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The 7 Must-Visit York Events For Locals And Travellers

If you’re looking for fun York events and things to do, you picked a great city to visit. According to the Visitor Information Centre, York has more attractions per square mile than any other city in the UK so boredom is not something you need to worry about!

Whether you’re a local, a European traveller, or coming from Australia, here are the York events you won’t want to miss.

York Events To Die For

1. “Pick” your way along the York Ice Trail

Get ready to celebrate winter in style with 50 incredible sculptures carved out of ice and displayed outdoors along the York Ice Trail. This unique York event takes place on 1st and 2nd Feb 2020 from 10am to 6pm with many local landmarks and famous figures featuring in this year’s “Myths and Legends” theme, and there are plenty of those in York!. Expert ice carvers work on blocks of solid ice using picks, drills and chisels to create detailed masterpieces before running a flame gun over the finished piece for a glass-like finish. Last year’s visitors came face to face with Star Wars Millennium Falcon, a locomotive from the Railway Museum and a replica of Betty’s Tea Rooms along with interactive ice exhibits.

2. Sharpen your Axe Throwing skills!

One of York’s most popular activities is axe throwing at The Hilt. It’s a unique opportunity to learn how to throw a Viking axe at a target before dining with family and friends. As this is one of the most popular York events, booking your axe throwing experience ahead of time is highly recommended. Your fun visit starts with a warm up and practice with a special coach who will teach you the safest and most accurate way to throw an axe at the target and score high every time. Once you’ve got the hang of it, compete against family and friends to get the highest score and be officially crowned Vi-King or Vi-Queen for the day! You’ll definitely work up an appetite, so end your axe-throwing adventure in the restaurant sharing laughter and stories over the tasty menu of appetizers, snacks and drinks.

3. Awesome events at the Jorvik Viking Festival

One of the top events in York is the Jorvik Viking Festival, now in its 36th year. Known as the largest Viking event of its kind in the whole of Europe (eat your heart out Norsemen!) This awesome festival celebrates York’s Viking past. It includes historic encampments, talks, educational tours, family events and re-enactments so there’s something for everyone at this week-long festival that runs from 15th to 23rd February 2020. Many events are free, but some require tickets for admission. You won’t want to miss the Battle Spectacular and Banquet, so book early and look forward to a week of Viking fun, 21st century-style.

4. Go behind the scenes at York Mansion House

Grandiose home of the Lord Mayor of York since 1732, York Mansion House is a delight to explore from the Georgian kitchen to the lavishly appointed staterooms. What secrets those walls must hold, if only they could talk! Take a guided tour Wednesdays through Sundays and see many of the city’s civic treasures. In January, the house is closed to the general public for a spring clean and essential conservation work and that’s the time to sign up for “Treasure, Tours and Tea”. Historians and experts lead the small group tour through the house explaining in detail the work being done on this national treasure. The tour ends with tea and cake in the opulent State Room. Perfect for history lovers on a rainy day in January!

5. Sweet tours at York’s Chocolate Story

One of York’s most enduring products is chocolate - in fact you could say the city was built on it! Located on King’s Square, York’s Chocolate Story has the whole history of chocolate covered. Tour the factory and learn where cacao beans come from and how they are turned into the more-ish chocolate treats that you can sample for yourself. Watch the experts at work before trying your hand at making some handmade chocolates. In 2020, this award-winning attraction has a special York event to celebrate 85 years of KitKat with an exhibition called “Breaking the Mould: the Story of KitKat”. Starting 29th March it will run until 31st December 2020, so plenty of time to round up some chocoholic friends and make your pilgrimage!

6. All aboard at the National Railway Museum

More fun that it sounds, a visit to the National Railway Museum at York is a fantastic way to appreciate the history of rail from the original Rocket to the futuristic Japanese Bullet Train. This fabulous museum of iconic locomotives is free to visit, making it ideal for families on a budget. Getting there is easy when you buy tickets for the Road Train which runs to the Museum from York Minster in the city centre. Once at the Museum you can hop aboard a real steam engine for a ride through the South Yard, see the former Royal Train carriages and learn how steam engines work. The calendar of York events for 2020 features many special talks and exhibitions at the National Railway Museum including a display of Ambulance Trains from World War 1.

7. Tune up for the York Festival

From Lionel Richie to Westlife, the York Festival is set to become one of the most popular York events for music lovers with various performances from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June 2020. This is the first ever York Festival event and the 3-day music bonanza will be opened by music legends Madness. Hosted at the York Sports Club on Shipton Road, tickets are already on sale for this headline event with an added incentive. The earlier you buy your ticket, the cheaper the ticket price will be, so check ticket availability and get yours now for the best deal.


York events cover all ages and interests, from pop music to Viking axe throwing, and chocolate to ice sculptures. You’ll definitely want to visit for more than a day to pack in all your favourite fun events! And don't forget about the York nightlife.


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