Get to know your York – with 24 free tours in two days

Head every which way, courtesy of the Civic Trust. Photograph © Petr Kratochvil
22 Jun 2017 @ 10.55 am
| Entertainment, History

How well do you know York?

Get to Know Your York

St Sampson’s Square, York

Fri June 23 and Sat Jun 24


More details

After this weekend, you might just know it a whole lot better – the York Civic Trust is putting on two days jam-packed with free walking tours to show you around York’s illustrious history.

From tours highlighting Roman and Georgian landmarks, to guides to the city’s bridges and railways, to a walk focusing on the unsung women of York’s history (24 to choose from in total), there’s a wide array of events to suit everyone.

See below for a full list.

Recruitment drive

‘Come and join us!’ Dr David Fraser, chief executive of York Civic Trust

The event, called Get To Know Your York, is the biggest recruitment drive run by the York Civic Trust in 70 years.

The organisation has been preserving York’s heritage since 1946 by, among other things

  • maintaining the Georgian mansion Fairfax House
  • mounting blue plaques to commemorate notable city individuals and events
  • lobbying the council on plans that threaten the city’s heritage
  • and maintaining and improving public spaces, buildings, statues and monuments.

The walking tours aim to inspire people who care about York to join the trust.

Chief executive Dr David Fraser said: “We can’t do any of this without members. Our members are our life-blood.

“They are what makes it possible for us to keep on lobbying and fighting to preserve York’s heritage.”

To find out more, visit the Civic Trust website.

The tours

Medieval marvel – Barley Hall in York. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

A marquee in St Sampson’s Square will form the centrepiece of the event, acting as a departure point for all 24 free tours.

There will be stalls run by volunteers with displays explaining the important work done by the trust, as well as serving refreshments.

Here’s all the different tours available, along with their length and the name of the expert guide.

Medieval Shops and Houses

1.5 hours

Friday June 23rd @ 9:30am

Peter Addyman

This tour focuses on the 12th – 16th century shops, dwellings and warehouses scattered around York, along with the web of alleyways and streets that connect them.

City Tour

1 hour

Friday June 23rd @ 10am, 11am, 12pm and 3pm or Saturday June 24th at 10am, 11am, 12pm or 3pm


This tour shows you around the city centre to see all the major sites of York’s rich history.

Georgian York

1.5 hours

Friday June 23rd @ 10:30am or 1:30pm

Peter Brown

Focusing on the Georgian period of York, this tour will show you the legacy of the buildings left behind from this era.

Twentieth Century York

1.5 hours

Friday June 23rd @ 11:30am or Saturday June 24th @ 1:30pm

John Fieldhouse

Perhaps a little different from the other tours available, Twentieth Century York looks at the brutalism and elegance in York’s cityscape that resulted from post-war modernism.

‘Look Hard’ in York

1.5 hours

Friday June 23rd @ 12:30pm or Saturday June 24th @ 12:30pm

Jane Grenville

This fun tour will show you the parts of York’s history that the average passer-by might not immediately notice.

Almshouses in York

2 hours

Friday June 23rd @ 1pm

Monica Nelson

York was the first city to found an almshouse – charitable housing – in the 10th century. This tour will show you more about this tradition, which lives on in many buildings today.
Note: this tour is not wheelchair accessible.

The City Walls

2 hours

Friday June 23rd @ 2pm

Keith Myers

This tour will take you on a circuit of Roman-built city walls, showing you different areas of the city as you walk around.
Note: this tour is not wheelchair accessible.

York’s Roman City/Round the Roman Fortress

1.5 hours

York’s Roman City – Friday June 23rd @ 2:30pm or Round the Roman Fortress – Saturday June 24th @ 9:30am

Peter Addyman

York is well known for its rich Roman history as capital of Britannia Inferior, and this walk will show you all the major sites from this era.

The Street Patterns of York

1.5 hours

Friday June 23rd @ 3:30pm

Margaret Scott

Anyone who has walked around York once will know how labyrinthine it can seem. This fascinating tour will explain this maze of streets and gates, explaining their origins.

The Bridges of York

1.5 hours

Friday June 23rd @ 3:30pm

Ed Waterson

Described by the Trust as “four bridges that are there, one that was, and two that should have been”, this walk will show you the important bridges across the rivers Ouse and Foss.
Note: this tour is not wheelchair accessible.

Historic Railways Trail

1.5 hours

Saturday June 24th @ 11:30am

Frank Paterson

York is famous for its railways, with an abounding 175-year long history of them. This tour will guide you through this, along with showing you York’s oldest ‘listed’ railway structure.

War Memorials of York

1.5 hours

Saturday June 24th @ 1pm

David Fraser

Take a walk around the war memorials of York and discuss their architectural symbolism and how the perception of remembrance has changed over the years.

Women of York

1.5 hours

Saturday June 24th @ 2:30pm

Sarah Jackson

This walk will show you the sites and stories of the unsung female heroes of York’s past.