Visiting York with Kids

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By In The Playroom

Over the bank holiday weekend we went up to York with the kids to spend a few days, thanks to Travelodge. I have family up north too, so we combined some sightseeing in York with visiting family en route. I hadn’t been back to York since visiting as a child so it was lovely to explore this beautiful city again, and made a relaxing end to our summer holidays.

Visting York with kids. Where to stay, what to do - tips for your family friendly visit

Where to stay in York

As I mentioned, we stayed in Travelodge, in the York Central hotel which is located very conveniently for exploring the city with ease. Since there are 5 of us, we had two rooms nearby to each other to fit all of us in comfortably.

travelodge york centralRooms are all clean and practical, with all of the essentials that you’ll need. The beds were comfortable for all of us, and the hotel staff were welcoming and child friendly.

In York Central hotel, you can park in the Q Park a few minutes away (get a discount voucher from the hotel front desk), although there are a few disabled parking spots outside if you have a blue badge.

Breakfast in this hotel is a little different than other places we’ve stayed at since they don’t have a dining area but they’ve come up with a very handy practical solution for this, which is breakfast boxes. My kids really enjoyed these since they were quite a novelty, and I was happy with them too.

travelodge breakfast boxes

What to do in York

York Railway Museum

We had to visit the York Railway Museum, after hearing it recommended by other parents. This is a free attraction, which is great if you’re visiting on a budget.

york railway museum yellow rocketMy boys have been keen on trains since they were toddlers, and enjoyed looking at all of the engines that were being exhibited. The yellow rocket in the picture above was one of our favourites, since it ressembles Stephen from Thomas & Friends who is a favourite in our house.

There are some interactive aspects, like the chance to go down underneath one of the engines, a scavenger hunt in one of the exhibition rooms, and there are some interactive rides although these have a separate cost and we didn’t get chance to try those.

There are also some videos to watch and games to play, all about the history of the railway in the UK.

york railway museum interactive gameWe had lunch in the York Railway Museum cafe which was reasonably priced with decent options available for the children, and had plenty of space to sit.

Cliffords Tower

Clifford’s Tower is the old Keep of York Castle. It’s looked after by English Heritage and you can go up to the top and walk along the top of the tower, all the way around, to enjoy the view. Inside the tower, there’s a model showing what the whole castle would have been like and there’s also a small shop to buy toys, books or small souvenirs for the children.

york cliffords towerIt’s interesting that the whole city of York is actually inside castle walls too. Another time, we will get chance to go and explore the city walls of York.

Clifford’s Tower is quite small compared to a lot of the castle ruins that we have been to explore in the South of England, but that’s to be expected since it’s right in the middle of the city and it’s not the whole area of the castle which has been preserved. You can fit this in as a short trip within your day.


While we were visiting on the bank holiday weekend, there was a small funfair outside Clifford’s Tower, which was fun for the kids. You can also see York Castle Museum behind, which we didn’t get chance to visit but maybe next time! You could easily combine that with a visit to Clifford’s Tower.

york funfair


Eureka science museum is in Halifax, but it’s only around 1 hour away and since some of our relatives are in that direction, we took the trip over there. It’s a fun day out for the children and pretty much everything is hands on, which always suits my boys well. If you are in York with kids and have time to venture further afield, then I would recommend it.

I’ll be sharing a full post on Eureka soon with more details about what’s available there.

eureka science museum halifax

York Maze

This one is on our list from next time, after being recommended by friends and family. We just didn’t have enough time during our short stay!

You can read more about it on We’re Going on an Adventure who shares 10 reasons why York Maze is amazing

Jorvik Viking Centre

This is another of the main family attractions in York. We didn’t make it this time, but I do remember this one from my own childhood so I hope we do get the chance to go back with our own kids another time

If you have more recommendations for places to go in York with the children, share them with everyone in the comments.

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Image: Clifford’s Tower Shutterstock (modified) / Our stay was provided by Travelodge for the purpose of review / Affiliate links included

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Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.

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