Squeezing York into one day is a hectic thought..... Its bustling historic city centre is full of attractions that will boggle your brain if you don't have a plan.... But we thought we'd share our first hand experiences to help give you the best place to start any family day out in York...... Especially as it's become one of our favourite European Cities that we've visited on our European Roadtrip... So if you're looking for the first tip from our visit, we'd suggest everyone should try wall walking when you arrive.... giving you a chance to get your bearings by strolling around some of the 3 miles of medieval city walls and gatehouses (just like Dubrovnik...)...
Home to the impressive York Minster, the largest medieval church in England, as well as the longest circuit of medieval city walls.... it's easy to see why York often compared to another of England's most picturesque cities in Cambridge. But where better to start in York than by giving a families perspective on two of its most family friendly attractions...... the Jorvik Viking Centre & DIG: An Archaeological Adventure
If like us, you've arrived into York by the excellent park'n'ride (from Monks Cross).... you'll know how motorhome friendly they are trying to make this city... Plenty of freely available motorhome spaces with electric buses running from dawn to dusk! In fact, this effort to make North Yorkshire more accessible to motorhomes stretches as far as Helmsley and the nearby North York Moors where new free motorhome parking is springing up by the castle...... so hats to off to North Yorkshire for making an extra effort for motorhoming families like ourselves.
After spending the summer of 2016 in Denmark, Norway & Sweden, we've loved discovering more about the Vikings.... Even grabbing a chance to see the impressive Danish Museet Ribes Vikinger museum and the Viking ships in Oslo, Norway. So the chance to use our value for money York Pass to gain entry to the Jorvik Viking Centre seemed a great starting point to our day out in York.
Located close to the heart of the city centre, the newly re-opened Jorvik Viking Centre is fascinating for kids and adults alike... Just imagine ducking through a simple side door in Coppergate, to find a series of Viking history right under your feet... It's this sense of what lies directly under your feet that resonates the most.... only added to by the excellent interactive displays and fascinating ride through a recreated Viking street.
It's best to book in advance at the Jorvik Viking Centre to avoid the queues if possible, but there's plenty to see nearby in Coppergate... or you can even take the stroll to one of York's oldest streets at The Shambles... whilst you're waiting to enter the Jorvik Viking Experience.
We've been lucky to be able to foster our daughter's enthusiasm for photography... aided by her her new camera from the 'Family Travel Show' competition win last year... so it's great to find cities like York that are great for a young budding photographer to cut their teeth and explore their creative side.
Imagine taking impressive cityscapes from the city walls or finding new perspectives to capture the quirky medieval streets like the Shambles. Plus it's easy to walk around the historic centre of York and there's always something interesting to see through a lens... from small alleyways, to clocks or beautiful stone gatehouses.
For those with younger children, we'd heavily recommend a trip to the archaeological adventures at DIG. For those families who love 'hands on' attractions that both stimulate learning yet offer plenty of smiles... you'll love the enjoyable attraction close to the Shambles....
Located in an old church with plenty of history of its own, DIG offers you a unique archaeological adventure where you can experience the past like never before.... Uncover layer by layer the 2,000 year history behind York. Discover just how real archaeologists become 'time detectives' as they piece together the 'human elements' of history.... much like the palaeontologists do for 'dinosaur history; at Teruel's Dinopolis in Spain.
For those who've read our recent 'SeaShore Foraging & Wild Cooking Experience in Pembrokeshire' where we outlined the reasons behind our European Roadschooling Adventure... you'll know we're firm believers in this mantra ' Tell me, and I'll forget, but teach me and I'll remember.... but best of all involve me and I'll learn....' so well done DIG for offering a truly memorable educational opportunity that both girls loved from start to finish!
With the light fading after we left the DIG, it seemed impossible to better this experience.... but you'd be surprised at what you can find in York... especially if you duck down alleyways like this..
With tummies rumbling.... we headed into the best areas to eat in York and a chance to continue the girl's food journey at Las Iguanas. Having visited over 35 countries in Europe, we've loved showing the girls everything from Portugal's 'Pastel de Nata' through to rural Hungarian 'Goulash'..... but a chance to taste Las Iguanas' authentic South American food was just too good to miss!
Apparently, they've just launched a new menu.... full of vibrant tastes from Argentina through to Mexico... but for us, we focused on Brasil and a chance to experience tasty authentic dishes like those below, including Pele's favourite dish 'XinXim' and the delicious 'Dadinhos'. But before you worry if it's suitable for younger kids, don't worry as the kids menu is fantastic too.... and they even have spiral fries!!!!
After a meal of fairly epic proportions for less than £50 (for a family of 4)... we staggered and swayed our way back towards the centre of York, before using the clever and useful 'park'n'ride' live timetable to ensure we limited the time we had to wait before being 'whisked' away to Monks Cross..... and then the 40mins north towards the North York Moors and the free motorhome parking spaces in Helmsley....
It's been another thought provoking yet fun family day out in York, and we'll be up early in the morning to start it all over again tomorrow with a medieval extravaganza including the Richard III Experience, Henry VII Experience and the Barley Hall....
If the above interested you, then you might just find you like one of these 10 further tips for visiting York with Kids.
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