York Easter guide 2016 – What’s on where for the school holidays

York Castle Museum is looking for cracking egg and spooners this Easter. Photo by Mike Cowling
15 Mar 2016 @ 8.49 am
| Entertainment, Family

** Looking for the 2017 Easter guide? You’ll find it here **

If ever there was an excuse for eating your own bodyweight in chocolate while wearing bunny ears, this is it.

So, let’s get out there and enjoy the Easter fun (while we can still fit through the door).

Family fun

Easter Explorers

Young explorers (please don't make us say 'eggsplorers') descend on the Minster
Young explorers (please don’t make us say ‘eggsplorers’) descend on the Minster

York Minster, Deangate

Mar 24 to Apr 11, from 9.30am

Normal admission (free for YorkCard holders)

More info

Young adventurers can borrow Little Explorer backpacks to find out more about the 800-year old cathedral’s awe-inspiring features, while young readers can relax with a range of books from the story chest in St Nicholas’ Chapel.

In addition, on March 30 and April 6, families can enjoy Easter bonnet and basket making sessions, Easter-themed storytelling and tours of the cathedral.

The Great Dahl Hunt

York Explore, Museum Street

Mar 29-30, various times

£2 per child (5-11 year olds)

More info

Strange mischief is afoot at York Explore. Some Roald Dahl characters have escaped from their books and are wandering where they shouldn’t. Can you help find them? (We’ll handle Willy Wonka if you deal with Miss Trunchbull)

Vintage Funfair

St Sampson’s Square

Mar 24 to Apr 11

Let the kids enjoy some good old-fashioned fun this Easter by taking a tiny trip on a beautifully restored train ride and chancing their arm on two games stalls.

Easter Eggstravaganza at Murton Park

Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton, York

Sat Mar 26-Sun Apr 10

£4.50 – £6.50

More details

Lots to do in the fresh air as the Yorkshire Farming Museum reopens at Murton. Easter egg trails, historic re-enactors and the Derwent Valley Light Railway among the fun activities.

Gorgeous Gwendolen Goose

York Explore, Museum Street

Apr 2, 2.30.3.30pm

Free, booking advised

To book

Join author and former York teacher Sue Ellis as she reads from her new book, Gorgeous Gwendolen Goose & Other Stories, which she hopes will inspire youngsters to become the best version of themselves.

Egg and spoon race

York Castle Museum, Eye of York

Mar 25 to Apr 10

Normal admission (free to YorkCard holders)

More info

Ooh, an egg and spoon obstacle course in the exercise yard – just imagine how many family arguments you can start with that. Seriously though: no gluing, no pushing and no crying if you’re beaten by a four-year-old

The Bar Convent Easter Trail

The Bar Convent, Blossom Street, York

Tues Mar 29-Sat Apr 9 (exc Sun) @ !0am-4pm

£2-£4.50

More details

The historic convent reopens after its Easter break with its Easter trail. Follow it to the end, get all the questions right, and win a chocolate prize.

Knights of the Wobbly Table

York Explore, Museum Street

Apr 6, 10.30-11.30am

Free

More info

Children’s author Karen Langtree reads her new book Knights of the Wobbly Table at a medieval-themed storytime and crafts session. Dressing up is optional but very welcome.

Bunny hunt

Beningbrough Hall, Beningbrough

Mar 25-Mar 28

Beningbrough admission + £2 (trail) £1.50 (workshop)

More details

Join the hunt for Bunny to win a Cadbury chocolate bunny, decorate an egg to try and win a prize in the art workshop (1-3pm), and see who can beat the rest of the family in the egg and spoon races.

Cadbury Easter hunt weekend

Treasurer’s House, York

Mar 25-Mar 28 @ 11am-4pm

Treasurer’s House admission + £1 for trail

More details

Climb the stairs to follow the indoor family trail for a Cadbury sweet treat or head into the garden for games on the lawn.

The Selfish Giant

De Grey Rooms, St Leonard’s Place

Mar 31, 10am-12.30pm

£10

More info

Small people (aged 5-7) are invited to take part in a workshop based on Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, with role-playing, games, music and crafts.

Air and rail

Back in the NRM till May 8… Flying Scotsman. Photograph: National Railway Museum
Back in the NRM till May 8… Flying Scotsman. Photograph: National Railway Museum

Flying Scotsman and more

National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York

Fri Mar 25-Sun Apr [email protected] 10am-6pm

Free admission to the museum; Service With Style is £8

More details

We’ve seen Flying Scotsman on the tracks, now climb aboard as part of the Stunts Speeds and Style exhibition at the NRM.

This is one of several new activities at the museum, including performances by the Platform 4 Theatre, and the immersive Service With Style experience, which is £8.

York Model Railway Show

York Racecourse

Sat Mar 26-Mon Mar 28 from 10am

£4-£9

More details

If you prefer your trains in a more manageable size, there are more than 100 stands and around 40 layouts at the annual model railway show – a fixture in York since 1962.

Thunder Day at Yorkshire Air Museum

Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington

Sun Apr 3 @ 10am-5pm

£5-£12

More details

Hear the mighty roar of the Yorkshire Air Museum’s magnificent flying machines, as their engines come to life for the first time in 2016. Includes great names like Victor, Nimrod and Dakota.

Also running through the holidays and beyond is the museum’s new exhibition dedicated to airships – Gas Bags to Super Zeppelins.

History

WWII Living History Weekend

Re-enactors with the Second World War experience. Photograph: Eden Camp
Re-enactors with the Second World War experience. Photograph: Eden Camp

Eden Camp, near Malton

Sat Mar 26, 10am-5pm

£6-£7

More details

Groups of Second World War re-enactors are at Eden Camp. They will be portraying British and German troops as well as civilians, and it’s all very authentic.

The Barley Hall Servants – Living History at the Hall

Barley Hall, Coffee Yard, Stonegate

Wed Mar 30 & Wed Apr 6, noon-4pm

£3-£6

More details

Volunteers from the Barley Hall Servants return to offer an extra treat for visitors, with living history showcasing the life of servants from the late medieval period.

Holgate Mill open days

Holgate Mill, Windmill Rise, York

Sat Mar 26-Mon Mar 28, 11am-4pm

£1-£3

More details

A chance to see the renovated windmill in action, and ask the knowledgable volunteers questions. Buy some freshly ground flour or other windmill merchandise too.

Shopping

Shambles Vintage Market

Enjoy a vintage Easter weekend in York with a trip to Shambles Market
Enjoy a vintage Easter weekend in York with a trip to Shambles Market

Shambles Market

Mar 27, 9am-5pm

Free

More info

Roll back the years with vintage vocalist Gina Rose, performing songs inspired by the Andrews Sisters; York Inset Scooter Club’s display of classic scooters; vintage china from Willacy Whimsys; and a host of recycled, upcycled and pure vintage clothes and furniture.

Good Friday Farmers’ Market

Shambles Market

Mar 25

Free

More info

Start the abstemious Easter weekend as you mean to go on with steaks, eggs and cakes (and perhaps a tiny bit of chocolate) from the very best York producers.

Easter at McArthurGlen

McArthurGlen York Designer Outlet

Mar 26

Free

More info

Take a short break from spending shed-loads of money with an animal trail, colouring competitions and a ride in the Kiddy Kabs.

All children will receive an animal trail activity book which, if they spot the animals in store windows, will give them a chance to win a bag of Cadbury chocolate treats.

Film time

The Railway Children

The Railway Children hit the big screen (or should that be 'big steam'?) for Easter. Photograph: York Theatre Royal
The Railway Children hit the big screen (or should that be ‘big steam’?) for Easter. Photograph: York Theatre Royal

City Screen, Coney Street + Vue, Clifton Moor

Mar 28, 3pm

From £8

Tickets

Grab a carton of popcorn as big as a coal bucket and settle down to watch a special screening of York Theatre Royal’s Olivier Award-winning version of The Railway Children, filmed last summer at the National Railway Museum.

Filmed with seven cameras by an expert team, who navigate the unique staging including moving platforms, props and rail carts, the film captures every moment of the fast-paced production.

Frozen Fever

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens

Apr 10, 10.30am-3.30 pm

£5 to £6.50

Tickets

Anna, Elsa and Olaf (if you don’t know who they are, we’re not telling you) return to the screen in a special screening of Frozen Fever.

Before the five-minute film, there’s a 40 minute, interactive stage performance with the Snow Queen and friends inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale.

Night At The Museum

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens

Apr 10, 4-7pm

£10 to £12

Tickets

What happens when Yorkshire museum closes for the evening? Do the exhibits come to life and run amok? Well, here’s your chance to find out.

After watching the Ben Stiller movie Night At The Museum, you can follow clues round the museum to see what surprises might be in store.

Batman

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens

Apr 10, 7.30-10pm

£12

Tickets

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Batman the Movie with the man in black himself, his sidekick Robin and special guests Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman.

There’s an interactive performance before the film where you’ll be challenged to solve riddles and fight a shark. Feel free to dress up (preferably as a Batman character).

Running wild

Great Sunflower Challenge

Get growing with some free seeds from York Explore. © José Carlos Cortizo Pérez on Flickr
Get growing with some free seeds from York Explore. © José Carlos Cortizo Pérez on Flickr

York Explore, Museum Street

Mar 29 to Apr 11

Free

More info

Pop in to the library over Easter and pick up a free packet of sunflower seeds so you can enter the children’s challenge to grow the tallest in the city. Grow on, you know you want to.

Animal Trail

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens

Mar 25 to Apr 10, 10am-5pm

Normal admission + 50p per trail

More info

Paws for thought as you take part in an animal-themed trail around the museum and gardens. Apparently, there’s a ‘small prize’ up for grabs. Intriguing.

Go wild at Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate

Apr 1, noon-2pm

Free

More info

There are dozens of birds, creatures and creepy crawlies just waiting to be discovered at Holy Trinity. You can then take away your newfound knowledge (and a handy activity pack) to go on your own mini safari at home.

Animals In Prehistoric Yorkshire

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens

Mar 29, 12.30-1pm

Normal admission (free to YorkCard holders)

More info

Join one of the museum’s curators for a family-friendly talk about some of the more surprising animals that used to roam the Yorkshire landscape. We’ve got our fingers crossed for elephants and penguins.

Crafty

Design an Easter Egg

Swap your colouring books for colouring chooks (sort of). © Abigail Batchelder on flikr
Swap your colouring books for colouring chooks (sort of). © Abigail Batchelder on flikr

DIG, St Saviourgate

Mar 26, 10am-4pm

£6.50

More info

The Easter bunny has left lots of eggs, all ready to be embellished with paint, glitter and all manner of crafty doohickeys. Join a decorating workshops and design your own egg to take home.

Studio Drop-in: Flowers & Birds

York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square

Mar 25 to Apr 10, 11am-4pm

Normal admission (free to YorkCard holders)

More info

Celebrate the coming of spring (surely it should be here by now?) by making paper and string birds inspired by York artist Mark Hearld and by adding a few frivolous flowers to a giant herbaceous border.

Eggciting Easter Stories & Crafts

York libraries

Mar 30, 2.30-3.30pm

£2 per child (4+ years)

More info

Easter fun and frivolity that will undoubtedly include bunnies and glitter at some point. Which is never a bad thing.

Early Years Explorers: 1960s

York Castle Museum, Eye of York

Mar 24, 10-11am

Normal admission (free to YorkCard holders)

More info

Welcome to the Sixties! Try to explain what on earth was going on in the 1960s to children aged two to five years old through songs, stories, games and craft activities.

Mosaic Madness

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens

Mar 25 to Apr 10, 11am-4pm

Normal admission (free to YorkCard holders)

More info

Help artist Kirstie Briggs Bateman create a modern version of the Four Seasons mosaic as part of a drop-in activity that’ll lead to a new community artwork for the museum.

Children and Adult Easter sewing school

Cakes d’Licious, 61 Clifton, York

Thu Mar 31 @ 9.30am-11.30am & 1.30pm-3.30pm

£27.50 per pair

More details

Bugweed’s sewing school and Cakes d’Licious have joined forces for an Easter activity day for children and adults. Come along to a sewing machine session with your child and each make an Easter bunny.

Chocolate!

York Chocolate Festival

York will be choc-a-block with smiley, hoppy people this Easter
York will be choc-a-block with smiley, hoppy people this Easter

Parliament Street

Mar 25-28

Free

More info

York is the home of chocolate (Kitkat anyone? Or maybe a segment – just one! – of Chocolate Orange?) so it’s only right that the city goes confectionery crazy for Easter.

Head to York Chocolate Festival and you’ll find a chocolate market, chocolate workshops, events and demonstrations by local chefs and chocolatiers.

Chocolate!

York Cocoa House, Davygate

Mar 25-28

From £28

Tickets

Learn how to temper and mould chocolate before painting your creation and taking it home (as if you’re not going to eat it as soon as you hit the street).

In a special new addition, the Cocoa House is hosting its first Good Friday Supper (Mar 25, 7pm, £25.50), which begins with sharing plates and dark chocolate sourdough then moves on to a traditional fish dish and concludes with a golden egg (which may or may not contain chocolate).

Terry’s Chocfest

Goddards House and Garden, Tadcaster Road, York

Mar 26-Apr 10 @ 10.30am-5pm

Goddards admission: £5.40 adults, £2.70 children, £13.50 family. National Trust members free

More details

Have a go at doing the Chocolate Orange trail or find out more about the Terry chocolate business in the 10-minute bite sized talks. Make chocolate boxes and enjoy a stroll in the garden overlooking the chocolate factory.

Easter Trail

York Castle Museum, Eye of York

Mar 25 to Apr 10, 9.30am-5.30pm

Normal charges + 50p per trail

More info

Follow the tricky Easter Trail around the museum and enter your name in a prize draw competition with a special chocolate egg for the winner.

Further afield

Fun Fair

Molly looks forward to frame and fortune as Castle Howard's Easter bunny girl. Photo by Anthony Chappel Ross
Molly looks forward to frame and fortune as Castle Howard’s Easter bunny girl. Photo by Anthony Chappel Ross

Castle Howard

Mar 26-28, from 10am

From £9

More info

Roll up, roll up for all the fun of the fair with traditional rides, games, chair-o-planes, swing boats, a helter-skelter (ooh, we love a helter-skelter) and big wheel.

There are also giant decorated Easter eggs hidden around the grounds and mischief with Molly the Rabbit.

Happy birthday Beningbrough!

Beningbrough Hall, Beningbrough

Daily @ 10.30am-5pm

Beningbrough admission: £10.80 adults, £5.40 children, £27 family. National Trust members free

More details

With a diverse history of prosperity, loss and reinvention, ranging from the dreams of a wealthy teenager, to tenants paying just £1 a week, this exhibition is a great chance to find out what made Beningbrough what it is today. Uncover the stories through special displays and portraits around the garden and hall.

Easter Adventures

Stockeld Park

Mar 23 to Apr 17, 10am-6pm

£13

More info

From roller-skating to go-karts, climbing ropes to getting lost (in a maze), there’s tonnes of Easter fun to be had at Stockeld Park, near Wetherby.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a giant egg hunt, Easter Bunny Show and a petting farm.

Easter Trail

Burton Agnes Hall

Mar 27 to Apr 10, 11am-5pm

From £7

More info

Children are invited to take part in an Easter trail around the magnificent grounds of the hall, solving clues while exploring the extensive gardens. Once the conundrum has been solved, every child will receive an Easter treat.

Spring at Harewood

Harewood House & Garden

Mar 25 to Apr 17, 10am-5pm

£16.50

More info

Meet the latest additions to the Harewood animal family – rabbits, baby guinea pigs, pygmy goats and more – alongside old favourites like penguins and flamingos.