24 fun things to do in York for February half term 2015

13 Feb 2015 @ 10.45 am
| Entertainment

Hang about, it’s half term again! Here are the highlights of the holiday activities. You can see everything in our special section of the city’s best What’s On guide.

Viking fun


The Jorvik Viking Festival

Various locations

Sat Feb 14-Sun Feb 22

From free up

Viking Festival website

They’re big, they’re gruff and they’re ’airy and we be afraid of ’em… Yes those Nordic warriors are back for the 31st Jorvik Viking Festival.

What’s on this year? Contests to find the best beard and strongest Viking, hands-on activities for kids including the ever-popular Poo Day, music and lectures and an epic “ice and fire” finale where a cast of warriors, giants and gods bring the Norse legends to life.

That should keep us busy. All the Viking activities are here.

Family fun

York’s Chocolate Story goes bubble bonkers
Day out with Paddington

National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York

Sat Feb 14-Sun Feb 22 @ 10am-5pm

Free entry, with a small charge for some activities

More info

Fresh from his triumph on the big screen, the world’s most loveable bear takes up residence at the NRM – well, he is named after a railway station… Games, science, dressing up and meet the duffel-coated one himself.

Have you felt the bubbles melt?

York Chocolate Story, King’s Square, York

Sat Feb 14-Sun Feb 22 @ 9.30am-6pm


Full details

Eighty years ago, Rowntree’s created Aero. Thank you, Rowntree’s.

To celebrate, York’s Chocolate Story is paying week-long homage to the bubbly bar. Demonstrations, hands on activities and fun facts for all the family are promised.

Connecting communities

York High School, Acomb, York

Thu Feb 19 10am-2pm


More details here

A day of fun-filled activities, with art, workshops, interactive games and the chance to meet Edgar the Elephant.

Castle Howard: Children’s trail

Castle Howard, Coneysthorpe, York

Sat Feb 14-Sun Feb 22 @ 10am-4pm


Full details

Can you spot the hearts and flowers hidden round the Castle Howard grounds? Fine them all and you can collect a treat.

Story fun


Meet Jeremy Strong

Merchant Adventurer’s Hall

Wed Feb 18 @ 2pm-4pm


More info

One of the biggest names in children’s writing, Jeremy Strong hits town as part of the Viking Festival to talk about his mad characters and hilarious stories.

Meet Jacqueline Wilson

St Peter’s School, York

Sat Feb 14 @ 11am


Full details

One of Britain’s best-selling authors comes to York to launch her new book, The Butterfly Club. Dame Jacqueline Wilson loves our city, as she explained in our interview here.

Acomb Explore events

Acomb Explore library, Front Street, York



All the event details

Acomb Explore is putting on a number of events for children and families this half term. Look out for activities focused on books including The Scarecrow’s Wedding Day, and The Gruffalo.

Inkwell To The Rescue

York Explore, Museum Street, York

Sat Feb 14 @ 2pm-3pm


More details

Creative writing fun for 7-11 year olds at the main York library. The theme is superheroes, so pack your cape…

Stories Alive

Beningbrough Hall, Beningbrough, York

Tues Feb 17 & Sat Feb 21 @ 11.30am-3.30pm


More details

Let professional storyteller Eden bring history to life with his tale especially composed for Beningbrough – who are the people in the portraits?

Olaf The Viking

Clifford’s Tower

Sat Feb 14-Sun Feb 22 @ 11am-4pm


More details

Olaf the Viking tells tales of the victory in 1066 at Fulford, but also of their defeat at Stamford Bridge. With regular short stories throughout each day.

History fun

York Minster and Treasurer’s House – pictured here from the city walls – both have half term activities. Photograph: visityork.org / Kippa Matthews
Castle Museum: Votes For Women!

York Castle Museum, Eye of York

Sat Feb 14-Sun Feb 22 @ 10am-4pm

Free with a York Card

Full details

Don a sash (or policeman’s helmet), march with placards, and become a suffragette in this interactive event at the Castle Museum.

Yorkshire Museum: Buried Treasure

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens

Sat Feb 14-Sun Feb 22 @ 10am-5pm

Admission free with a York Card, 50p per trail

More details

Follow the clues around the museum to find the pieces of eight. If you are successful, claim your own chocolate treasure.

Yorkshire Museum: Viking Longboats

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens

Sat Feb 14-Sun Feb 22 @10am-5pm

Entry free with a York Card

Full details

A simple one this – dress as a Viking pirate and make your own mini longboat.

Yorkshire Museum: Metal Detecting

Yorkshire Museum, Eye of York

Weds Feb 18-Thu Feb 19 @ 11am-4pm

Free entry with a York Card

Full details

The museum has some rather nifty hand-held metal detectors. Can you use them to track down buried treasure?

Litte Diggers Viking fun

DIG, St Saviourgate, York

Mon Feb 16-Fri Feb 20 @ 10am-11am


Full details

The Little Diggers events are aimed at children between 2 and 5 years. These hour-long sessions allow them to dress like valiant Viking heroes, enjoy Norse songs and games and listen to some epic stories.

York Dungeon: Grave Robbers

The York Dungeon

Sat Feb 14-Sun Feb 22 @ 10.30am-4.30pm


Full details

An unruly pair of grave robbers take up residence at the dungeon to add some extra scares for half term. Look out – the duo will be eyeing up everyone as a potential sale.

Treasurer’s House: Fascinating Frank Tours

Treasurer’s House, Minster Yard, York

Sat Feb 14-Thu Feb 19, and Sat Feb 21-Thu Feb 26 @ 11am-3pm


Full details

Learn more about Frank Green, the eccentric character who left Treasruer’s House and his contents to the National Trust. Frank is also said to be one of the many ghosts in residence – he threatened to haunt the house if anyone dare move the furniture!

Arty fun

Paint it, glue it this half term. Photograph: Weinstock on Pixabay
Yorkshire Museum: Craft Dragons

Yorkshire Museums, Museum Gardens

Sat Feb 21 @ 10am-5pm

Free with a York Card

Full details

Head to the Learning Labs and use the craft materials to create a dragon. Then take it home, and train it.

Castle Museum: Create At The Castle

York Castle Museum, Eye of York

Sat Feb 14-Sun Feb 22 @ 10am-5pm

Free with a York Card

Full details

Family arts and crafts, all with a suffragette them. See also, Votes For Women!, above.

York Minster: Make a Viking horn

York Minster

Tue Feb 17-Thu Feb 19 @ 10am-3pm

Free with a York Card

Full details

Craft activities inspired by the Horn of Ulf –– a 1,000 year old elephant horn gifted to the Minster by a Viking nobleman. Drop in any time between 10am and 3pm.


Beningbrough Hall, Beningbrough

Sun Feb 15, Wed Feb 18 & Fri Feb 20 @ 1pm-3pm


Full details

Get out the glue and make something original as Beninbrough’s popular family art workshops return to the Hayloft.

Watch it!

Hiccup and friends in How To Train Your Dragon
Kid’s Film Club: Asterix and the Vikings

Dig, St Saviourgate, York

Sat Feb 14 @ 11am-1pm


Full details

A fun animated children’s film from the classic Asterix and Obelix story books – fast becoming a classic for kids.

How To Train Your Dragon

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens

Sat Feb 21 @ 3pm


More details

This is a cracking modern animation, as Hiccup the Viking befriends his arch enemy – a young dragon.