York has plenty of museums but the one that drew my attention was York Castle Museum. If you’re driving into York it’s next to a good size car park otherwise there’s a main bus stop nearby as well as it being on there city tour bus circuit.
We headed to York Castle Museum after an early morning start at York Minster and York’s Chocolate Story. N is never that keen on a museum but he really enjoyed this one as the so much to see. It’s not just about York but more about the life and times of people who lived there and across the UK. They also have temporary exhibitions – while we were there they were showing Vivienne Westwood shoes as part of the Shaping the Body exhibition, and there are also prison building displays and a 1914 exhibition.
It’s reasonably priced for entry (children are free) and you can stay as long as you want plus there’s two different areas you can either head left or right depending on which you want to see. We headed left which meant we got to experience the displays through Kirkgate Victorian town and the toys.
It was really interesting to look at the different rooms of people who lived in York, from a wealthy lady to someone who worked on the land and lived with everything in one room. There’s a variety of rooms set up to look at and you can also look down on to Kirkgate, which is the Victorian Street set up so you can walk through an experience what it was like in the olden days.
N enjoyed the toy exhibition the best. In that area of the museum there is every toy imaginable from electronics through the ages to bath toys from games to superheroes. It was great to spot the toys that I used to have and point out to N old versions of games and toys that are still around today. Dragging him around from the basic Atari games console was difficult even though he was struggling to actually make it play what it was meant to. And there’s something for all ages in the area and it’s fun to reminisce.
As you go into the Shaping the Body exhibition there were also interesting displays of how women took part in work through the years and how exercise and bodies have changed.
N wasn’t keen on the Vivienne Westwood display and all of the clothes displays. Luckily I did manage to see some of the items and getting him to find the wackiest pair of shoes was a good challenge to set. But it was a little bit worrying that he seemed to be pointing out the more normal pairs.
The clothing displays ranged from the Jane Austen era right through to the modern day.
Kirkgate was the last area for our visit. it’s an immersive experience where you’re able to walk the streets of Victorian York amongst shops and other buildings that would have been part of that street in the era. You could go into the shops with some having shopkeepers in, like the sweet shop. There was also a police cell, a Victorian school room and other such activities to experience if you wished. I remember the last time I tried to take N to a place with mannequins and set up as a street at Babbacombe, but he dragged me straight back out again. Thankfully now he’s old enough to just walk through and show interest rather than being scared of the few models there were.
N was done for the day by the time we finished that side of the museum and wasn’t keen to move through to the other side. There were lots of other exhibitions we could have seen so something for everyone.
We spent an interesting couple of hours at York Castle Museum and having only got around half of the museum, it shows how much there is to see. We didn’t eat in the cafe as the choice of sandwiches was fairly limited and it was getting a bit busy but there’s a few places to sit outside and eat as well as indoors. There’s a lovely small tea room just round the corner from the museum, the Castle Tea Rooms where we ate lunch.
Have you been to the York Castle Museum?