Summer in York 2017: Your always updated guide to the holidays

Welcome to York, the home of summer fun – and to the new Terry's guided walk from York's Chocolate Story
21 Jul 2017 @ 4.35 pm
| Entertainment

Schools out, summer’s in and there are six long weeks to fill.

Fortunately York has loads on to keep the whole family occupied. And even more fortunately, we’re here to guide you to all the goodies.

We will be adding more to this guide as new events come in, so keep checking back. And if your favourite event or attraction is missing, drop us a line.

The summer guide 2017 is created in association with York’s Chocolate Story, which has a range of great family events inside and out.

So what are you waiting for? Bring on the hols!

All summer long

A view of the Terry’s chocolate factory from the east, 1938

Terry’s Guided City Walk

York’s Chocolate Story

July 30 — September 3 every Thursday and Sunday, 1pm and 4pm


More details

The new city walk will take visitors around the city, looking at key buildings and areas connected to Terry’s. You’ll hear tales that have come straight from the workers themselves, and get to try a series of exclusive samples connected to the company.

Summer holiday activities at the Yorkshire Museum

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens, York

Thu July 27-Sun Sep 3

Free with admission

More details

Make your own sagas, drums and brooches as part of the Vikings season – see the link for what’s on when.

Summer events at Beningbrough Hall

Beningbrough Hall and Gardens, Beningbrough, York

Till Sept 3


More details

This summer at Beningbrough there is art to look at, with portraits from David Beckham to Beatrix Potter, art to make and do, and bugs in the gardens – see the link for what’s on when.

Summer holiday activities at York Art Gallery

York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square

Sat Jul 22-Sun Sep 3

Free with admission

More details

Don’t miss your chance to play around of Leisure Land Golf in the Art Garden, plus accessible story making – see the link for what’s on when.

The summer science trolley at the National Railway Museum

Summer Sleuthing

National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York

Sat Jul 22-Sat Sept 2


More details

Discover the science behind crime and mystery and follow the clues to solve a murder with fun events for detectives of all ages.

Summer holiday activities at York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum @ Museum Gardens

Sat Jul 22-Sun Sep 3

Free with admission

More details

Meet the characters of old York, and enjoy tasty treats – see the link for what’s on when.

Garden fun at Treasurer’s House

Treasurer’s House, York

Daily till Sept 3, 11am-4pm


More details

Enjoy giant jenga, croquet and garden games in our small but perfectly formed garden with neighbouring York Minster on the skyline.

York Maze

York Maze, Elvington Lane, York

Open daily from Sat July 15 to Mon Sept 4 @ 10am-6.30pm


More details

York Maze is not just the largest maze in the UK, it’s an award winning fun filled, day out in the country. With over 20 different rides, attractions and shows to enjoy York Maze offers an amazing fun-filled full family day out.

250 Year’s Of Terry’s

York’s Chocolate Story, King’s Square, York

Open daily from 10am

£9.50-£11.50, children under 4

More details

York’s Chocolate Story is a fascinating fully guided tour through the history of York’s most famous chocolate-making families and their finest creations. This year, check out its exhibition marking 250 years since Terry’s began and have a go at making some Terry-like sweet treats.

Family fun

Micklegate Soapbox Challenge

Micklegate, York

Monday 28 August, 10am

Free to watch

More details

It’s back, bigger and more bonkers. Watch as teams hurtle down the hill in handcrafted go-karts of variable roadworthiness.

Tractor Ted comes to Murton Park

Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton Park

August 6, 10am-3pm

More details

Come and meet Tractor Ted at Murton Park on August 6th! Ted has promised to bring along all his friends and his bouncy castle as well. It sounds like there will be a lot of fun to be had, including welly wanging, Ted’s activity trail and giant jigsaw.

Poo Day

Barley Hall

July 29 and July 30, 10am-4pm

Normal admission costs apply

More details

Join in at historic Barley Hall this summer and learn all about the muckier side of archaeology.

St Leonard’s Hospice It’s a Knockout

York Knavesmire

Sept 3, 10.30am

£100 per team to enter, free to watch

More details

Teams representing a range of businesses, organisations and families will be facing a silly, fun and foamy tournament of games. Fun to watch or join in on the other events during the day, there will be rides, tombolas, games, stalls and inflatables as well as food stands.

Peter Davison as the fifth Doctor. Photograph: BBC

York Unleashed – York’s Comic-Con

York Racecourse

Sun Aug 13 @ 10am-5pm


More details

A mighty mix of cosplay, star guests – including former Doctor Who Peter Davison – gifts and memorabilia, and workshops – who’s enrolling for Zombie Survival School?

Holgate Windmill

Holgate Windmill, Windmill Rise, York

August 5, 6, 19, 20, 28 and Sept 2, 3

£3, children £1

More details

During these open days tour York’s working windmill, and maybe buy some flour to bake with at home.

Art, books and stories

Lots of crafty fun at York Minster

Summer Reading Challenge

Various York libraries

Till Fri Sept 1

More details

Explore York libraries need your help to crack the puzzle of some peculiar happenings. The Animal Agents are on the case but they want children to take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge to solve the mystery…

Crafty fun at York Minster

York Minster

Every Wednesday till Sept 3, 10am-3pm

From £2.50

More details

Families can enjoy hands-on animal craft activities that celebrate the theme of Noah’s Ark. There will also bespecial storytelling sessions and fun family-friendly tours of the cathedral on each of these activity days.

Chocolate walking tours

yorks-chocolate-story-logoFind out more about Terry’s 250 year history – and try some tasty treats – at York’s Chocolate Story this summer – learn more here

Story time at York’s libraries

Various venues

All summer


More details

Take your tots to one of York’s many excellent libraries this summer to chill out with a good story.

Plates With Faces

York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square

Aug 1-31, 11am-4pm

Free with admission

More details

Take inspiration from the new ceramics exhibition and paint your own paper plate so it smiles or frowns.

Little Diggers – Norse Myths and Stories

DIG, St Saviourgate, York

Sat July 29 @ 10am

More details

A Viking storyteller, called a skald, hits DIG to weave some magical tales and sagas.

Animals and outdoors

A lemur from Askham Bryan Wildlife Park. Photograph: Facebook

Meet the Creatures

York Explore, Library Square, York

August 1, 11am-12pm


More details

A Meet the Creatures session with a few small and friendly exotic animals. Kids will get to see and touch some amazing animals from around the world.

Little Diggers: Garden Explorers

DIG, St Saviourgate, York

Sat Aug 26 @ 10am

More details

Explore DIG’s sensory garden and discover what you can find out about archaeology from what we know about bugs and animals.

Big Bug Bonanza

Askham Bryan College, Askham Bryan, York

Sat Jul 22-Sun Sept 3

£4.95 – £6.95

More details

They’re celebrating all things invertebrate this summer, with daily talks, trails, themed crafts and brilliant bug events all holiday.

Sporty fun

The York 10K is back

York 10K

York Racecourse

August 6

More details

Hailed as one of the most beautiful city runs in the country, runners pound through the heart of York cheered on by large crowds. The route takes in some of the city’s stunning scenery and historic landmarks, including Clifford’s Tower and York Minster.

Ebor Festival

York Racecourse

August 23-August 26

From £10

More details

York’s oldest, richest, fastest, and most famous races provide sporting excellence combined with fashion and fun over four fabulous days.

Junior Parkrun


Every Sunday at 9:00am

Free but you need to register first

More details

A free, timed 2km run for children aged from 4 to 14. Starts from the main entrance to the racecourse at 9am. Make sure the kids keep active this summer and get their trainers on every Sunday at the park run.


All Saints hit the racecourse

Great Yorkshire Fringe

Parliament Street, York

July 21 – August 6

Prices vary

More details

The Great Yorkshire fringe will become a key summer event in York’s entertainment calendar, bringing the best in comedy, cabaret, theatre and music to Yorkshire.

Music Showcase Weekend

York Racecourse

Fri July 28-Sat July 29

From £10

More details

It’s time for the weekend that combines fab racing with top music. It’s Jess Glynne on the Friday evening and All Saints on the Saturday.

Robin Hood: The Arrow Of Destiny

York Theatre Royal

Fri Aug 4-Sat Sep 2


More details

There’s a lot more to being cool than standing around Sherwood Forest in green tights! Join the young people who are putting on this funny, fast-moving take on Robin and his outlaws.

I want to live forever… the Fame cast

Stage Experience: FAME

Grand Opera House

Thu Aug 3-Sat Aug 5


More details

Stage Experience returns with the musical story of a group of star-struck hopefuls trying to make it on Broadway. Will Carmen achieve the fame she craves? Will Serena make it to become a successful actress? Will hard work pay off for Tyrone? You’ll have to hit the Grand Opera House to find out…

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

Grand Opera House

Aug 11-13


More details

The timeless children’s book by Judith Kerr is turned into a musical play. When the doorbell rings, the last person Sophie and her mum expect to see is a stripy tiger. Suitable for children aged three and upwards.

Sherlock Holmes: A Study In Scarlet

The Golden Fleece Inn

Wed Jul 26-Sat Aug 13


More details

By Jove Holmes, are Nightshade Productions staging one of your stories as never before? Yes Watson, partly performed on the street and partly in the pub. But be warned this is for seven year olds and upwards only.

Musical Play In A Week

National Centre For Early Music

Mon Aug 14-Fri Aug 18

£120 per child

More details

A summer week of creativity and fun for 10 to 15 year olds! Aimed at youngsteres who enjoy acting, making music (any instrument or voice) and listening to thrilling stories from the past.

History fun

Viking: Rediscover The Legend

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens York

open daily, 10am-5am

Free for a YMT card holder or for a child, up to £7.50 otherwise

More details

Featuring some of the most exciting Anglo-Saxon and Viking discoveries ever made, this new exhibition explores how the Vikings transformed life in Britain.

Little Diggers: Norse Myths and Stories

DIG, St Saviourgate, York,

July 29 at 10:am-11:am


More details

Have a go at mythical crafts and activities while we explore the characters, gods and monsters of Viking sagas.
Pre-booking essential due to limited spaces.

Archaeology in Coppergate


July 27 – July 31, 10am-4pm daily


More details

Join in with a host of fun activities showcasing the exciting world of archaeology!

Rowntree’s Theatrical Performances

York Castle Museum, Eye of York

July 27-Aug 2 @ 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm

Free with admissiom

More details

Lawrence, the grandson of Joseph Rowntree, died in the Battle of Passchendaele which started 100 years ago on July 31 1917.To commemorate the anniversary of the battle actors Rebecca Beattie or Charlotte Wood will provide performances of the life of Lawrence Rowntree using extracts from his journal.

Medieval marvel – Barley Hall in York. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

Living History at the Hall

Barley Hall

August 2, 12pm-4pm

Normal Admission Rates Apply

More details

Barley Hall’s award winning volunteer team are offering visitors a special treat this summer when they take the Hall back in time, showcasing serving life from the late-medieval period.

Animals In The First World War

York Castle Museum, Eye of York

Tues Aug 1 @ 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm

Free with admission

More details

Drop in activity led by local artist Abi Hiskey exploring the animals who made a difference during the First World War.

WWII Living History Bank Holiday Weekend

Eden Camp, Malton, York

Sat Aug 26-Sun Aug 27


More details

Reenactors bring the Second World War homefront to life over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Made in York

Fairfax House

Open daily, May 5 – November 12

Included in entry to Fairfax House

More details

This exhibition celebrates the wealth of this Georgian city’s inventive and enlightened output through 1670-1830.

Little Diggers: Archaeology of the Future

DIG, St Saviourgate, York

Sat Aug 12

More details

What will archaeologists discover when they look back at us in 100 years? That’s the question at this fun workshop…


Summer Social at York Designer Outlet

Naburn, York

Thursdays in the holidays from July 27

More details

Make up, magic and football – just some of the activities for children on at the shopping centre on Thursdays over the summer.


Vintage Props Day

Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

Sun July 23


More details

Vintage propeller aircraft are celebrated at this special day, including the original Dakota.

Yorvik Morris Minor Owners Club Rally

Eden Camp, Malton, York

Sun Sept 3


More details

See the summer holidays out with a classic car rally. Previous years have seen 60 old Morris Minors gathered at Eden Camp.

Golden Era Vintage Motorcycle Run

Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

Sun Jul 30 @ 10am


More details

An annual nostalgic gathering of amazing pre 1931 vintage motorcycles with many examples over 100 years old.

Further afield

A young explorer at Castle Howard

Piglets Adventure Farm

Towthorpe Moor Lane, York YO32 9ST

July 22-Sept 3


More details

Lots of activities on the farm, from the fairy trail to Fatt Matt’s Circus.

Castle Howard

Castle Howard, near Malton

Wed July 26-Sun July 30


More details

Woodland exploration, gravity-inspired hill rolling and water-borne fun are all lined up for Castle Howard’s Summer Explorer Adventures.