Mumbler Summer Activity For Kids

Top things to do and places to visit in York for parents and kids

This blog post was written by York Mumbler. Visit York, a part of Make It York, cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of the information in this post or any websites being linked to from this post.

If you’re visiting York with kids this summer, first of all, good choice! You’ve chosen a brilliant and very child-friendly city to come to. If you live here then you already know that, but what you may not know is that there has never been a better time to visit the city with children.

We’re spoilt for choice this year with a whole host of events both inside and beyond the city walls which will suit all interests, budgets and ages. If you want a completely comprehensive list of everything going on with all the detail then head over to the York Mumbler website and you can search through the whole list to find something that is just right for you.

You may be looking for a full action packed day out to remember or just to spend a couple of hours on a free simple activity. However you choose to spend your time with your kids this summer, York has it covered.

Special Performances not to be missed

Things to do with kids in York this summer - Performances

The Secret Garden at York Theatre Royal

We're excited about this one. The family favourite is running for almost all of the summer holidays so make sure you don't miss the chance to visit and play in the Secret Studio Garden. Throughout the run of The Secret Garden, York Theatre Royal are turning their Studio Theatre into a garden where you can make, play, listen and enjoy a garden being created by you. Over the weeks you can enjoy different activities that explore and link to the production.

The Great Yorkshire Fringe

This year is the best ever line up of children’s shows & family friendly events at The Great Yorkshire Fringe from 19-29 July! There are a whole host of family and children’s shows including the Hyena Lounge Kids Comedy Club (7+) Montesaurus (3+) lots of Magic shows, performances and even a baby disco!

Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre

One for the older children and perfect for those studying English Literature, this temporary but impressive theatre is situated beside the iconic York landmark of Clifford’s Tower and is showing 4 of Shakespeare's most iconic plays – Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Richard III and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Open all Summer in the City

Things to do with kids in York this summer - Activities

Heart of Yorkshire Festival York Minster

York Minster’s Dean’s Park has been transformed this summer for a two-month long pop-up festival packed with family-friendly workshops and activities. The new festival caters for all ages with events ranging from interactive theatre performances to ‘TrashBang!’ music sessions and nature-inspired movement workshops.

Yorkshire Museum

A ‘Must Visit’ this summer for all dinosaur fans – located in the heart of museum gardens. Summer special activities include Race-a-saurus, Dino-dough Tails Challenge and Shadow Puppets.

Magic & Mystery at Barley Hall

A little magical haven in the heart of the city just off Stonegate. Perfect for primary school children who want to enjoy an hour or so of magic and mystery, or for those children who a little older, it’s perfect to get their imagination flowing. This new exhibition explores medieval magic in all its mysterious forms.

Great Days Out Just Beyond the Walls

Things to do with kids in York this summer - Beyond the walls

Piglets Adventure Farm

One of our favourite days out, boogie on down to Piglets which is just a 15-minute drive from the city. With brilliant outdoor and indoor fun, it’s a full day out including Foam Parties, exploring the Maize Maze challenge, watching hilarious Pig Racing and following the magical Fairy Tale Trail. Plus, get ready to be entertained with Fatt Matt’s Circus and The Magic Hatter’s summertime silliness.

Creepy Crawlies/Web Adventure Park

Open every day for fun and adventure for families of all ages. Visitors can make friends with the chipmunks (and more!) in the Animal Zone, splash in the water play park and build castles and dams on the mini-beach outdoors. Older children can ride on the exciting electric quad bikes and go-karts whilst toddlers have their very own course with push and pedal tricycles. Inside Yorkshire’s largest soft play centre there’s baby and toddler play areas, an astro slide, an impressive role play village, ball cannons, a huge play frame for the over 5s and more.

Castle Howard

Just a 20-minute drive into Ryedale, Castle Howard is always a beautiful family day out. Visit on 28 and 29 July for the ‘Let’s go fly a kite’ festival or take your 4-legged friend to the dog festival on 10 and 11 August to celebrate the year of the dog.

Free or low budget activities

Things to do with kids in York this summer - free and low budget

Railway Museum

Come rain or shine, the Railway Museum is always a hit with families in the school holidays. Put your heads together, unlock your inner engineers and conquer their hands-on challenges in the Activity Zone every day. Spark your curiosity in the interactive live science shows every weekday and bring your own inventions to life in their Engineering Hub hosted by Technology in Play, 11:00- 15:00 every Wednesday throughout the holiday.

York Libraries

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is Mischief Makers; celebrating the 80th anniversary of the much-loved comic, Beano. Children aged 4-11 years (or above and below) can join this year’s Summer Reading Challenge at Libraries across York. It’s totally FREE and to get started all your child has to do is sign up at their local library where they will be given a collector poster to keep a record of their Summer Reading Challenge journey.

The Big Sing

A series of open, free community singing sessions in different locations around York. The aim of York Big Sing is simple: to bring as many people together as possible from across the city of different ages and backgrounds, and get them singing together in harmony. Especially open to young people and children so there are different generations making music together.

Top spots in Hot Weather

Things to do with kids in York this summer - Hot Weather

Creepy Crawlies

Known more for its indoor soft play area – there is actually an amazing outdoor space at Creepy Crawlies which includes a fantastic water play area. Be sure to take swimming costumes, towels and sun cream for a full day out here – plus you can visit the animals in the little outdoor petting zoo. For older children, you can take on the challenge of wired – the high ropes adventure suitable for ages 7+.

Yorks Parks

Museum Gardens, Dean’s Park & Rowntrees Park are all in, or a short walk from, the city centre and provide a perfect place to have a picnic, squirrel watch and enjoy this gorgeous English summer we’re having.

Best Ice-cream

If you need to cool down (or even if you don’t!) there are some great ice-cream places in York – LICC is located on Back Swinegate and has a great selection on display with over 200 recipes.

Summer in York Activity Sheet 2018

Finally, if you’re here for a long time (or indeed all summer) then make sure you download the York Mumbler Summer Holiday Activity Sheet – it has events and ideas to keep you occupied all summer long including ideas for out and about as well as visiting places. You can also add in your own favourite places or create your own list entirely and the kids can check off the list as you go!

Download the activity calendar

Whatever you do in York with the mini mumblers this summer, I hope you have a fantastic time and make loads of great memories. #OnlyInYork

Emily York Mumbler


Plannign your summer in York? View all of the hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation in York on our Sleep page where you can book rooms straight through our website.