Families at the Yorkshire Museum


The Yorkshire Museum and Gardens are family-friendly and we aim to be as inclusive as possible.

Younger visitors can enjoy our hands-on activities that are as educational as they are fun. We also offer a variety of activities, events and workshops available throughout the year. Please click on the links below for further information.


Click here for online Visitor Information

Click here to view a map of the museum


Facilities for Families

  • Ramp access to the front of the museum
  • You are welcome to take pushchairs around the exhibits
  • Indoor and outdoor spaces, most are accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Please visit our Access page for more details
  • Lift access to all three main floors
  • Activity areas in all of our galleries to encourage playful and sensory learning, open daily
  • Downloadable trails (please see below for more information and links)
  • Volunteers offering ‘Hands on Here!’ opportunities on select dates allowing visitors to get closer to our objects
  • Online events listings so you can plan ahead
  • Baby changing facilities in the accessible toilet on the lower ground floor
  • An online map available to download ahead of your visit


Downloadable Trails

Click here to visit our Schools page for a selection of downloads.


Food & Drink

Hot and cold drinks can be purchased from the museum shop and there is a refreshments stand and an ice-cream kiosk located outside (seasonal opening applies). The museum is situated within walking distance of a number of family-friendly cafes and restaurants. Visitors are welcome to bring picnics to eat in the Gardens.



We offer a variety of opportunities for Pre-School, Primary, Secondary and Further Education.

  • Under 5s can explore our exhibitions and collections with our term-time Museum Monkey sessions – please see below for more information.
  • We offer school workshops designed for Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage One and Key Stage Two pupils – please go to our Schools – Making a Visit page for more information.
  • Find free educational downloadable resources designed for school groups (though anyone is welcome to use them to enhance their visit).


Museum Monkeys

York Museums Trust provides a range of activities and events for children under 5s to help them engage with the collections and exhibitions. Sessions take place during term time at York Castle Museum, the Yorkshire Museum, or York Art Gallery.

Museum Baby (under two years old) – Fridays, 10am – 11am

Special baby sessions linked to exhibitions, including songs and sensory activities for babies and their carers. Sessions are a mixture of free flow and adult led activities which all relate to the early years Curriculum. A perfect introduction to museums!

Early Years Explorers (two – five years old) – Thursdays, 10am – 11am

Activities for children aged two to five years old which include songs, stories, games and craft activities. Sessions are based on familiar preschool play areas, which are enhanced to help children learn about the museum’s collections and exhibitions through play. Sessions are a mixture of free flow and adult led activities which all relate to the Early Years curriculum.

Charges and advance booking apply. Please click here to visit our Events page for full listings.

Teaching Prehistoric Yorkshire

Teaching Prehistoric Yorkshire is a new classroom teaching resource for primary schools explores prehistory through 15 incredible archaeological finds from Yorkshire. From the earliest evidence of human activity in Yorkshire 500,000 years ago to the Roman invasion, this image-rich resource will help teachers bring prehistoric Yorkshire to life in the classroom.

Teaching Prehistoric Yorkshire was supported by the Art Fund and created in partnership with Craven Museum and Art Gallery, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Malton Museum, Scarborough Museums Trust and Whitby Museum. Find out more on our website here.


Genesis Project

Genesis is an ongoing project that involves York Museums Trust working with young people aged 16 to 24 to encourage engagement with museum and gallery sites and collections.

The Bedale Hoard Animation Project invited a group of young people aged 14-16 to create an animated video on the story of the Bedale Hoard at the Yorkshire Museum. The project was designed to help participants learn and develop skills in all aspects of creating an animation. Working with animation company, Biomation, the group were able to learn about scriptwriting, short listing ideas, character design, set-design and set-building, voiceovers and practical animation.

The Podcast Project was a Genesis project aimed at history degree undergraduates from York St John University. The second year students spent ten days researching specific objects on display at both the Yorkshire Museum and the Castle Museum. They wrote and presented individual podcasts which were showcased at an event in May 2014 called Create. Find out more about the Genesis Project.


York Museum Gardens

Set in the stunning surroundings of the medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, York Museum Gardens is a great space to meet friends and family and enjoy the peace and tranquility that the gardens have to offer. The Gardens are open daily and free to all visitors.

There is so much to see and do including a chance to see inside Yorkshire’s oldest working observatory, wander round the gardens and see the vast botanical collection, and spot some of the 40 species of bird within the gardens.


York Observatory

York Observatory in the Museum Gardens is the major part of York Museums Trust’s Astronomy Collection and includes a functioning 4 inch refractor telescope built by Thomas Cooke in 1850.

We aim to open York Observatory every day 11.30am to 2.30pm. However, as the site is manned by trained volunteers, we cannot guarantee to be open on any particular day. Click here to find out more about the Observatory.