The best parks in York

Welcome to the historic city of York, where ancient architecture meets natural beauty. While its cobbled streets and medieval landmarks draw crowds from all over, the city also boasts an array of stunning parks that offer a peaceful respite amidst the urban bustle. Explore some of the best parks in York with us, taking in each’s unique charm and allure.

York Museum Gardens 

One of the more enchanting parks in York, the Museum Gardens, stands as one of the city’s most beloved attractions. 

The centrepiece of the park are the awe-inspiring ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, a once-grand Benedictine monastery that was founded in the 11th century. Adjacent to the abbey, you'll discover the Yorkshire Museum, a treasure trove of archaeological wonders and artefacts that provide a fascinating insight into the region's past.

Beyond their historical significance, the Museum Gardens are a haven of natural beauty. Their well-tended flowerbeds burst with an array of vibrant colors throughout the seasons, creating a picturesque backdrop for leisurely strolls and moments of quiet reflection.

However, the Museum Gardens are more than just a place of beauty and history; they’re a lively hub for recreational activities and some of the more popular cultural events in York – including an array of festivals, concerts, and open-air performances.

Northwood Trail 

Looking for interesting things to do in York for adults and kids? We highly recommend the Northwood trail. This magical forest pathway meanders through ancient trees, moss-covered grounds, and dappled sunlight. Known as "England's Fairy Sanctuary," this unique trail brings fairy tales to life.

The true magic of Northwood Trail lies in the delightful fairy dwellings nestled throughout the woods. These tiny, intricately crafted fairy houses are adorned with miniature furniture, whimsical decorations, and tiny treasures.

We invite you to marvel at this seamless blend of art and nature. 

Dean's Park 

Dean's Park boasts a privileged position, located between the majestic York Minster and the York Minster Library. This proximity to one of the world's most breath-taking Gothic cathedrals offers visitors unparalleled views of its soaring spires and awe-inspiring architectural details. 

The park's well-manicured lawns, stunning flowerbeds, and ancient trees create something of a harmonious symphony. 

At Dean’s Park, time seems to slow somehow, it’s relaxed ambiance making it one of the best picnic spots in Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Lavender 

Step into a Lavender Wonderland at Yorkshire Lavender! Set on a hillside, this delightful attraction near York features a variety of lavender flowers, from deep purple to lilac & white blooms. 

For a sensory treat, venture into the Sensory Garden, a feast for the senses with scents, textures, sounds, and flavours to delight. Nature enthusiasts will adore the Wildflower Meadow and the Bog Garden and Stream, home to a diverse array of wildlife. Discover over 40 varieties of mint with the park’s Mint Collection, or visit the Loggery and Bug Hotel; home to various insects. 

Yorkshire Lavender promises an unforgettable experience for all who step into its aromatic embrace.

Rowntree Park 

As one of the more eclectic parks in York, Rowntree Park truly has something for everyone. From modern playgrounds that echo with laughter and excitement to its boating lake (where rowing boats and pedalos await) and its spacious open areas, perfect for picnics and games, it is the perfect family park. 

Wandering along the park’s winding pathways and cross quaint footbridges as the River Ouse flows beside you can make for the most relaxing respite from the bustling city. 

For a moment of refreshment, the park's café offers aromatic coffee and delicious treats. Enjoy your favourite beverage while relishing the scenery and savouring the simple pleasures of nature.

Skelf Island Children's Playground

The captivating woodland surrounding Castle Howard - an iconic landmark of the city – is a haven for little explorers. Let your kids' imaginations run wild as they embark on thrilling journeys amidst nature's embrace in one of the more inspiring playgrounds in York.

With a selection of indoor hands-on activities, tailored to tweens, offered within Castle Howard’s elegant walls itself, it’s the ideal place to take the kids during the school holidays.

However, keep in mind that pre-booking is required for certain activities, so make sure you book where necessary to ensure you and your family get the most out of this remarkable estate.

Homestead Park 

Homestead Park stands as a precious gift from the Rowntree family to the city of York, a legacy that continues to delight residents even a century after its opening. Settled in the charming Clifton area of York, this fourteen-acre haven offers an idyllic escape for families, promising a delightful day out for the whole family.

Stroll through the formal gardens of Homestead Park, immersing yourself in the beauty of the wildflower meadow and taking in the tranquillity of the serene pond and rock garden.

The park’s wide-open spaces are perfect for outdoor play, with many visitors popping by to kick a ball about during the warmer months. 

The summer months also usually see a pop-up café being set up, providing visitors with tasty refreshments and the opportunity to unwind in a relaxed setting.

The park also offers several restrooms a definite plus!), and you'll find picnic benches scattered throughout.

Askham Bog Nature Reserve 

One of the finest country parks near York, Askham Bog Nature Reserve is something of a hidden treasure that sits on the outskirts of the city. 

This enchanting sanctuary, lovingly protected by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, offers a slice of untamed beauty. 

Its ancient woodlands embrace visitors with their gnarled trees and lush foliage, creating an immersive experience in the heart of nature's wilderness. 

The park is a truly biodiverse paradise, being home to a number of elusive creatures, such as the Willow Tit or the Tawny Oil, and its marshy ponds attract a wide selection of waterfowl, including ducks, herons and kingfishers.      

Other woodland creatures that roam the park include foxes, rabbits and even roe deer.              

The Web Adventure Park 

With giant slides, a massive climbing area, a baby sensory zone, a toddler zone, a sports arena, ball cannons, a role-play village, and a challenging ninja course – this is the dream park in York for any kids with a sense of adventure.

The Web Adventure Park also provides young, budding architects with a “den building area” and is home to many a furry friend, with its petting zoo being one the family park’s most notable attractions.

Askham Bryan Wildlife & Conservation Park

The perfect park near York to explore. With several themed trail sheets that offer fascinating facts about the park’s various animal residents, the Askham Bryan Wildlife and Conservation Centre offers visitors a truly immersive way to learn about some of nature’s most beautiful creatures. 

Visitors can also engage with the students and staff that passionately care for these creatures and gain unique insights into each animal’s behaviours and habitats.

Visitors can also book a personal encounter with one of the centre’s lemurs or tortoises, allowing budding conservationists to foster a deeper connection with the animal kingdom. 

The park also offers what it calls the ‘Little Keeper Experience’ – a lucky child can take on the role of a keeper and experience what it’s like to take care of one of these precious creatures.

Nestled in a historic arboretum, the park’s beautiful woodlands offer a serene and scenic aesthetic, and its small play park, nestled amidst the trees, provides the perfect space for the young adventurer to explore.

If you're considering a move to York, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today to find out about some of our brilliant new developments in the area.