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News release - Issued by Visit York

New Easter panto, bunny search and food factory announced for York…oh yes it is…. York Easter Family Festival

29 March – 2 April

A free pantomime, hands-on cookery and a new bunny search are amongst plans for Easter celebrations in York this year. If it’s family fun you’re after this Easter, then look no further than historic York. Co-ordinated by Make It York in association with Little Vikings and the York Business Improvement District (BID), the York Easter Family Festival will return for a third year to Parliament Street.

Written especially for the festival, the free panto, ‘The Hunt for the Magical Chocolatey Chick’, will be staged in the Little Vikings marquee in Parliament Street and will feature many much-loved York landmarks. Are you a seasoned Easter egg hunter? Join in the panto fun as the Easter Bunny embarks on a virtual hunt around York, Britain’s home of chocolate, for the magical Chocolatey Chick. Help solve the clues, and look out for anybody trying to steal your chocolate in this free half-hour interactive show.

The Easter panto is for all ages, so long as you love chocolate and believe in the magic of Easter. Shows will run five times a day (11am, 12 noon, 1:30pm, 2:30pm and 3:30pm) for five days from Thursday March 29 to Monday April 2.

Brought to you by organisers of the York Food Festival, the new Food Factory will offer hands on cookery for all the family, such as a chance to have a go at making bread, pasta, cheese, butter and ice cream. Located on Parliament Street (outside of Boots Opticians), there will be a small charge to cover the cost of ingredients.

Also new this year is The Great York Bunny Search, co-ordinated by Make It York in partnership with the York Teaching Hospital charity. This children’s trail around the streets of York will see little ones and their parents searching for bunnies in shop windows as part of a competition to win a family holiday to Disneyland Paris, provided by Superbreak. If you find all 26 bunny posters you can collect a chocolate prize from the Visit York information centre – a map of the bunny search can be collected there too.

Sally Greenaway, Head of Visit York, said: “We don’t know of any other city that puts on a free panto at Easter and it’s something we think families will love. There’ll be plenty of the usual audience participation as well as the infamous panto villain: the Evil Eggsmuggler! Our Easter festival programme is jam packed and hotel bookings are already really strong. We’re looking forward to our best Easter yet.”

York Chocolate Festival will return too as part of York’s Easter celebrations, larger than previous years and relocated to Parliament Street. Celebrated as Britain’s home of chocolate, the very first festival was started by York Cocoa House in 2012 when York’s very own sweet visitor attraction, York’s Chocolate Story, opened its doors. The festival also welcomes back craft chocolate makers with 30 market stalls and demonstration areas. All kinds of chocolate treats from churros, to liqueurs, to chocolate pies will be on sale. Don’t miss too master chocolatier Andrew Thwaite and TV chef Stephanie Moon. A full programme of demonstrations, tastings and workshops will take place in a demonstration marquee.

A host of activities will be on offer city-wide too, including an Easter trail around Holgate Windmill and celebrations at York’s Chocolate Story. Shambles Market and the Food Court will be celebrating Easter with an Easter egg trail. Adding to the Easter eggcitement, a mini children’s petting farm will bring pygmy goats, a donkey, alpacas and rabbits to Parliament Street; all from Ian’s Farm in Leeds. An old-fashioned carousel will be in St Sampson’s Square.

York’s Chocolate Story will host its ever-popular Easter event at The Merchant Adventurer’s Hall in York. A new performance: Easter: A Cracking Chocolate Adventure, promises to be an unforgettable experience. Unique characters will bring to life an amazing story through games, Easter egg hunts and – of course - chocolate. Led by costumed characters and starting outside the attraction in King’s Square, before moving to the beautiful surroundings of the Merchant Adventurers Hall, it will take place entirely outside, so clothing suitable to the weather is strongly recommended. Recommended for children aged 4-8.

Easter: A Cracking Chocolate Adventure runs from Friday March 30 – Saturday April 7. The event will begin at York’s Chocolate Story and make its way to the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall for the main activities. For more information and to plan your Easter in York visit A free guide to Easter in York will be available at the Visit York Information Centre from March 12.


For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Corporate Communications – Make It York

Direct Line: 01904 554451 Mobile: 07506 048852


Notes to Editors:

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