieval era.

Kids can marvel at shop windows, stroll along the quaint cobblestone pathways, stop for lunch, and pretend they’re from the medieval era.

Inclusions for most tours

  • Entry fees
  • Phone chargers
  • Professional guide

Check Tours Official Site


15. Richard III Experience at Monk Bar

Travel back to medieval-era York during this Richard III experience.

Monk Bar is a famous 14th century gatehouse and bar.

Today, it is also an interactive museum where visitors can learn about the interesting history of Richard III.

Costumed guides will teach you all about the king as well as his defeat by Henry Tudor.

There is also an impressive collection of medieval arms and armor, in addition to multi-media presentations on the War of the Roses and the Battle of Bosworth.

Lastly, the museum has a children’s area with costumes, props, and narration by author Terry Deary. 

Check Tickets Official Site


16. York Bird of Prey Experience

Do your kids love birds?

Then be sure to stop by York Bird of Prey.

York Bird of Prey is home to over 80 species of birds.

You’ll find majestic owls, vultures, hawks, falcons and eagles on-site.

Flying demonstrations and educational talks take place throughout the day.

You might even get to pet one of these adorable creatures during your visit.

Details

  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Address: Baston Ln, Huby YO61 1JB, United Kingdom
  • Opening Hours: Wednesday to Monday 10:30 am – 5 pm

Book Tickets Official Site


17. Askham Bryan Wildlife & Conservation Park

While in York with your kids, check out the new wildlife park at Askham Bryan College.

Ashkam Bryan Wildlife & Conservation Park is a great place to get in touch with nature and meet adorable animals.

The park consists of four animal zones.

Expect to meet cuddly farm animals, exotic primates, wallabies, and birds of the world.

As you walk through the park, you’ll learn about the physical features, habitats, and diet of its inhabitants.

There are even options to get up close and personal with the animals.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm weekends only
  • Address: Askham Bryan, York 

Official Site


18. Homestead Park

Explore this 14 acre garden with your kids in York.

Homestead Park is just 1.5 miles west of York’s city centre.

It was first opened in 1904 by Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree.

Although the Rowntree family once lived in a house in the park, today, it is open to the public.

The park is suitable for all ages and includes a medieval garden, a circle garden, an expansive lawn, and a tree-lined avenue.

There is also a children’s play area and a cafe on-site.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm daily
  • Address: The Homestead, 40 Water End, York

Official Site


19. Rowntree Park

If you and your kids want to get outdoors on your trip to York, Rowntree Park is another fantastic option.

This 20 acre York park is open to the public year round.

It features an array of fun activities.

Families can enjoy the park’s bowling greens, tennis courts, basketball courts, and multiple playgrounds.

It even has a skateboarding area.

On top of this, it’s also a great spot to go for a stroll or have a picnic.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 9:30 pm on weekdays, 9:00am to 9:00 pm on weekends
  • Address: Terry Ave, York

Official Site


20. York Motorsports Village

Whizz around the track at York Motorsports Village.

This indoor racing centre has karts for children, as well as adults.

F1, F2, and F3 racing experiences are available to guests.

There are karts suitable for children 4 and up.

There are also driving simulators if you don’t feel like getting behind the wheel of a kart.

This is a great place to spend an afternoon with your kids in York.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm on weekdays, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm on Saturdays, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on Sundays
  • Address: Kathryn Avenue, Monks Cross Leisure Park, York

Official Site


21. Be Archaeologists at DIG

Dig for fossils at DIG.

DIG is a program run by the York Archaeological Trust.

It aims to introduce kids of all ages to archaeology.

It is located in St Saviour’s Church, a stunning medieval church in York.

This interactive attraction will allow your children to become archaeologists for a day, uncovering exciting artifacts that date back over 2,000 years.

Your kids are sure to love this educational York activity.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily
  • Address: St Saviour’s Church, St Saviourgate, York

Official Site


22. Jorvik Viking Centre

Did you know that York has a fascinating Viking history?

At the Jorvik Viking Centre, you can learn all about it.

Fittingly, the museum is located on the site of a famous archeological dig that happened over 30 years ago.

Beneath 8 tonnes of dirt, archaeologists found the Viking city of Jorvik which dates back over 1,000 years.

Stroll through the museum and marvel at 40,000 artifacts.

There is also a reconstruction of the Viking village’s streets inside.

Details

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm
  • Address: 19 Coppergate, York YO1 9WT, United Kingdom

Check Tours Official Site


23. Yorkshire Air Museum

If your kids love airplanes, then the Yorkshire Air Museum is a must.

The museum is located on the former RAF Elvington airfield.

It opened to the public in the 1980s and is the largest independent air museum in Britain.

It is famous around the world and even has branches in Canada and France.

Yorkshire Air Museum boasts a collection of over 50 aircrafts.

There are also educational exhibitions, such as one on RAF Bomber Command.

Details

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am – 5 pm
  • Address: Halifax Way, Elvington, York YO41 4AU, United Kingdom

Check Pass Official Site


24. National Railway Museum

Don’t miss the National Railway Museum of York.

The museum is one of the most comprehensive rail museums in the world.

It chronicles the history of rail travel in Britain from its beginnings.

The museum contains a number of historic rail cars, including Mallard and Duchess of Hamilton.

Beyond rail cars, the museum also houses a multitude of artifacts relating to rail history.

It was even awarded the European Museum of the Year Award in 2001.

Kids will love jumping on the rides and seeing all the life size trains at the museum.

Details

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10 am – 6 pm
  • Address: Leeman Rd, York YO26 4XJ, United Kingdom

Check Pass Official Site


25. York Army Museum

This is for kids who love history.

The York Army Museum is a small, impressive museum in York.

It houses a sizeable World War II collection.

It also has exhibits and interactive activities relating to British military from other wars in history.

The museum even displays two collections from serving regiments, The Royal Dragoon Guards and The Yorkshire Regiment.

This is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon with your family. 

Details

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday to Saturday
  • Address: 3 Tower St, York

Official Site


26. York Castle Museum

On the former site of York Castle is where you’ll find the York Castle Museum.

The York Castle Museum is highly interactive, making it great for kids.

Rather than a typical museum with exhibits, it includes a recreation of a Victorian street.

Meet actors in period costumes and explore shops and rooms that look like they’re straight from the Victorian period.

This recreated street is the first of its kind in all of Britain.

There are also exhibits on children’s toys, the 1960s, and World War I.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm daily
  • Address: Eye of York, Tower St, York 

Official Site


27. Barley Hall

Live like you’re in medieval times at Barley Hall.

This medieval-era townhouse was built by monks in the mid 1300s.

Today, it is owned by the York Archaeological Trust.

It is now open to the public and houses a museum.

It also hosts special events throughout the year.

Exhibitions change each season, with the current exhibit showcasing magic and mystery in medieval society.

Details

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily
  • Address: 2 Coffee Yard, York

Official Site


By now you’ve probably gathered that York is brimming with history but still has a lot of kid-friendly activities.

From its many museums to a Harry Potter tour, there is plenty to do and see in this medieval English town.

Find more Things to do in York with Kids

emily
Emily is a freelance writer from Canada and it was during her time studying History that she became interested in travel. Countries I've visited include the United States, Mexico, the Cayman Islands, New Zealand, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.