Free family museums and attractions in Yorkshire include some of England’s great national museums for railways, coal mining, armouries and film. Interactive hands on fun is guaranteed – kids can head underground on a tour of a mine, get behind the camera, play classic 1980s computer games and climb aboard some of the country’s most famous heritage steam engines. Yorkshire National Parks also contains some fantastic free entry visitor centres with a choice of gentle family cycling and walking trails mapped out and direct from centres.
Browse our selection of the best Yorkshire free museums and attractions below, all offering the ultimate free family fun day out. Missing off the list are many top museums and attractions with free entry for children and just a small charge for adults. These include Abbey House in Leeds and the Beck Isle Museum in Pickering with interactive recreated period rooms – these two family attractions are free to children under 5 and tops for younger tots.
Great family friendly farm parks like Cannon Hall Farm near Barnsley welcome under 3s free of charge and children go free at family friendly Yorkshire Dales Museums – the Dales Countryside Museum and the Nidderdale Museum. Under 18s go free at the Rotunda Geological Museum in Scarborough with lots of family events and opportunities for kids to handle real fossils. Don’t miss a tour of spooky Mother Shipton’s Cave in Knaresborough – under 4s go FREE!
National Coal Mining Museum for England Wakefield
One of Yorkshire’s best free family days out with wacky wild fun indoors, outdoors and underground. Love the ponies, grab your hard hat for the underground tour, head off on the nature trail and explore the interactive galleries all of which are pushchair friendly. Two play areas, both free entry, are onsite – an indoor sofa play area called ‘Little Diggers’ for the under 5s and outdoor play area with slides, swings and climbing frames.
National Railway Museum York
Kids just can’t get enough of the free entry National Railway Museum in York, and it’s not just the galleries including the Great Hall with huge heritage steam engines that are free entry. Family friendly events from railway themed storytelling to ticket trails and carriage entries are also free. Kids can create their own railway posters and there’s a railway themed picnic and play area in the South Yard. It’s a Yorkshire must visit for families! Open daily 10am to 6pm, all year round with all those essential family facilities onsite.
National Media Museum Bradford
Games, films, TV and all things digital – kids can’t resist the free entry National Media Museum in Bradford. Checkout The Games Lounge now open on level 5 giving children the opportunity to try their hands at some classic games (lots of opportunity for parents to relive childhood memories in here too!). Original Games Consoles from the likes of Commodore and Atari are here along with 1980s arcade games like Space Invaders and Galaxian! Other interactive galleries focus on TV, Animation and the history of the internet.
Streetlife Museum of Transport Hull
The five interactive galleries at the free entry Streetlife Museum in Hull explore various modes of transport and include a Streetscene gallery with period shops including a Co-op from the 1930s. See old bicycles, vintage cars and buses, old railway goods sheds and one of the best collections of heritage carriages in the UK.
Sutton Bank National Park Centre, North York Moors
Have you heard – entry is free to the new Sutton Bank Visitor centre near Thirsk in the North York Moors National Park and there’s a great package of activities and attractions here for families. Explore the new family friendly off road ‘green’ cycling trails and gentle walking trails direct from the centre. You can hire bikes from the brand new onsite bike centre and there’s a picnic area, tearoom, wcs, wildlife viewing area and bike wash onsite.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
A long-standing free entry family favourite, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is easily reached just off the M1 Junction 38 and this 500 acre open air parkland attraction is the ultimate ‘run free’ playground for children. They’ll love the musical sculpture which they can step across and there’s oodles of family walks and fascinating features from stepping stones and a shell grotto to a boat house and restored lakes and woodland. Baby changing facilities, highchairs in the restaurant and café, picnic areas and pocket money souvenirs in the YSP shop are all here. (Parking charges apply)
Royal Armouries Leeds
Admission is free to the six galleries of the Royal Armouries in Leeds which include a Tournament Gallery and the great Hall of Steel display. For younger children a special play area – Jester’s Yard – is onsite for mini Princesses and Knights who can explore a castle and make their own crowns, shields and swords to take home. There’s also a soft play area – a small additional charge, just £2.50, applies for entry to Jester’s Yard.
Michelle is an experienced travel writer with iknow and has travelled extensively across the UK, Spain, Portugal and the USA. When she’s not busy writing for iknow she enjoys spending time touring museums and art galleries and seeking out the best independent shops in Manchester and Leeds.