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Major Annual Events in York in 2017

York offers a rich calendar or events celebrating a diverse variety of history, arts and culture. Find details of the major events and festivals here.

33rd JORVIK Viking Festival: 20-26 February 2017

Recognised as the largest Viking Festival in Europe, the annual JORVIK Viking Festival is a citywide celebration of York’s rich Norse heritage. The festival’s programme of family friendly events, lectures, guided walks and battle re-enactments attracts over 50,000 visitors from across the globe, with many returning year after year to take part and enjoy the atmosphere. Inspired by the ancient Viking celebration of ‘Jolablot’ - a Norse festival that heralded the end of winter hardships and the coming of spring, this 1,000 year old tradition was long forgotten until York Archaeological Trust, the owners of JORVIK Viking Centre, brought it back to life in the 1980s. Returning to York every February Half Term, JORVIK Viking Festival has become a firm fixture in the York festival calendar. With a wide range of hands-on events and living history on offer throughout the week, visitors are sure to come face to face with the Vikings of JORVIK during their visit. Other events planned for the festival include talks and presentations by local experts and visiting authors, crafting workshops where participants can help make props to go into the new JORVIK displays, city tours and a host of fringe events, from pub walks to films, throughout the city.

Public contact:
Call JORVIK Group Reservations on 01904 615505 or visit the website at
Press contact: Jay Commins, email: Samantha Orange, email: Pyper York Limited. Tel: 01904 500698, mob: 07810 546567


York Literature Festival: 16-30 March 2017

In 2017 York Literature Festival will feature a wide range of author-related events, poetry, talks, workshops and so much more. Over 40 events across the city will see York focus on the written and spoken word, with some well-known names heading to York to take part. Some of the examples of the many performances and events taking place in York are an evening with Anne Widdecombe, an exclusive launch event at the De Grey Rooms, a crime fiction panel including Sophie Hannah, and Desmond Elliott prize winner Claire Fuller. Other artists will be announced soon. The 2017 festival will also include a number of strands, such as a dedicated performance strand at York Theatre Royal, a strand of spoken word events from Apples and Snakes, as well as a variety of creative writing workshops. Venues include York Theatre Royal (which this year will also be the festival Hub), York Explore Library, York St John University and St Peter's School.

Public contact: Follow the festival on Twitter @YorkLitFest or visit Press contact: Rob O'Connor, email:


York Easter Festival – 14-17 April 2017

York has so many activities for all over the Easter Holiday, from egg hunts, special exhibitions and workshops to outdoor activities. York Minster is the perfect backdrop to experience the spiritual side of Easter. With a list of concerts and choral music as well as Easter services you will have a truly inspiring Easter experience.


York Open Studios: 21-23 April & 29-30 April 2017

York Open Studios is a not-for-profit organisation run by a committee of volunteers for the benefit of York residents, artists and visitors. Open over two weekends in the spring, and initiated with the aim of promoting, celebrating and encouraging participation in the visual arts, York Open Studios offers the chance to experience a world of selected artists and makers, discover their passions and inspiration, share their knowledge and support their engagement with the local community. With studios, workshops and exhibitions open all over the city, York Open Studios has become a major event and over the years has introduced hundreds of artists to the public.

Public and Press contact: Anne Hutchison, email: Tel: 01904 422193 or visit:


Fashion City York: 6-9 April 2017

Fashion City York is an initiative to promote fashion retailing & all the facets of York's fashion industry. From big brands to independent retailers, international designers to home-grown labels, York has something to offer every fashion-savvy shopper out there. Fashion City York is here to help retailers, designers and students promote our wonderful fashion scene with ground-breaking collaborative projects throughout the year. Further programme details available early 2017.

Public contact: Visit website or email


Racing Season: May-October 2017

York Racecourse, known as the Knavesmire, has been a favourite amongst racegoers since it was founded in 1731. In 2017, 17 meetings combine top class horseracing with world-class facilities to make it a sporting and social occasion for all to enjoy. Even if your horse fails to come up with the goods, it’s a fabulous day out in a beautiful location, a chance to dress up, and jolly good fun. Public contact: Visit or Tel: 01904 620911

Provisional dates for 2017 fixtures: 
17-19 & 27 May
16-17 June
NEW FOR 2017 - 1 July (Summer Music with Olly Murs)
14-15 & 28 (Music Showcase with Jess Glynn) - 29 July
23-26 August
10 September
13-14 October


Eboracum Roman Festival: 1-4 June 2017

After the success of the first Eboracum Roman Festival in 2016, which saw more than 28,000 people attend, the festival will return to York on 1 to 4 June 2017 with a packed programme of displays, exhibits, events and activities suitable for all ages. There’ll be military parades, siege weapon demonstrations and guided walks at the Eboracum Roman Festival, back for its second year from the 1 to 4 June 2017. A Roman camp in the Museum Gardens will showcase domestic Roman life and there’ll be stalls selling themed gifts. The Yorkshire Museum is home to some of Britain’s most significant Roman treasures, and there’ll be activities and workshops in the museum throughout the festival. The museum holds the bones and skulls of six people who came to Eboracum from all over the Empire, whose remains and possessions tell us much about how they lived. Other highlights include a sculpture of the head of Constantine and the tombstone of a French soldier for the famous Ninth Legion.

Public contact: 01904 687687, visit website on


York Festival of Ideas: 6-18 June 2017

York Festival of Ideas will return with a wide range of talks and events on various topics from 6-18 June 2017, with the theme 'The Story of Things'. The Festival is now the largest free festival in the UK. Further programme details available early 2017.

Public contact: Visit


York Early Music Festival: 7-15 July 2017

The internationally acclaimed York Early Music Festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary in July 2017. Mixing together music from 12th - 18th centuries with the myriad historic churches, guildhalls and houses of medieval City of York, the festival brings together music-lovers from across the world. Highlights include the irrepressible I Fagiolini with a promenade performance of ‘Monteverdi on the Move’ in York Minster on the opening night, involving free movement of the audience across the Minster, the highly acclaimed International Young Artists Competition and a brand new staged version of J S Bach’s St Matthew Passion directed by York born international director Thomas Guthrie.
Information and tickets are available from Early booking for both accommodation and festival tickets is recommended.

Public contact: Call 01904 632220 or 01904 658338
Press contact: Lindsey Porter, email: lportercomms@gmail.comTel: 07568 309154


The Great Yorkshire Fringe: 21 July – 6 August 2017

The Great Yorkshire Fringe is back! The Fringe will be back for another year of music, comedy and theatre. For more information visit

Press contact: email
Public contact: Tel: 01904 500500


York National Book Fair: 15-16 September 2017

From modest beginnings with just 20 exhibitors at the White Swan Inn in York in 1974, the York Book Fair has grown into the largest rare and collectable books fair in the UK. Held over two days, over 220 of the country's leading booksellers offer a breath-taking diversity of books, as well as posters, ephemera, manuscripts, maps and prints, ranging in price from just a few pounds up to tens of thousands of pounds. Besides booksellers there will also be bookbinders, paper restorers, calligraphers and others in the associated trades’ area.

Public contact: Call 01904 624414 or visit the website at or email
Press contact: Tony Fothergill, email Tel: 01904 624414. Janette Ray, email:, Tel: 01904 623088.


York Food and Drink Festival: 22 September-1 October 2017

York Food and Drink Festival will offer day and evening events from wine tastings, talks and food tastings to cookery demonstrations and hands on workshops in some of the city’s iconic historic buildings. A more detailed programme to be confirmed in 2017. Public contact: For full programme and tickets visit the website at For more information email or call 01904 635149.

Press contact: Michael Hjort, email:, Tel: 01904 635149.

illuminating York: 27-30 October 2017

Every autumn illuminating York celebrates the transformative power of light in all its forms, from sunlight to artificially generated light – from the flickering flame to the light emitting diode. The festival creates new relationships between people and the fabric of the city – to reveal York, and the way people experience it, in a new light. It also provides a creative context for artists, designers, engineers and the creative industries to collaborate in exploring new ways in which light impacts on people and the life of the city. More details to follow in 2017.

Public contact: For further information visit the website
Press contact: Kay Hyde, email: kay.hyde@makeityork.comTel: 01904 554451

Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF): 8-12 November 2017

The BAFTA Qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) is organised by Aesthetica, an international art and culture publication. The festival was launched in 2011 and takes place annually at the beginning of November in York. ASFF champions outstanding filmmaking talent and expands audience choice by showcasing 300 stunning films from across the world in 15 of the city’s most iconic venues. The films span a diverse range of genres, including advertising, animation, artists’ film, comedy, dance, documentary, drama, experimental, fashion, music video and thriller. 2017 will be the festival’s seventh year and will be celebrated with an even bigger programme of films and networking opportunities that make the festival a must-attend event for all filmmakers and film fans.

Public contact: Call 01904 629 137 or visit the website for full programme and tickets at or email

York Christmas Festival and St Nicholas Fair: 16 Nov-22 Dec 2017

York St Nicholas Christmas Festival takes place annually, now extended to run from mid-November to 23rd December. The popular St Nicholas Fair in Parliament Street will run for the full 35 days too, with extended opening times. Snug wooden chalets, dressed with pretty garlands and twinkling lights will line Parliament Street and extend into St Sampson’s Square. Adding to the festive atmosphere, stallholders will be selling a range of gifts including jewellery such as Whitby jet, ceramics, homewares, crafts and Yorkshire produce such as locally made wines and cheeses.

York Early Music Christmas Festival: 8-16 Dec 2017

York Early Music Christmas Festival is a key part of the Christmas calendar in York, showcasing beautiful festive early music and performing in the atmospheric surroundings of St Margaret's Church, Walmgate. More details to follow in 2017.

Public contact: Call 01904 632220 or 01904 658338 or visit the website for full programme and tickets at
Press contact: Lindsey Porter, email: Tel: 07568 309154.


Please note, we try to keep our information up to date but sometimes things can change. Please double check all details directly on the websites provided.
For more information and to book your stay in York:

Public contact: Visit or call 01904 550099. Press contacts: Kay Hyde, Head of PR & Communications, tel: 01904 554451, email: Katie Parsons, Senior Communications Executive, tel: 01904 554436, email: