I am taking my 3 to York for a few days in March. Planning to go to Jorvik, train museum, the minster. Where else is good to go ? Which places can I get a discounted entry ? Do I need to arrange anything in advance ?
My girls and I love York. We've been twice, for four days and five days I think it was. I don't know of any HE discounts or advance discounts as such, but many attractions are quite reasonable and may even be free for your little one. The main thing to remember is that lots of places now give a year's entry once you have paid (some give this to everyone and some only to those who gift aid). So you might like to go first to the places you expect to like best, just in case you feel like returning for more the next day!! We went on the Jorvik ride two days running. And don't forget to keep hold of your entry ticket in case you want to return later during your visit or again in the year. I think local residents get cheap/free entry to Yorkshire Museum but I guess that doesn't apply to you.
Oh, you'll see from the Jorvik site that there are various combination tickets you can buy but we didn't fancy going to any of the other museums in the Jorvik group. My adult sister reported that DIG was not very interesting, but a three year old might think otherwise as it is very hands-on.
Our favourites were Jorvik, the train museum, the Castle Museum (confusing name - it has nothing to do with castles!) and the Yorkshire Museum. I also liked a WWII museum half an hour's drive east of York, but I think an older child would get more out of that and you'll find plenty to do in York itself on this visit. My older dd and I were also enchanted by the fabulously well preserved Merchant Adventurers' Hall, but it left my younger child cold and that too would be better saved for a later visit. We didn't try the Minster - dd1 didn't want to go and I think there may have been accessibility issues for us anyway.
Thanks saracen - my 3 is not a 3 year old but 3 10 and 11 year olds ! I think we may well do Jorvik a couple of times if we can do it for the same price. And I think the train museum is going to be a big hit (with them at least).
No car - so won't be able to go outside York. The dig sounds interesting (they are keen on Time Team ) - do you know how hands on it is ?
Accommodation - we are going for a premier inn - the only cost effective way I could find. Probably noisy though - but I am hoping they will all be exhausted and sleep through anything
Any recommendations on where to eat that won't cost a fortune ?
Oops, misread that about your kids LOL. They might like the Merchant Adventurers Hall then.
Train museum is big and free. The food in their cafe is very delicious but expensive and there's nowhere very near to eat, so bring your own.
Cheap food - we stayed at the Travelodge central which had a good cheap Wetherspoons pub next door so we ate there a lot, especially breakfasts. I am a Wetherspoons fan! Pizza Hut all you can eat lunch buffet is not too bad if you resist drinks and puddings and other extras. Mostly we used the Tesco Express which was just near our hotel and took food back to our room, made up peanut butter sandwiches for the day etc. Maybe take along some sandwich bags and empty water bottles for this purpose.
I got caught out by the bus tours which stop running during the winter but are not posted accordingly at the bus stops! We waited ages before giving up. Check their websites. I think there are two competing companies doing the tours. If you are going on one anyway you might want to do it early on because I think the ticket is good for two days so you could use it for transport.
Another thing I sometimes remember to do is ring each attraction the week beforehand and ask when they have large groups booked in so you can avoid those times. It makes a difference if you enjoy peace and quiet and a chance to chat with the staff at length. Won't matter in the huge train museum but will make a difference at Castle Museum or Jorvik.
If I understand right, DIG is about playing at excavating fake archaeological treasures, very hands-on..
I did the same as Saracen with three children of 11-13yo. We shared a family room in a Travelodge/Premier Inn, ate at lunchtime when it is cheaper and got stuff from a supermarket for breakfast and a light tea.
Thanks both of you. That sounds just like what we will be doing - probably bread rolls and cold meats for two meals and one bought one per day, plus lots of fruit. Cooked meals are going to be the hardest - we rarely go to restaurants and don't know the etiquette. Can we share two adult pizzas between one adult and 3 kids ?!
I'll look up the Merchant Adventurers Hall. And thanks for the reminder about ringing ahead to see about big groups - I must admit I hate it when we make one of our rare trips to a museum and it is full of kids with clipboards
Aha, throckenholt, you happen to have asked precisely the right question to remind me of the cheap deal we discovered on our last day; http://www.mamma-mia-york.co.uk You'll see on the website the lunchtime offer which attracted us in: any pizza or pasta plus a drink for £6.95. Now, it being just near some expensive cafes, and the offer only including one drink, and the other menu items being fairly pricey, I naturally assumed we were talking about a modest-sized pizza. So we ordered one each for me and my 13yo, plus a separate snack for the 6yo. I felt quite embarrassed when the pizzas arrived. They were enormous. We couldn't even manage to finish one between us!
As for restaurant etiquette, when asking to share a meal which is clearly intended for one person I always just smile nicely at the waiter and ask, "Would it be all right if we share this between us?" Nobody has ever said no. I expect they might refuse if they were really busy, but a busy restaurant would probably have a posted policy saying "minimum order £5 per person" or similar. Anyway, when we went into that pizza place at 2pm it was deserted and I'm sure they were glad of any custom they could get.
It's just near a place where you can climb up onto the old city wall. I think you can walk some distance on it. We just went up and had a look round and came straight back down again because I didn't feel energetic enough to carry my disabled 6yo far, and my teen wasn't in an adventurous exploring-alone mood. It looked promising though.
York Castle Museum is fantastic- they have an indoor cobbled street set up in Victorian style and any time we've been there there have been guides dressed up and people serving in the sweet shop etc. I have heard that DIG is really good- planning to take our two there soon but some people have reported that it's somewhat simplistic- great for little ones, might not totally grip an older child. Re restaurants- anything goes these days I think- just enjoy yourselves! The only time a restaurant would ever be bothered about sharing with children would be if it was very busy or if it's an "all you can eat buffet" and you only paid for one person and then shared!