York is celebrating its title of the Most Haunted city in Europe with the return of the family-favourite Great York Ghost Search and a host of spooky, hilarious and downright terrifying events during the frightening fun Halloween season.

Ghosts and the paranormal have been linked with York for centuries. Ghosts of the Roman Legionnaires were first seen in 1950s in the cellars of the Treasurer’s House, a good luck charm for theatre performers - ghost of a Grey Lady haunts 275 years old building of York Theatre Royal, a wife of a former Lord Mayor wanders the corridors of the Golden Fleece pub, and even more out of this world beings roam the snickelways of York. To learn the story of York’s dark past, visitors and residents of the city can join The Bloody Tour of York led by Mad Alice - one of the popular York ghost walks running all year round across the city or participate in the public investigations of the supernatural hosted by the recently established Paranormal Research York (PRY).

For those looking for a real scare, this year will see the return of the multi-award winning York Maze Hallowscream (11 October – 2 November) and Adults Only York Dungeon Lates (26 & 31 October). The Home of Halloween at the York Dungeon will also bring back the popular Halloween Cruise together with City Cruises York. Stockeld Park invites brave teens and adults to explore the Stockeld after dark with Ice Disco and The Shooting Dead Adventure. For a more mellowed-down experience with a pinch of mystery, Barley Hall is hosting two nights of Candlelight Tours (30 & 31 October). York Maze also introduce a season of HallowTWEEN for the first time this year – an event for 10 to 15 year olds and scaredy cat adults (open 2-5pm 26 – 31 October).

However, Halloween is not just for the adults, York’s spooks are family-friendly too! Younger Halloween fans can board the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Steam & Scream Halloween train (26 – 31 October), or join for a day of scare-free fun and pumpkin carving at York Maze Halloween by Day (11 October – 2 November). Stockeld Park also invites the brave youngsters to look for witches in the forest and pick their own free pumpkin to take home (26 – 31 October). Those with a sweet tooth can join a Trick or Treat Trek around the city with York’s SHOCKolate Story (19 – 31 October). Barley Hall invites brave souls to get hands on with history and discover the weird and wonderful creatures linked to medieval magic rituals (30 & 31 October).

The Great York Ghost Search will run for an extended three week run (11 October – 1 November) for the October half-term, with 26 ghost lamps tucked away in shop windows all around the city and the mini-ghosts making an appearance for the last week of the search, finders of which will be able to go home with their own pocket poltergeists.  

“York is incredibly atmospheric as night falls, and with ‘secret’ snickleways revealing hidden parts of the city, it is the perfect place to stir the young imagination,” says Paul Whiting, head of Visit York.  “Our Great York Ghost Search is the perfect early evening introduction to the city’s paranormal offering, preparing visitors for either a spinetingling stroll on one of our many ghost walks, hopping aboard a Ghost Bus Tour, or sampling the spirits in one of our haunted pubs and inns.”

The Great York Ghost Search has been taken over again by the York Dungeon. Those, who complete the search and find all the ghosts on the trail, will be able to enter the competition to win a family of 4 Premium Merlin Annual Pass.

“Halloween is our favourite time of year!” says Stuart Jarman – General Manager of York Dungeon. “The ghost search is a wonderful way to engage everybody across York and showcase parts of York’s darkest history. Being in the most haunted and terrifying city in Europe, it would be amiss not to celebrate this spookiest of seasons”

Those, who find a ‘special’ bright green mini-ghost on their search, will be able to take them to York Dungeon to claim free tickets to the experience.

The search is being co-ordinated by Angus McArthur, Owner of Snowhome & York Ghost Merchants in York, and Make It York.

“The Great York Ghost Search is a wonderful, free citywide event that is open to all. York’s unique architecture and atmosphere provide the most perfect backdrop for it,” says Angus. “We are working with truly strong artists, designers and creatives this year, who are customising our ghost lamps so pick up one of the maps and keep your eyes out for them all.”

The ghost lamps will be available on an Ebay charity auction during the last week of October for all of the ghost-searchers to have a chance of taking home their favourite sculpture from the trail. The proceeds from the auction will go to the Family Holiday Association – the national charity dedicated to helping struggling families get a break.

York’s Shambles itself is also a magic filled medieval street offering many shopping experiences linked to the supernatural, including The Shop That Must Not Be Named, the Potions Cauldron and Angus’ new venture, The York Ghost Merchants. Selling handcrafted ghost statues made in a workshop above the shop, and placed in its own travelling box, each ghost is a unique souvenir of the frightfully fun time in the city this Halloween.

There are a variety of Halloween themed events happening in the city over the season, from ghost walks to pumpkin competitions in Europe’s biggest maize maze. For more information and events, check the Visit York website www.visityork.org/halloween


Notes to editor:

About Make It York

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand

Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.

Key tourism facts:
6.9 million visitors annually, £564 million total visitor spend, supporting 19,000 jobs

For further information please contact:

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive, Make It York
Direct line: 01904 555680
Email: ana.ignatova@makeityork.com