Holgate Windmill is a beautiful and fascinating building preserved through the hard work of a group of volunteers, and for any curious toddler the idea of being allowed to climb about inside what is essentially an enormous machine is great entertainment. So we headed over to take a look.
Every winter during the York residents festival, the City of York opens the doors of its most loved tourist attractions to local residents for free. This year we took advantage of the offer to visit Holgate Windmill.
Entry is usually £3.00 per adult and £1.00 per child, on selected open days only. Details of the remaining open days this year can be found here.
The windmill has three floors, each connected by a steep ladder and so it's very well suited to anyone who enjoys climbing. One each level there are great views of York, friendly guides happy to answer any questions, bits of machinery and cogs to look at, and a cheeky toy mouse hiding.
A children's guidebook would be a helpful addition, as much of the information on display wasn't especially accessible to younger visitors but my main objective was to impress upon my little boy that windmills make flour, so that we could then buy a bag and make some scones. Yum.
Whether our 3 year old would make it up and down the ladders without freaking out, was something of a gamble, and the downward bits, which need to be done backwards, were a little bit of a challenge. He was very proud of himself to have made it back to the bottom safe and sound, though.
At the risk of stating the obvious, Holgate Windmill isn't buggy friendly, although the ladders would probably be manageable with a baby in a carrier. There is a toilet and small shop on the ground floor, and the nearby Carlton Tavern does decent pub grub with a very child friendly atmosphere.
And the scone recipe we used is here, in case you were wondering!