Rowntree's Park in York

As it is national ‘take a walk in the park’ day, we thought we would take you for a walk through the park’s in and around the beautiful city of York. York is lucky to be quite a green city with many places that people can go take a stroll, fold out a picnic, or run and play with their children on a warm and sunny day. Some of the places we will take you to are parks and some simply nice green places to venture to should you get the chance!

Starting more in the centre of the city we have two great parks that are great for children, first there is Rowntree’s park which is based close to the river, and then heading out towards the city ring road is Homestead park.

Rowntree’s Park

Rowntree’s park is accessed by heading over the bridge near St George’s car park and taking a left onto Clementhorpe Road, and then down Postern close. There is a small pay and display car park available, and generally an ice cream truck that parks here too! At Rowntree’s park you will find a large children’s play area, a lake, a cafe, bike/skating ramps, a bowling green, tennis courts, basketball court, table tennis, toilets, large grassed areas, and beautiful gardens. The park also holds an entertainment licence and there are regularly events held in the entertainment space there. To find out more about the park and any planned events, head to the Friends of Rowntree Park page.

Homestead Park

Homestead park is based just a short drive out of the centre of York. To find the park you need to exit York up Bootham Road, heading out towards the ring road. The entrance to the park is on Shipton Road about 1/4 of a mile just after the traffic lights. It is a little bit hidden so keep your eyes peeled. Homestead Park is set in 14 acres of beautiful grounds and includes a large play area for children, toilets, lots of green space to use, beautiful gardens, a pond and rock garden, a wildflower meadow, woodland areas, a pop up cafe, and seating/picnic areas. With so much space the park is somewhere anyone can spend endless hours on a warm and sunny day. To find out more about the park including directions head to their website.

Museum Gardens

Also based in the city centre is the Museum gardens and although it doesn’t have a play park there is still plenty to do to fill a few hours on a sunny day! Based in the very centre just near Lendal Bridge the gardens are easily accessed on foot from Museum street or Marygate. If you are driving, there is a car park just off Marygate which is only a two minute walk from the Marygate entrance to the gardens. In the park you will find beautiful gardens, plenty of green space to lay out a picnic or let the children play tig, there is also the medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, the Yorkshire Museum (you have to pay for entry), and they generally have an ice cream or food kiosk of some sorts during the more seasonal months too. The gardens are also host to many events such as concert’s, play’s, and the York Proms. You can easily access the river near the gardens where you will find the ever popular ice cream boat, and can watch the variety of boats passing by. Please note there are no toilets at the museum gardens the nearest available ones are at Bootham bar or within the city centre.

Breezy Knees Gardens

Breezy Knees Gardens are based just a short drive out of the centre of York. You need to head out on the Hull Road to the Grimston Bar roundabout and than take the exit heading to Stamford Bridge, as you head up this road you will see signs for the gardens on your left, just follow the signs down the country lanes and you will eventually spot the long driveway that heads up to the gardens. At Breezy Knees there are over 20 acres of natural beauty, the gardens are filled with so many varieties of flowers (over 7000) that it makes this place one of the most colourful places I have ever been. At the gardens you can walk for ages exploring the many different plants and other features they have built for visitors such as the fountains and the giants wellies, or you could sit in the grassed areas and enjoy the tranquillity, visit the large pond and themed gardens, or you can visit the lovely cafe for some scrummy food and variety of beverages. It may not have a children’s play area but there is still so much to see and do that if you take children with you they will still run and play for hours, oh and did I mention there is cake and ice cream available too!

Breezy Knees Cafe in York


One of the lesser known gardens in York is Goddards. This little gem is hidden away on the outskirts of York, next to the racecourse and is the former home of the Terry family. The beautifully designed building is the regional office for the National Trust, but you can visit the gardens of the former home on selected days. There are five acres of garden rooms that offer a variety beyond their size. The gardens include herbaceous borders, formal lawns, fragrant beds, a small orchard and a kitchen garden area, historic glasshouse and a wildlife pond. There are also takeaway refreshments available from the terrace which you can sit and enjoy whilst you watch the wildlife at work.

Askham Bryan Wildlife & Conservation Park

Based not far off the a64 near York the Askham Bryan Wildlife & conservation park is a great place to visit for all ages! The park is a small zoological collection based at Askham Bryan College, it is home to over 100 species of mammal, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates (many of which are threatened), and it is also home to a collection of rare and exotic trees from around the world too. At the park you can wander the grounds viewing the trees and animals, watch them in their habitats, read up facts on each of them, and take part in animal experience days should you want to go more in depth. There is also a play park to visit, a cafe you can head to when your hungry, or enjoy your own picnic in the picnic area, and then you can tie your day off by visiting the lovely little gift shop at the end.

Murton park

Murton Park is a must-experience, one-stop living Museum for those who love to create memories that can span the eons of time. The park is perfect for all generations and is designed especially to engage the young. Murton park is not only a remarkable open-air museum experience like no other, it is much more and plays home, and host, to some of the best known and most accomplished historical re-enactment Societies in the North of England. Look out for the special events held throughout the year (see What’s On section of their website) when groups like the cowboy Trail Blazers Western Re-enactment society, Jorvikingi Viking Re-enactment society or Jorfor’s Hall Early Medieval Re-enactment and Living History Group, take up residence at Murton Park. At the park you will find a children’s play area, animals to explore, a Viking village, a steam railway, a museum, and a cafe that does some great food and drinks!

Northwood Trail

Northwood trail is based just 20 minutes from York and is nestled within 100 acres of magical woodland, so when you visit this delightful fairy wood it feels like you are stepping into another world! At Northwood trail there is so much to discover, starting with their wonderful cafe which gives off magical and cosy vibes and provides alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and tasty foods, than there is the trail around the woods where you will find mazes, dragon eggs, fairy houses, and much more, there is also a playground with a difference…. think more den building, mud kitchens, and natural forms of play, and to top it off you can get up close to some real fairy magic in the fairy museum which hides a secret for all to discover! This is a firm favourite with our children and one we go back to yearly!

Northwood Trail at York

This just a selection of the outdoor spaces available to explore in and around York, there are just so many places to to discover in and around the city that I couldn’t fit them all on one blog, however if you do want to find out about more things to do in York please head to the Visit York website where you can find out about York attractions, events, accommodation, and much more! And of course if you are planning a visit to York and need accommodation please head to our home page to check out our riverside apartments, or head to York Vacations to see our other available properties in the area.

I hope you enjoyed the chance to take a walk through York’s parks, and found this blog informative, if you have any questions or comments on what I have written please pop me a comment below, or if you have other places you can recommend please do let us know.