Educational and fun things to do in Yorkshire with your children - from Jorvik DIG to the National Videogame Museum

Who says education and learning can’t be fun? Whether it’s a historical tour around James Herriot’s birthplace or learning how video games are made, there are plenty of activities to get your creative juices flowing.

You can learn how video games are made at the National Videogame Museum. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)

Education and fun can go hand in hand and Yorkshire is brimming with activities your children will enjoy.

We’ve pulled together a list of places in Yorkshire to visit that are informative as well as entertaining.

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National Centre for Birds of Prey, Helmsley, York

The Centre is situated in the heart of the ancient woodlands of Duncombe Park which first housed falcons in 1863 and were introduced by the Hon. Cecil Duncombe, the first Earl of Feversham’s younger brother.

Here you can observe the fascinating bird flying overhead against the stunning backdrop of the park.

The National Centre for Birds of Prey presents three demonstrations in the summer, two in the winter, every day of the week and you will be introduced to a variety of bird species.

It couldn’t be more perfect for a day out with the family, whether you want to learn more about birds or simply have a stroll around the park.

The National Centre for Birds of Prey is open from Monday to Friday between 10am to 5:30pm and is located at Duncombe Park, Helmsley, York YO62 5EB.

DIG, York

Jorvik DIG is a hands-on archaeological experience where your children can train to become diggers of ancient artefacts from York’s 2,000 year history.

There are four indoor excavation pits based on real-life digs and the venue is populated with replica Roman, Viking, medieval and Victorian treasure. Children can use a trowel to discover how they lived in those days.

A qualified archaeologist will also give a talk about the work they do.

DIG is a great adventure for ages five to 12 who will educate themselves about the history of York and the incredible work of archaeologists.

The Jorvik DIG is open from Monday to Thursday 1pm to 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. It is located at St Saviour Church, St Saviourgate, York YO1 8NN.

The National Videogame Museum, Sheffield

At this venue you can learn all about how videogames are made, who makes them and why they are made in a fun, interactive way.

Not only do you learn about them, but you can play them and try making them yourselves. There are workshops to learn how they are made and you can discover your potential future career in the industry.

The National Videogame Museum is open every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (1pm to 4pm), Saturday and Sunday (varying times). It is located at Castle House, Angel St, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield S3 8LN.

World of James Herriot, Thirsk

Here you can have an interactive tour of where James Herriot was born.

Have a wander around the famous vet’s 1940s house at 23 Kirkgate, Thirsk, which has been fully-restored along with his veterinary practice, known as Skeldale House in his books.

James famously wrote the book All Creatures Great and Small which has been adapted into the 2020 Yorkshire TV show with the same name, starring Rachel Shenton and Nicholas Ralph.

As well as learning all about James Herriot, you can also get a close-up look behind the scenes of a replicated set from the 1978 BBC series of All Creatures Great and Small, which starred Christopher Timothy as James Herriot, Robert Hardy as Siegfried Farnon and Peter Davison as Tristan Farnon.

There is even an interactive gallery where the objects can be touched by visitors. It’s designed to engage children, whether they are young or old. The purpose of the gallery is to educate about farm animals and how they integrate with us.

The World of James Herriot is open from Monday to Sunday 9:30am to 4:30pm. It is located at 23 Kirkgate, Thirsk YO7 1PL.

Thackray Museum of Medicine, Leeds

Learn all about the world of medicine and healthcare by visiting this museum and indulge in imaginative and exciting galleries.

You will be educated on the history of healthcare and the medical advances that have shaped the way we take care of ourselves.

Take a tour of the streets of Victorian Leeds and if you have the stomach for it, you can observe gruesome operations in their 19th century operating theatre.

Thackray Museum of Medicine is open from Monday to Sunday 10am to 5pm and is located at 141 Beckett St, Harehills, Leeds LS9 7LN.

Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Halifax

Unlike most other museums, this interactive experience lets children explore the inner workings of all things science.

With six unique zones, the museum is filled with more than one hundred action-packed exhibits to inspire intuitive and curious minds.

The centre is perfect for children aged up to 11 years old and is run as an educational charity and not-for-profit.

Eureka! The National Children’s Museum is open from Tuesday to Friday (from 10am to 4pm) and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. It is located on Discovery Rd, Halifax HX1 2NE.

Magna Science Adventure Centre, Rotherham

Magna provides four pavilions - Air, Earth, Fire and Water; the basis to which the centre focuses on.

Visitors of all ages can enjoy a hands-on experience discovering the world and wonder of science and technology with more than 100 exhibits.

Learn all about the region’s steelmaking heritage at Our Big Melt Show and Face of Steel events.

Magna Science Adventure Centre is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm. It is located on Magna Way, Templeborough, Rotherham S60 1FD.

Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, Middlesbrough

The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum opened on October 28, 1978 - his 250th birthday - and is situated in a purpose-built building close to where Captain Cook was born.

The museum offers an insight into the life of one of the world’s greatest navigators and mariners through theme display galleries, exhibitions, activities and events.

Captain Cook Birthplace Museum is open on Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm and is located at Stewart Park, Marton-in-Cleveland, Middlesbrough TS7 8AT.

Junior Kitchen, Leeds

This venue provides cooking and baking demonstrations for children and adults to teach them how to create delicious recipes.

Could your child be the next Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver? Through Junior Kitchen, children will get the chance to put their cooking and baking skills to the test and inject some fun in the pastime.

Junior Kitchen is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 6pm and is located at 1d Albion St, Morley, Leeds LS27 8DT.

Yorkshire Museum, York

Delve into thousands of years of York’s history under one roof, whether that’s prehistory or the city’s medieval period.

You can walk on a genuine Roman mosaic floor, kneel at St William’s shrine and see incredible sea creatures that swam when Yorkshire was under the sea.

There is plenty to do at the museum and spectacular galleries to explore.

Yorkshire Museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm and is located at Museum Gardens, Museum Street, York YO1 7FR.