What’s on: find half-term fun for the family

Half-term holidays are here, so we’re looking at activities, events and facilities around the county that will help to keep your children entertained – and help you to watch the pennies.

With the weather forecast looking promising, there will be plenty of outdoor fun to consider, not least the coast’s fabulous beaches and the wide open spaces of the moors and dales, which are sure to leave your young ones happy – and suitably tired out – at the end of the day.

Our services and facilities offer plenty do to around the county. Find out more about leisure. Here are a few suggestions for activities to get you started.

A lady holding a trumpet

Matilda Lloyd at Northern Aldborough Festival - credit Benjamin Ealovega

Leisure centres

Leisure centres around the county will offer a wide array of activities during half-term, from special swimming sessions and pool parties to skateparks. Find out what’s on at a leisure centre near you.

Parks and play areas

If the weather is as good as it promises to be, the county’s parks, play areas and woodlands offer endless cheap entertainment and exercise.

From the crazy golf, pitch and putt, table tennis, disc golf and paddling pool at Harrogate’s Valley Gardens to the dragon boats and pitch and putt at Scarborough’s Peasholm Park, you’ll find plenty of fun as well as the sights and sounds of the natural world. Find parks, play areas and woodlands near you.


Don’t forget the wealth of holiday activities libraries offer to all ages, from toddlers to teenagers, as well as the grown-ups. From borrowing books to story times, craft and music events and much more, they are an ideal option if the weather doesn’t live up to expectations, but worth a visit at any time. Visit your local library to see what’s on or find more information here.

And so much more…

Across the county there is far more going on than we can cover on this page, but below are a few more family fun suggestions for the half-term break and beyond.

  • Our library service in Scarborough is busy putting the final touches to this year’s Books by the Beach festival, which launches on Friday, 9 June, at 7pm with popular BBC broadcaster and art historian James Fox. View the full programme and buy tickets.
  • Also on the coast, Yorkshire Fossil Festival takes place at Whitby on Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11. That weekend also sees Filey Food Festival.
  • The following week – Wednesday, 14 June – sees the start of the Scarborough Open Air Theatre season with the Abba musical, Mamma Mia! This is followed by performances by Blondie, Rag ‘n’ Bone man and Sting later in the month.
  • Travel back in time at Whitby Abbey and meet characters from the past at the Kids Rule events this half-term, with pirate-themed hands-on activities and fresh-air family fun
  • Scarborough Castle celebrates the Coronation over half-term with merry monarchs, hands-on activities and family fun. 
  • Big Ideas by the Sea is a new cultural festival that will bring to Scarborough some of the best speakers locally and from across the UK to talk about the big issues related to the environment, climate change and history. It’s on until mid-June.
  • When you visit the coast, make travel into Whitby and Scarborough easier with our park and ride services.
  • Mother Shipton’s Cave at Knaresborough offers a Treasure Island expedition during half-term. Follow clues to uncover hidden riches and make nautical discoveries while watching out for swashbuckling pirates. Fancy dress is thoroughly encouraged.
  • At Stockeld Park at Wetherby you can enjoy the bluebell trail in the Enchanted Forest; the Magical Maze; the Playhive, one of Europe’s largest indoor play centres; Buccaneer Boats; pedal go-karts, Woodsands Cove; Farmer Foster’s Barnyard and much more.
  • RHS Harlow Carr is inviting families to discover the joys of planting and harvesting vegetables with a week of fun family activities at the garden.
  • The Great Knaresborough Bed Race takes place on Saturday, 10 June, combining a gruelling contest with a spectacular fancy dress parade of decorated beds and runners. The bed race is held over a 2.4-mile course, with 90 teams of six runners and a passenger taking part. Find out about these and other events in the Harrogate area.
  • Skipton Town Hall hosts a half-term Art Club on Monday, 29 May.
  • Malton Food Lovers Festival takes place on Saturday, 27 May, and Sunday, 28 May.
  • Easingwold Summer of Music begins this week – on Saturday, 27 May – and continues until September with free performances most weekends in the marketplace.
  • Wensleydale Railway holds its Model Railway Weekend over the bank holiday weekend at Leeming Bar station.
  • Kiplin Hall launches its Wild Escape Sculpture Trail, which is new for 2023, on Thursday, 1 June.
  • Northallerton Homefront 40s Day is back to the High Street on Sunday, 4 June, from midday.  
  • Later in the month, the Homegrown Food Festival returns to Northallerton, on Sunday, 25 June, in the Applegarth, to celebrate local food, growing our own and making the most of what we have.
Knaresborough Bed Race - credit Charlotte Gale

Knaresborough Bed Race - credit Charlotte Gale

Armed Forces Day

The contribution of service men and women, reservists, veterans and their families across North Yorkshire will be celebrated during Armed Forces Day on Saturday, 24 June.

North Yorkshire has more than 12,000 people who work for the Ministry of Defence, making up 4 per cent of all jobs in the area, and 3,000 children from service families in schools, accounting for around five per cent of pupils in the county.

After Scarborough hosted the Armed Forces Day’s national celebrations last year, the town has a full programme of memorable events lined up. On 24 June, thousands of people can expect displays, spectacular parades, musical performance, interactive exhibits and much more.

The one-day free event will see the skies above Scarborough’s South Bay graced by the sights and sounds of a variety of aerobatic displays. These include The Titans Display Team, The Strikemasters, The Starlings Aerobatic Team and Miles Messenger.

There is also plenty to see and do on the ground, with marching bands, military parades, live demonstrations and interactive exhibits. Read more about Armed Forces Day.

North Yorkshire Open Studios

North Yorkshire Open Studios see 140 artists across the county invite people to visit their studios to see their work. Each artist has something unique to share, and it's a great opportunity for them to showcase their practices to the public.

Visitors will have the opportunity to view the latest artworks, get a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process and talk to the artists. They will also be able to buy pieces that catch their eye.

The event runs over the weekends of 3 and 4 June and 10 and 11 June from 10am to 5pm each day, with a preview evening on Friday, 2 June.

A pottery artist in their studio

North Yorkshire Open Studios

Northern Aldborough Festival

A major national singing competition debuts at this year’s Northern Aldborough Festival, which takes place from Thursday, June 15, to Saturday, 24 June. The New Voices Singing Competition begins a nationwide hunt for best classical vocal talent of 2023.

The festival is launching the hugely ambitious annual competition on a UK-wide scale, with a top prize of £5,000. The semi-final and final will be performed live to audiences at the end of the summer festival.

Now in its 29th year, the Northern Aldborough Festival has become a fixture on the classical music calendar. A charity, its core aim is to bring exceptional music to new audiences in rural locations where it would not normally be heard.

Audiences experience performances fit for the world’s biggest concert halls in the intimate settings of St Andrew’s Church. Highlights include the fast-rising trumpet star and winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year, Matilda Lloyd.

Find more information about Northern Aldborough Festival.

If you want to tell us about a major event you are organising for possible inclusion in Your North Yorkshire, email yny@northyorks.gov.uk