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Issued by: Make It York

Egg-ceptional Easter Fun Planned for York – 14 – 17 April

Spring is in the air, or it will be very soon and Easter is just around the corner. If it’s family fun you’re after this Easter, then look no further than beautiful historic York. There’ll be free children’s activities galore, co-ordinated by Make It York in association with Little Vikings, as the York Easter Family Festival returns for a second year.

York’s Chocolate Festival will be returning too for the full four days as part of York’s Easter celebrations with a chocolate market, demonstrations and workshops. Officially celebrated as the Chocolate City, the very first festival ran in 2012 to reflect York’s rich chocolate heritage. This was also when the city’s very own sweet visitor attraction, York’s Chocolate Story, opened its doors. A host of activities will be on offer city-wide, including at Castle Museum, York Cocoa House, York’s Chocolate Story and Goddards (the former home of the Terry family), running from Good Friday to Easter Monday.

In Parliament Street you’ll find the Little Vikings Easter Activity Tent, with face painting, Easter crafts, drama classes, storytelling, dance classes, forest school classes and computer coding. New inside the tent this year, is a sand art activity, running all day from Friday to Sunday. For two weeks from Friday 7 to 24 April, Parliament Street will come alive with a children’s funfair and Sunday will see the Shambles market transformed with a fun bunny trail, where families can enjoy street food in the new Shambles Food Court.

Adding to the Easter ‘eggcitement’, Ripon Farm Services will be bringing a tractor into Parliament Street and a children’s petting zoo (Friday, Sunday and Monday) will bring pygmy goats (and their adorable kids), guinea pigs, a miniature donkey, a Shetland pony, alpacas, lambs, chickens and rabbits; all from Ian’s family run Farm in Leeds.

Offering an immersive 360 degree cinema experience the Drax Dome in Parliament Street will tell the story of renewable energy, provided by the UK’s largest power station Drax, near Selby. The film covers aspects of the national curriculum in an inspiring way and staff will be on hand for anyone interested in booking a tour of the power station itself, which is open 7 days a week and free to visit.

From renewable energy to pedal power, a mix of pedal powered attractions will be arriving into the city for the first time, including pedal powered Scalextric, a pedal powered velodrome and a junior track, where little ones can try out a variety of vehicles.

Families can also follow a new Chocolate Easter Trail, to support the Lord Mayor’s charities; the York Civic Trust, the York Racial Equality Network, York LGBT Forum and St Nicks Nature Reserve and Environment Centre. All you need to do is buy a trail card for £3 at the Visit York Information Centre, follow the map to locations across the city and solve puzzles along the way. Each participant will receive a chocolatey treat and one lucky winner will take home a scrumptious York Cocoa House chocolate egg. The Chocolate Trail will take visitors around some of the exceptional chocolate locations around the city to discover more about York's chocolate heritage, enjoy chocolate fun and games and sample the chocolate of the city.

Lent, Holy Week and Easter lie at the heart of the Christian faith and York’s world famous York Minster will be offering seasonal worship and music. In preparation for the season, a large wooden cross, the central symbol of the Christian Faith, will be hung above the Quire Screen in the Minster. This year’s Lent Talks theme is ‘Journeys of Faith” and five inspirational speakers will talk about their own journeys of faith arising from their own personal experience.

Sally Greenaway, Visit York, a part of Make It York, said, “We’re excited about the return of the York Easter Family Festival and we’ve been working hard to make it even better than last year. Spring is a popular time to visit York, when the daffodils are in full bloom and with so much going on right across the city, the city is the perfect place to enjoy the Easter family weekend.”

At Fairfax House, the city’s stunning Georgian townhouse, visitors can enjoy story-telling and drama activities and discover yet more about the story of chocolate and the Terry family in York. You’ll be able to find out how chocolate became popular in the 18th century and how chocolate is made, from rainforest to factory, as well as make your very own chocolate machine and enjoy a rich hot chocolate.

Hannah Phillip, Director, Fairfax House, said, “This year is the 250th anniversary of York confectioner Terry’s and to celebrate we’re putting on quite a spread. Jenna Drury from Mud Pie Arts will be making an appearance to deliver a chocolatey Storytime experience where children (and adults!) can learn all about the story of chocolate and the Terry family. There will be plenty to do and taste and we look forward to welcoming families into one of York’s hidden gems this Easter.”

For even more Easter fun, you can keep the little ones entertained for longer at the special Easter Trail around Holgate Windmill on Easter Monday and solve their puzzle to win an Easter prize. Be ready for lots of climbing and fun while exploring this amazing historic windmill, just minutes from York city centre.

Meanwhile York’s Chocolate Story will be celebrating the chocolatiest holiday of all with the launch of their new exhibition: 250 Years of Terry’s. Visitors to the attraction can take a fully guided tour into the Easter of York Past and uncover fun facts including the secret of why certain children in York once got to enjoy solid Easter eggs. Also celebrating York’s chocolate heritage is a new exhibition running throughout the year at York Castle Museum; Chocolate: York’s Sweet Past, where you can delve into the delicious history of some of the world’s most iconic chocolates and sweets.

Storytelling and drama unfold too at Goddards House and Gardens, the former home of York’s famous chocolatier Noel Terry. This beautiful Arts and Crafts house was created as a comfortable family home close to the chocolate factory. From chocolate trails, blindfold taste tests, chocolate box making and chocolate talks, enjoy a very Terry Easter and indulge in some chocolate orange cake in the dining room.

Still time to explore more? Then head to Holy Trinity Church to make your own Easter Bunny disguise, join in crafts, hunt for eggs and explore inside this medieval treasure, just off Goodramgate. For more information and to plan your Easter in York visit


For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Corporate Communications – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554451 Mobile: 07506 048852

Cassie Meegan-Vickers – Senior Communications Executive – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554436

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