Plans underway for York Ice Trail to return in Feb 2022

The UK’s biggest outdoor Ice Trail will be returning for two days on 5th and 6th February 2022 with a range of magnificent ice sculptures set to transform York’s city centre.

Organised by Make It York, the free trail will offer a fun family-friendly experience for residents and visitors to enjoy – with businesses across the city getting involved to sponsor and select the stunning sculptures.

The event has proved very popular in previous years with over 31,000 people taking part in 2020 when the trail took place over two days in February with a theme of ‘Fantastical Fiction and Fairy Tales.’ Over the two days in 2020 40 sculptures were located across the city centre with interactive ice carving walls, live demonstrations and themed activities for all to enjoy.

The event aims to get people moving around the city with 72% of participants in 2020 saying they explored streets they normally wouldn’t. 95% of people said they also enjoyed other activities during their trip into the city centre for the event, including shopping, eating and drinking and visiting attractions – helping to support York’s diverse range of local businesses.

Ashley Young, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager at Make It York said : “The York Ice Trail is a unique event and we are incredibly proud of how it’s grown each year. Whilst we were disappointed not to be able to hold an Ice Trail event in 2021 due to the Covid restrictions, planning has been going on behind the scenes to look at how we can bring the event back next year and make it better than ever.

It is a fabulous family friendly event that gets visitors exploring different areas of the city and helps to support local businesses by driving footfall at a typically quiet period. We are looking forward to unveiling the trail’s theme for 2022 later in the year and working with businesses across the city to plan some spectacular sculpture designs.”

Opportunities are now available for businesses to sponsor one of the ice sculptures, with a variety of sizes available. Email  to find out more.

Further event details will be announced later in 2021. For more information visit:  and follow the @visityork social media channels and #YorkIceTrail22 for the latest updates.


For further information please contact:

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager – Make It York


Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive – Make It York


Cultural Wellbeing Grant Supports St Nicks ‘Journey Through Winter’s Heart’ Project

As part of the launch of York’s Culture Strategy ‘York’s Creative Future’, through the Better Care Fund, Make It York and City of York Council awarded funding of more than £10,000 to seven social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation and mental ill-health during the winter months. 

The grants were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation and social distancing. 

One project the grant scheme supported was Journey Through Winter’s Heartled by local charity St Nicks. The project set out to boost spirits during the winter season and increase social connection through promoting the power of nature and creativity.  

Offering a series of fun craft workshops and creative nature explorations sessions, participants were able to learn about nature and get involved in a range of activities – from candle making and willow crafting, to poetry and games.  

One hundred York residents were involved in these sessions which were aimed at increasing social connection – particularly within marginalised or disadvantaged groups and those negatively impacted by the pandemic. The charity worked with groups such as the York Mosque, LGBT Forum, Wilberforce Trust, York Carers and Changing Lives to ensure the sessions were as inclusive as possible and were tailored to meet the different groups’ needs.  

Despite lockdown restrictions, the St Nicks team quickly adapted to create a blended offer – incorporating both online Zoom calls with opportunities for people to get out and find objects in nature. Craft materials were hand-delivered to participants helping to encourage more people to get involved and the team worked hard to remove any barriers to inclusion, even providing technical support for those who had never used Zoom before. 

Esther Smith Charity Support Manager at St Nicks said “We’ve been aware for a long time of the powerful impact that connecting with nature can have on people’s mental wellbeing and we wanted these sessions to be a really inclusive way to give residents across the city opportunities to get creative and enjoy nature. We were really keen to promote the message that connecting to nature doesn’t necessarily mean going out for a long hike – it incorporates all sorts of things, such as crafting and getting out to forage for materials, writing poetry, nature journaling or simply being outside feeding the birds. 

“Our aim with this project was to really help local people feel as connected as possible this winter – both with nature and with each other, and to help beat the winter blues. We wanted to offer fun, creative activities that would also give opportunities for socialising and online discussion to help people forge lasting links with each other and their local community.  

Feedback from participants has been hugely positive and we are really proud that 100% of those who responded to our survey said the sessions reduced their isolation and improved their physical and mental wellbeing. We found that the conversation really flowed in the sessions and it was a great way of connecting people and giving them opportunities to learn more about nature and the work we do here at St Nicks.  

What has also been lovely about this project are the continued links we have with the groups that we partnered with – being able to develop these relationships is really important to us and allows us to tailor our ongoing activities using their feedback.  

Thank you to the Better Care Fund for helping us to put on these sessions which really allowed people to come together virtually to enjoy nature and be creative, creating some much-needed social connection, especially over this winter period.” 

St Nicks have a number of ongoing projects and opportunities for residents to be involved with – these include: 

  • Bushcraft: a hands-on, practical experience for those aged 14+ to develop skills and knowledge that can be applied to survive and thrive in a natural environment.  
  • Green Influencers – a scheme to support young people aged 10-14 years to make a difference to the local community and environment through youth social action projects benefitting schools and communities in the area. 
  • Access to Inclusion- St Nicks is working alongside local partners and stakeholders in order to provide mentoring, training and engaging activities for participants, helping people to develop their own skills and moving them closer to employment market.  

For more information about the charity visit 

Meet the Shambles Market Trader: Zulia Finnigan

Trading on Shambles Market since 2016, Zulia Finnigan is a local artist who creates beautiful and unique feather-based paintings.  Combining her love of nature with her creative talent, Zulia has a wide range of intricately hand-painted feather designs for customers to choose from – depicting everything from birds and flowers to animals and insects.  

During lockdown, Zulia continued to receive commissions and sell her artwork via her Instagram and Facebook pages and has now returned to trade at the r Shambles Market three days a week – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Over the lockdown period, Zulia also developed a new passion for crochet and in her spare time has been crafting some stylish and vibrant handbags that customers can also now purchase from her stall at the market. 

A long-time artist of landscapes and city views, Zulia has been painting on feathers for over 5 years and has a real passion for using this rare medium for her beautifully colourful designs. Initially starting out by selling her artwork at craft and art fairs, Zulia found the feedback from customers was so positive that she was keen to progress to taking a regular stall every week on Shambles Market.  

Zulia explains: “I absolutely love creating my feather paintings and offering my customers something really unique and different. With my pieces I’ve been inspired by my passion for nature and I love to create intricate paintings of my favourite birds and animals. I often get feedback from people that they have never seen art pieces like this before and over the years I’ve had such positive reactions to my work which has been really lovely.  

I have many customers who return again and again to buy my feathers and I am very proud that they have flown all around the world – reaching countries like Canada, Australia, USA, Indonesia and China. I also have a lot of York residents who buy my paintings, as well as tourists looking to pick up something a little different as a memento of their visit to our lovely city.  

During lockdown I’ve been busy working on lots of new designs to restock my stall and have also found a new hobby in my crochet-work! The crocheting is something I really enjoy and it’s lovely to be able to share my passion for this with my customers too.  

It’s been great to return to the market and getting back out to chat to my customers in person. Building relationships with my customers and the other traders is one of my favourite things about being on the market and I am so glad to be back. Please do come on down to my stall and have a chat with me about my artwork!” 

See more of Zulia’s amazing designs by heading to Shambles Market on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays or follow her on Instagram or Facebook.  

Case Study – THOR’S Tipi

THOR’S Tipi, a national well-loved brand, will be familiar to many as one of the staple experiences at York Christmas Market and other Christmas markets across the country and was originally founded right here in York. The organisation first started as a company providing tents for special occasions and events, such as weddings – and whilst the weddings business was successful in spring-summer time, winters were a traditionally quiet period. This is how the idea for THOR’S Tipi offering drinks and a cosy place to relax after busy Christmas shopping during the festive period was born.  

THOR’S Tipi first approached Make It York in 2015 with the idea of doing a ‘tipi bar’ at the York Christmas Markets. This was a start of the long-lasting relationship that has seen THOR’S Tipi grow and expand over the years. By 2019 the company was operating within seven Christmas markets from London to Edinburgh, with each site offering unique features. Special attention is paid to every detail, and the experiences are designed to offer the best experience to all customers.  

Amanda, the co-owner of THOR’S Tipi, says: 

“The name THOR’S came from York’s Viking history. We see York as our home and wanted to have a connection between our business and the city’s heritage. The team at Make It York have actually helped us with the choice for the name, and it’s been fun to work with them on different projects and collaboration ideas. Dominic and Rachel in the events team are knowledgeable, creative and constantly push us through the innovation process motivating us to come up with new concepts every time”.  

To THOR’S the Christmas Market is everything, as the business was born to create a place for people to dwell and relax during the busy and exciting festive period. The cancellation of the 2020 York Christmas Market due to the pandemic was unfortunate, however THOR’S supported the decision that put people’s health & safety first and are looking forward to returning to their “home” – Parliament Street, in 2021.  

2020 was a year of reflection, however, THOR’S continued to work with local organisations on new projects and opportunities. During summer 2020, THOR’S worked with the York BID to create an outdoor hospitality place at College Green. This year, from April 12th and the beginning of the relaxation of the national lockdown in the UK, THOR’S are operating an outdoor seating space on Parliament Street for customers from nearby businesses to use – right in the heart of York city centre. 

Photo credit: THOR’S and Joe Dodsworth Photography

The relationship THOR’S have created with Make It York over five years, helps to bring together various York businesses, opening the door for THOR’S to use a network of suppliers, at the same time supporting local producers. Dominic Berry, Senior Health & Safety Event Manager and Rachel Harvey, Development Manager from Make It York have been working closely with THOR’S for many years, offering support, sharing knowledge and expertise of city centre events and making connections.  

Amanda adds: 

“Events experience is undoubtably one of Make It York’s strengths. Dominic and Rachel are like a font of knowledge, they can advise on health and safety, support with licensing and planning proposals and help to transform our idea into a successful city centre event. Over time, THOR’S has grown into a national, much loved brand – whose roots belong in York. And ultimately without Make It York’s trust in our offer and ability to deliver, we wouldn’t be here today.” 

Find out more about THOR’S Tipi here:  

Residents urged to support York’s retail and outdoor hospitality businesses as they safely reopen today

With the further easing of Covid restrictions from today (12th April), many of York’s retailers and businesses offering outdoor hospitality will be reopening in the city and safely welcoming back residents and visitors. Updated information on what is open in the city can be found at  

To ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for people coming into the city centre, Make It York has been working alongside York BID and City of York Council to introduce new temporary outdoor spaces across the city. The new seating areas will allow people to safely see their friends and family and create additional seating to support nearby cafes, pubs and restaurants.  

On Parliament Street, a tipi-style covered seating area with benches has been set up in partnership with Thor’s Tipi, offering extra space for nearby hospitality businesses. The space will be fully managed, with regular cleaning and stewards on hand to ensure social distancing is in place.  The installation of temporary public toilets, additional litter bins and city centre cleaning will also ensure the space is welcoming and safe for all to enjoy. 

Shambles Market will reopen for all traders from 12th April – with a wide variety of independent traders offering local produce, crafts and delicious street food. To help manage the space effectively and aid with social distancing, a number of the Shambles Market street food businesses will be trading from St Sampson’s Square where additional benches will be provided for the public. This will include Shambles Kitchen, KREP and Stam & Maria Greek Street Food.  

York’s Visitor Information Centre will also reopen its doors from 16th April with reduced opening times (Friday-Sunday 10.30AM – 3.30PM) – with plans to open seven days a week from 17th May. The Visitor Information Centre team will be on hand to give locals and visitors a warm welcome and provide information on a range of areas including travel advice, guidance on what is open locally, and expert insight on the city – including leaflets and trail maps.  

Ashley YoungSenior Marketing and Communications Manager at Make It York said: “We are delighted that more of York’s businesses are able to reopen today as lockdown restrictions ease. York has so many incredible independent retailers and a world-class hospitality industry, and it’s a positive step forward that we can start to see some of the businesses that we’ve greatly missed over the last few months now reopening. Local York businesses need our support more than ever before and so it’s really vital that people shop local and get behind the wonderful retailers and hospitality businesses we have in the city. 

“Safety continues to be paramount and we know that a huge amount of work has been done by businesses to ensure that they are offering safe and enjoyable experiences for their customers. The new outdoor spaces in the city centre have also been created to help support nearby businesses by providing additional seating areas for people to relax and safely enjoy their food and drink. “  

Councillor Andrew Waller: Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, said: “We are extremely lucky in York to have such an incredible range of independent and micro businesses. They make our city an exciting and dynamic place to visit, and many of us will be looking forward to being able to support them from Monday. Whilst we are delighted to be able to enjoy even more of what our city centre has to offer, we would still encourage residents to continue behaving safely and following hands, face, space to stop the spread of the virus and keep the people and places we love safe. Let’s keep York open.” 

For more information about what is open from 12th April visit 


Notes to Editor 

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. 

One of Make It York’s strategic aims is to promote York as a brilliant place to do business, helping to support business growth and innovation across a range of business sectors, such as financial & professional services, rail and high value manufacturing and to stimulate greater inward investment. 

For further information please contact: 

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager 

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive