Tea at Betty's. Or tea anywhere, really. Betty's is a bit pricey and there are LOTS of tea shops in York. The Brew and Brownie was pretty good too with a much more contemporary vibe and amazing smelling pancakes. Be warned that afternoon tea at Betty's gets pretty damn hectic. Little Miss O was a bit irate about having to queue for cake. And fair enough too.
Yorkminster. While a cathedral might not be your first choice to take your child, think again. They have a really great workbook for children with things to find and draw and so on which is free with the entrance ticket. Little Miss O really enjoyed it, and to be honest, I preferred it to the free guided tour option. It's an amazing cathedral.
And outside is a great little pink caravan that serves cupcakes and drinks. We sat on the deck chairs, which Little Miss O thought were marvellous. I may have enjoyed them quite a bit too.
Fountains Abbey which is a National Trust property outside of York. Not only is there the mystery of exploring ruins (Little Miss O is still talking about them), but the abbey is set in glorious gardens with lots and lots of grass for running and paths for walking.
The National Railway Museum was Little Miss O's choice, but I was a bit dubious. WRONG! It was fantastic. The best part was the section which is a real station (no longer in use) with platforms and trains and a great cafe in the centre made to look like railway carriage seats. It's also free, although a donation of three pounds is very eherm....strongly...suggested by staff as you enter.
Last but not least, the city walls are fantastic. They are great to get oriented on the first day, from which to enjoy beautiful views (see below), from which to pretend to shoot arrows at and pour boiling oil on the enemy, to enjoy a rare but glorious perfect summer's day and to get a real sense of York's history. Just be aware that the walls do not have railings on the inside edge of much of the walk, so can be dangerous for kids who are a bit...boisterous.