31 things to do in York this half term holiday, May 23-31, 2015

A feast for the eyes… Henry VIII in Barley Hall
22 May 2015 @ 3.06 pm
| Entertainment

Family fun

Pistols at dawn… York Dungeon's Rascals And Rogues
Pistols at dawn… York Dungeon’s Rascals And Rogues
Rascals & Rogues

Sat May 23-Sun May 31

£35 (family)

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Charming (sort of) rascals and rogues take over York Dungeon to try to recruit new members for their mischievous gang. Visitors step into a dark, eerie world, where they’ll be shown ‘Wanted’ posters by the Dungeon’s local constable as he introduces the rebellious rogues and tells tales of their troublesome behaviour.

Safety First: Half-Term at the NRM

Sat May 23 – Sun May [email protected] 10am-4pm


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Explore rail safety with a little help from Network Rail and British Transport Police as part of a week of half-term activities at the National Railway Museum.
You can take a peek inside a mobile safety vehicle to find out how the latest technology helps to keep our railways safe; make a lantern to take home; enjoy live performances by Platform 4 Theatre; and say hello to all the lovely trains.

Marvellous maps at the Yorkshire Museum
Marvellous maps at the Yorkshire Museum
Marvellous Map Trail

Sat May 23-Sun May 31 @ 10am-5pm

£7.50 (free with YorkCard)

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Navigate your way around the Yorkshire Museum to discover all the hidden rocks and claim your reward. It costs 50p per trail so don’t expect anything too extravagant as your reward at the end of it.
Normal museum admission applies.

50 Things to do Before You’re 11

Sat May 23 @ 11am-5pm


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Beningbrough Hall is hosting a ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 (and three-quarters – don’t forget the all-important fraction) weekend’ so youngsters can tick off more things on their bucket and spade list in an action-packed bank holiday weekend.
They can discover what grows in a pond, climb a tree, build a den, create some wild art and generally have a complete hoot.

Family Fun for the SCBU

Sat May 23 @ 1pm-4.30pm


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Families are invited to have fun in a good cause to raise money for York Special Care Baby Unit. If you like bouncy castles, inflatables, birds of prey, reptiles, raffles and live performances, this is your must-visit event.

Family Fun Day in Heworth

Sun May 31 @ 12pm-6pm


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If you like bouncy castles (well, who doesn’t?), steam trains, face-painting, hair chalks, cupcake-decorating, candy floss, popcorn, sweet treats and burgers, then head to the Shoulder of Mutton in Heworth for its family fun day.

York Junior Triathlon

Sun May 31 @ 8am-12pm


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Calling all junior triathletes – get your kit ready because it’s time to swim, bike and run your way to victory in the York Junior Triathlon. The event at York Sport Village is open to children of all abilities aged 8-16 includes a 50m swim (400m for teens).

Discover Nature at Nunnington Hall

Sat May 23-Mon May 25 @ 11am-5pm


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Learn all about the natural world with butterfly and bug hunts, snail racing, face-painting, a bouncy castle and lots more.

History fun

A feast for the eyes… Henry VIII in Barley Hall
A feast for the eyes… Henry VIII in Barley Hall
York In The Time Of Henry VIII

From Sat May 23 @ 10am


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This new exhibition at Barley Hall looks at Henry VIII’s influence on York and his one visit to the city. It includes a Tudor feast, costumes from TV dramas including The Tudors and a 3D map of York at the time.

Consuming Passions: Luxury Shopping In Georgian Britain

Sat May 23 – Sun May 31 @ 10am-5pm


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If you think we’re a nation of shopaholics now, you should have seen the Georgians splashing their cash. A new exhibition at Fairfax House sheds new light on this era of wealth, industry, empire and consumerism, when shopping became a recognised pastime.
Focusing on luxury objects and commodities, the exhibition takes its cue from the Fairfaxes, who were discerning customers themselves (just imagine what they’d have made of Primark).


Sat May 23 – Sun May 31 @ 11am-1pm


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Discover the fascinating story of the Battle of Waterloo by meeting a British Army Cavalry soldier from the Napoleonic Wars at York Castle Museum. He will be appearing twice during the day from 11am-1pm and again from 2-4pm, which is pretty amazing for someone who’s more than 200 years old.

Looming large… Vikings at Murton
Looming large… Vikings at Murton
Vikings On The Village

Sat May 23 @ 10am-4.30pm


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The Vikings are coming! Don’t be alarmed though, these are the friendly variety, ready to welcome all-comers to their village at Yorkshire Museum of Farming.

Creative Cartographers

Sat May 23 – Sun May [email protected] 11am-1pm

£7.50 (free with YorkCard)

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Create your own watercolour map inspired by William Smith’s beautiful geological map of the county, which takes pride of place in a new exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum. This event has two separate sessions from 11am-1pm and from 2pm-4pm.

Living History at Barley Hall

Wed May 27 @ 11am-3pm


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The Barley Hall Servants – a group of award-winning volunteers – offer an extra treat for visitors with a living history showcase of life in the serving classes during the late medieval period. Expect to see costumed displays and demonstrations offering a rare glimpse of social history brought to life in an appropriately atmospheric setting.

Fabulous shows

All-round entertainer: John Barrowman comes to the Barbican
All-round entertainer: John Barrowman comes to the Barbican

Disney Inspirations

Sat May 23 @ 6.30pm


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A magical display from young classical ballet dancers from En Pointe Classical Dance School performing Disney-inspired choreography. There’s a matinee at 2.30pm and an evening performance at 6.30pm.


Wed May 27 – Sat May 30 @ 7.30pm


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You’d be quackers to miss this musical comedy retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Ugly Ducking. This version, by George Styles and Anthony Drewe, won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical in 2000.

The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular Show

Sat May 23 @ 7.30pm


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The coolest of cool cats swing into the Grand Opera House with a live orchestra to perform some of the great music of the 20th century. Evoking memories of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior every song is a classic – Come Fly With MeMr BojanglesFly Me to the Moon

John Barrowman

Wed May 27 @ 7pm


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All-round entertainer John Barrowman returns to the York Barbican as part of a new tour in support of his new album, You Raise Me Up. This is his first full UK tour in four years.

Robin Ince

Tue May 26 @ 7pm


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Star of The Infinite Monkey Cage, comedian Robin Ince is retiring from stand-up and will never perform again… until 2017… possibly. The show at The Duchess is mainly his latest solo show, Reality Tunnel, plus some of his least worst stand up from the last two years.

Ainsty’s Got Talent

Every Fri till June 19


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The Boroughbridge Road pub’s talent comp is back. Entertainers are vying for a £1,000 prize and a slot at the popular Apollo Festival.

Art and crafts

Access to Music Taster Day

Wed May 27 @ 10.30am-3pm


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Enjoy a music taster day at The Jam Factory (sounds delicious) with state-of-the-art facilities, expert tutors and options advice for further and higher education.

Viking Mini Bite Workshops

Tue May 26 @ 10am-4.30pm


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Learn how to make your own Viking oil lamp, light a fire, be a warrior and create a board game (oh, how those Vikings loved a good board game) in a series of bite-sized afternoon workshops at the Yorkshire Museum Of Farming.

Marvellous music

Ready to rock… the Rodeo Falls
Ready to rock… the Rodeo Falls
30 Years Of MOR Festival

Sun May 24 @ 1pm-11pm


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MOR Music has been an established part of the York music scene since 1985, and this celebratory all-dayer showcasing the best local talent promises to be one of the best ever, with performers including The Rodeo Falls, The Blueprints, Junk and Bull.

York Fake Festival

Sat May 23 @ 12pm-11.30pm


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Fake Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys and U2 lift festival spirits – and a few surprised eyebrows – with their uncanny likeness to the originals. The UK’s only touring tribute festival arrives at York Knavesmire and also plays host to local support bands: Beth McCarthy, Minster Conspiracy, Blind Eye, RSJ and A Joker’s Rage.

York New Musical Festival

The Copla Musical, one of the new musicals being premiered
The Copla Musical, one of the new musicals being premiered

Sat May 30-Sun May 31


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The only UK festival showcasing new musicals. Now in its third year having already presented 14 musicals with seven more in the line up for this year.

Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club

Sun May 24 @ 10pm


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Craig Charles, Red Dwarf, Corrie and I’m A Celeb star as well as respected BBC 6 Music DJ, brings his roadshow to the Duchess after four previous sell-out shows.
Exploring the best in funk and soul, from the roots of black music through to the current club sounds, featuring classic tracks and new releases.

Tim Eriksen and Eliza Carthy

Sun May 31 @ 7.30pm-9.30pm


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Tim Eriksen and Eliza Carthy are two of the most respected voices in traditional folksong, who’ve formed a powerhouse duo that is hilarious, heartbreaking, intense and joyful.
Their new album Bottle creates a unique sound, mixing hardcore Americana with hardcore Anglicana.

Mendelssohn’s Elijah

Sat May 23 @ 7.30pm-10pm


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York Musical Society orchestra and chorus perform Mendelssohn’s Elijah, conducted by David Pipe, assistant director of music at York Minster. The piece was commissioned for Birmingham Festival, at which Mendelssohn conducted 125 players and 271 singers to an audience of some 2,000.

The Strypes

Thu May 28 @ 7.30pm


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The Strypes are one of the world’s best known teen bands who viciously hammer out no-nonsense rhythm and blues. At the Duchess they’ll play a repertoire drawing from the songbooks of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf and more with the passion and venom of British blues groups such as Dr Feelgood, The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones and The Animals.


It's the first Vintage Fashion Festival at McArthurGlen York Designer Outlet
It’s the first Vintage Fashion Festival at McArthurGlen York Designer Outlet

Vintage Fashion Festival

Sat May 23 @ 9am-6pm


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Italian king of vintage A.N.G.E.L.O. arrives at York Designer Outlet for its first ever UK Vintage Fashion Festival. It includes a rare edit of striking designs including the original hand-made Hermès bag inspired and created for Jane Birkin.The outlet is also hosting an A.N.G.E.L.O. pop-up boutique where vintage lovers can get their hands on Chanel, Hèrmes, Dior, Versace and Céline.

Car Boot Sale

Sat May 23 @ 9am-1pm

Pitches £5

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Find yourself a bargain and help a good cause. The sale, in Manor Academy car park, is to help the school’s Year 10 students raise money for a trip to Romania in support of the Cry in the Dark Foundation.