Sure you might have been to a haunted house for Halloween? But can you imagine the possibilities of a haunted cornfield or corn maze. Well nor had we, but as they recommend you need to be 14+ yrs old to brave the evening 'Hallowscream'....... We thought we'd opt for the more family friendly daytime option to visit York Maze. Little did we know it's enormous!!!! Easily the largest maze in the UK, it’s proved to be a fun filled, day out with well over 20 rides or activities that's kept us busy all day (our visit lasted 5hrs!!)
Apparently York Maze has been delivering up screams (and, during the summer, ice creams too) for over 15 years. Their annual Hallowscream features extra attractions themed around a Victorian Circus gone wrong so just watch out for the evil clowns! But the daytime show is far more family friendly and they don't even use the giant “summer maize maze”,......although part is still used for the spooky treasure hunt.....
But what immediately struck us was the array of activities here.... and even better they're almost accessible for everyone (from toddlers to those in wheelchairs)... although we'd steer clear of the whacky (yet spooky!) House of Confusion or the MineShaft maze (just one of over 5 themed unique mazes across the attraction) and recommend all 'big kids' have a bash at the inflatable pillow!!!
With Halloween activities in full flow this year, we've 'Sunk our teeth into Whitby's' Dracula Performance' and even 'Picked a Pumpkin' at the nearby Ballon Tree Farm Shop..... we'd never considered a visit to a maze before... but what a great idea! Plenty of space, tons of activities and some very interesting 'illusion mazes' like below
But as you can see from the variety of photographs..... it's not particularly split into sections so your kids can roam relatively freely and find something to capture their interests.... from superb 'drop slides' to a 9 hole mini golf course!
We loved the fact they have a themed aspect each year with our girls spending ages studying all the different themes over the years (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Spitfire.... you name it they've done it!!)
But for us, two things immediately struck us...... firstly the staff couldn't have been more helpful or enthusiastic! Sure they're paid to do this, but these guys seemed to go one step further creating a real atmosphere across the maze....
But perhaps the best part is the creativity behind the mazes, we were really impressed with the unique approaches to the mazes... For example, our girls loved the 'Finger Maze' where you paint a finger using paint pots hidden across the corn maze.... before checking at the end to see what forfeit your particular colour combination merits!!! Clever, novel and certainly an approach that grabbed our kids attention!
For those that love a thrill, the 'House of Confusion' is a guaranteed hit..... full of whacky floor heights and levels plus a spinning room that plays tricks with your mind!!! It's a psychedlic starter to any visit!!! But it's also worth remembering that you're still just walking around a farm! So it's well worth heeding the warning to wear suitable footwear and keep an eye on the weather... Apparently rain can make the pathways sticky and hard work for push chairs and wheelchairs....
But you can always finds some indoor space like the barn that houses the 'Phantomime'.... A brilliantly acted, witty pantomime that genuinely had us laughing out loud.... Especially during the audience participation angle (just beware, don't sit near an end!!) But the fun doesn't stop there....imagine chances to join the 'Great Mural Painting'..... hop on a 'Cob Car' or visit 'Corn Central'!!
For those with older kids, it's definitely worth heading for 'Corn Central' as there's plenty to do down there for our aged kids (9-12yr olds).... but you'll do well to miss the pumpkin carving enroute..... perhaps it was the chance to win a £1000 Gold Pumpkin (eventually won by Connie Scally) or the opportunity to carve their own scary face on a pumpkin in readiness for Halloween night.
Eitherway we soon learned there are amateurs and professionals at this game..... and we're very much the former, compared to the guys who created the much big, better and scarier 'Jack O'Lantern' that greets you in their specially made 'Pumpkin Carving Marquee'.
But there's plenty more to fill your day too.... perhaps some shopping in their impressive novelty gifts in their shop, a chance to hold and stroke a barn owl or even taking the weight of your feet in the on-site restaurant or coffee shop (a welcome break, we might add....!!!)
But before you think you're done for the day..... grab your poncho, rain jacket or umbrella and head for the 'GhostMania 2' ride through the corn maze..... spotting ghosts, witches, mummies and the crowman.... it's guaranteed to either make you laugh or get you soaked!!!
So would our kids recommend the York Maze? Definitely worth visiting they reckon! Either in the summer, over halloween or they even host events/weddings! Its a chance to simply enjoy yourselves and a great choice to get you in the mood for a spooky Halloween evening ahead. Hopefully, we'll back soon though as they've got a great Bonfire Night coming up too!
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