Fab Festivals in York – What’s On and When – I like to update this festival post every year with new festivals and dates.
As ever, please do check with the individual venue to get the most current info! The Festivals are organised in date order so you can find the right time of year for you.
If I am missing one, please let me know.
York Resident’s Festival
28th – 29th January 2023
York Resident’s Festival is organised as a way of saying thank you to residents for the warm welcome they give to York’s 6.9 million visitors each year, with attractions opening up their doors free of charge for the weekend.
The festival encourages residents to explore their own city and experience it in a different way – discovering a range of attractions, tours and unique events right on their doorstep.
York Ice Trail
3rd and 4th February 2024
The theme for York Ice Trail will transform York into the ‘City of Dreams’ and invite people to dream big and let their creativity run wild.
The last York Ice Trail took place in February 2023 and was a huge success. Over 40,000 visitors came to the city to view the 36 ice sculptures that lined the streets over the weekend. Research commissioned with Qa Research showed that 9 out of 10 visitors would recommend the trail to family and friends, with 4 out of 5 saying they would want to return for the next Ice Trail.
Jorvik Viking Festival
Saturday 11 to Sunday 19 February 2023
There’s always lots to see and do at the Jorvik Viking Festival. From Storytelling to ‘Have-a-Go’ Sword Combat and Archery. One of the many things to do in York February half term.
Viking hordes from every corner of the globe are set to descend on York once again next February with the return of JORVIK Viking Festival, Europe’s largest celebration of Norse culture and combat. The 2023 Festival is set to run for nine days, from Saturday 11 to Sunday 19 February at an assortment of venues around the city.
“We’re very excited to be announcing a return to the February half term for 2023, when we’re expecting hundreds of Vikings once again to grace the city centre with living history, pageantry and, of course, live combat in the very place where their ancestors settled over 1000 years ago,” comments Gareth Henry, head of events for York Archaeological Trust, which organises the annual celebration.
York Restaurant Week
6th – 12th March 2023
York Restaurant Week is a “celebration of the vibrant food and drink scene in York city centre. For a whole week restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars, hotels, and street food vendors offer fantastic fantastic savings on set menus all priced at £5, £10, £15 or £20.
Diners have access to a wide variety of dining experiences, ranging from afternoon tea to a full three course meal. It’s a great opportunity to try somewhere new, and an affordable way for families and friends to dine out together.”
York Chocolate Festival
6th to the 10th April 2023
York has a proud heritage in chocolate making and celebrates with a Chocolate Festival in April. The festival including the markets and demos are FREE entry. Specific events are at various prices (which can be found on the website programme).
The festival market, bars, food factory and demonstrations are located on Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square. Events such as wine tastings, dinners, trails etc are city wide.
York Festival of Ideas
2-15 June 2023
Saturday 3rd June 2023
York Pride, North Yorkshire’s biggest LGBTQ+ event, is back with their annual festival on the Knavesmire.
York Georgian Festival
St. Helen’s Square, York YO1 9QL
3rd – 6th August 2023
This summer, the glorious Georgians are taking over the city of York! With the fabulous fashions of dashing dandies, extravagant feasting and romantic country dancing, there is a vibrant tale of a golden social scene hidden within the brickwork of York’s abundant 18th century architecture.
With so much to celebrate, York Mansion House is proud to be collaborating with some of the city’s much-loved museums, venues and historical experts to bring you York’s first ever Georgian Festival.
Dust off your petticoat, powder your best wig and join us for an exciting plethora of engagements at Fairfax House, Bar Convent and more. Learn to dance the minuet, discover Georgian family life with Horrible Histories writer Terry Deary, solve the mystery of tricky Dick Turpin’s missing corpse in an immersive murder mystery night and take a peep behind-the-scenes with York’s curators.
York Food and Drink Festival
22nd September to the 1st October 2023
Dates to be announced soon
York is set to enjoy beer, bratwurst and all things Bavarian when a brand-new event – Yorktoberfest – comes to York Racecourse this October. The residents of York and beyond will be invited to eat, drink and be merry-go-round at the Clocktower Enclosure on the Knavesmire, where a giant Bavarian-styled beer tent and traditional funfair will set a festive scene.
Aesthetica Short Film Festival
8-12 November 2023
Aesthetica is York’s own BAFTA-Qualifying Film Festival. Every year, the event welcomes thousands of attendees in a vibrant celebration of independent cinema, VR experiences, and video games. Spanning animation, comedy, documentary, thriller and more, the event is perfect for all ages and even includes special family friendly screenings for those with small children. In addition to short films, feature films, video games, and VR, the event also includes a wide range of social events, industry sessions, sound installations and exhibitions, with 2023’s featured speakers including reps from Audible, Canon, BBC, Film4, Ubisoft, and Ridley Scott Associates.
York residents qualify for a 50% Discount on Tickets with #YorkDays
You can find the full Festival Programme here: https://tinyurl.com/32jyvupk
York Festival of Christmas – St Nicholas’ Festival
York is a lovely place to visit at Christmas and it’s Dickensian-like streets really put on a festive show. There are places to visit Santa, at least two pantomimes to attend and of course the fabulous York Christmas Fair.
Visiting York at certain times of the year? Have a look at our ‘What’s on in York’ guide.