In this article, we look at some of the things happening around and about in York early in 2018. This promises to be a mammoth year and we don’t need to wait until the summer months for things to start happening.

To start with, the classic Beauty and the Beast story enters it’s final week in early January at the Grand Opera House York. Don’t miss your last opportunity to see this fantastic story brought to the stage.

Also in January, Beningbrough Hall hosts the “Oh wide owl’ art trail. This event hosts an intriguing collection of original sculptures and artwork inspired by the magnificent owls of Britain.

Shrouded in mystery and folklore, the statuesque owl is both revered and feared, polarising beliefs. Inspiring fireside stories of shapeshifters and legend, symbolising protection and wisdom for some cultures, whilst an omen of darkness and witchcraft for others. Throughout the generations the owl’s enduring beauty and prowess has captured the imagination of storytellers and artists alike.

Beningbrough celebrates this nocturnal beauty with an outdoors art trail on open until 25 February 2018.
Heading into February the York Barbican plays host to ballet and sees the classic Swan Lake arrive. Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet is the acclaimed company behind this and now makes its debut at York Barbican. Their performances have an air of magic, complemented by a full orchestra and outstanding soloists who will take your breath away!

Singer songwriters Chas & Dave also come to the Grand Opera House with a range of their classic songs and new material too. Following on from the release of their brand-new album That’s What Happens on Warner Brothers Records which reached the top 20 and their headlining performance at The Royal Variety Show. Appearing on the 12th February your tickets can be secured directly from the box office.

Come and stay with us in 2018. See all our York properties and book now to explore the city of York and everything it has to offer.

York Viking Festival returns in 2018

Over 1000 years ago York was under Viking rule and during these times, great celebrations took place during February called ‘Jolablot.’ The festival signalled the coming of spring and the end of winter hardships.
These celebrations were long forgotten until the 1980s when the York Archaeological Trust brought this Norse tradition back to the city.

The York Viking Festival returns for its 34th year in February 2018. The event will be held from the 12th to the 18th February. The festival features different aspect of the Norse culture at events across the city.

The festival will include family friendly events, lectures, guided walks and re-enactments. You will be able to experience first-hand what life was like for the Vikings and what brought them to Britain in the first place.

Previous events have also introduced us to Viking challenges such as the Strongest Viking Competition. In this, we saw a number of rounds consisting of Holmgang combat, Dane axe holding, shield wrestling and even bragging!

Don’t forget that you can also visit the newly re-opened Jorvik Viking Centre which is from 10am to 4pm daily during February.
If you’re looking to come with family or friends don’t forget available accommodation will be scarce for such a popular events. View our properties and book with us now so that you can enjoy the festival at a relaxed pace!

St Nicholas Fair

As Autumn closes in York Boutique Lets gives you the rundown of some of the best events being held in York at the special time of year.

One of the best-known attractions is the York St. Nicholas Fair that runs from the 16th November to 22nd December in the centre of York.

The 16th November also sees the switch of the York Christmas Light to coincide with the opening of the fair
Take a wander through the streets lines with traditional chalet market stalls. You can marvel at the twinkling lights and the waft of mulled wine as you sample the treats on offer. There will be Scandinavian Style stalls along Parliament Street, St Sampson Square and The Judge’s Lodging. For something to eat, head down to the Shambles Market area or to look at decorative items go to the new Made in Yorkshire Yuletide village.

york st nicholas fair

Once you’ve taken in everything the market has to offer why not relax in Thor’s Tipi for a warming hot chocolate or something a bit stronger to warm you.

Illuminated Trail at York Museum Gardens

From the 16th November, the Museum Gardens in York will invite visitors to come visit their evening magical Christmas illuminated experience.

Step into a fairy-tale Christmas village that has an array of attractions for adults and children alike. You can take a ride in the vintage funfair, take part in the face painting or sample a delicious hot pie from the Yorkshire Pudding Pie Company.


Walking from the Christmas village, visitors will follow an enchanting UV light pathway whilst the children discover hidden messages in an exclusive game of hide and seek.

As visitors walk beneath the tree canopies drenched in Christmas colours, they will also experience the sights and sounds of the festive season. This enchanted walk begins with the ‘edible garden’, then down the signing trees that glitter with lights. At the end, experience an amazing projection on the St Mary’s Abbey ruins.

This is an experience not to be missed!

Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland

The Winter Wonderland features the North of England’s largest outdoor ice rink known as The Ice Factor which this year is boasting its largest rink ever! Along with this, you can see the huge 30ft high Christmas tree which creates a truly magical Christmas experience.

This year will also see new additions including an alpine skate hire chalet with rink side views and a fantastic new Polar Express themed Grotto for Santa.

There are also vintage funfair rides dating back from the early 1930’s, live weekend entertainment and the York Designer Outlet on your doorstep with designer brands for up to 60% less. This means that Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland really does have something for everyone.

Hot air balloons have been a regular feature on the York skyline for a number of years. 2017 sees the very first Balloon Fiesta taking place in York from the 29th September to the 1st October. With around 50 balloons participating this event is not to be missed.

Hot air balloons and pilots from all corners of the UK will be in attendance, creating a stunning spectacle over the historic city of York.

The event is completely free of charge to attend over the 3 days (though car parking if required is £6 per car) To accompany the breath-taking sight of so many hot air balloons emblazoned across the sky, there will also be a range of attractions and food available including fairground rides, live music and other entertainment.

For the early bird out there, the morning balloon launch will start early at 07.15 on Saturday 30th and Sunday 1st. Bring along a breakfast picnic or enjoy breakfast from one of the many hot food outlets to enjoy the launch. At 16.30 there will be afternoon balloon launch and this is expected to be the most popular. Plan your journey well as there will be an abundance of visitors around the Knavesmire.

The most spectacular part of the Fiesta will be our Nightglow. At 20:30 on Saturday the 30th a handful of our balloons will tether and light up the night’s sky to our specially commissioned soundtrack. Times may vary slightly subject to weather conditions and all balloon activity is weather permitting.

For anyone interested in participating in their own balloon ride, there are several companies that offer balloon rides in York throughout the year. With prices starting at £112 per person, Virgin offer a 3-4 hour balloon experience flying out in the morning. Even flights are also available at different prices. See for more details.

Alternatively, try that also operate hot air balloon rides from York.

The beauty of ballooning is the fact that you never know where you’re going to land! So brace yourself for the experience of a lifetime!

Next month sees the York Beer Festival return to the Knavesmire from the 20th to 23rd September. Housed in a gigantic marquee, the York Beer Festival 2017 will play host to over 500 different varieties of beer from across Yorkshire and the UK.

It’s not just the best real ales that you will be able to sample, there are also keykeg UK craft beers and foreign beers; over 100 ciders; bottled beers, wines from around the world, UK meads and prosecco available.

The York Beer Festival will also play host to a wide variety of live entertainment featuring local bands and musicians allowing you to rock along throughout the day.

A massive beer garden will also be featured and don’t worry about going hungry as there will be an array of takeaway food available from across the world. If you are vegetarian, you will also be well catered for with a variety of vegetarian dishes available.

The opening hours are 5.30pm -11pm on Wednesday 20th and midday -11pm on Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd. The last admission on all days will be 10.30pm (not giving you much time to sample if you do arrive then!) and each bar will not serve after 11pm.

To make things go with a swing there will be a great line-up of live music at most sessions featuring a roster of talented local artists performing a wide range of different musical genres.
CAMRA members are also eligible to volunteer to work the festival for which they will receive a package of free food and drink for all sessions worked.

Admission charges are very reasonable but do vary on a day by day basis:

Wednesday 20th – Public £3.50, CAMRA members £1.50;
Thursday 21st – Public £4.50, CAMRA members £2.50;
Friday 22nd/Saturday 23rd- Public £5.50, CAMRA members £3.50

Bring some extra cash for a “glass” too. Every visitor (intending to sample the drinks on offer) will need to buy a souvenir polycarbonate festival pint or half pint “glass” for £2.50 when they arrive. This can be refunded when you leave but due to licensing conditions, real glass is not allowed on site.

If you are looking for accommodation on your visit to the York Beer Festival 2017 check out real time availability and prices on our home page.

The biggest date in the York racing calendar is approaching next month and we bring you all the information here.

A four day race meet, the Ebor Festival was founded in 1843 with the first running of the Ebor Handicap.
Across the four days, there are separate featured races. Wednesday features the Juddmonte International and Acomb Stakes. Thursday is ladies day and the featured races are the Lowther Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks. Friday is Nunthorpe day which includes the Nunthorpe Stakes and finally, Saturday is Ebor Day featuring the Ebor Handicap.

This year the Ebor Festival starts on the 23rd August with the Ebor Day being held on the 26th August.
York Racecourse has a range of tickets that allow access to each of the different stands and other areas. The County Stand tickets allow you access to this premier enclosure. It also includes entry to the Grandstand, Paddock and Course Enclosure. These are great tickets that allow you to mingle in the champagne area and really soak up everything that the races have to offer.

The Grandstand tickets give you access to the paddock and is great for access to trackside viewing. There are plenty of “food to go” options and a variety of bars.

Finally, the course enclosure provides a grassy area that is great for picnics with the family. Children under the age of 18 are admitted for free to this area.

If you are going into the County Stand or Grandstand that are certain dress rules that apply. A jacket, collared shirt and tie are mandatory. However, if you have travelled without these fear not as they can be hired at the racecourse on the day!

York Racecourse can be accessed via shuttlebus (number 197) from the railway station making it easy to get here from the city centre. Fares are just £3 return. For those wanting to walk it, allow about 30 minutes from the city centre.

For those wanting to stay over in York we have a range of properties available within easy reach of the racecourse. Check out our property availability on our website homepage but be quick as availability goes fast!

Visiting the ancient and historic city of York in North Yorkshire doesn’t have to be expensive. In the blog, we list out some of the best free and low-cost attractions that York has to offer.

Travelling around the City

York has a sightseeing bus that allows you to hop on and hop off at any location. Whilst York isn’t a huge city, having the convenience of a bus to save tired legs is a bonus if travelling from one end to the other. The buses provide useful and interesting information about the city and can be useful to orientate you on your first visit!

Museum Gardens (Entry: Free)

The gardens are set on an historical site which includes the remains of the Roman fortress tower, and the medieval St Mary’s Abbey and the Hospitium.

Established in the 1830’s by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, the gardens are known for their fantastic collection of trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs set against the stunning backdrop of the medieval ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey.
The Gardens are open from 7am to 8pm in summer and from 7am to 6pm in Winter.

National Railway Museum (Entry: Free)

The National Railway Museum holds The National collection of Railway artefacts and includes over 300 locomotives and rolling stock, 628 coins and medals, 4899 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway related photographs.

The National Railway Museum houses a world class collection of Royal trains, which includes a collection of Royal carriages, from those used by Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II.

York City Walls (Entry: Free)

No visit to York would be complete without a walk along the infamous City Walls. At 3.4 kilometres long, the beautifully preserved walls are the longest medieval town walls in England. About 2.5 million people walk along all or part of the City walls each year, taking in the stunning views as they go. To complete the entire circuit will take around 2 hours. There are five main bars or gateways, one Victorian gateway, one postern (a small gateway) and 45 towers.

York Races Course Enclosure (Entry: £5 per person)

A great way to enjoy York Races if you don’t have the budget for the stands and endless glasses of Moet!
The grassy course enclosure if a family favourite. Why not take a picnic of your own and soak up the atmosphere of York Races. The course enclosure has its own food area, bars and bookmakers allowing you to enjoy everything the races have to offer without spending a fortune.

Whatever you decide to do, we hope you decide to stay in one of our short stay properties. We have a range of properties to suit all budgets!

After the success of last year’s Eboracum Roman Festival, which saw more than 28,000 people attend, the festival returns to York this June with a varied and full programme of displays, exhibits, events and activities suitable for all ages.

The Eboracum Roman Festival is hosted in the York Museum Gardens with a variety of exciting events including military parades, siege weapon demonstrations, a camp showing what domestic life was like during the period, as well as stalls selling themed goods.

Eboracum Festival York

The Yorkshire Museum will be running all sorts of activities and workshops over the course of the weekend, with additional events taking place at venues across the city. There will also be the opportunity to participate in guided walks hosted by experts from the city.

The event itself will be held on the 1st to the 4th June.

One of the key features of the event will be the Roman Camp. Here, you can experience the sights, sounds and smells of Roman Eboracum come to life for two days in the beautiful grounds of York Museum Gardens. You will be able to meet the Legionary soldiers and their families in a colourful tented camp and learn about their weapons, armour, lifestyle, beliefs and food.

On Saturday and Sunday the Romans will parade. Six Roman Legions, along with Roman civilians will march through the streets of York. Within the Yorkshire Museum, you will be able to visit the Wold Newton Hoard. This Roman Hoard is the largest of its period to be found in the North and it contains incredibly rare coins from a time of great uncertainty in the Roman Empire and in Yorkshire.

On the 3rd and 4th June you can take part in a range of archaeological activities with the professional archaeologists from Archaeological Services WYAS. Experience the many ways in which archaeologists record and interpret sites and artefacts with the most up-to-date technologies, come and have a go at digital 3D modelling of Roman objects and geophysical surveying of the York Museum Gardens.

Whatever you decide to do, you will be able to experience an amazing few days at this event. Check out one of our short stay apartments in York to get the most out of your visit by having the festival on your doorstep!

May sees the Dante festival opening the 2017 calendar at York Races. There are a number of races on consecutive days and this promises to be a fantastic event early in the racing calendar.

Wednesday 17 May 2017 is the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes
Thursday 18 May 2017 is the Betfred Dante Stakes
Friday 19 May 2017 is the Betway Yorkshire Cup

Kick the summer off in style with a day at York races, the scent of freshly cut grass and the scent of flowers add to the sense of a new start to the racing year with the excitement it brings.

Gates open at 11:15 on all three days with the first race at 14:20. The Dante Festival has more than £1 million in prize money available making it a showcase event for those participating.

For those of you interested in the roots of the event, it is named after Dante, the winner trained in Yorkshire of the Derby substitute at Newmarket in 1945.

The current race grading system was introduced in 1971, and the Dante Stakes initially held Group 3 status. It was promoted to Group 2 level in 1980.

In total, ten winners of this race have gone on to win in the Derby. The first was St Paddy in 1960, with the most recent being Golden Horn in 2015. The 2014 Dante Stakes winner, The Grey Gatsby, went on to win France’s equivalent of the Derby, the Prix du Jockey-Club while the 2015 runner-up, Jack Hobbs, won the Irish Derby.

Since 1975, York Railway Museum has housed the finest collection of locomotive history in the world. It forms part of the British Science Museum Group and has an array of awards in it’s collection.

Situated right next to York Railway Station and the main bus stops, it is very easy to get to and has attractions that will cater for all ages.

There are 100 different locomotives on display with another 300 examples of rolling stock. All the locomotives saw active service in the United Kingdom or were constructed in the country. It’s actually interesting that there are so many items available to display in the first place. It was only by chance in many cases that locomotives redundant to requirements were stored in sheds and workshops with some being destroyed.

The museum itself was opened by Prince Philip in 1975 and coincided with the 150th birthday celebrations of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. In 1979, the museum saw the arrival of the historically significant Stephenson’s Rocket replica. The Rocket replica has since travelled the world as a shining light for the museum.

Concerns about the structure of the concrete roof at the museum led to some changes in 1990. To ensure the continued existence of the National Railway Museum in York, the train depot on Leeman Road was converted to host the trains as though in a station. The roof was rebuilt and the museum re-opened in 1992.

The largest locomotive in the museum originates from China and is so large it is actually 1 foot too wide and 2 foot too high to operate on the British mainline. The National Railway Museum also houses the only Japanese Bullet Train outside Japan. Japan reinvented the passenger railway in the 1960s. The Shinkansen was the first railway designed to move significant numbers of people in comfort at high speed using the Bullet train. The service is often compared to air travel and travels at speeds up to 270 kmh.

The National Railway Museum also house the carriage that Queen Victoria regarded as her “palace on wheels”. The Queen’s favourite carriage originally started life in 1869 as two saloons, and was later made into one single 12 wheeled carriage in 1895.

The museum is no stranger to Guinness world records either – the largest collection of model railway vehicles built by one man. James Peel Richards’ dedication to model building led him to construct 610 model railway vehicles during his lifetime. His aim was to build the entire LNWR fleet of locomotives, carriages and wagons as they would have appeared on one day as working examples of the locomotives on the railway.

With regular daily talks, videos and pictures the National Railway Museum in York has a hugely interactive element. Regular events are held at the museum and it can even be booked out for office events including Christmas parties. There is an on-site café and has all the facilities required to make for a fun and interesting family day out!