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Enjoy a guided exploration of York, from its medieval beginnings to its Georgian heyday and how it became a confectioner’s haven

A truly magnificent city, York has worn many guises in the centuries since its medieval beginnings. On this four-day guided tour, you'll explore its rich and varied history on visits to ancient English Heritage sites, step inside a glorious Georgian townhouse, and see the legacy left by the city's most famous confectioner families - Terry and Rowntree.

You'll delve further into York's chocolate-making heritage with glimpses of the famous confectionery factories and a sighting of the garden village of New Earswick masterminded by Joseph Rowntree and learn the legacy he left. You'll see where the Terry family lived at Goddards and visit a war memorial that reveals more about the history of this family, who rose to fame by creating the iconic Terry's Chocolate Orange.

There's a short walking tour through York with your guide, venturing through the narrow streets, markets and shambles, where the city's butchers once set up shop. After, there's time to explore at your own pace, and you may want to visit the magnificent York Minster, one of the world's best gothic cathedrals.

You will enjoy a memorable afternoon exploring the archives at Borthwick Institute of Archives with Dr Annie Gray, where you'll discover more about York's famous confectioners. While the Rowntree and Terry factories are now closed, chocolate-making in York remains, and you'll take part in a chocolate-making class at Cocoa House.

From artisan chocolate to artisan gin, you'll also enjoy a gin tasting at your hotel, hosted by local distillers Masons of Yorkshire where you will be joined by food historian Dr Annie Gray. Annie will also join you for a private dinner at the hotel, with a pre-dinner talk about the history of gin in England, followed by a Q&A.

A final day takes you further back in York's history, visiting the site of a deserted medieval village, Wharram Percy, before enjoying the tranquility of Kirkham Priory and a farewell lunch at a hotel in Yorkshire food capital, Malton.

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Your expert guide

Dr Annie Gray
Food historian
Dr Annie Gray is one of Britain’s leading food historians, specialising in the history of food and dining from 1600 to the present day. She is an author, broadcaster and consultant who has worked widely across both TV and radio.

Price includes

  • Three nights' bed and breakfast at the Parsonage Hotel & Spa in Escrick, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Welcome reception and talk on the first evening
  • Private gin tasting by Masons of Yorkshire
  • Chocolate making class at Cocoa House
  • Talk, Q&A and private dinner with food historian Dr Annie Gray
  • Three dinners including two glasses of wine** and one lunch in Malton
  • All talks, guided tours and admissions
  • Tour manager throughout


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  1. Day
    Arrive in York
    York, United Kingdom

    Make your own way to the Parsonage Hotel and Spa in York for 3pm, ready for a delightful cream tea and the opportunity to meet your group.

    After, there's time to settle in before a welcome drink at 6pm and a talk by the tour manager, Rosemary Barnes on the topic of 'The Pursuit of Pleasure in Georgian England'. You'll then be seated for a three-course dinner, with wine.

    Meals - Dinner
  2. Day
    New Earswick, Fairfax House, and Cocoa House
    York, United Kingdom

    You'll be taken to New Earswick to see Joseph Rowntree's model village that was masterminded in 1902 as a self-governing garden village. You'll see outside of the famous Nestle factory before arriving at Fairfax House for a guided tour of this splendid Georgian townhouse in the heart of York, learning what life would have been like here in the 18th century. There's also the opportunity to admire the home's art collection and appreciate the design and tastes of the day.

    After your tour of Fairfax House, there's free time in York for lunch, before rejoining your group for a tour of Cocoa House where they make superb chocolate. You'll join a chocolate making class to learn more about their techniques.

    Tonight, dinner is served at the hotel.

    Meals - Breakfast, Dinner
  3. Day
    York tour and Borthwick Institute of Archives with Dr Annie Gray
    York, United Kingdom

    A coach will drive you to see some key sights in York this morning, including the racecourse and Terry's Chocolate building and exterior of Goddards - the former home of the Terry family - and visit the church next door to view the war memorial with links to Terry family.

    Your tour guide will show you around York's city centre on a walking tour, including the markets, shambles, and merchants hall, before you stop for lunch at your own expense.

    This afternoon, acclaimed food historian Annie Gray joins you at the Borthwick Institute of Archives to learn more about the Rowntree and Terry family history.

    Later, back at the hotel, Masons of Yorkshire will host a private tasting of their local gin. Before dinner, Dr Annie Gray will give a talk, sharing further insights into the history of gin in England. After, there's an opportunity to ask Annie and Masons questions. Annie will join you for dinner this evening.

    Meals - Breakfast, Dinner
  4. Day
    Wharram Percy, Kirkham Priory, and Malton
    York, United Kingdom

    Annie departs the trip this morning, while you'll explore another era of York's history on a fascinating visit to English Heritage's Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village, one of the largest and best preserved of Britain's deserted medieval villages. On the side of a valley in the Yorkshire Wolds, Wharram Percy was occupied for six centuries before it was abandoned soon after 1500. Today you can trace the outlines of many lost houses above the substantial remains of the church.

    Next, you'll head to Kirkham Priory, an English Heritage site between York and Malton. It's a peaceful place to explore at your leisure.

    A two-course lunch is included at the Talbot Hotel in Malton, refuelling on a seasonal and locally-sourced menu ahead of exploring Malton at your own pace.

    You'll return to the hotel to collect your bags for departure.

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch


The Parsonage Hotel & Spa, Escrick, North Yorkshire

York, United Kingdom

The Parsonage Hotel & Spa in Escrick is six miles from the historic city of York. Built in the early 1840s, it still retains many of the original features. The hotel sits in gardens and woodland with 62 traditional en-suite bedrooms. All residents 18 and over have full access the Spa and Health Club which features a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam, aromatherapy and salt room, state of the art gym.

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This tour is operated solely by TS Tours
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Call now to book 02039938321