44 things to do in York this half-term holiday, May 27-June 4 2017

No need to go roaming when the Eboracum festival is in the city centre. Photograph: Anthony Chappel-Ross
26 May 2017 @ 8.06 pm
| Entertainment

Blimey, it’s half term again (wasn’t it only Easter last week?)

But there’s no need to panic. York has cast its net widely and hauled in a handsome bounty of events, attractions and things to do.

So get start planning now, before the little monsters start complaining!

The Roman invasion

Eboracum Roman festival

The Eboracum Roman Festival is a definite must go this holiday. They’re setting up camp in Museum Gardens for four days, and among the activities are bird of prey demonstrations, military displays, and a chance to climb into some Roman armour and battle for Britannia. See all the events here.

Roman ghost cellar tour

Treasurer’s House, Minster Yard

1st to 4th June, 11:30am-3:30pm


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Plough deeper and deeper into the ghostly cellars of Treasurer’s house, to find out about the spooky goings-on of 1953. You’ve read the story about the phantom Roman legion – now experience where it happened (if you dare).

Arts, crafts and drama

Wool I never, it’s Dean’s Park… Photograph: York Minster / Unsplash

Yarn storming at Dean’s Park

Dean’s Park

June 1-30


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If you love knitting, crocheting or cross-stitching, then this event is definitely for you. Walk along Dean’s Park and find a variety of fairies, bugs, flowers and woodland creatures, or why not get involved in the crafting that takes place in the York Minster workshop.

Minecraft at York Minster

York Minster

30th May to 1st June, 10am-2pm

Free for under 16s, £10 for adults and £2.50 for materials

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Put your patience to the test and have go at recreating the Minster using Minecraft or Lego, then get your models displayed on the big screen. This activity will keep you busy for hours…

Make pencil holders

Acomb Explore

May 30th, 10am-12pm


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Artist and designer Kathryn Richardson, will show you how to make cute and quirky pencil holders in all different styles, shapes and colours.

Peg dolls and animals

York Explore, Library Square

31st May, 10am-12pm


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Kathryn Richardson is here again, but this time to help you get creative by making little peg people and animals.

PQA York is taking part in the Mumbler day

York Mumbler Children’s Activity Day

Monkbar Hotel, York

31st May, 10:30am-3pm


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This day will be jam-packed with fun filled activities for babies, toddlers and primary school children. Get to experience Babyballet York, Paper Planes & Daisy Chains Theatre, Crumbs Cupcakery, PQA York and more.

Decorate trinket boxes

Clifton Explore

31st May, 2:30pm-4:30pm


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Get crafty and decorate your very own trinket box to store all your beloved jewels and treasures. You will get to experiment with all the different materials, fabrics and equipment to create something truly magical.

Fancy fans and garlands

York Art Gallery

27th May to 2nd June, 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm

Free with gallery admission

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Make your own decorations, taking inspiration from the Albert Moore exhibition. Then take them home and redecorate the house in everything you have made.

The art of the aesthetic

York Art Gallery

3rd June, 11:00am-1:00pm and 2:00pm-4:00pm

Free with gallery admission

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Indulge yourself into a world of art with the students from the history of art department at the University of York. Get creative and make origami fans or turn yourself into a romantic poet for the day.

Kate Hayward: hoard workshops

York Art Gallery

4th June, 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm

Free with gallery admission

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Create your very own piece of work from a selection of unusual components, taking inspiration from Kate’s work and archaeological finds. Your work might even get picked to feature in Kate’s upcoming gallery exhibition.

Viking story fun at the Yorkshire Museum. Photograph: York Museums Trust

Being Viking

Yorkshire Museum

Daily, 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm

Free with museum admission

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What does being Viking mean to you? Why not come along to Yorkshire Museum and illustrate in the form of words or pictures.

Traditional Viking stones

Yorkshire Museum

Daily, 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm

Free with museum admission

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Want to be a Viking for the day? Paint your very own pictures on stones to record all of your magical tales to take with you into battle.

Chocolate treats and tasty sweets

Pastilles, gums and more at York Castle Museum

York’s sweet past

York Castle Museum

Daily, 9:30am-5:00pm

Free with museum admission

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If you’ve got a sweet tooth, delve into the history of chocolate and sweets at this new Castle Museum experience.

A box of hope

York Castle Museum

Daily, 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm

Free with museum admission

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During this experience, you will learn all about how soldiers received chocolatey gifts during the First World War, as well as getting the opportunity to make your very own chocolate tin.

Chocolate challenge

Goddards House and Gardens

29th May to 4th June, 10:30am-5:00pm

Free with admission

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If you’re a chocoholic then test yourself with these challenges. Try building a chocolate box in the fastest time or get the highest score at bagatelle.

History and mystery

Fun for all ages at the National Railway Museum. Photograph: NRM

May mysteries at the NRM

National Railway Museum, York

27th May to 4th June, 10am-4pm

Prices vary according to activity

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Fancy yourself as a bit of a detective? If so, head down to the National Railway Museum and take part in a variety of activities.

Put your detective skills to the test in the rogue gallery, try to solve the mystery of the missing panther, and take a ride on a steam train ride.

Discovery Tour of York Minster

York Minster

30th May to 1st June, 10:00am-2:00pm


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Take a tour of the most iconic building in York. York Minster is home to many interesting facts and a great deal of history. These fun-packed tours are the perfect experience for all the family.

History of the Barley Hall servants

Barley Hall

May 31, 12pm-4pm


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This event will take you back in time and allow you to experience the life of the servants from the late-medieval period. You will get the chance to meet the characters and see the settings of how it once was years ago.

Summer Thunder Day

The Yorkshire Air Museum

4th June, All Day


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The summer thunder day is the perfect family day out. Get to see live aircraft and authentic sounds and smells of aviation, as well as the expert engineering team doing what they do best.

Car-azy fun at Eden Camp. Photograph: East Yorkshire Thoroughbred Car Club

Thoroughbred Car Club

Eden Camp

4th June, 10am-5pm

Free with admission

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If you’re a car enthusiast then take a trip down to Eden Camp to experience a collection of veteran, vintage, classic and modern classic cars. It’s a great day out for all the family.

Holgate Windmill open days

Holgate Windmill

29th May to 4th June, various times


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Come and have a look inside this famous piece of York heritage. You will get to speak to experts of the mill who can provide you with information or answer any questions you may have.

An archive adventure

Tang Hall Explore

1st June, 2pm-3pm


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Experience York’s history by delving into a world of historic photo albums, scrap books and maps. You will get to listen to stories from historical characters and work on exciting activities.

Outdoor fun

You’ll never have played a round quite like it… Photographs: Bartosz Kali

Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf

Artists’ Garden, York Art Gallery

From June 3


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Thanks to a successful crowdfunding bid, this remarkable interactive installation is coming to York for the summer. It’s a crazy golf course designed by contemporary artists, combining a fun family event and provocative artwork in one.

Walk Cycle Festival

Rowntree Park

28th May, 10:00am and 4th June, 4:00pm


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Enjoy the beautiful city that is York. This festival will take place in the glorious outdoors and will include many activities and appearances from musicians, local artists, storytellers and local experts.

Get on your bike with the Walk Cycle Festival. Photograph: York Bike Belles

Water vole wanders

St Nicks, Rawdon Avenue

27th May, 1:00pm-4:00pm


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Here, you will get to learn all about water voles, how they’re conserved, their habitats and their favourite foods.

You will also get the chance to help the little furry creatures by planting native plants, learning about other wildlife, going pond dipping and water vole raft building.

Half-term play week

Beningbrough Hall

27th May to 4th June, 10:30am-5pm


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Be an explorer for the day and tick off the ’50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4′. There are endless activities to choose from such as, go on barefoot walks, hunt for bugs, discover what lives in a pond and have a go at building a raft.

York Cemetery open day

York Cemetery

29th May, 10:30am-4pm


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Be part of the celebrations of 30 years of York Cemetery Trust. Experience both the history and the nature of the grounds as you visit the exhibitions, explore the herb garden and the orchard heritage.

Nature at Nunnington

Nunnington Hall

28th May, 10:30am-5:00pm

Free with admission prices

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Get in touch with your nature side and come and explore the natural world. Take part in activities such as the lion learners animal encounter, a bug hunt, make bird boxes, snail racing, plant seeds and go bird watching.

Musical merriment

The Bramble Napskins played at last year’s Folk Festival. Photograph: Bramble Napskins / Facebook

Folk weekend

Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green

2nd to 4th June, 1:00pm-10:00pm


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York’s annual folk weekend is back with a bang at the beginning of June. Around 45 artists and bands will provide the live entertainment. There’s a marquee stage, plus three rooms of music-making indoors from musicians’ sessions, singarounds and themed events.

Muse hack

Beningbrough Hall

30th May to 31st May, 10:30am-4pm


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If you love music, then this will definitly be up your street. Work with professional artists and digital makers to create music using digital marker tools and software. At the end of it all, you will have the exciting opportunity to perform live, for everyone to hear. Rock on!

Scandinavian Choral Festival

Various Locations

26th to 28th May, Various Times


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Get to experience the beautiful voices of five Norwegian choirs, plus York’s very own male philharmonic choir. Throughout the weekend, you will get to hear them sing songs from all around the world in many different parts of York. This is guaranteed to be a truly harmonious event.

Bim, bang, boing!

National Centre For Early Music, St Margaret’s Church, York

4th June, 11:30am-2pm


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This activity will get the kids bopping and grooving, as Gary Hammond, former percussionist will entertain them with a vast variety of percussion instruments, some of which include, the waterphone, buzz bow and bird whistles.

The sound of drums

York Minster

27th May, 7:30pm


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The Ebor Singers will treat your ears to the music performed throughout the course of the Siege in York, during the English Civil War.

Food, drink and shopping

Fun at the Fossgate Festival

Fossgate festival


4th June, 12:00pm-8:00pm

Free entry

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Have fun at Fossgate’s famous street festival! Welcoming all ages, you can enjoy at selection of food, drink, live music and entertainment. What more could you want?

Dolls house and miniature fair

York Racecourse

4th June, 10:00am-4pm


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After its success last year, the fair celebrating all things small scale returns. Explore three floors of stands showcasing a variety of miniatures. There will also be a number of expert talks and demonstrations throughout the day.

Makers’ Market craft fair

Shambles Market

28th May, 9am-5pm


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Get to experience the unique work of York’s local artists and crafters at the makers market craft fair. See work from traders Lucy Monkman, Alyson Cowen, Homemade York, Rosalind Dando, Sydnie Corley, Just Smile Designs and many more!

Bank holiday BBQ

The New York Club, Blossom Street

29th May, 12:00pm-6:00pm


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Burgers, beer and brilliant music. What more could you want on a bank holiday? Fun activities for the kids are on offer, as well as the bands, food and drink.

Malton Food Festival


27th to 28th May, 9:00am-10:00pm


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This two-day festival features street food of all different styles, a festival bar, chef demos, live music and children’s activities.

Books and brainwaves

Waterstones on Coney Street. Photograph: Richard McDougall

Waterstones, Coney Street

29th May to 2nd June


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If you’re a bit of a bookworm, then pop down to Waterstones for a series of fun sessions of book readings and activities. Get to hear The Accidental Prime Minister, The Boy Who Went Magic and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Science out of the lab

Parliament Street

2nd to 3rd June, 11am-4pm


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Become a mad scientist for the day and take part in experiments with York’s brainy boffins. See your own brainwaves in real time, be part of edible experiments or find out about nuclear physics using Lego. A curtain raiser for the full York Festival of Ideas which kicks off on June 6.

‘Stanley’s Stick’ with Mud Pie Arts

York Explore

30th May, 1:30pm-2:20pm and 3rd June, 1:15pm-4:45pm


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Children can enjoy an interactive storytelling of “Stanley’s Stick” alongside artsy mud pie activities.

Thrilling theatre

Taking The Next Step to York

The Next Step

The Barbican

3rd June, 7:00pm


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Join Jordan and Trevor from popular CBBC show The Next Step as the cast take to the Barbican stage. They will showcase their dance routines. Time to bust a move!

A Night at the Movies

Joseph Rowntree Theatre

2nd June, 7:00pm and 3rd June, 6:00pm


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Get ready for a night filled with dancing! En Point dance school will be treating you to musical performances from your favourite films, as well as, dancing Ballet, Pointe, Acro, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap and Contemporary.