York Castle Museum 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 with extra special offerings at Christmas time. Please click on the links below for further information.
And don’t forget, kids go FREE! (Up to four children free per one paying adult. Additional children aged 5-16 will be charged at £4.50 per child. Under 5s are free.)
The YMT Card gives unlimited free entry to the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens, York Castle Museum and York Art Gallery. With just one visit to each site you can save up to £5, and the more you visit the more you save. Our ‘kids go free’ offer applies to cards, too, so they’re great value for families.
Facilities for Families
- Pushchairs are not allowed on the galleries. However, baby carriers are provided free of charge with an area to store pushchairs (please see below for details)
- Indoor and outdoor spaces, most are wheelchair accessible (please find details here)
- Pre-visit guides for autistic children and their carers provided online here and during your visit
- Openings for autistic children and their carers with adjusted audio and visual levels, trained staff, and printed guidance (also suitable for blind and partially-sighted visitors, details here)
- Activity areas to encourage playful and sensory learning, open daily
- Volunteers offering ‘Hands on Here!’ opportunities to get closer to our objects
- Online events listings so you can plan ahead
- Baby changing facilities in both the accessible toilets
- Family-friendly cafe with highchairs available (please see below)
- A sensory basket available to borrow particularly suitable for visitors with visual impairments or autism (please ask a member of staff for assistance during your visit)
- Free under 5s museum trail available (please ask a member of staff)
Our Family-Friendly Cafe
Cafe 68 at the Castle Museum welcomes families and caters for children. It is open daily until 4.30pm.
- Ground floor access with movable chairs and tables
- Baby changing facilities in the ground floor toilet
- Free highchairs
- Daily kids boxes with healthy options
- Catering for special diets
- Outside seating during warmer weather
Please note that pushchairs cannot be taken into galleries. A ‘buggy park’ and a choice of baby carriers are available free of charge. We ask that pushchairs are folded in order to allow more space for other visitors’ pushchairs. Bags and coats should not be left with pushchairs. Click here to download a guide to physical access at the museum.
Please click here to download a pre-visit guide to help before and during your visit.
A more detailed guide can be downloaded by clicking here.
These guides are designed for visitors with sensory difficulties but may also be helpful for those visiting with young children.
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 click here for more information.
- Find free educational downloadable resources designed for school groups (though anyone is welcome to use them to enhance their visit).
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.
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.
In 2015, young people were invited to work with experts from Biomation to write, create, film and direct a stop frame animation about Antarctic Explorer Ernest Shackleton’s explorations with inspiration from some of the objects in the York Castle Museum. The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Find out more.
- York Museums Trust Want To Hear From You About the Future of York Castle Museum
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- York Museums Trust’s Open Weekend
- New Days for the York’s Sweet Past: A taste of success - the Inspirational Mary Ann Craven
- York’s First Umbrella? New Display at York Castle Museum To Showcase Rare Finds
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