We will be in York during October half-term for 4 days and would love to get some recommendation of things to do and places to eat.
We think about going to Castle Howard, is it worth?
DD is 9 and loves history.
Castle Howard is imo one of the best stately homes.
For history in york your only problem will be what to leave out!
I suspected this. Anybody has any ideas what to avoid, definitely do, where not to eat?
We arrive mid-day, have three full days and may do something on the drive back south to London.
The Castle Museum is brilliant and well worth the money, especially for the recreation of the Victorian street. Take 20 ps for the little mechanical features. Jorvik is I think still in its temporary home after the floods last year so probably not great and was always overpriced anyway imo. The Yorkshire Museum is ok and will probably have some activities of some kind on in half term. They are normally pretty cool eg stone carving and included in the admission price. There's an observatory in the same park that often has open days in holidays where you get to look through a proper massive telescope. That will be free. The Minster is of course worth it and it's nice to wind down in there with an evensong service if you time it right. Lovely pub opposite it that does good enough food and has gas lights still (as do a couple of street lights outside the Minster on the same loop) - Guy Fawkes Inn. Go to little betty's on stonegate rather than queuing for the main one and it's also rather higgledy and charming. Or book ahead if you want to go to the main one. Cafe Concerto also near the Minster is a great restaurant but again always book. Take time to walk the walls and if you walk from Bootham to Monkgate do pop into the Richard I I I museum which is very cheap and a lot of fun. Roman Baths so-called museum is also great - just basically a dig under a pub where the Romans had their, erm, baths and the kids get to try on helmets and armour etc.
We always go to the National Railway Museum but that's because we are a bunch of bobblehatted trainspotters. I get very sniffy about the diesels and haul dcs around the steam engines instead.
Another vote for the Castle Museum, it's great and IMO far better value for money than Jorvik
All of the above, plus: the Dig Museum - can't remember exact address but it's where Walmgate meets Whipmawhopmagate - really fun museum in an old church where you get to do your own archaeological digging.
It's a bit tacky but the world of chocolate exhibition near Shacklegate (sorry I can't remember exact address of that either) is great. Mainly because you eat a shit load of chocolate.
And the railway museum is always fab.
Not much in the way of history there but still great. I do think the Castle Museum is worth a visit.
Try to walk down the river and visit the organic ice cream boat. There's one towards Fulford and another by the Museum Gardens.
This is a very personal rant, but just so you know: it always bothers me that tourists scootle round Clifford's Tower with no idea of what happened there. No idea because it was relatively recently that a sign was put up, and it's still very easy to miss. It is where the Jews of York were massacred in 1190, after which all of the Jews of England were expelled for hundreds of years. Unbelievable tragedy.
But York is still fab. You'll have a great time.
You might like to do the bus tour around the whole city to get an overview before exploring the rest of York.
DD loves The Fudge Kitchen on Low Petergate. You can see them making fudge before you buy some.
You also have to walk down The Shambles. It looks like a film set but is a genuinely old street.
Yy to the Railway Museum. If you can, go on a workshop tour. The workshop is basically a massive hangar sized space crammed full of railway memorabilia which sounds dull as fuck until you get a guide showing you round who can tell you the stories behind some of the items - for eg they have the lead shot that was used in the first great train robbery there and stuff like that. Proper social history. The Railway Museum is free anyway and so are the workshop tours and various demonstrations eg of how trains are pivoted round - just ring them up beforehand so you know what's on - they are on every day at set times.
I took DD on the ghost tour when she was 10 or 11. A lot of the stories were very distressing. The guide described the massacre of the Jews, the little girl who was abandoned to starve to death during the plague, the attack by the Scottish army, and what a blood eagle is (which I could have done without knowing). It gave an excellent overview of the history of York but it could really upset people with sensitive dispositions.
Railway - DH is train mad, so that is on his list. DD and I may come, he would enjoy the workshop tour, will mention it to him.
Ghost tour - no way, DD has anxiety attacks, I don't want the next month being woken up by nightmares.
A bus tour is a great idea, will mull over it
Definitely go to Castle Howard it is fab. There is a decent playground down by the main lake so don't miss that. They usually put on a trail or some entertainment in the school holidays.
Agree walk the walls.
Unless your DD has an interest in trains I would let DH go alone although it is free so you could pop in to see the royal carriages. It tends to be full of parents with Thomas the Tank Engine enthusiasts in tow in half-term.
I know Pizza Express is chain but if you would like lunch overlooking the river it's a good spot.
Lots of lovely restaurants as York caters for Tourists, but can be pricey ... if you have picky eaters try COSMO as lots of cuisine to choose from and your kids can pick and choose what they want
Rustique has a great set menu price and the food is good and they also have 2 restaurants in the City
Try a picnic in the Museum Gardens and take one with you to the railway museum and I do recommend the bar walls for a walk too, but not suitable for buggy's unless you are happy to lift it up the steps
Beware York has a distinct lack of public toilets ... M&S department store has them on their top floor and there a set of loos nears the Market, other than that you'll need to sneak into pubs/restaurants
Just for info on the toilet front - the best toilets are on the top floor of Fenwicks dept store down a corridor next to the restaurant. Big cubicles and always very clean.
There are also some on the top floor of Browns Dept store also and both these options are better than the ones in M&S where you will almost always have a long wait ;-)
I love the discussion about toilets. When DD was a 6 months old baby the only store nearby we hoped for a changing option was Fortumn & Mason. I am sure her bottom never had it that luxurious again.
She has some toiletting issues and we also try to get her going at all opportunities.
I live near York and we did a 'day trip' and explored what it had to offer. I have lived here for nearly 20 years and never really discovered York!
1) Railway Museum
2) Bus Tour
3) Walk the Walls
4) Castle Museum
5) Museum Gardens
6) Rowntree park
7) Boat Trip
8) Shopping and a trip to Betty's Tea Rooms
9) Castle Howard
10) Eden Camp (Malton)
11) Flamingo Land
12) NY Railways (Pickering to Goathland and beyond)
13) Hutton Le Hole
15) Stokeld Park
16) Yorkshire Wildlife Park
17) Creepy Crawlies and the Web (High Ropes)
18) Dalby Forest and Go Ape
19) Scarborough - Peasholm Park and Alpamare Water Park
20) The Deep - Hull
Various stately homes etc.
Oh, I could go on! Some are not in York but all within a hours drive.
Railway museum is free and fab, especially the old fashioned coaches and the blooming high Chinese one.
Just don't stay too long...an hour maybe.
Look out for the y street band....outdoor entertainment. Very good.
Minster is free when a service is on, otherwise you pay.
Eating, we love The Olive Tree but if you fancy afternoon tea ignore Betty's and go to the Grand Hotel
There may well be Viking events in at half term, there often is.
Yorkshire sculpture park is amazing, it's in Wakefield if your near there?
I just want to say thank you to all who gave lots of lovely suggestions. We had a great time.
The Olive Tree - great restaurant
Guy Fawkes Inn - had better food but can't really beat the place due to a history mad girl. She loved it.
Betty's tea room - no chance, even at 2pm it was heaving with queues outside Stonegate. We just walked a couple of steps and ended up in the Teddy Bear Tearoom, lovely and quirky.
I didn't know York makes so good chocolate. I had to restrain myself to one truffle a day from the pack I bought, they could have been gone in 10 minutes otherwise.
The Minister does backpacks for children, great idea. I think we spent over 1 1/2 hours in the Minster thanks to it.
Castle Howard - lovely grounds and lots to do. One of the best "day out" restaurants for food, a bit pricey but quality was great. Children's lunch bag was also good with lots in it.
The highlight though was Fairfax House, they did a "theatre" by candlelight, you had 5 performer who guided you through the house in costumes, did a play about an upcoming dinner party and the tension between the butler, lady of the house and a drunken cook.
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