Yorkshire Museum Review

Yorkshire Museum

The City of York is a tourist hotspot for both those who live in the UK and also those visiting the country. A lot of the interest in the city is due to its rich Roman and Viking heritage, not to mention the fact that it is known as the original ‘Capital of the North’ with its spectacular cathedral!

All of this heritage can be experienced and explored by paying a visit to the Yorkshire Museum. But how good is the Yorkshire Museum, is it family friendly and should you take the time to visit it? This is what we’ll be discussing in this Yorkshire Museum review.

Choosing Which Museum to Visit in York

We recently visited the Yorkshire Museum with the kids during a budget trip to York in the school half-term holidays. My wife had spent a lot of time in the City of York during her childhood and has strong memories of her time spent meandering around the streets and shops in the city centre – which are apparently also known as ‘the shambles’ – and enjoying picnics in the gardens of the Yorkshire Museum.

The Yorkshire Museum is one of several museums in the city and when researching, it might seem as though it is the least family friendly of the bunch. I say this because at the nearby York Castle Museum there is an old style Victorian village on display, which I’ve been told is similar to the one you would find at the well-known tourist attraction Beamish. Then there’s also the Jorvik Viking Centre and the National Railway Museum to enjoy – which we talk more about in another post – and these could prove to be great family days out too.

When we asked our boys which museum they would prefer to go to, however, they decided that they wanted to go to the Yorkshire Museum, which was handy as we had parked the car just around the corner from it and it was also the cheapest of the lot to get into – except for the National Railway Museum which is free.

What You’ll Find in the Yorkshire Museum

From the outside, I’d say that the Yorkshire Museum looks fairly small, but don’t let this fool you. Inside the museum is bigger than expected and is separated into many different areas, each of which is jampacked full of interesting artefacts from various periods in the city’s history. A list of the areas ripe for exploration are:

  • AFTER THE ICE: YORKSHIRE’S PREHISTORIC PEOPLE
  • BEYOND JORVIK: THE VALE OF YORK HOARD AND THE VIKING WORLD
  • CAPITAL OF THE NORTH
  • EXTINCT: A WAY OF LIFE
  • ROMAN YORK – MEET THE PEOPLE OF THE EMPIRE
  • And many others!

To be honest, I don’t want to focus too much on what artefacts you will find in this treasure trove of a museum, as I really wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise and I think that a quick visit to the Yorkshire Museum’s own website will give you a much better idea.

I do want to give a quick mention to the gardens at the museum, though, as they are very peaceful, overlook the river and are great for a picnic. Grey squirrels also run free around the grounds and they are surprisingly unafraid of the human presence. There is also an observatory located in the gardens where you can explore the skies if you come at the right time of year, so it may be worth ringing up before your trip to see how you can plan to enjoy this feature and what time of year or day you will be best off visiting.

Is the Yorkshire Museum Worth the Money?

So, perhaps the most important question we should ask is whether the Yorkshire Museum is worth the money you pay to get in and whether you and your family will enjoy the experience? My personal opinion after visiting the Museum is that if you get the chance to visit the place, then I most certainly would. Our kids loved it. We have two boys aged 6 and 7 and they really enjoyed seeing all the fossils, Roman/Viking artefacts and learning about the history of York. There are also little free quiz sheets and pencils available for some of the areas of the museum, which will keep the kids entertained as they look out for answers to the questions on their way around the museum. At the end of the tour there is also nice little gift shop where you can pick up some reasonably priced gifts and basic refreshments.

How Much Does it Cost to Get In?

At the time of writing the cost of entry is just £7.50 per adult and up to 4 children are able to get in for free with any full paying adult – yes, I said 4 free children! Children under 5 get in for free. It’s also possible to buy a card called a YMT card that will give you 12 months unlimited access to York Castle Museum, York Art Gallery and the Yorkshire Museum for between £10 and £22, depending on whether you pay by direct debit and whether you are in receipt of certain benefits. York residents can get a discounted YMT card or a free access YMT card. To find out more about the benefits of a YMT card and to check current prices, take a few moments to read this page on the Yorkshire Museum website.

Parking – We parked in the Marygate Car Park in York and it is literally just around the corner from the museum. One thing I would say is that parking was expensive. We parked for 3 hours and it cost us £6.30! The lady in front of me at the Pay and Display terminal shrieked in horror when she had to pay £10.50 because she’d been there for over 4 hours!

Image: Paul Tomlin under CC BY 2.0

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