Things To Do

A visit to the Yorkshire Arboretum can be action-packed or completely relaxing - it's entirely up to you. Whether you are visiting alone, with friends or family, or as part of a group we look forward to making you welcome. Our 120 acre garden of trees is yours to explore.

Tree Trails

If you'd like to explore the highlights of the arboretum's tree collection at your own pace, pick up a copy of our tree trail map in the Visitor Centre. This map details our short and long tree trails, which take about 1 and 2 hours to complete respectively. These approximate timings depend, of course, entirely on how fast you choose to walk and how often you pause to admire the view!

Both trails guide you to some of our most interesting and beautiful trees such as Sorbus caloneura (Chinese Mountain Ash). The original seed from which this tree grew was collected in 1985 on an expedition to an isolated mountain in China by Jim Russell (who, with George Howard, created and planted the Yorkshire Arboretum) and John Simmons (instigator of the Castle Howard Arboretum Trust).

If you'd like to learn more about our tree trails in advance of your visit, you can download the map here.


Our events programme runs throughout the year and is constantly expanding, with new events and activities being added all the time. For the latest information on what's going on during your visit please check the Event Calendar

FREE Drop-In Guided Tours

Every Thursday from mid April to the end of October one of our friendly, expert guides will be on hand to introduce you to the collection, explain the arboretum's history, and show you the very best of our seasonal treasures.

Tours start from the Visitor Centre at 1.30pm and last between 1 and 2 hours (depending on the season, the weather, how much we chat and how slowly we walk!) Tours are free of charge. Standard arboretum admission charges apply. Well-behaved dogs on leads welcome. No need to book - just turn up and join in!

Bespoke, private tours may also be booked in advance for your party. Please contact us on or phone 01653 648598

Children's Activities

There's something for all ages to enjoy at the Yorkshire Arboretum and a range of activities is available for those visiting with children:

Woodland Playground

With lots of den building opportunities, balance beams, tree trunk bridges, log ladders and giant stepping stones, all created from the arboretum's own trees, there's plenty for children to discover and enjoy in our Woodland Playground. Open all season (weather permitting).

Adventure Backpacks:

To encourage children to explore the arboretum's environment and engage with nature, these backpacks have been developed by our Education Team with the National Curriculum (and a great deal of fun!) in mind.

Available to suit ages 2-5, 5-7, 7-9 and 9-12 years old, each backpack contains a range of age-appropriate activities such as minibeast identification, seed-collecting and bark rubbing.

There is a rental fee of £3 per backpack and a £10 deposit per backpack is required, which is fully refundable on return of the complete backpack.

Leaf Bingo:

A fun, informal treasure-hunt style activity that can be undertaken by children individually or together. Leaf Bingo encourages children to explore the arboretum and promotes observational skills. Leaf Bingo sheets and pencils, and guidance notes for accompanying adults, are available from the Visitor Centre, free of charge.

Minibeast Discovery Trail:

This trail is designed to help children explore nature & learn about the creatures they see, including ladybirds, bees and butterflies. Pick up a free trail guide from the Visitor Centre and start on the path behind Tercentenary Wood. Look out for the ladybird information board, then just follow the instructions. There's a prize for completing the whole trail!

Seasonal Story Trail:

This is a fun word-hunt and writing activity that encourages exploration of the arboretum and promotes children's literacy skills & use of their imaginations. Exact content varies according to the season but involves hunting for words displayed around the arboretum and then using these words to write a story or create a poem. Story Trail sheets and pencils, and guidance notes for accompanying adults, are available free of charge from the Visitor Centre.

The Children's University:

Children's UniversityThe Yorkshire Arboretum is a Learning Destination for the Children's University, a national scheme to inspire children aged 5–14 to learn outside the curriculum through out-of-school activities.

Participating children collect stamps/stickers in a ‘Passport' as recognition for their learning, and work towards certification. Children who participate in the following arboretum activities can present their passport to receive a sticker/stamp:

  • Minibeast Discovery Trail
  • Leaf Bingo
  • Seasonal Story Trail
  • Adventure Backpacks
  • Easter Bunny Trail
  • Junior Rangers' Clubs
  • Discovery Days
  • Arboretum Explorers' Club

Local participating schools are Burton Green, Carr Junior, Clifton Green, Dringhouses, Headlands, Hob Moor, Lakeside, New Earswick, Osbaldwick, Park Grove, Scarcroft Primary, St. Barnabus, St. Paul's, Stockton on the Forest, Westfield, Woodthorpe and Yearsley Grove. Passports can also be purchased from York Theatre Royal.