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News release - Issued by Visit York

Sweet temptation as ‘chocolate city’ launches cocoa-laced trail in National Chocolate Week

As we celebrate 250 years of being home to the renowned confectioner Terry’s, and to mark National Chocolate Week, which runs this week until 15 October, Visit York is launching a new tourism campaign today, sponsored by York’s Chocolate Story, to tempt chocoholics to discover more about York’s sweet-toothed past and present.

A brand new York Chocolate Trail will see cocoa fans indulge in their favourite sweet treats through a fascinating tour of attractions, chocolatiers, shops and tea rooms dotted around the city.

A free, self-guided tour, the York Chocolate Trail features well-known chocolate highlights across the city such as the award-winning visitor attraction, York’s Chocolate Story, where tour tasters will be able to sample homemade chocolates. The trail also features York’s hidden gems with a chocolate connection including All Saints Church and Merchant Adventurers’ Hall. At All Saints Church you’ll find the stained glass window, commemorating Mary Ann Craven of confectionary fame and at the medieval Merchant Adventurers’ Hall the story of pioneering business woman Mary Tuke is brought to life.

Also included in the trail is York Mansion House, (scheduled to reopen after refurbishment later this year) home of the Lord Mayor of York, whose idea it was to send a bar of Rowntree’s chocolate to troops fighting in the Great War, Fairfax House which houses the exceptional collection of Noel Terry’s furniture and York Castle Museum, where you can visit a recreation of Terry’s sweet shop and reminisce about your favourite chocolate brands. Rowntree’s Park, a gift to the city of York in 1921 and Goddard’s House and Garden, the former home of chocolate magnate Noel Terry tell more stories of York’s fascinating chocolate past.

40,000 copies of the walking trail are being distributed and free copies can be collected from the Visit York Information Centre on Museum Street.
In addition to the trail, there will be new website pages and dedicated social media activity on Facebook and Twitter with a chocolatey twist. Cocoa hunters will be invited to delve deeper into York’s chocolate heritage, discovering all of the places in York with a chocolate past. Chocolate fans can follow the York Chocolate Trail and share their discoveries too, using the hashtag #yorkchocolatecity
Michelle Brown, Leisure Marketing Manager, Visit York, said: “There is definitely a sense at the moment that York is having somewhat of a chocolate revival. In this new campaign we want to inspire visitors to delve deep into York’s indulgent chocolate past.”

At York’s Chocolate Story you can discover the greatest names in chocolate and take a fully guided tour through three floors. You can even have a go at making your own chocolate creations. Andy Turner, General Manager, York’s Chocolate Story, said: “York is a city with over 300 years of rich chocolate heritage; some of the world’s best known brands and most-loved chocolate bars were created here. This new trail is a wonderful way for people to engage with York’s unique history and culture.”

Two York National Trust properties have strong connections with the Terry chocolate dynasty: Goddard’s House was built by Noel Terry in 1927 in a stylish Arts & Craft style with matching gardens, and the family also purchased and lived at Middlethorpe Hall located close to the Terry Chocolate factory on Bishopthorpe Road.

Chocoholics can buy artisan chocolate from Monkbar Chocolatiers, Betty’s Café Tea Rooms, York Cocoa House, York’s Chocolate Story, and Shambles Market. Chocolate breaks can be booked at Hotel Indigo. To indulge in York’s rich chocolate heritage visit


For further information please contact:
Kay Hyde – Head of Communications – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

Katie Parsons – Senior Communications Executive – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554436

Notes to the Editor

York’s Chocolate History

In December 1914, the Lord Mayor, John Bowes Morrell, and the Sheriff of York, Oscar Rowntree sent a Christmas gift on behalf of the city of a tin of chocolate to all York men serving in the forces in order to give soldiers a taste of home while they were spending Christmas at war. This story has inspired novelists as far away as Australia.

Did you know? Chocolate facts about York

  • 6 million Kit Kats are produced in York every day – over 1 billion every year.
  • Top chocolate brands such as Kit Kat, Aero, Smarties, After Eight, Yorkie, Chocolate Orange and Black Magic were all created in York
  • The Rowntree factory once employed 14,000 staff, employing teachers and gardeners as well as the factory workers
  • New Earswick is located on the outskirts of York, it was created by Joseph Rowntree as a “Model Village” as an alternative to the slums of York and housed many of his workers. Still today there are no pubs in New Earswick.
  • Rowntree’s owned York’s first motor car, which they used to promote the brand by creating a giant can of Elect Cocoa and putting it on the car. The public would come from miles around to see the spectacle. The car once broke down in Sheffield city centre getting the drivers arrested for being a nuisance. The giant tin of cocoa would often fall over as it was too heavy.
  • Terry’s first created the Chocolate Apple before the iconic Chocolate Orange. There was also a Chocolate Lemon in the 1980s.
  • The competitive rivalry between Cadbury and Rowntree’s is thought to have inspired Roald Dahl to create Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl went to school in Derbyshire. It might have been the school trip to the Rowntree factory that shaped his imagination.
  • In 1921 Rowntree very generously bought a piece of land next to the Terry’s factory and donated it to the City of York as a public park.
  • In 1926 Terry’s moved to a larger factory site next to The Knavesmire as someone had bought the land next to their factory, preventing them from expanding.
  • The Terry’s clock tower is an iconic building frequently featured on race days as it lies next to York Racecourse.
  • The relocation of the Craven’s Sweet factory from Coppergate to a location outside of the city led to the excavation of Coppergate. During the excavation the remains of York Vikings were discovered – now collated in the Jorvik Viking Centre.
  • At Christmas 1914 The Lord Mayor and Sheriff generously sent a bar of Rowntrees chocolate to every York man fighting in the Great War. One of these tins with the original chocolate bar inside can be seen at the Mansion House.
  • A tin of Rowntree’s Elect Cocoa was taken by Shackleton to the Antarctic in 1908. It was discovered completely intact 50 years later and is now housed in the Nestlé archives in York, its taste has been pronounced to be in “excellent condition”.
  • Rowntree’s two children were mascots for the company: “The Cocoa Nibs”
  • Plain ‘Mr York’ was an iconic automated character introduced in the 1920s. Mr York of York, was featured in the first animated advertisement with sound and promoted the Motoring Chocolate bar with a wide range of merchandise created to promote Mr York and Rowntree’s. Mr York is today housed in the Nestlé archive in York.
  • A York bar of chocolate was once presented to the then Princess Elizabeth. It was made with cocoa, sugar and vanilla all grown in the atrium at the Rowntree factory.
  • As part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, York’s Chocolate Story launched a campaign to ask the people of York for their memories of working in the chocolate factories of Rowntree's, Terry's and Craven's.
  • The Queen was the first person to ever receive a bar of entirely English chocolate, made from cocoa beans grown in the Rowntree's hot house in York. Nestlé in York also has some rare footage of the Queen's father on a visit to the Rowntree's works in 1920 and the factory has had the Royal Warrant since the days of Queen Victoria.
  • York produces 80,000 tonnes of confectionery a year.
  • Kit Kat is very popular in Japan where the name sounds like ‘kitto katsu’ – a Japanese phrase that means “surely you will succeed”.