28 things to do in and around York this Bank Holiday weekend: April 29-May 2 2016

Get on your bike this Bank Holiday – you can cycle the solar system or watch the Tour de Yorkshire
28 Apr 2016 @ 8.38 am
| Entertainment

We love May. Not only does the weather start to get a little warmer (well, it can’t get much colder) but we also get two whole bank holiday weekends to enjoy with our family, friends and box sets.

Here are a few ideas to get you out of the house this weekend. And if you come back later in the month (please do; it just won’t be the same without you), we’ll have a bevy of other bank holiday beauties to share with you.

Food and drink

The festival spirit is alive and well and living on Fossgate
The festival spirit is alive and well and living on Fossgate

Craftworks Festival

York Railway Institute, Queen Street




Competitive doughnut eating and a yard of ale race? Where do we sign up?

This curated four-day (Fri-Mon) festival of food, drink and music, hosted by York Railway Institute, enjoys a support line-up some of the city’s best musicians, DJs and promoters.

And among the foodie faves to get your teeth into are Shambles Kitchen, The Mussel Pot, Kerb Edge, Cantina Burrito, Tikk’s Thai Kitchen, Fat Annies and Crepe Lucette.

Biggest ever street food and drink festival ready to storm York’s tastebuds

Fossgate Festival


Sat @ 9.30am-11pm


Fossgate on Facebook

If you like shopping, eating, drinking, music and dancing, then you’d better get yourself to Fossgate on Sunday when all your favourite fun stuff is available from 9.30am to 9pm (the bars and restaurants will stay open even later).

Blue Bell Beer Festival


Sat + Sun

Free (apart from the refreshments!)

Blue Bell on Facebook

The little pub with big ideas on Fossgate is throwing open its doors for a two-day ale and cider festival on Saturday and Sunday.

There might not be much in terms of elbow room, but there will be plenty of booze, burgers and bangers.

Yorkshire Heart Vineyard Beer Festival

Nun Monkton

Fri + Sat


Vineyard website

If you haven’t booked for Friday night, you’re too late; it’s sold out. But you can still get tickets for Saturday’s celebration of Yorkshire real ales, ciders and lagers at the Nun Monkton vineyard from noon to 11pm.

As well as booze, booze and more booze, there’ll be stalls, live music, outdoor games, fairground rides, an inflatable slide, a bouncy castle, a barbecue, ice creams, doughnuts (advice note: bouncy castle first; doughnuts second).

York Wild Food Foraging Walk

St George’s Field

Sat @ 10.30am-12.30pm


Wild Harvest website

If you’re wild about food, you’ll love this two-hour foraging walk from 10.30am on Saturday which gives you the chance to discover free food for life while walking along the River Ouse.

You’ll learn facts about 25 edible plants and trees, how to harvest and prepare them, together with the benefits and caveats of foraging (if you’re not sure, don’t put it in your mouth).


York City’s last home match

Will the York City players honour the badge with a win on Saturday?
Will the York City players honour the badge with a win on Saturday?

Bootham Crescent, York

Sat @ 3pm

From £10

York City website

It hasn’t been a good season for the Minstermen (hello understatement my old friend), but will they give the fans something to cheer about at Bootham Crescent this Saturday at 3pm with a home win against Bristol Rovers? It’s their last home appearance before they bid a fond farewell to the Football League.

Guided bike ride

Rowntree Park

Sun @ 10am


Sky Ride website

Get on your bike on Sunday from 10am and pedal from Rowntree Park to the other end of the Solar System. It’s only a steady six miles apparently.

This free guided Sky Ride along the Solar System cycleway (yes, you’re not actually biking it to Neptune and back), organised by British Cycling, Sky and City of York Council.


Toy Fair

Ooh, Dinky Toys... Photograph©
Ooh, Dinky Toys… Photograph© Caroline on Flickr

York Racecourse

Mon @ 10am-2.30pm


JJ Webb website

Thankfully, toys are not just for Christmas (or for children), so get ready for playtime at York Racecourse on Monday from 10am to 2.30pm with the return of JJ Webb’s Toy Fair.

There’ll be a hundred stalls stocked with collectables from the likes of Corgi, Matchbox and Hornby.

And yes, before you ask, there will be Dinky Toys to play with.

York CD & Record Fair

The Basement, City Screen

Sat @ 10.30am-4pm


The Basement website

It’s the vinyl countdown (sorry, couldn’t resist) to muso mayhem at City Screen in Coney Street on Saturday from 10.30am to 4pm.

Admission is free, but don’t forget your wallet because, let’s face it, you’re not going to be leaving empty-handed, are you?

Family fun

Dunnington Scarecrow Trail

What a Carry On! You never know who you might meet on Dunnington Scarecrow Trail
What a Carry On! You never know who you might meet on Dunnington Scarecrow Trail

St Nick’s, Dunnington

Sat-Mon @ 10am-4pm


Scarecrow Trail on Facebook

Pick up a trail map from St Nicks from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, Sunday or Monday (or all three if you’re at a loose end) and head off in search of scarecrows displayed in various poses around the village.

Please be aware, however, that this event might cause unpleasant Wurzel Gummidge flashbacks.

Copmanthorpe Street Fair

Low Green, Copmanthorpe

Mon @ noon-4pm


Street Fair on Facebook

Hurrah for Her Majesty! This year’s annual Copmanthorpe May Day Street Fair will be celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday on Monday from noon to 4pm.

She’s not confirmed when she’ll actually be arriving to cut the cake yet, but if she makes it to Low Green in time she can enjoy stalls selling local produce and crafts, music, a tombola and fairground rides.

Foxwood Drop In Fun Day

Foxwood Community Centre

Sat @ 1pm-4pm

£1 per child

More details

Featuring a bouncy castle, sand and water, raffle, cake stall, cafe, mini play and face painting. There’s also a table top sale.

Holgate Windmill Open Day

Windmill Rise, Acomb

Mon @ 11am-4pm


Windmill website

If you’re milling about in York on Monday, why not pop along to Holgate Windmill from 10am to 3pm, when knowledgeable volunteers will be on hand to tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the flour power of a traditional mill.

Murton Park May Days

Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton

Sun + Mon @ 10am-4.30pm


Murton Park website

The Vikings are coming! (Again? You’d think they’d be bored of pillaging us by now.) They’ll be doing what they do best in the Viking village at Murton Park on Sunday and Monday, along with the Trailblazers western re-enactment society who’ll be whipping up some excitement in the fort.

Frankly, we’d pay good money to see the cowboys take on the Vikings. Fight!

Service with Style

National Railway Museum

Every day (until May 8)

£8 (suitable for accompanied over-12s)

NRM website

All aboard for an audio adventure taking in the thrills and spills of a journey on the world’s most famous express train, Flying Scotsman.

You won’t actually leave the NRM’s Great Hall, but you’ll feel like you’ve had a glamorous day out with a host of colourful fellow passengers.

Music & Theatre

Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

It's still a bit chilly for that outfit, Joe. Why don't you put your coat on?
It’s still a bit chilly for that outfit, Joe. Why don’t you put your coat on?

York Grand Opera House

Fri + Sat @ 8pm



Lovely, smiley, twinkly X-Factor winner Joe McElderry will be wearing his amazing technicolour dreamcoat until Saturday night at York Grand Opera House (he won’t feel the benefit when he goes outside).

He was just 18 when he won the sixth series of show in 2009, but now he’s all grown up (and wearing a loin-cloth).

Poppleton Live Festival

Poppleton Methodist Church

Sat @ 5pm


Poppleton Live website

Poppleton Methodist Church gets in the festival spirit on Saturday with a music event to raise money for the Two Ridings Foundation, which offers flood relief, and York Against Cancer.

They’re putting on a slap-up afternoon tea followed by music from the Revelator Band.

Brideshead Revisited

York Theatre Royal

Fri + Sat @ 7.30pm



York Theatre Royal’s grand reopening show ends on Saturday, so you’d better take Flyte (yes, that’s an actual Brideshead pun) if you want to bag a ticket.

For those of you who’ve been hiding under the stairs for the last 50 years or so, the play follows Charles Ryder as he confronts memories of his first youthful encounter with the colourful inhabitants of Brideshead Castle (which looks very much like Castle Howard).

Meet Me In St Louis

Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Fri + Sat @ 7.30pm



Joseph Rowntree Theatre gives us a timely reminder that there are less than 240 shopping days left until Christmas with a show that includes The Trolley Song, Meet Me In St Louis and, of course, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

The production runs until Saturday, which means you’ll have to put off your last-minute Christmas shopping until Sunday.

The ELO Experience

York Barbican

Sat @ 7.30pm



It’s time to give a warm Yorkshire welcome – ‘Eeh, ‘ello’ – to a tribute band who’ll be performing a host of hits, including Living Thing, Don’t Bring me Down and Mr Blue Sky at York Barbican on Saturday.

Yes, there will be beards and, perhaps, unfeasible amounts of unmanageable hair.

The Fam’d Italian Masters

National Centre for Early Music

Sat @ 12.30pm, 3pm + 7pm


NCEM website

The baroque and rollers at the National Centre for Early Music are hosting three concerts on Saturday to mark Annual Baroque Day.

The Italian Job, featuring Corelli, Vivaldi and Handel, is at 12.30pm; The Trumpet Shall Sound at 3pm; and The Fam’d Italian Masters will be on at 7pm.

Further afield

Tour de Yorkshire

Competitors make use of York's roomy cyclepaths in last year's Tour de Yorkshire
Competitors make use of York’s roomy cyclepaths in last year’s Tour de Yorkshire

Yorkshire (but not York)

Fri, Sat + Sun


Tour de Yorkshire website

The cyclists are giving York a miss this year, but the thunder-thighed riders of the Tour de Yorkshire will be hurtling from Beverley to Settle on Friday; Otley to Doncaster on Saturday; and Middlesbrough to Scarborough on Sunday.

Helmsley Walled Garden Residents Festival

Cleveland Way, Helmsley

Sat @ 10am-5pm

£7.50 (under-16 free)

Walled garden website

We know you really dig free stuff, so we know you’re going to like the fact that the lovely people at Helmsley Walled Garden are throwing open the gates for free on Saturday to anyone with a YorkCard.

Burnby Hall Gardens’ Tulip Festival

The Balk, Pocklington

Every day @ 10am-5.30pm

£3.10-£5.50 (under-16 free)

Gardens’ website

This pesky weather has a lot to answer for. The tulips at Burnby Hall Gardens in Pocklington are opening much slower than planned this year.

If you’re planning on visiting the festival, organisers are advising leaving it until Monday to give the petals a bit more time to pop.

Whitby 70s Big Weekend

Whitby Pavilion

Fri + Sat 7.30pm

£25 (under-16 free)


Press your flares and polish your platforms, it’s time to groove on down to Whitby Pavilion for two nights of pure Seventies style (if that’s not too much of a contradiction).

Tribute acts Too Rex, bc Sweet, Slade UK and Rock Stewart will be taking to the stage on Friday, while on Saturday you can catch The Jerseys and the now rather unfortunately-named Bees Gees Stayin’ Alive (because most of them, sadly, haven’t).

Filey Folk Festival

Various venues, Filey

Fri, Sat, Sun + Mon

£20 (for all 4 days)

Folk Festival website

The usually quiet seaside town of Filey will be alive with the sound of music this weekend as it hosts more than 100 acts performing folk, blues, country and acoustic.

There’ll be music at the Evron Centre from Friday to Monday and various free gigs around the town in shops, bars and on the streets.

Scarborough Vintage Fair

The Spa, Scarborough

Sun @ 10am-5pm


The Spa website

It’s time to get in your time machine and head to the seaside for a day of pure nostalgia on Sunday as the rather marvellously-named AdVintageous hosts 60 stalls, live music, a hair salon, NAAFI Cafe and classic cars at The Spa from 10am to 5pm.

Festival of Speed

Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough

Mon @ 10am-4.30pm

£10 (under-15 free)

Auto66 website

Start your engines for the annual Scarborough Festival of Speed at Oliver’s Mount. The event has been slowed down a little this year by the Tour de Yorkshire, which has led to a lot of events being cancelled, but there’s still a bike hillclimb on Monday.

More than 100 entries will compete, ranging from vintage Velocette to Ducatis and Nortons.

Related YorkMix stories

39 bizarre, random and hilarious things overheard in York

‘Best birthday ever!’ Girl thrilled to win York’s first ever trampoline park party

York Music Latest: Vinnie live records his album… and five more must-see gigs