I will be in York for the last week of June for 6 days with my wife and three kids ages 11, 9 and 7. We will have a car. What are people's best recommendations for things to see and do in and around York. Any itinerary suggestions. I would like suggestions for day trips from York and driving times required. If my children spend too much time in the car we all get a little testy.
I would include Castle Howard (Brideshead Revisited), Thirsk (hometown of James Herriot), Rievaulx Abbey (gothic ruins), and a drive through the North York Moors. Rick's England book briefly covers these; a longer list than the York-area sights in the Great Britain book.
We were just in York 2 weeks ago. We did the National Railway Museum and loved it. So will your kids! Also the York Minster is a must. After paying to enter make sure you do the free tour. I think they are on the half hour. The tour makes the history come alive. Make sure you do the under croft, treasury and the crypt.
Also, make sure you walk the wall and the kids should love the Jorvik Viking Centre. Enjoy---we sure did!
Thank you for the advice. I have some further questions for any Yorkshirites. How far is Pickering from York. Could we do the North Yorkshire Moors railway as a day trip? Would you do the whole route or just part of the route. How far is Foundtain abbey from York? Would the kids like it. Where is the best place to go for a hike on the moors?
How far is Pickering from York? About 30 miles, with a car you should be able to do it in around 40-50 minutes, depending on exactly where in York you start, of course.
Could we do the North Yorkshire Moors railway as a day trip? Yes, though a potentially quite a long day.
Would you do the whole route or just part of the route? Personally, I'd go all the way to Whitby and spend a few hours there.
How far is Fountains Abbey from York? Similar distance as York-Pickering and about the same journey time, perhaps a few minutes longer.
Would the kids like it? I've no idea
Where is the best place to go for a hike on the moors? Rather than the Moors, I suggest you go in the other direction and walk in the Dales. There are plenty of options, depending on how strenuous a walk you want. This site gives details of some common walks - http://www.walkingenglishman.com/dales.htm
Even if you don't plan to walk much, I recommend you spend at least one of your days driving around the Dales. You could combine it with a visit to Fountains Abbey (or if you are not too fussed over seeing any specific abbey ruins, there is yet another one - Bolton Abbey which is actually in the Dales, also the start of a pretty and gentle walk along the river).
Nearby Skipton is a pleasant market town with a castle.
I am envious of your six days there! This was one of my two favorite places on our three-week trip in 2010, along with Keswick in the Lake District. The Railway Museum was one of the best visits of the entire trip-- I cannot recommend it enough, and allow enough time there. It is interactive, and the cafeteria is right out on a train platform! What is magical about York is not only that it is a walled city, where you can walk on top of the wall, but just walking around you discover ruins of the past, like an old hospital next to a garden, part of an old abbey wall-- and this is just right in town. There is the River Ouse, with boats. The Castle Museum is history come to life, with businesses from times past in one hall, and you feel like you are really there. There is a Polish community here, surprisingly, and I would recommend the Barbakan Delicatessen on 58 Walmgate Street. In other words, leave enough time aside from day trips, as there are great things to do in York proper.
For any other ideas, see our pictures:
Gosh, Six days in one my favorite places. Here is another vote for Rievaulx (about 1 hrs drive) Whitby (1.25 hrs) is wonderful and not just for the Abbey. It's smaller than Fountains and has the Captain Cook connection. You can walk up the 100 (?) steps to the abbey. Robin Hoods Bay is also lovely. Fountains is beautiful and I've spent an entire day there which might be too much for small children. But it is wonderful.