Great playgrounds and outdoor play areas
Castle Howard – Adventure playground, nice walks, Boathouse Café
Newby Hall – Miniature railway, water fountains, water park and rafting
Burton Agnes Hall – Walled garden with oversize chess boards; snakes and ladders; hoop-la and sculpture walk
Scampston Hall – Cascade circuit with self-guided walk is very child-friendly (one mile); natural play area and kids’ activity sheets.
York Maze – A living, growing maze to get lost in – the largest in the UK; Summer opening from July to September.
Beningbrough Hall – wilderness play area; bikes to borrow; parkland to explore
Flamingo land, Kirby Misperton – Theme park and the UK’s most visited zoo; opportunity for animal encounters, daytime shows. Winter opening (from January to early March) for the zoo only.
Forbidden Corner, Middleham – A day out with a difference. A quirky labyrinth of tunnels, chambers and follies, set in a four-acre park. At very turn there are decisions to be made and tricks to avoid. Book in advance.
Alpamare, Scarborough – aka Alps to the Sea, waterslides; an iodine outdoor pool overlooking North Bay; wave pool; children’s water playground.
Activities for older children and teenagers
Allerthorpe Lakeland Park, Pocklington – A 53-acre site offering a wide range of watersports including taster days for adults and juniors. Pedals, kayaks and canoes for some family fun or some more serious sailing tuition (two hour session for juniors is £20)
Red Goat Climbing Wall, York – 6,000 square feet of indoor bouldering space with a competition wall, overhangs and prows; climbing courses for all abilities; kids clubs; café.
The Web Adventure Park, York – Family entertainment centre including Creepy Crawlies, Animal zone, Wired High Ropes (an eight metre course to test your nerve and ability), Summit (a vertical climbing challenge)
Friars Hill Stables, Sinnington – A family-run riding stables. Very friendly and relaxed whether you are a beginner or a seasoned rider. Indoor riding school and hacks out.
Kids Club, City Screen, York
A regular film club for kids at York’s City Screen with a different film each Saturday morning showing both new and classic family films. All tickets are just £1.50. If your kids want a snack, the Kids’ Club combo of a fun-sized drink and popcorn costs an extra £2.20.
City Screen, Coney Street, York, Saturdays, 11am £1.50
Mini Mornings at Vue
Mini mornings at Vue Cinema – A cinema trip is always popular with my gang in the holidays. Mini mornings at Vue cinemas offer big discounts on tickets costing from only £1.99 (3D £2.79) per ticket for adults and children, every Saturday and Sunday morning and every day in school holidays.