50 Firsts - A selection of First Time Experiences in York

When was the last time you had a first time.....?

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The Independent Online

Remember that exited feeling you got when you discovered somewhere new for the first time? Discover fifty first time experiences in York....and if you’ve visited before, some new ideas for your next trip! We look forward to welcoming you in 2014!

Feel/Touch York

  • Kiss under the Heart of Yorkshire Window at York Minster
    Local legend has it, couples who kiss under York Minster’s 'Heart of Yorkshire' window, will stay together forever!
  • Scare yourself silly on a ghost walk in Europe’s most haunted city
    Take one of the spooky nightly ghost walks.
  • Prepare your picnic – and have a feast at Castle Howard’s proms
    Join in the fun of the annual proms concert with lakeside view and spitfire flyover.
  • Book your very own butler - at the Five Star Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa
    Stay in the luxury Penthouse Suite with the Millionaires’ Package - you won’t need to lift a finger.
  • Buy that must have frock at York Designer Outlet
    With over 120 stores and up to 60% off – take the bus from York city centre and in just ten minutes you’ll be in shopping heaven. 
  • Toast a world class winner at York Races
    Home to world class horseracing since 1731, enjoy the thrill of the races and celebrate your winnings with a glass of champagne on the Georgian Terrace.
  • Cruise along the River Ouse with YorkBoat
    Escape the city rush; relax, admire the sights, dine and delve into York’s riverside history.
  • Cycle the streets
    York boasts cycle routes throughout the city and beyond - book a tour with Scoot cycling and get ready for the Tour de France on 6 July 2014.
  • Wrap yourself up in York for the annual Christmas Festival
    Join in the fun at the festive markets, carol concerts, Festival of Angels and go skating at the Ice Factor - all in England’s most Christmassy city.
  • Take command at the Yorkshire Air Museum
    Home to sixty historic aircraft including the Halifax Bomber and many other aeroplane greats.
  • Climb to the top of Clifford’s Tower – York’s Top Deck
    Climb the steps for a panoramic view and a slice of York’s turbulent history too.
  • Get lost at York Maze
    Lose yourself in Europe’s biggest Maize Maze.
  • Come face to face with York’s infamous characters at York Dungeon
    Where else can you bump into Dick Turpin, Guy Fawkes and Eric Bloodaxe?
  • Glamp it up at Jollydays
    For luxury camping, pamper yourself, complete with wood burning stove, cosy sheepskin rugs and hand prepared hampers.
  • Treat yourself at Middlethorpe Hall & Spa
    Indulge your senses with a stay at this 17th Century William and Mary house and National Trust property.
  • Stay in the oldest working convent in England
    Take some quiet time, visit the museum and stay at the Bar Convent – still a working convent to this day and also a bed and breakfast.
  • Track down the ‘Ghosts of Greatest Longevity’ at Treasurer’s House
    The ghosts of the Roman Army in the cellars of Treasurers’ House are listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
  • Create your own virtual family portrait 18th century style
    At Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, discover the interactive galleries, National Portrait Gallery paintings and beautiful gardens.
  • Tie the knot in a perfect medieval setting at Barley Hall
    Get married in Barley Hall, just one of York’s many unique wedding venues

See York

  • Meet Mallard, the world’s fastest steam locomotive
    Experience the world’s largest railway museum and admire the majestic collection of royal carriages, discovering over a million railway objects.
  • Visit the largest gothic cathedral North of the Alps – York Minster
    Don’t miss the amazing Orb and the new attraction: Revealing York Minster in the Undercroft.
  • Walk the longest and best preserved city walls in England
    A great way to see York from up high - choose the section from Bootham Bar to Monkbar, for a fantastic walk with superb views.
  • Shop in the most picturesque street in England –  the Shambles
    This former street of butchers is listed in the Doomsday Book.  Nowadays browse the shops from Chocolate Heaven to Cox’s Leather.
  • Take a trip through time on Britain’s most famous Victorian Street
    Take a trip through time when you visit the Castle Museum, a fascinating museum of everyday life – new from June 2014 ‘When the World Changed Forever’.
  • Enter the city like royalty through Micklegate Bar
    Kings and Queens through the ages have always visited York through Micklegate Bar.  Discover how life was for people living within the Walls at Micklegate Bar Museum.
  • Treat yourself to the best in china and porcelain at Mulberry Hall
    York’s stockist of famous names in china, crystal, jewellery and cookware are all housed in this elegant 15th century building on Stonegate.
  • Admire one of England’s finest views from the North York Moors National Park
    Take an hour’s drive out to Sutton Bank and walk above the famous White Horse of Kilburn.
  • Ponder the fate of Richard III
    Head over to the Richard III Museum to try this much maligned monarch and decide whether he was guilty or not.  Located within Monk Bar along the city walls.
  • See York in a different light
    Book your Autumn break to see the 10th annual Illuminating York festival in October.
  • Visit the Roman Baths used by Emperor Constantine
    Discover York’s Roman routes underneath the Roman Bath Public House for an insight into life in Eboracum – ‘Place of the Yew Trees’.
  • Take to the streets and snickelways
    York’s streets showcase architecture from almost every period in history, pack your camera and spend a day looking up!
  • Enjoy one of the best preserved medieval guildhalls in Europe
    At the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, complete with audio guide - explore the Great Hall, Undercroft and Chapel of the finest surviving medieval guildhall in Britain.
  • Step inside Lord Mayor’s private home
    At the 18th century Mansion House – this was the first civic residence to be built in England, with a budget of £1,000.  Now home to one of the finest collections of gold and silver civic plates in the UK.
  • Surround yourself with Georgian decadence at Fairfax House
    This beautiful Georgian townhouse is home to one of the finest private collections of 17th & 18th Century furniture and clocks outside of London.
  • Try your hand at croquet on the lawns of Goddard’s
    At the former family home of Noel Terry (of chocolate making fame), play a game of croquet or table tennis in the playroom.
  • Watch award winning short film - Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF): 6 – 9 November
    Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) is a celebration of independent film from across the world.

Hear York

  • Boo and Hiss at York Theatre Royal’s panto, starring the country’s longest running panto Dame
    Enjoy your first time York Panto and start a lifelong love of this festive treat.
  • Take in a West End show at the Grand Opera House
    Plan your evening’s entertainment to take in a comedy show, musical or opera in this grade II listed building.
  • Be enthralled at York Minster’s Evensong
    York Minster’s services and concerts will be music to your ears – check out the many events on offer before you visit.
  • Hear famous names – from Roger McGough to Germaine Greer
    Poets and writers galore at York’s annual literature festival - 20 – 31 March 2014 -  plus the Guardian's cycling editor, William Fotheringham will kick-start the warm up to the Tour De France's grand depart.

Taste York

  • Savour afternoon tea at Bettys Cafe Tearooms
    Decadence at its finest, have a delicious afternoon tea at Bettys, what’s not to like? Avoid the queues by pre-booking a table in the stunning art deco Belmont Room.
  • Get a taste of York’s chocolate heritage
    At York’s CHOCOLATE Story - from bean to bar – discover why chocolate is at the heart of York’s history, learn how to taste like a connoisseur and watch the chocolatier in action.
  • Join a cookery class
    York and Yorkshire have some of England’s top cookery schools – feast your eyes on the courses at Bettys of Harrogate, the York Cookery School or Ning for Malaysian cuisine.  Book early!
  • Dine in style – at York’s newest restaurant, the Star Inn the City
    Award-winning Yorkshire chef Andrew Pern’s latest venture is now open in York, set on the banks of the river Ouse, serving a locally sourced Yorkshire menu.
  • Join a Mad Hatter’s tea party at York’s Five Star Cedar Court Grand Hotel and Spa
    Feel like Alice in Wonderland, complete with Drink me potions, Eat me biscuits, pink mushrooms and edible candles! Lewis Carroll’s genius was first discovered in Richmond, Yorkshire.  Join the Mad Hatter to enjoy the ultimate blend of tea.
  • Discover what’s in your pint.  And how real ale is made.
    Join a York Brewery tour, the city’s award-winning traditional brewery, making real ales within the city walls – and don’t forget to visit York brewery’s atmospheric pubs too!
  • Tickle your tastebuds - at Britain’s biggest festival of Food & Drink
    Ten days of taste bud heaven are on offer at York’s annual festival of Food & Drink every September.  With a special June event for 2014 only.

Smell /Aroma York

  • Come face to face with a Viking
    At the JORVIK Viking Centre and at the annual JORVIK Viking Festival – travel 1,000 years back in time to Viking age York.  Take a nose clip – the Vikings were smelly!
  • Join an historic toilet tour
    A unique saga of convenience through the ages from Roman sanitation to the 18th Century 'Sugar' House.  And the opportunity to sample the dubious comforts of mediaeval garderobes!
  • Breathe in heady scents – Roses at Castle Howard and Water Lillies at Burnby Hall
    Gardens lovers will be spoilt for choice; why not book a week to discover RHS Harlow Carr, Harewood House, Castle Howard, Burnby Hall, Beningbrough, Scampston, Breezy Knees and Stillingfleet gardens to mention just a few...

For more info, please visit: www.visityork.org/first