England’s largest county is an incredible travel destination for adults and children alike, with scenery that is as diverse as it is enchanting and an excess of things to do ranging from exhilarating outdoor adventures to unique world-class museums. History underpins many of the best activities in Yorkshire, and children of all ages will love learning about the UK’s cultural heritage in environments that are more exciting and engaging than the classroom. Bring history to life for your children with visits to the top five family-friendly heritage attractions in Yorkshire.
Whitby Abbey is one of the most iconic tourist sites in Yorkshire due to its spectacular gothic architecture and the equally gothic links to vampires thanks to acclaimed author Bram Stoker. Used as Dracula’s home in this chilling Victorian novel, it is not hard to see why Stoker was inspired – the looming vaulted ruins set against the dark northern sea are the perfect spooky setting! Despite its coastal location, it is easy to access Whitby by train from central Yorkshire locations which makes it a great option for a day trip. Children will love exploring the ruined abbey on a guided tour before enjoying ice cream on the beach.
From spooky outdoor relics to electrifying underground passageways, Whitby Abbey is not the only family-friendly heritage attraction that will make the hairs stand up on your arms! Older children will love exploring York Dungeon which recounts 2,000 years of local history via a combination of specially designed sets, special effects, and theatrical actors performing gripping tales. Iconic historic figures such as Guy Fawkes feature, so again this is important education made fun.
National Railway Museum
Also located in York, which in itself provides a great family-friendly day out due to its medieval architecture, Viking heritage, and modern-day shops and restaurants, is the National Railway Museum. Delight little ones who love nothing better than planes, trains, and automobiles with a day spent exploring the history of the railway. With engaging exhibitions, interactive sections, and even a miniature railway ride that is free for under-2s, there is enough here to entertain the children for hours – and you might find yourself lost in the world of locomotives as well!
In need of some time in the great outdoors? Look no further than Fountains Abbey, one of the best-preserved examples of medieval monastic architecture in the UK. In addition to learning about the life of monks in this part of Yorkshire before the dissolution of the monasteries, this family-friendly heritage attraction offers the chance for walks, nature trails, and arts and crafts workshops in the beautiful countryside near Ripon. There is also a café serving a range of child-friendly lunch options and snacks, and a great picnic area complete with tables, chairs, and a fully-equipped play area.
We love Yorkshire and have been a few times as a family. Have you ever been? What heritage attractions would you recommend?