York ready to welcome visitors back safely as Covid restrictions lift

With the further easing of Covid restrictions from Monday 17th May, York is ready to welcome visitors and residents back to enjoy the historic city and all of its leisure tourism and hospitality businesses, including museums, attractions, restaurant, pubs, bars and hotels. Updated information on what is open in the city can be found at www.visityork.org/what-is-open-in-york

York, a city with more than 15 museums and attractions located within the ancient city walls, is a perfect staycation destination for UK travellers this summer, also offering many ways for residents to re-discover the city they love. With robust safety measures introduced which are backed upby the businesses’ ‘Good to Go’ status, as part of the nationwide scheme, museums and attractions will be welcoming visitors back with new exhibitions designed to enhance the experience further.  

‘Reunited: Lifting Lockdown with Georgians’, a brand-new exhibition at Fairfax House starting on 17th May, will celebrate the end of lockdown and take visitors on a journey of Georgian times through the magnificent rooms of the historic house. York Minster will open its doors to leisure visitors with three new exhibitions planned for summer, including the exploration of the story and miracles of St Cuthbert through stained glass windows of the cathedral. The popular ‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’ has also been extended and visitors will now have until 6th June to journey through life and art of Vincent Van Gogh. Summer 2021 will also see a brand new ‘Trans-Siberian: The World’s Longest Railway’ exhibition coming to the National Railway Museum. Charting the global impact of the world’s longest and most famous rail journey, the exhibition will also showcase priceless artefacts from Russia and the UK, including the famous Faberge Easter Egg.  

Further afield, Castle Howard, explored by many through the Bridgerton TV series on Netflix this year, will reopen the doors to the house with a brand new ‘Sarah Gillispie: Moth’ exhibition starting from 29th May. This ongoing project has seen Gillespie research, draw and engrave common English moths by way of highlighting their dramatic and devastating decline and celebrating their overwhelming importance. The exhibition will feature all 22 of the resulting mezzotints as well as a new work, Gillespie’s largest mezzotint to date. Find out more about York’s attractions here. 

Visitors to York wanting to explore the city’s attractions can purchase York Pass – York’s Official Sightseeing Card. Available as One or Two Day city card, York Pass offers a convenient way to explore the city at one great price. Once purchased, digital York Pass can simply be download to a mobile device and shown at the attraction to gain entry. York Passes are available for purchase online on www.yorkpass.com (Pre-booking is required at some attractions).  

With up to 30 people allowed to meet outdoors, guided tours and ghost walks will be able to return to the streets of York. Ghost walks have been especially popular during the lockdown period, with Dorian Deathly’s Dark Tours, The Bloody Tour of York and the Shadows of York tour attracting virtual visitors from all over the globe. Now, visitors will be able to explore the gruesome dark history of the city in person. York Dungeon has also launched a brand new family-friendly walking tour exploring the grisly history of York with some of the most famous characters from the attraction. 

Visitors and residents are also encouraged to explore the city on their own with the help of self-guided walks like the Little Vikings family ‘I Spy’ Trail, York Chocolate Trail and more. Maps and leaflets can be picked up from the Visitor Information Centre (10am – 3pm Friday – Sunday) or downloaded online from the Visit York #LoveWalking hub. 

2020 was the time of reflection and new ideas – a brand new experience is set to open at Coppergate Shopping Centre from 17th May. The Hole in Wand is an immersive mini golf adventure centre, that invites visitors to step into the world of wizardry with magical portals, bubbling cauldrons and delicious butter beer.  

York Theatre Royal also reopens from 17th May with the start of their ‘Love Season’. The theatre reopens their doors on Monday with ‘Love Bites’, celebrating local artists – poets, performers, singers, dancers, digital artists – who have been commissioned to write love letters celebrating the return to live performances following the easing of government restrictions. 

Restrictions easing means indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs and cafes as well as accommodation providers like hotels and B&Bs are allowed to reopen to welcome people back safely.  

Visitors and residents are encouraged to explore York’s diverse food & drink scene, from Michelin starred Roots York offering seasonal Yorkshire dishes to hearty Sunday Dinner meals at Lamb and Lion Inn or the Walmgate Ale House. Brand new Impossible Wonderbar and Tea Rooms on St Helen’s Square offers a unique Terry’s Chocolate Orange cocktail, while Sora at Malmaison (opening from 10 June 2021) will surprise visitors and residents with a breathtaking city view opening from the rooftop terrace bar.  

Ashley Young, Senior Marketing Manager at Make It York, said: “We are excited to see York’s tourism and hospitality businesses being able to reopen and welcome visitors back. York is a modern cosmopolitan city with deep historic roots, that brings new openings, developments, exhibitions and events each year, with 2021 being no exception.  

“The industry has shown incredible resilience and innovation throughout the past year and we are looking forward to returning to a better ‘normal’ that has safety as the number one priority. Our #LoveYork summer campaign will continue to promote York as the UK’s top staycation destination, helping to support the recovery of York’s diverse and unique tourism, leisure and hospitality industries.” 

A new #LoveYork summer marketing campaign has been launched by Visit York this month and includes a brand-new TV advert, social media activity, website content, advertising and a new ‘Summer Guide’ to the city. The campaign, created in partnership with City of York Council as part of the city-wide tourism recovery marketing strategy, sets out to increase visitor spend and inspire people to choose York as their summer holiday destination. The specially designed #LoveYork hub on visityork.org showcases the York’s unique appeal and iconic atmosphere.  

As part of the ongoing activity to ensure enjoyable and safe experiences for people coming into the city centre, Make It York has also been working alongside York BID and City of York Council to introduce new temporary outdoor spaces across the city. Colourful new bespoke seating pods have been installed on Parliament Street in partnership with THOR’S Tipi, with a series of benches displaying artwork from local artists ‘Art of Protest Projects’. The new seating pods will remain in place throughout the summer months. 

To find out more about what’s open in York, visit: www.visityork.org/what-is-open-in-york. To find out more about the events and exhibitions in York, visit: www.visityork.org/whats-on. 


Images: https://we.tl/t-x04t7ectld (© Duncan Lomax, Ravage Productions) 

For more information please contact:    

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive   
Email: ana.ignatova@makeityork.com    

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager   
Email: amy.goodman@makeityork.com      

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.   

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.   

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