Yorkshire Museum Refurbished , re-vamped and re-opened; a manageable city museum show-casing some of the rich and varied history of this significant city and county. Interesting natural history section, too with a fantastic ichthyosaurus fossil. Good interactive exhibits to engage those who want to do as well as see.
York Dungeon History with a nasty twist (probably somewhere soft and fleshy). A managed experience involving crowd participation, lots of things to make you jump and massive amounts of gore. A chance to see up close the horror of man’s inhumanity to man. Book at least a day in advance for cheaper prices than walking in on the day.
York Castle Museum My favourite- all about social history and every day life. It features a re-constructed Victorian street, complete with shops, pub, bank and police station and real, live people (well, actors) working within it. Surely something for everybody. Fantastic.
York Minster Central Tower I never tire of taking my visitors for a climb up the 275 steps for one of the best views of the city. It’s cheaper than the entrance to the Minster itself and, dare I say without fear of being struck by lightning, the most exciting bit. Children under 8 may not go up (boo hoo) and that includes babies in slings, as I discovered one day (double boo hoo).
York City Walls A unique experience for tourist and resident alike (it’s free for one thing). A great way to view the Historic Core and also marvel at a couple of 1960s planning atrocities. Calm down and steel yourself for the next activity with tea and cake in the lovely garden of Grays Court, next to the Minster, which has an entrance via steps down from the Walls themselves- very exciting.
Find out more about the walls here
Hire a Boat Spend a leisurely hour messing about on the River Ouse in one of York’s Red Boats. You can take a picnic to eat on board (no booze mind) and pootle up and down the stretch between the Millennium Bridge and Clifton Bridge to get a different view of the city and a chance to feel the breeze in your hair as you captain your own vessel.
Fairburn Ings, near Selby. I used to come here as a nipper with my best friend and her grandparents. Perfect for a breath of fresh air and a spot of twitching into the bargain. Back then you fed bread to the ducks but now you buy proper duck food. Join in on some pond dipping, as well as other organised events throughout the summer. There are three main trails through different types of habitat, where you can spot all kinds of bird and insect life. A good part of the area is accessible for pushchairs and wheel chairs.
Burnby Hall and Gardens, Pocklington. We came here as a group with two other families and found it to have enough variety to keep everyone interested: from the various arranged gardens, the lake with water lilies and carp to feed (quite an odd experience), a little menagerie, an enclosed play area with picnic tables as well as a café with some nice baking on offer. There is also a little museum dedicated to the Stewart family, former occupants of the Hall.
Scarborough I (Yorkshire) heart Scarborough; my favourite of the many popular resorts on the Yorkshire Coast. Less quaint than Whitby but amongst the faded splendour of the Victorian resort is a lively and functional seaside town with lots to offer the day-tripper or to fill a longer stay. Head to South Bay for donkeys and amusements, or round the headland to North Bay for a quieter beach with super rock pools and the Sea Life Centre (hunt down one of the 2 for 1 offers, which always seem to be around, before you go). History Heads climb the dramatic ascent to Scarborough Castle, or mosey through the older streets of the original fishing port. Literary Lovers can leave a poem on the grave of Anne Brontë at St Mary’s Church. Can’t wait for my next visit.
Knaresborough. A nice train trip from York to this picturesque little town. Walk up to the castle, hire a boat, stroll along the river bank or visit Mother Shipton’s cave. Lots of hidden gems making a turn around the town and its environs a thoroughly satisfying trip. Popping in to Blind Jack’s in the Market Place is also recommended for any real-ale fanciers.