Our visit to Murton Park was a bit of a spontaneous last minute thing. We were meeting my Mum halfway for a day out and the weather forecast wasn’t great. I had a quick look around for somewhere with indoor and outdoor attractions. I was focusing on the outskirts of York and I came across the website for the Derwent Valley Railway which also mentioned the use of facilities at the Yorkshire Museum of farming. (It turned out to be the other way round – a visit to Murton Park entitles you to ride on the train when running).
This is somewhere we always drive by on the way to York but we’ve never even thought of visiting before. Honestly, it sounded a little bit boring. But with all the things they were listing on their website to see and do it actually sounded anything but boring.
We had a lovely day out there and we will be taking advantage of our ticket lasting for the next 12 months. You pay once and then you can return as much as you like over a year. Please note that they do shut for winter. We were there for longer than I first thought we would be. I will cover everything there is to see and do at Murton park in my review below. We also visited on one of their event days which was excellent. I will also cover this below.
This was day 29 of our #80dayschallenge to have at least 80 days out in one year.
Our visit to Murton Park – Yorkshire Museum of Farming
We arrived just before the park opened at 10 am during May half-term. It was surprisingly quiet throughout the day, even with an event on. Hopefully, this post will help more people to realise what a lovely attraction this is and that it is worth a visit.
The Museum at Yorkshire Museum of Farming
Just across from the entrance building there is the main farm building that houses the actual museum. It was raining so this is where we visited first. My son is a little tired of museums at the moment as we’ve been to so many recently. He found the bottom level of the building a bit boring and to be honest we did a little.
There’s a lot of old farm machinery. We loved the upstairs though. They had rooms set up to look authentic to the past and these were really good and well done. It is worth looking around. If you have little ones they have a small but cute soft play area. This is for children aged 5 and under.
Derwent Valley Light Railway
Included in your ticket for Murton Park you are also entitled to ride on the train at Derwent valley light railway as much as you wish in one day. Please note though that the railway only runs on Sundays and most bank holiday Mondays from Spring until Summer.
If you do visit on a day they aren’t running do have a wander over there anyway to look at the train and the station. They have set the station out really well and there’s even a freaky toy cat that is so real looking it even has a heartbeat!
It’s a really short track and you are only on the train for about 10 minutes. Which is around 2-3 minutes in one direction. Then the engine changes track to move to the other end of the train and take it on a bumpy journey back to the station.
Animals at Murton Park
Luckily the bad weather didn’t last long and after our trip on the train, we headed over to see the animals. You can’t buy food here but my son did feed some of them some of their grass. Outside they have rabbits, hens, sheep and goats. There is the Livestock and four seasons gallery next to the outdoor animals. In the Livestock section, we found some pigs and more hens.
The building here then house the four seasons gallery which was really good. It’s another museum but with lots of interactive elements for kids. There’s a fabulous farm for them to play with, interactive exhibits and plenty of farm related toys.
They have a small but perfectly formed playground at Murton Park. Some of the equipment is relatively new looking. They have a large playhouse plus things to climb on, slide down and swing on. They have equipment suitable for children of all ages. There are also a few picnic benches in this area which is a great spot to eat your lunch. You can take the pedal cars where ever you fancy around the park so long as you bring them back to the Four seasons building. There is also a small sandpit when the weather is fine.
Cafe at Yorkshire Museum of Farming
By the main entrance, you will find one of two on-site toilet blocks. Near here you can purchase hot drinks, selected cold drinks and snacks. Just around the corner from here, you will find a relatively large cafe which pretty much looks like a farm building. They have a range of hot and cold food plus hot and cold drinks. The food was reasonable value for money.
They have a nature trail going around the outer edge of about half of the site. This is good to do while visiting the attractions along the route such as a couple of their historical areas and some of the animals. Along the trail, they have signs for kids to look out for animals and insects. They also have fun interactive elements such as musical ‘instruments’ and log jumping along the trail.
We were all really impressed with the Viking village. It was made even better during our visit as they had a living history group of volunteers in the village. But these were here for a special event and not normally part of the attraction. I will cover more about this below in the events section. If you are visiting on a normal day there is still plenty to see and peer in.
You can’t go in the village houses but they have set them out authentically and you can stand at the doorways and look in. It felt like we were walking around York during the time of the Vikings.
Further on from the Viking village and near the end of the nature trail you will find another great village. This one is themed on the American Wild West. Again there was a re-enactment group in which aren’t normally there. But as above they have set the huts and rooms up authentically and again there’s plenty to look in at. It was great fun wandering around and getting a feel for the real American Wild Wild West.
More Historical areas – Pre Historic – World War II
They also have a few smaller historical areas such as a prehistoric village and a World War II bunker. These are worth a look around.
Events at Murton Park
As mentioned above we visited during an event day at Murton Park. They have plenty on throughout the year and it’s worth taking a look at their website to see what’s on. They host quite a few re-enactment groups throughout the year. These groups use their reconstructed historical sites to portray the past from Stone Age through to the Second World War with many in between.
During our visit, they had authentically dressed Vikings in the Viking village and Cowboys in the Wild West. We were especially impressed with the Cowboys. They were friendly and engaging and my son was enthralled with some of them. He especially loved meeting the cowboy dentist who took his time to tell him all about dental practices in the past.
Similar happened at a ‘bath house’ and also in the shop. They even have an authentic-looking bar. We also met some re-enactors next to the Viking village who again took their time with my son and taught him a game similar to skittles from the past. They certainly made the day even more special. But we wouldn’t hesitate to visit again regardless of it being an event day.
Murton Park is open to visitors from Easter till the end of October. Doors open at 10:00 am and close at 4:30 pm with the last admission at 15.30 pm. An adult ticket costs £7.50 and £6.00 for a child. A family ticket is £21.00 and under 2’s are free. Admission prices give unlimited return visits for 12 months (excludes Santa Special) and includes a free audio guide plus unlimited rides on the Derwent Valley Light Railway (when open). During school term time there may be limited or no access to the living history sites.
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