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

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+.

Parks and Playgrounds

We have loads of great outdoor spaces in York – both in the city centre and further out. This type of fun is free and with the help of the Mumbler community we’ve brought together a fab guide to 10 great parks and play areas in York.

Murton Park

See the tractors and animals, play in the sandpit and new soft play area for under 5’s, find the Trolls instruments and Fairy Garden. Take a train ride on the Blackberry Line DVLRS will be running trains on Sundays and Bank Holiday Monday.

Weekdays (till 31 August) Step back in time and have a go at Viking family activities on the recreated Viking Village, complete the Viking trail and create a Viking masterpiece.

Rainy Days

Just when we’d forgotten what it looked like – the rain hit us hard this week! But luckily in the UK we have plenty of indoor options if you don’t want to brave the rain outside.

Yorkshire Museum

Take an epic journey back through 150 million years of Yorkshire to discover lost giants and the changing worlds they inhabited in this major new exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum, as opened by Sir David Attenborough.

Throughout the summer holidays, become a dinosaur detective, learn the facts and myths that surround these amazing creatures and have a go at making your own fossil to take home.

Askham Bryan Wildlife & Conservation Park

This is an award winning attraction based at Askham Bryan College. Come and see animals from meerkats to monkeys, snakes to salamanders and chinchillas to cockatiels. There are outdoor areas but also lots indoors to occupy the little ones.
You can visit the college’s Animal Management department and see the beautiful animals in the woodlands of the college’s arboretum.

With a daily talks programme, trail sheets and craft activities there is plenty to do. The wildlife park has an outdoor play park, a café onsite and free parking.

Adults £6.95, Concession/Child £5.95, Child aged 2 and under FREE.

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.