For a fresh perspective on our beautiful city, we took a trip on the York Boat. Because a cruise on the Ouse is hard to refuse.
We were having a not wanting to stray too far from home or tackle anything too strenuous sort of a day, but felt like doing something a bit different to fill up a couple of hours. A trip up the river on a cruise boat was just the ticket.
I always embark on these things with an air of trepidation, because from the other passengers' point of view, children can be a real nuisance when they put their minds to it, and noone wants to be that mother who sits her child in front of an iPhone just to shut him up. I'm pleased to report that the novelty factor of being out on the water as more than enough to keep him happy, so a nice day out was had by all.
York Boat is wonderfully located - there's a car park close by, and several opportunistic ice cream vans were staking out the landing area. The cruise ends near the gorgeous Museum Gardens and having been required to sit still for so long, any child worth its salt will no doubt enjoy a bit of a run about there.
The facilities on board aren't bad either. There is a covered area for rainy days, two perfectly serviceable toilets, and drinks and light refreshments available at what didn't feel like too much of a mark up. The commentary was engaging (for the adults at least) and educational.
For a non-local, relying on this as a tour of York might have been a little bit disappointing because the views of the Minster were fleeting to say the least. As a day out with a toddler and his grandparents, it was great.
Self-driven motorboats are also available to hire from the company that runs the York Boat, and those are definitely on our to do list for next summer. For the time being, though, the more sedate pace of the cruise boat was just ideal.
Under fives travel for free, and for adults the 2014 prices range from £7.50 to £8.50 depending on the length of the cruise. Since we were accompanied by a two year old, I found that the shorter option, at 45 minutes, was plenty long enough.
York boat runs cruises from February to November annually. Full details and a timetable can be found on the York Boat website.