Kissing couples are flocking to a historic land-mark in York which, according to tourism chiefs, is fast becoming Britain’s answer to The Blarney Stone.
‘The Heart of Yorkshire’ window, one of the most famous stained glass windows in Europe, sits in the Great West Window of York Minster, northern Europe’s largest gothic cathedral. The distinctive heart shape of the window is becoming a destination in its own right as love-struck couples put faith in local legend that kissing your partner beneath the window means you’ll stay together forever.
The city is preparing for International Kissing Day (Saturday, July 6th) - celebrating the simple pleasure of a kiss - when it invites romantic couples to gather and pucker up beneath the window at 12 noon to win the heart of their loved one. Invitations to take part will be sent out via social media channels Twitter and Facebook.
Thousands of visitors flock to Blarney Castle each year to kiss the Blarney stone – kiss it and it is said you’ll never again be lost be words. Now York’s Heart of Yorkshire window is having a similar effect but for different reasons.
Gillian Cruddas MBE, Chief Executive of Visit York said: ‘Visitors have always found inspiration in York’s many romantic connections. The legend surrounding the beautiful Heart of Yorkshire window seems to have captured everyone’s imagination. While The Blarney Stone in Ireland gives the gift of eloquence, our Heart of Yorkshire window gives the gift of eternal love and we hope love will blossom for those who kiss beneath the window this weekend.’
Nicola Bexon, Marketing Director at York Minster said, ‘For more than 1,000 years York Minster has witnessed weddings, betrothals and prayers for love and good fortune. We’re delighted couples are flocking to York to propose underneath the Heart of Yorkshire Window and to make a long term commitment to each other.’
Tourist organisation, Visit York, reports many requests from visitors from all around the world, looking to propose marriage in the city, many of whom have already shared their stories via social media.
Ellen Roos, from Holland, proposed to her husband beneath the Heart of Yorkshire window while on holiday in the city: ‘I proposed to my husband there! We already decided to get married, but this was just for romance sake! We live in Holland, and love to visit York and stay there for as long as possible. You couldn’t find a more romantic place in the world than York.’
Everyone, from royalty to soap stars, has been woo’d by this city of romance. The Duke and Duchess of Kent - then Katherine Worsley - married at York Minster in 1961 watched by the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth II. This was the first Royal wedding in York Minster since King Edward III married Philippa of Hainault in 1328. While soap royalty, Coronation Street star Paula Lane, who plays Kylie Platt, also has romantic connections to the city having recently got engaged whilst on a stay in York.
It is clear to onlookers why York Minster’s Great West window has been nicknamed ‘The Heart of Yorkshire’. Architecturally, the curving lines of the tracery depict the shape of a heart, marking a departure from the otherwise geometric window.
As part its National Kissing Day celebrations, Visit York is also encouraging visitors to share their memories and stories of proposals of marriage in York via social media at www.facebook.com/visityork and @visityork on Twitter using the hashtag #RomanticYork
- Around half a million visitors visit York Minter each year
• Blarney Castle is a popular tourist site in Ireland, near Cork, attracting visitors from all over the world to kiss the Stone and tour the castle and the gardens.
- Almost half of all wedding ceremonies that take place in York are for couples who do not live in the city. This could have something to do with the fact that York has previously appeared in The Independent Newspaper’s 50 best places in the world to be married.
- Two Love Lanes can be found in York, double the quota in most cities.
- Novelists, past and present, have taken York and its evocative surroundings as inspiration for their work. Within a short drive of the city lie the romantic Yorkshire Moors where Emily Bronte penned her novel Wuthering Heights, the story of unrivalled love between Cathy and Heathcliff.
- Nearly one thousand civil weddings take place in York every year in arguably some of the most romantic venues in the country – medieval guild halls, unique attractions and stately homes.
- One of the biggest collections of Valentine cards and love messages in the U.K. can be found in the York Castle Museum. A thousand or more messages of love are in the archives including possibly the oldest printed Valentine’s card in the world. This was published on 12 January 1797 by John Fairburn of 146, Minories, London. It includes a verse printed around the edge:
‘Since on this ever Happy day,
All Nature’s full of Love and Play
Yet harmless still of my design
‘Tis but to be your Valentine’.
The card was sent by Catherine Mossday to Mr Brown of Dover Place, Kent Road, London.
Kay Hyde – Head of Communications – Visit York
Mobile: 07 506048852
Lois Ackerley – Communications Executive – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554448
• Visit York is supported by the City of York Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with Visit England and Welcome to Yorkshire.
• Visit York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure and business visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. Visit York is responsible for leisure and conference marketing, visitor services (running the city’s Visitor Information Centre), training and ensuring a quality visitor experience.
• Visit York is the driving force of the city’s tourism industry. Key facts:
7.1 million visitors
£443 million total visitor spend
23, 000 jobs
For all press and media enquiries, please contact our Communications Team:
Kay Hyde - Head of PR & Corporate Communications
Telephone : 01904 554451 | Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Parsons - Senior Communications Executive
Telephone : 01904 554436 | Email : email@example.com
NOTE: If you are a visitor or have a general enquiry, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01904 550099.