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York is a great city with a spectacular calendar of events that take place every year. Festivals are the hidden treasures that spill out onto the streets, filling the city with colour and life. Whatever the celebration, York performs in style, so much so that there is not just one Festival that stands out from the rest. They each provide a glorious celebration of their own, whether to re-enact history, to enjoy music or to celebrate the season.
You should check to see what is happening during your short break as you are sure to get swept up in the charm that the events in York create and you will find yourselves wanting to come back again and again.
Read more on this destination in the AA Keyguide to Britain.
Top York events
There is a full and varied calendar of events at the fantastic race course, that offer far more than just horse racing. The course is located just 20 minutes walk from the city centre of is right next to a main bus stop that has buses running every 10 minutes, so it is a more than easily accessible place to fit into your trip.
Longship races and battle re-enactments draw around 10,000 people to York for this jovial salute to its 200 year Viking occupation.
York Roman Festival
This is a public celebration of York's rich Roman history, entertaining and educating visitors to the city. Throughout there will be Romans and Celts on hand to give talks and demonstrations on weapons, armour, food & cooking, medicine, religion, bathing from their time.
York Early Music Festival
Held over two weeks, this is Britain’s leading early music festival.
Festival of the Rivers
York’s rivers take centre stage in this annually acclaimed Festival, with a wide range of cultural and leisure activities to celebrate the water. These include Dragon Boat racing, canoe races and triathlons, along with a number of fairs along the river banks themselves and in the tower gardens.
York Food and Drink Festival
York Food and Drink Festival is unique because it is set in and around the city's many amazing historic venues and the focus is Yorkshire food and drink, shown in demonstrations and available in markets.
Illuminating York Festival
This event sees the main attractions of York illuminated after darkness falls in a multitude of splendour. The main event is a spectacular work forty metres tall, featuring music, poetry and images focused on the 15th century Rose window and the South Transept. See the city transformed with a breathtaking vision of colour, light and shape.
St. Nicholas Fayre
This is a great start to the festive season, watch the city come alive in one of the most popular events in York’s calendar. With Victorian costumed traders and carol singers, the delicious smell of roasting chestnuts and some brandy laced hot chocolate, this sets the perfect scene for the month to come.
International Christmas Market
Held everyday from the 1st to thee 19th December in Parliament Street, this Christmas market brings you treats and sparkle from across the globe. A beautiful array of gifts and delicious food court entice all who visit.
Festival of Angels
Escape to this winter wonderland. Real snow showers, ice scultures and live ice carving bring the winter chill in a magical way that transforms York. While you enjoy looking round the stalls and at street entertainment, you can taste the Christmas delights on offer.