Invisible York walking tours provide a unique perspective of the city.
Each tour is operated by people affected by homelessness and shaped by their own interests or personal experience of the city.
All profits are used to provide employment and practical support for our tour guides, who reflect the broad definitions of homelessness, and include those with experience of rough sleeping as well as those currently living in temporary accommodation or accessing overnight shelters.
We currently offer three tours:
Family Fun Tour
Our Family Fun Tour offers a history lesson like no other, where those taking part will be encouraged to participate and interact, playing traditional games, immersing themselves in creative activities, and walking in the footsteps of 2000 years of history.
York’s past is not all smooth and gentle so be prepared for some horrible yet wonderful stories that include tales of Roman soldiers, Viking invaders, notorious figures like Dick Turpin, and the traitors and troublemakers whose trickery have shaped the city.
Tour guide Gavin has full DBS check, and while he has struggled with mental ill health and homelessness in the past, he draws upon his former experiences as a play-worker and teaching assistant to present a unique view of the city. Expect cat-spotting, puzzles, games, and of course no children’s tour of York would be complete without uncovering its famous links to chocolate manufacturing.
Tour Duration: 1.5 hours Price: £10 Frequency: Saturday (2pm) Sunday (12pm) Starts: Library Square
Railway Heritage Tour
York has been a hub of transportation since the Romans established the city in AD71, linking it to an efficient road system and making use of its waterways. However, the city is also famed for its rich railway heritage and is home to the largest railway museum in the world.
Tour guide Gemma is a transgender woman, who found herself sleeping rough and living in hostels following the sudden unexpected death of her landlady. She is a passionate railway enthusiast and her tour explores how the railway has shaped and transformed the city.
This tour provides a unique insight into how and why York became an important centre for the railway industry. As well as uncovering layers of history, there’s an opportunity to learn about the buildings connected to the industry, from the original railway station which was built in 1840, through to an extended tour option which takes in the National Railway Museum.
Tour Duration: 1 hour Price: £10 Frequency: Wednesday and Thursday 11am Starts: Library Square
The Story of Guy Fawkes
Beyond a tale of gunpowder, treason and plot, this tour tells the comprehensive story of Guy Fawkes, from his family history in York to growing up and the influences surrounding him as a Protestant and later a recusant Catholic.
Tour guide Vicki first became interested in Guy Fawkes in 2009, and her passion is one of the reasons that she moved to the city. She interweaves her own personal journey of being diagnosed with stage 4b cancer, treatment, and remission, with the story of his life.
In addition to Guy Fawkes, the tour covers Kings Henry VIII, James I, and Charles I, William Etty RA, and St Margaret Clitherow. Stay with the tour until the end, where Vicki will reveal the amazing coincidence of Guy Fawkes and her own recovery journey in a hostel for the homeless, which will leave you covered in goosebumps.
Tour Duration: 1.5 hours Price: £10 Frequency: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 11am Starts: Exhibition Square (Kings Manor Entrance)