112 things to look forward to in York in 2018

12 Jan 2018 @ 2.36 pm
| Entertainment, News

With a spaceship at one end and some Christmas crackers at the other, this year is going to be a blast.

We’ve put together some of the highlights of 2018, which include a new floral festival and a Shakespearean theatre popping up in the centre of town.

If you think we’ve missed something vital, drop us a line.

In the meantime, start pencilling in your favourites…


Tim Peake’s capsule is coming to York
York One-Day Book Fair
Jan 13
More than 100 booksellers from across the UK descend on York Racecourse with 40,000 volumes on sale.
The Wizard Of Oz
Jan 13
Will the Scarecrow find a brain? The Lion some courage? The Tin Man a heart? The audience some ice cream? These are the questions Oddsocks Productions hope to answer in this fun show at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre.
Brass Monkey Half Marathon
Jan 14
Support the hardy runners in this first big athletic event of the year, which kicks off from York Racecourse.
Tim Peake’s spacecraft in York
Jan 17-Mar 8
The National Railway Museum is ready to host the historic Soyuz capsule used by Major Tim Peake – complete with scorch marks – on his record-breaking space voyage as part of a new exhibition.
Stamp and Coin Fair
Jan 19-21
They’ll be coining it in and stamping it out at York Racecourse… Two days of heaven for collectors everywhere.
Cilla – The Musical
Jan 23-27
This heart-warming musical adaptation of the critically acclaimed hit ITV television series at the Grand Opera House includes Cilla’s greatest hits like Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie and Something Tells Me.
Michael McIntyre hits the Grand Opera House
York Mansion House reopens
Jan 27
We’ve already had a sneaky Christmas peak at the refurbed Mansion House. But it reopens for good in January, as a major new attraction for visitors and residents.
Greg Davies
Jan 27
Greg was so popular during his two-day visit to York Barbican in November that he’s back with one more night of his You Magnificent Beast stand-up tour.
York Residents Festival
Jan 27-28
A chance for us Yorkies to explore the city like a tourist – only we get everything for free!
Michael McIntyre: Work in Progress
Jan 29-30
Before he emarks on a world tour in the spring, Michael McIntyre brings his warm-up show to the Grand Opera House for two nights.
Bill Bailey
Jan 31-Feb 1
Twenty years of travellers’ tales make up this new show Larks In Transit, brought to the York Barbican by ‘comedy’s Mozart’.


The gin fest is coming. Photograph: Jez Timms on Unsplash
York LGBT History Month
Last year’s programme featured around 50 events and with a greater diversity of subjects and voices represented than ever before. This year the theme is Geography.
Vapnartak War Games Expo
Feb 4
More than 50 traders ply their gaming wares at York Racecourse, and you can watch and take part in gaming sessions.
An Evening with Boycott & Aggers
Feb 4
Cricket fans looking to recover from the Ashes drubbing can join the Test Match Special duo for an evening of wicked wicket stories at the Grand Opera House.
The Producers
Feb 8-10
Mel Brooks’ genius comedy hits the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, featuring the showstopper Springtime For Hitler.
Joel Dommett
Feb 11
He was originally bringing his stand-up to York Barbican in November, but a stint hosting I’m A Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here – Extra Camp! bumped the gig till now.
Jorvik Viking Festival
Feb 12-18
The Norsemen and women return. And this time they’re joined by musicians, birds of prey, archaeologists and even 1,000 year old treasure.
Look out York, he’s angry… Jonathan Pie, aka Tom Walker
Brighton Rock
Feb 16-Mar 3
A new adaptation of the classic Graham Green novel hits York Theatre Royal, telling the story of Fifties gang warfare at the seaside.
York City Knights vs Bradford Bulls
Feb 18
After a cracking season last year, the Knights have an explosive opening to the new campaign – a Bootham Crescent clash with former World Club champions Bradford Bulls.
Gin Festival 2018
Feb 23-24
If gloomy February days are getting you down, gin is the answer! The ‘UK’s first, biggest and best gin festival’ hits the York Barbican. Could be a tonic.
Jonathan Pie
Feb 28
The internet sensation, ranting reporter Jonathan Pie, brings his hilarious brand of fury to the York Barbican. Political satire when it’s needed most.


Historian Lucy Worsley is part of this year’s York Lit Fest. Photograph: Sophia Spring
Spark:York opening
Early spring
No definite date as yet, but York’s new box park, built out of old shipping containers on Piccadilly is set to open around now. Featuring traders, food and community organisations in the heart of the city.
A daughter’s view
Mar 1-Nov 4
New displays and events through the year telling Betty Terry’s story of growing up at Goddards, giving a daughter’s view of the Terry home and man behind the chocolate business and his family.
York International Women’s Week
Mar 3-11
This year’s celebrations will be mainly grassroots events with a focus on ‘making women’s voices heard’ both here and overseas.
Making her mark
Mar 3-Nov 4
A new display at Beningbrough Hall in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery showcasing diverse portraits of influential women who have made an outstanding contribution to art and culture, from Judi Dench to Amy Winehouse and JK Rowling.
Toy Fair
Mar 4
From Dinky to Lego to Barbie to Meccano, this York Racecourse event has all the collectable toys you could wish to play with.
Suggs: What A King Cnut
Mar 4
The charismatic frontman of Madness comes to the Grand Opera House to tell some of his best showbiz stories.
Strangers On A Train
Mar 5-10
Former Emmerdale vicar John Middleton and Mr Selfridge‘s Hannah Tointon lead a starry cast in this thriller at the Grand Opera House.
Hannah Tointon and John Middleton lead the cast of Strangers On A Train at Grand Opera House. Photograph: David Harrison
The York Community Choir Festival 2018
Mar 7-10
The third annual festival celebrating local community choirs offers everything from pop songs to gospel, from classical and traditional to jazz. At the Joseph Rowntree Theatre.
Guys & Dolls
Mar 7-17
York Light bring this oddball musical romantic comedy set in New York City to the York Theatre Royal. But will luck be a lady?
Flight Of The Conchords
Mar 9-11
You’ll have to be quick to get tickets to the New Zealand folk comedy duo’s show at York Barbican – they’re selling out everywhere.
Women and Confectionery
From Mar 8
This new exhibition from York’s Chocolate Story will include unique historical artefacts and fascinating testimony from those tenacious women who made this one of York’s top industries.
Joan Baez
Mar 13
Artist, activist and 2017 R&R Hall of Fame inductee Joan Baez brings her tour to York Barbican.
York Literature Festival
Mar 15-26
This year the festival focuses on history in fiction and non-fiction, with TV historian Lucy Worsley among the big names heading our way.
David Baddiel
Mar 19
The one-time Fantasy Football star brings his new stand-up show My Family: Not The Sitcom to the Grand Opera House.
CoCA York’s Restating Clay conference
Mar 19-20
The Restating Clay conference at York Art Gallery brings together potters, artists, curators, academics, students, collectors, gallerists and enthusiasts, with a full programme of talks, demos and films.
Belle & Sebastian
Mar 20
The indie pop tunesmiths arrive at the Grand Opera House following their successful North American tour.
Ed Byrne
Mar 21
Are we filled with righteous anger at a world gone wrong or are we all just a bunch of whiny little brats? That’s the key question at Ed’s Grand Opera House show, Spoiler Alert.
Jurassic World is heading to the Yorkshire Museum
Yorkshire’s Jurassic World
From Mar 24
Take an epic journey back through 150 million years of Yorkshire to discover lost giants and the changing worlds they inhabited in this major new Yorkshire Museum exhibition.
York Easter Festival
Mar 30-Apr 2
Egg hunts, special exhibitions and workshops to outdoor activities are lined up at the seasonal fest, tied in with…
York Chocolate Festival
Mar 30-Apr 2
From the city that brought the world the KitKat and Chocolate Orange, three days of cocoa worship.
Model Railway Show
Mar 31-Apr 2
Get on track for miniature transport inspired fun and commerce at York Racecourse.


All the vibrance of York’s fashion scene distilled into a few days – and you can be a part of York Fashion Week. Photograph: One and Other
York Cocoa Works opens
An exciting new chapter in York’s long confectionery history is ready to be written as the first city centre chocolate factory in 50 years opens on Castlegate.
Little Mermaid
Apr 4-7
Spectacular circus and spellbinding songs combine in this new adaptation at the York Theatre Royal. Should enchant everyone from 8 to 108.
England Legends Live
Apr 13
Stories galore from Peter Shilton, Chris Waddle and Lee Sharpe at the Grand Opera House.
York Open Studios
Apr 14-15 & 21-22
Two weekends where art lovers get a chance to see artists at work in their own studios across the city.
From Journeyman to King’s Carver
Apr 14-Sept 14
Following a fundraising appeal, Fairfax House saved a rare 17th century wooden sculpture by the acknowledged ‘Michelangelo of Wood’, Grinling Gibbons. This exhibition celebrates Gibbons’ unequalled talent and visionary genius.
Family Proms Celebration
Apr 15
What do the NHS, Andrew Lloyd Webber and York Light Orchestra have in common? They are all 70 in 2018! And the orchestra celebrates with this Joseph Rowntree Theatre concert.
York Fashion Week
Apr 16-22
Showcasing the best threads and the most stylish designs, the week features everyone from indie traders to international designers.
The Importance Of Being Earnest
Apr 17-21
Altogether… ‘A hhhandbaaaagggg????’. Enjoy Oscar Wilde’s timeless comedy at York Theatre Royal this spring, featuring Corrie’s Gwen Taylor and Thomas Howes from Downton Abbey.
Back in town – Russell Brand. Photograph: Matt Crockett Photography
York Castle Museum’s 80th Anniversary
Apr 21-23
York Castle Museum celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. The opening weekend will be marked with special events and a display of founder Dr Kirk’s earliest, most unusual and fascinating objects.
Festival of Vintage
Apr 21-22
Nothing says 21st century like vintage, and this is one of the biggest retro shows out there. At the York Racecourse, it features lots of live music, classic cars, fashion, homewares and food and drink.
Russell Brand
Apr 24
Russell lured his York audience into making some truly astonishing confessions at his previous York Barbican gig. Will he do the same this time?
Apr 25-28
One of the great musicals is staged at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre by NE Musicals. Consider yourself at home…
My Dad Wrote A Porno
Apr 26
The team behind one of Britain’s favourite comedy podcasts – Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine – bring a live version to the York Barbican.
Print Stuff
Apr 28
A celebration of independent printed matter, Print Stuff brings creatives from the fields of illustration, photography, printmaking, textiles and artist books to the De Grey Rooms.


Glaziers Anna MiIlsom and Zoe Harrigan work on the Great East Window at York Minster
York Minster Great East Window restored
The final panel in the restored window – the country’s largest single expanse of medieval stained glass – was refitted in January. In May, after cleaning and the removal of scaffolding, it will be revealed in all its glory.
Friends of York Art Gallery exhibition
It’s the 70th anniversary of the Friends of York Art Gallery, and to mark the milestone the gallery will hold a major exhibition.
Against The Odds – RAF At War
May 12-13
Experience what life was like for the RAF Elvington bomber crews during the Second World War with the re-enactors at Yorkshire Air Museum.
Joe Lycett on Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Photograph: Channel 4 / YouTube
Joe Lycett
May 13
The on-the-up comedian brings his punningly-titled I’m About To Lose Control And I Think Joe Lycett to the Grand Opera House.
Dante Festival
May 16-18
After the long winter break, racing returns to Knavesmire, featuring the Musidora and Dante stakes.
Aesthetica Art Prize
May 18-Sept 30
The Aesthetica Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in art from across the world at York Art Gallery. It offers both emerging and established artists the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience.
Tim Vine
May 26
More gags per minute with Tim than any other comedian. The endearingly silly punster brings his Sunset Milk Idiot show to the Grand Opera House.


How it could look: an artist’s impression of the Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre replica next to Clifford’s Tower. Image: Lunchbox Productions
Eboracum Roman Festival
Jun 1-3
What was life like in York 2,000 years ago? You can find out thanks to a Roman camp in Museum Gardens, military parades, weapon demos and more.
York Festival of Ideas
Jun 5-17
Organised by the University of York, the festival stages more inspiring and mind-boggling free talks and events. This year the theme is Imagining the Impossible.
Capture Yorkshire
Capture Yorkshire is the major new photographic competition which runs until April 30. The winning entries will be displayed in an exhibition at Chris Ceaser Photography on Micklegate.
Count Arthur Strong
Jun 8
Wit, raconteur and showbiz legend Count Arthur Strong is back at York Barbican featuring highlights from his glittering TV career.
All smiles at York Pride 2017
York Pride
Jun 9
One of the days when the whole of York comes together in colourful celebration. There’ll be a procession through York followed by live entertainment and more on Knavesmire.
York Taster Food Festival
Jun 9-10
An amuse-bouche compared to the full-fledged foodie fun in September, this summer event includes street food and cocktails.
Alice In Wonderland
Jun 22-23
We Are Theatre stage this enchanting musical version of the Lewis Carroll story at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre.
Family History Fair
Jun 23
Who do you think you are? Find out more with this family history extravaganza at York Racecourse.
Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre
June 25 – Sept 2
Europe’s first temporary Shakespearean Theatre will be built next to Clifford’s Tower this summer, staging four of the bard’s plays: Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet, Richard III.
Jimmy Nail, Sting and Lorne Campbell unite for musical The Last Ship. Photograph: Mark Savage
The Last Ship
Jun 25-30
The York Theatre Royal stages the British premiere of rock royalty Sting’s personal, political and passionate musical. It’s an epic tale of community – and a great act of collective defiance.
Proms at Museum Gardens
Jun 30
Who needs the Royal Albert Hall when you’ve got ten acres of the finest botanical gardens? Enjoy the open-air picnic concent featuring some of classical music’s biggest hits.
Summer Music Saturday
Sat June 30
Who will be the live music act rounding off a day of sport at York Racecourse?


The Punch Bowl on Stonegate says it with flowers. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
Bloom! Festival
Jul 5-8
Well, flower, this is a new one for the calendar. To mark the 250th anniversary of the Ancient Society of York Florists – the oldest such body in the world – York will host four days of floral, fruit and veg fun in the (hopefully) summer sunshine.
York Early Music Festival
Jul 6-14
The world-renowned festival returns for a 41st year of astonishing music in amazing venues. This year there’s a new artistic director: Thomas Guthrie.
York Dragon Boat Challenge
July 15
Not only is it an enduringly daft and enjoyable day out, but the dragon boat race on the River Ouse has raised £1m for charity and counting.
York River Art Market
Jul 7-Sept 1
Running every Saturday next to the River Ouse on Dame Judi Dench Walk, the market brings artists and art lovers together.
Returning this summer – the York River Art Market. Photograph: YorkMix
The Great Yorkshire Fringe
Jul 9-29
Now firmly established on England’s festival calendar, the fringe brings comedy, music, magic and more to Parliament Street.
Vivienne Westwood Shoes Exhibition
July 13-Apr 28 2019
Love shoes? Then this exhibition of fashion legend Vivienne Westwood’s footwear at York Castle Museum is for you.
York Maze
Jul 14-Sep 3
Another summer of fun, games and getting lost in Europe’s biggest maize maze.
Music Showcase Weekend
Jul 27-28
Jess Glynne, Sir Tom Jones, Kaiser Chiefs, The Corrs, Scouting for Girls, Wet Wet Wet – the list of previous performers at this York Racecourse sport and music shindig is long and prestigious. Who’ll it be in 2018?


York Unleashed in 2017. Photograph: YorkMix
Run For All York 10K
Aug 5
Runners pound the pavements for this popular outdoor race.
York Unleashed Comic-Con
Aug 12
It gets bigger, busier and more colourful every year. Last year’s comic-con at York Racecourse featured star names from sci-fi and fantasy and some amazing cosplay.
Stone Carving Festival
Aug 17-20
Get up close and discover the amazing skills of York’s modern masons at this weekend celebration of an ancient craft.
Ebor Festival
Aug 22-25
The biggest week in York Racecourse‘s calendar, it features some spectacular races with prize pots to match. Includes Ladies Day on Thursday August 23, and the Ebor two days later.
Micklegate Run Soapbox Challenge
Aug 27 (TBC)
Last year’s event brought 20,000 people and more than £1.2 million into the city. And the third running of this bonkers go-kart challenge might well be even bigger…


Bright future… York Mediale
York Mystery Plays on Wagons
Sep 9, 12, 16
These ancient community plays take to the streets on pageant wagons, brought to us by talented local actors.
Press Family Raceday
Sep 9
Fun for all the family, this date at York Racecourse combines racing with bouncy castles and the like. Look out too for a special guest: Paddington and Peppa Pig have popped in before…
York National Book Fair
Sep 14-15
The Aladdin’s Cave for book lovers arrives at York Racecourse, where more than 200 booksellers offer up a breathtaking collection of books, posters, manuscripts, maps and prints.
York Race For Life
Sep 16
The unifying event returns to Knavesmire as women tackle the 5K course in aid of Cancer Research UK.
York Beer and Cider Festival
Sep 19-22
Now one of the biggest events of its kind in Britain, the York beer fest returns to Knavesmire offering food, drink and live music.
Flashback to the first balloon fiesta in 2017. Photograph: James Drury / James Drury Photography
York Food and Drink Festival
Sep 21-30
Lots of free samples to get your teeth into, not to mention demos from top chefs, family-friendly foodie events, and loads of tasty treats to buy.
Joan Armatrading
Sep 23
Singer-songwriter legend Joan Armatrading performs some of her new songs and classics to the Grand Opera House.
York Mediale
Sept 27-Oct 6
Described by a colleague as ‘like Illuminating York on speed’, the first York Mediale will celebrate, showcase and demonstrate the world’s leading artists and technologists. It will bring the beautiful city to life with mind blowing art, performances, workshops and installations.
York International Balloon Fiesta
Sep 28-30
Returning for its second year, the balloon festival fills York’s skies with colour and spectacle. There will also be a Victorian funfair, live music and food and drink, based on Knavesmire.
Strata – Rock – Dust – Stars
Sep 29-Jan 13 2019
An exhibition of cutting edge digital art at York Art Gallery to coincide with the York Mediale, bringing together leading digital artists from around the world.


One of the wonderfully evocative images by Quentin Blake for The BFG
The BFG in Pictures
Oct 12-Feb 24 2019
This York Art Gallery exhibition of Quentin Blake’s brilliant illustrations of the Roald Dahl classic children’s story contains more than 40 original artworks.
Yorkshire Marathon
Oct 14
Described by the Daily Mirror as the number 1 alternative to the London Marathon, this spectacular event brings thousands of runners to York’s streets.
Ross Noble
Oct 21
Surreal stream of consciousness comedy hits the Grand Opera House as the North East funnyman returns with his El Hablador show.
Fri Oct 26-Sun Oct 28
With art on sale priced from £10 to £10,000, this friendly York Racecourse event is an opportunity for anyone interested in meeting artists and buying unique art works to induldge their passions.
Future Engineers at the NRM
Oct 27-Nov 4
Part of the national ‘year of engineering’, Future Engineers brings together the biggest names in engineering and the exciting challenges for the next generation at the National Railway Museum.


Sarah Millican heads back to York Barbican
Celebrating the end of The Great War
Nov 2018
York Mansion House hosted Belgian refugees and returning soldiers during the First World War. In an exhibition to mark the centenary of the Armistice, the house will host artefacts and anecdotes from the time.
Aesthetica Short Film Festival
Nov 7-11
Showcasing 300 stunning films from across the world in 18 of the city’s most iconic venues, ASFF is a terric event for anyone in to animation, comedy, drama, documentary and music videos.
Sarah Millican
Nov 9-10
Two nights of merriment at York Barbican in the company of the comedy star. Includes guidelines on the correct way to eat a biscuit.
York Christmas Festival
Nov 16-Dec 22
Christmas 2017 saw York look more festive than ever before. And the city will look to top that success with brighter lights, more shopping, and the Ice Trail.
Ashely Hugill competes in his home town tournament in last year’s UK Snooker Championship. Photograph © Ian Parker / Ice Photography
A Victorian Christmas at the Castle
Nov 23-Dec 24
Kirkgate, the Victorian street at York Castle Museum, is transformed into the magical Christmases of yesteryear.
UK Snooker Championship
Nov 27-Dec 9
Snooker loopy nuts are we… The be-waistcoated masters of the green baize return to York Barbican. But who will put the red and screw back for the yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black?


Stuart Wade in a slapstick moment from last year’s Grand Opera House panto Beauty And The Beast. Photograph: David Harrison
Sleeping Beauty
Dec 8-15
Another rollicking panto rocks up at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre courtesy of the Rowntree Players. Oh yes it does!
Dec 14-Jan 6 2019
Our reviewer called the 2017 Grand Opera House panto ‘outstanding’, and the same team will be back with the evergreen tale of a girl and a glass slipper.
Theatre Royal panto
Berwick and the gang are set to return for the Dame’s 40th panto – what an achievement…
York Early Music Christmas Festival
Dec 8-16
Artists showcase beautiful festive early music in the atmospheric surroundings of the National Centre For Early Music HQ – St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate.