York, with its cobbled streets and the smell of chocolate making in the air is the ultimate city of romance. W.H. Auden, who was born in York in 1907 wrote “O’ Tell Me the Truth about Love” and here is where one can hear all about it. Novelists, past and present, have taken York and its evocative surroundings as inspiration for their work. Spend the most romantic day of the year in York with a range of themed events to experience with your partner, on your own, or with friends.

Quirky Valentine’s Day events:

Experience object speed dating at the Anti-Valentines ‘Lates’ at York Castle Museum

For a Valentine’s Day with a difference head to York Castle Museum – host of a world-class exhibition from the ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’. Everyone is welcome, from singles to couples and friend groups. Discover the ‘dating profiles’ of one or more items in the collection, while enjoying a glass of wine and small bites from York’s top vegetarian café Goji.

Have a taste of SLAP at York Theatre Royal

An alternative Valentine’s Day treat – a taste of SLAP is a full day and evening of bite size performances linking two of the wold’s best things together – love and food. From cabaret, delicious dancing and theatrical performances, to unique dinner dating to canape art in a form of edible tattoos on your body.

Immerse yourself in the art of Van Gogh at St Mary’s Church

For those interested in the marriage of traditional art and technology, a Valentine’s Day visit to Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is essential. Experience romance in its truest form – through the art of one of worlds the most loved painters. Step into Van Gogh’s painting showcasing his deeply expressive works in a magnificent spectacle of virtual reality, music, animations, optical illusions, and 360 degree projections.

Traditional romantic Valentine’s Day experiences:

Floodlight river cruise along the Ouse with City Cruises York

Start off your Valentine’s Day date by taking your loved one on an evening floodlit cruise along the river Ouse with City Cruises York. Indulge in a glass of prosecco, feed each other heart-shaped chocolates and enjoy a romantic atmosphere with illuminated riverside - seeing the  river-scape from an entirely different perspective.

Have a sweet Valentine’s with your loved one at York’s Chocolate Story

Spend  Valentine’s Day discovering the history of chocolate in the heart of York – UK’s home of chocolate. Join the late night tour at York’s Chocolate Story that begins with a glass of Prosecco and chocolate-dipped strawberries and ends with cocktail-tasting and a chocolate-making masterclass.

Enjoy a Valentine’s Cookery Experience at The Cookery School at The Grand

Food is the way to the heart. Show how much your partner means to you by cooking a delicious Valentine’s Day meal together. Under the head chef’s guidance, one will cook the main course – Chateaubriand, while the other puts together a sweet dessert of Lemon Posset. Finish the evening by enjoying the meal you’ve made together alongside a glass of wine.

Free things to do this Valentine’s Day:

Kiss your partner under the ‘Heart of Yorkshire’ at York Minster

York Minster is undoubtedly one of the most iconic attractions in York and this beautiful gothic masterpiece holds a special place in the heart of visitors from across the world. According to the local superstition, kissing your partner below the West Window of the cathedral will make you stay together forever. Look up at the window to see the heart-shape worked into the tracery, known as the ‘Heart of Yorkshire’.

Watch the sunset from the York City Walls

On Valentine’s Day this year sun will set just after 5pm. Couples can grab some hot chocolate, join the walls off Lendal Bridge and walk towards Micklegate Bar over the Station Road. From there a view is truly magnificent, with colours painting the winter skies above York. For the most breath-taking view, however, turn back to watch the sunset over the York Minster, when the last sun rays of the day paint the cathedral gold.

Indulge in a romantic night of stargazing at North York Moors National Park

Within a short drive of the city lie the romantic North York Moors where Emily Brontë penned her novel ‘Wuthering Heights’, the story of unrivalled love. This year the Dark Skies Festival offer an evening of stargazing for all astronomy lovers and enthusiasts. Wrap up warm, bring a thermos of hot chocolate and a red filtered torch for ultimate romantic stargazing experience.

Experience Valentines with friends, family or solo:

Singles' Night with the Yoga Revolution

You don’t have to be single, but it helps when joining this special Singles’ Night of yoga, Beyonce best hits, drinks and nibbles – all in great company of fellow loners this Valentine’s Day. You can also add songs to the community playlist to enjoy a yoga class with your girlfriends, while listening to your favourite tunes.

Have a Girls Night meal out at The Botanist York

Have a Valentine’s Day evening meal with your besties at The Botanist York, offering a delicious 3-course special menu featuring some of the best dishes. Treat yourselves to a specially crafted gin-based cocktails or a glass of prosecco.

Afternoon tea on board the Victorian Carriage at The Countess of York

York is home to the world’s largest railway museum, which offers the most romantic afternoon tea experience aboard an authentic, beautifully restored rail carriage—the Countess of York. Spend a lovely afternoon with your friends, while enjoying homemade cakes and traditional Yorkshire scones with a glass of bubbly.

To find out more about the events during the Valentines Weekend, visit our What's On webpage.
Share your adventures with us, using hashtag #onlyinyork on Twitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to tag us in your images @visityork. You might end up being featured on official page.

Visit York Blog Written By Ana Ignatova