As well as being a city of great beauty and historical importance, York is also a thriving cultural hub. This year, York will host several events and festivals, which will celebrate the city’s fascinating mix of tradition and modernity, whilst also championing the local way of life. Travel PR agency Pilot PR finds out more.
Here are some of our top calendar highlights for this Summer and Autumn 2015 in York.
1. York Festival of Ideas
York Festival of Ideas is an annual festival that celebrates the vibrancy of the city, both past and present. The festival is now the largest free festival in the UK and aims to showcase York’s innovative and creative spirit. The festival will promote conversation about what the future might look like, whilst celebrating the city’s rich heritage.
This year’s festival will centre on the theme of ‘Secrets and Discoveries’. The festival will feature a variety of activities for the public to enjoy, including talks ranging from the history of tea drinking to the future of democracy, as well as performances, films and community events, including a creative writing workshop and a hands-on science activity, which will consider the theme in different ways.
The festival will also include an Arts weekend called Curiouser and Curiouser, which will examine the complex and sometimes surprising relationship between art, design, architecture and technology over the weekend of 13th - 14th June. This weekend will be delivered in partnership with Channel 4.
The main festival will take place from 9th - 21st June 2015.
2. York Food Festival
York Food Festival is an annual ten-day event, which celebrates local and regional food and drink. The festival will promote Yorkshire produce, as well as independent restaurants and retailers in York. It will also help to educate locals through cookery demonstrations, which aim to encourage people to eat more healthily by enjoying seasonal homemade food.
The festival also seeks to enhance York’s reputation as a culinary hotspot, building on its long history of chocolate making and its tradition of being a significant market city. The festival will have an array of activities for visitors to enjoy, including a Taste Trail, which will give visitors the chance to sample the fare of around 20 different York eateries, as well as an Ale Trail, which encourages people to try York’s celebrated beer and ale.
The festival will also have an evening programme featuring live music and theatre performances, and a young chefs competition where children have the chance to compete for the accolade of Young Chef of the Year. The festival also has the option for food enthusiasts to attend a private dinner party hosted by local chefs and supper clubs.
The Taster Festival will take place on the 6th and 7th of June, whilst the main festival will run from 18th - 27th September 2015.
3. York’s Railway Museum 40th Anniversary
York’s famous Railway Museum will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and in order to celebrate the occasion, they will be collaborating with York’s Theatre Royal in an award-winning production of The Railway Children. The unique theatre setting will allow the audience to sit on station platforms either side of a real train track and will feature the steam locomotive that was in the original Railway Children film.
‘The Railway Children’ show will run from July 31st - Sept 5th.
The Museum will also be putting on another theatrical show, In Fog and Falling Snow, which will tell the story of York’s railway king, George Hudson, an English Railway Financier and who played a significant role in linking Edinburgh with London by train. A cast of 200 will tell the story of how George’s Hudson’s railway impacted on local lives when it was first being built. Taking place after hours, audiences will move through the Museum’s collections and will end up in the Museum’s purpose built Signal Box Theatre.
In Fog and Falling Snow will take place from 26th June - 11th July and tickets are already on sale.
4. The York Rotary Dragon Boat Race
Now in its 12th year, this popular boat race has raised over £800,000 for charity. On 12th July, 36 teams will compete on the river Ouse [between Scarborough Rail Bridge and Lendal Bridge) for the Challenge Trophy and other more light-hearted awards, such as the award for the fastest Charity Team, the fastest Armed Services Team and the Best Dressed Team Trophy.
The impressive boats, which feature the head and tail of a dragon are quite something to behold, and families will particularly enjoy this colourful feat of athleticism and fundraising.
5. York’s Late Music Festival
The Late Music Festival is a prestigious event, which aims to promote music of all styles from 1900 to the present day, and will feature the world premiers of the work of several modern composers. This year’s festival will celebrate the work of Judith Weir, the female master of the Queen’s music, including her most noted work King Harald’s Sagas; as well as the music of Terry Riley, who is associated with the minimalist school of Western Classical Music, which he pioneered.
Other highlights include a tribute to the poetry of William Yeats who is the focus of the everlasting voices concert and lunchtime recitals, where visitors will be able to hear the work of excellent new performers at affordable prices. The festival will also have a free event; a concert of poetry settings and readings from Sounds Lyrical.
The festival will take place throughout the months of May, June and July and will mainly be located in St. Saviourgate’s Unitarian Chapel, which is right in the centre of York.
Designed by the famous architect John Carr, it has has recently undergone a superb renovation and occupies the impressive Grade One listed Georgian Micklegate House, originally the town house of the Bourchiers of Beningbrough. Safestay York enjoys a prime central location and is ideally situated near the train station and just five minutes from the river. Beds start from just £18 a night and private twin rooms from £60 per room. Visit