76 things to look forward to in York in 2017

It's the year of the Viking… Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
3 Jan 2017 @ 8.03 pm
| Entertainment

This year is packed with activities, some familiar, others brand new.

There are major anniversaries connected to York’s chocolate and wartime history, the long-awaited reopening of both the Jorvik Viking Centre and the Mansion House, and a brand new summer concert.

Start planning now!


York One-Day Book Fair, Jan 7

Get your year off to a literary start as 100 booksellers from across Britain bring more than 40K books to York Racecourse.

Dickinson’s Real Deal, Jan 14

David Dickinson and his team from the ITV show hit York Racecourse. Bring your antiques and collectables along for a free valuation – will you sell or gamble and go for a day out at auction with David?

The real deal: David Dickinson. Photograph: Zodiak / ITV
Brass Monkey Half Marathon, Jan 15

One of the friendliest events on the sporting calender, this run organised by the York Knavesmire Harriers is in its 35th year.

York Residents’ Festival Jan 28-29

Grab your YorkCard and take yourself around all the city’s attractions for the popular price of nothing at all.

Gaslight, Jan 30-Feb 4

An all-star cast led by Kara Tointon brings this classically creepy psychological thriller to the Grand Opera House.


An Evening With Jamie Carragher, Feb 1

The Liverpool legend is the latest footie star to hit Fibbers and talk about life on and off the pitch.

An Evening with Aggers & Tuffers, Feb 10

Former England spinner turned Question Of Sport captain Phil Tufnell joins his Test Match Special colleague Jonathan Agnew for some tall cricketing stories at the Grand Opera House.

Anything Goes, Feb 16-18

Cole Porter’s timeless musical comes to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre thanks to The University of York’s Central Hall Musical Society. We’re promised plenty of tap dancing…

Jorvik Viking Festival Feb 20-26

It’s the half-term invasion from those hairy marauders, with this year’s emphasis on the fall of York’s last Viking king, Eric Bloodaxe.

Miles Jupp, Feb 22

Stand-up star Miles Jupp hits the Barbican in a freshly-ironed shirt and some robust trousers and tries to make some sense out of life.

Comedy legend Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais, Feb 28-Mar 1

The multiple Golden Globe and BAFTA award winner returns to the Barbican with his first stand-up tour in seven years: Humanity.

York LGBT History Month

Expect film screenings, talks, panel discussions and theatre. The national theme is Citizenship, PSHE and Law.


Python, traveller, writer, actor and all round top guy… Michael Palin headlines York Literature Festival
York International Women’s Festival, Mar 3-12

The 2016 festival was the longest and most successful to date, and it returns with gigs, talks, workshops and concerts.

The King And I, Mar 8-18

Shall We Dance, Getting to Know You, Hello, Young Lovers, I Whistle A Happy Tune… just some of the unforgettable tunes from this classic show coming to York Theatre Royal.

York Literature Festival Mar 17-30

Big names this year include Michael Palin, Sue Perkins and Mark Gatiss – and don’t forget to enter the Lit Fest/YorkMix poetry competition (top prize £500).

250 Years Of Terry’s, from Mar 17

This year is the 250th anniversary of Terry’s, and York’s Chocolate Story is celebrating with a brand-new exhibition charting its story from 1767 on.

Feeding the workforce in the Terry’s canteen. Photograph: York’s Chocolate Story
Annie, Mar 21-25

York Musical Theatre Company bring their adaptation of the musical fairytale to Joseph Rowntree Theatre. Remember, the sun’ll come out tomorrow…

Carluccio’s opens, tbc

It is set to be the biggest restaurant in the centre of York. And we are promised the first taste of the new Italian in St Helen’s Square this month.

Living North Homes & Garden Fair, Mar 24-26

The perfect chance to spruce up your home, inside and out, as the big shopping fair comes to York Racecourse.

York Community Choir Festival 2017, Mar 29-31

Enjoy show tunes, standards, operetta and pop brought to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre by some very talented choirs.

Evita, Mar 28-Apr 1

Bill Kenwright’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita touches down at the Grand Opera House, complete with tunes like Don’t Cry For Me Argentina and Another Suitcase In Another Hall.


Some Rowntree relics
Chocolate: York’s Sweet Past, from April 1

York Castle Museum puts on a new exhibition which features some of its fantastic sweet and chocolate collections, including rarely seen advertising and packaging for brands such as KitKat, After Eight, Yorkie and Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

Fashion City York Apr 4-9

This year’s celebrations look set to be the biggest yet, thanks to £15K of funding from the York BID. Catwalk shows, a shopping marquee and events with top designers are planned

Paul Weller, April 7

The Modfather’s back in town, with a new album under his belt and a back catalogue to raise the roof of the Barbican.

They’ll be raring to unveil the new-look Jorvik Viking Centre. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Jorvik Viking Centre reopens, Apr 8

Fifteen months after the disastrous flood that shut the world-famous attraction, it re-opens – reimagined to delight a new generation of visitors.

York Easter Festival, Apr 14-17

Egg hunts, special exhibitions, workshops and outdoor activities are promised, plus choral music and Easter services at York Minster and city churches.

Chocolate Festival Apr 14-17

Timed perfectly for the Easter long weekend, the chocolate city goes cocoa crazy.

York Model Railway Show, Apr 15-17

Another York Racecourse event, this brings more than 110 stands and features around 40 working layouts.

Rent, Apr 18-22

Multi-award-winning rock musical Rent celebrates its 20th anniversary with a stopover at the York Theatre Royal.

An architect’s drawing of Spark:York – a business hub made from shipping containers
Spark:York opens, date tbc

The idea of a team of young entrepreneurs, Spark:York will turn an empty patch of Piccadilly into a vibrant, shopping, eating and business park – made entirely from shipping containers.

York Open Studios Apr 21-29

A chance to see artists in their places of work across the city, and marvel at their creativity.

Festival Of Vintage, Apr 22-23

Celebrating vintage music, fashion and life in the 1930s to the 1960s. There’ll be classic cars on display too – all at York Racecourse.


Entertainer extraordinaire… Count Arthur Strong
York International Shakespeare Festival, May 15-20

This celebration of the greatest writer in history at York Theatre Royal features Romeo And Juliet, Twelfth Night and Henry V among others.

Dante Festival May 17-19

York’s racing season kicks off with a two-day meeting featuring The Tattersalls Musidora and the Betfred Dante stakes.

Viking: Rediscover the Legend, from May 19

This exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum will include some of the greatest Viking finds ever discovered including major loans from the British Museum.

Count Arthur Strong, May 19

The showbiz legend who’s a star of sitcoms on both radio and TV brings his tribute to the West End – The Sound Of Mucus – to York Barbican.


Eboracum Roman Festival Jun 1-4

After premiering last year, the Roman shindig returns to Museum Gardens, with lots of family fun promised, as well as Roman soldiers marching through York.

York Festival Of Ideas Jun 6-18

With the theme The Story of Things, expect more than 100 events including talks, films and exhibitions. And all completely free.

York Pride, Jun 10

The rainbow returns! The city goes into carnival mode with a procession and outrageously enjoyable live entertainment.

The York Pride bus crosses the river in 2016. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Food Taster Festival Jun 10-11

An ‘amuse-bouche’ before the full-scale festival in September, there’s always something new to try.

Jimmy Carr

International comedy superstar Jimmy Carr brings his The Best Of, Ultimate, Gold, Greatest Hits Tour to the Grand Opera House.

Everything is Possible, Jun 20-Jul 1

This year’s big community production from York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre centres on the story of York’s suffragettes, and will feature a cast of 150.


Your host for the first York Proms… Rebecca Newman. Photograph of Museum Gardens: visityork.org
Olly Murs at York Races Jul 1

It’s summer music Saturday at York Racecourse. As soon as the sport is over, Olly Murs takes to the stage to keep the party going.

Insect Festival, Jul 2

Held in Museum Gardens, this is a celebration for anyone with a fascination for insects – from exhibitors and traders to wildlife groups and the general public.

York Triathlon, Jul 2

They swim 400m, they cycle 18km and they run for 5km. And you can go along and cheer them on at York Sports Village.

Back at the races after six years… Olly Murs
York Early Music Festival Jul 7-15

Wonderful performers from across the globe descend on York for a week of sublime sounds.

York Maze, Jul 15-Sep 4

As well as Europe’s largest maize maze, there are more than 20 different rides, attractions and shows at this popular summer attraction.

York Proms, Jul 9

A genuine first for 2017, the York Proms will bring an open-air picnic concert to Museum Gardens. The idea of people’s soprano Rebecca Newman and her husband Jonathan Fewtrell, the full line-up has yet to be revealed.

The power of pink in York’s Race For Life
Race For Life, July 9

Both the 5K and the 10K are back, as the participants turn the city pink to help Cancer Research.

John Smith’s Cup Jul 14-15

One of the most popular events of the year sees a party atmosphere descend on York Racecourse.

York River Art Market, Jul 15-Sep 2

York River Art Market returns, bringing a Parisian feel to the banks of the Ouse. A great chance to support local artists.

Great Yorkshire Fringe Jul 21-Aug 13

Back for a third year, the Fringe hits York for 24 days of comedy, family fun and live entertainment.

Picasso ceramics, Jul 28-Nov 5

One of the world’s greatest artists is celebrated as York Art Gallery presents highlights of the Attenborough Collection of ceramics by Pablo Picasso.

At the races… Jess Glynne
Music Showcase Weekend, July 28-29

Two days of sport and music sees music sensation Jess Glynne playing the Friday evening, while the headliner after the racing on the Saturday has yet to be announced.


This picture gives an idea of the scale of the bomb damage to the Bar Convent from the air raid of 29th April 1942. Photograph: Explore York Libraries And Archives
Mansion House reopens, date tbc

After being under wraps for more than a year, the Lord Mayor’s official residence reopens after a big refurb. No date as yet, but we’re told “probably August 1”.

Robin Hood: The Arrow Of Destiny, Aug 4-Sep 2

A swashbuckling show for all the family at York Theatre Royal as a team of actor musicians re-tell this classic story of heroism, valour and the power of a strong woman with music, song and slapstick humour.

York 10K, Aug 6

The Asda Foundation York 10K brings hundreds of runners through the heart of York.

York In The Blitz, Aug 11-13

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the devastating bombing raid on York. There will be a myriad of different activities during this three-day city-wide event, including an open air cinema, various tea and evening dances and living history displays.

York Unleashed the Third, Aug 13

York’s comic con returns to York Racecourse. More great guests are promised, while attractions already booked inlude superheroes cosplay and Doctor Bell’s Magical Mirrorless Picture Box.

Ebor Festival Aug 23-26

York’s oldest, richest, fastest and most famous race meeting includes the Juddmonte International, the Nunthorpe Stakes and, naturally, the Ebor itself.

Micklegate Soap Box Challenge, Aug 28

This was one of the great hits of 2016, entertaining the city, relaunching York’s royal street and raising thousands of pounds for charity.


Eating, drinking and shopping – what more do you want? York Food and Drink Festival. Photograph: JoanneB
Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sep 8-16

A week of joyous songs and outrageous costumes in the Grand Opera House as the Aussie road trip arrives courtesy of York Stage Musicals.

Press Family Raceday, Sep 10

A fun day out for all ages at York Racecourse. As well as the races, there are visiting guests – both Peppa Pig and Paddington have popped along in previous years.

York National Book Fair, Sep 15-16

Featuring more than 200 book dealers the largest rare and antiquarian book fair in Europe returns to the racecourse.

York Food & Drink Festival Sep 22-Oct 1

Parliament Street will sizzle to the sound of a succession of stellar chefs doing their demos once more.

Yorfest, Sept 23

One day, two stages on Knavesmire and artists from across Yorkshire and beyond.


Marathon runners charge past the Minster… Photograph: Simon Dewhurst
Yorkshire Marathon, Oct 8

From country lanes to the city centre’s most historic streets, the picturesque route is pounded by thousands of runners keen to beat their PB and raise cash for great causes.

GeekFest, date tbc

Last year, the University of York event included quidditch, cosplay, Dennis the Menace and Doctor Who. Organisers say, “We’re pleased to confirm that GeekFest will return in 2017, and it’s going to be bigger and better”…

Illuminating York, not yet confirmed

This year’s showstopper was a laser light show at York Minster. What will those bright sparks think of this time?


Magnificent… Greg Davies
Greg Davies, Nov 1 & 2

The star of Cuckoo, Man Down, The Inbetweeners and Taskmaster hits the Barbican with his stand-up show.

Aesthetica Short Film Festival, Nov 8-12

The city’s fabulous celebration of mini-movies takes over some wonderful venues in the city centre

Jon Richardson, Nov 17

Live at York Barbican, the star of Live At The Apollo and 8 Out Of 10 Cats is all set to complain about the state of the world and offer no solutions.

Venturefest Yorkshire, date tbc

Loads of exciting innovation on display by the city’s entrepreneurs at York Racecourse.

UK Snooker Championships, Nov 28-Dec 10

The waistcoated wonders cue up some more blazing baize action at York Barbican.

St Nicholas Christmas Festival, Nov 16-Dec 23

In the weeks running up to Christmas York turns into a winter wonderland, with the Ice Trail, food and drink, and dozens of traders lining Parliament Street in the festive market.


York Early Music Christmas Festival, Dec 8-15

A magical mix of music to put an extra twinkle into the festive season.

Have we missed anything? Drop us a line or put the details in the comments below.