The York Walls Festival 2022 ‘Spring Weekend’ took place over three days in April and May 2022.

Saturday 30th April to Monday 2nd May 2022

See the full details below the highlights!

  • Walk the Famous York Bar Walls for free (approx. 08:00 to dusk on all dates weather permitting)
  • Fishergate Postern Tower will be open for free at certain times across the May Day Weekend*^
  • Red Tower will be open for free and providing refreshments (visitors may not be able to see inside the tower on Monday 2nd May)*^
  • Fishergate Bar Street Fair outside The Phoenix Inn on Saturday and Sunday*
  • The Sheriff’s Army patrolling the Walls (at different locations around the Walls circuit on Saturday 30th April)*
  • Ebor Morris Dancers performing Morris and Escrick Sword dancing (at different locations around the Walls circuit on May Day, Sunday 1st May)*
  • Free Family Activity Pack including the ever-popular Walls Explorer Trail – collect stamps at each Festival location!
  • Walled Cities Image Exhibition at Mansion House, in partnership with Nanjing, China (an admission fee applies)

^Social distancing measures and maximum numbers of attendees may be in effect at certain times

Walk the Walls

York’s Bar Walls are free to walk all year round (except Christmas Day and when weather conditions make them unsafe). They are the perfect, family-friendly way to experience York, enjoy its amazing history and see fantastic views of the city. It’s easy to get back into central York in just a few minutes from any exit point. Walking the Walls incudes walking up and down several steps. Open approximately 08:00 to dusk.

Fishergate Postern Tower

The amazing 500 year-old tower, guarding a pedestrian access to the city, is looked after by The Friends of York Walls. They are opening the tower for free for all three days of the Festival alongside the many open days they run, all as volunteers. Climb the spiral staircase and visit all three floors! Find the ‘Tudor Toilet’! See the incredible medieval roofbeams! Open 10:00 to 16:00, circumstances permitting.

Pick up your free Activity Booklet and Explorer’s Trail here, and collect the special Fishergate Postern Tower stamp for your Explorer’s Trail here!

Red Tower

The fantastic Red Tower sits at the end of the Walls where the River Foss formed a marsh that protected the city. The only tower on the Walls built of brick, it has a fascinating history, including being used as a gunpowder store! The Red Tower is again looked after by volunteers, and is open to see inside on Saturday from 10:00 to 16:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 14:00. 

Refreshments are available outside the tower on Saturday, Sunday during the opening times above, and on Monday (12:30 to 14:30).

Depending on the direction you are walking the Walls after visiting Red Tower you’ll either be heading towards the River Foss, and rejoining the Walls at Layerthorpe Bridge, or have rejoined the Walls at Red Tower and be heading towards Walmgate Bar.

Pick up your free Activity Booklet and Explorer’s Trail here, and collect the special Red Tower stamp for your Explorer’s Trail here!

Fishergate Bar Street Fair

Join us on Saturday and Sunday for The Fishergate Bar Street Fair! Step off the Walls at Fishergate Bar / The Phoenix Inn and you’ll find us! Games, stalls, music, and meet our mascot Festival Fox! Plus we’ll be joined by some of our wonderful friends:

Saturday: The Sheriff’s Army and The York Sheriff will be parading on the Walls, starting at York Mansion House at 1pm! Timings will vary, but we expect the Sheriff and the Army at The Phoenix Inn an hour to two hours later for the traditional ‘Assize of Ale’, where the Sheriff tastes (and checks) ales on sale to make sure it’s of suitable quality for the good people of York! With thanks to landlord Paul Rodgers, and Vale of York brewery Ainsty Ales, we have a fantastic ‘FestivALE’ on sale! Come along and try a pint (after The Sheriff has judged it, of course!).

Sunday: Ebor Morris Dancers will be performing on and around the Walls on May Day itself! Starting at Fishergate Bar at 11:00, they’ll be working their way around the Walls anti-clockwise, with several stopping points. If you can, make it to Toft Tower (the corner tower of the Walls near the train station) at approximately 14:20, for the wonderful ‘Escrick Sword Dance’!

The tour of the Walls will end with a return to Fishergate Bar at approximately 16:30, for dancing and maybe a pint or two of FestivALE!

Live Music! Karl Mullen on piano 12.00 to 15.00 Saturday and Sunday!

Pick up your free Activity Booklet and Explorer’s Trail at Fishergate Bar Street Fair, and collect TWO special stamps for your Explorer’s Trail here! 

York Mansion House – Walled Cities Exhibition

The beautiful Mansion House in St. Helen’s Square is the traditional home of the Lord Mayor of York! It is open to the public for an entrance fee, and is a wonderful building to visit, filled with incredibly decorated rooms and amazing collections of some of the most famous and precious objects in York’s history!

As part of The York Walls Festival ‘Spring Weekend’ the brilliant Mansion House team have kindly partnered with us, OE Media and former mayor of York Dave Taylor to display a special exhibition of images of York and the walled city of Nanjing in China! The fabulous City Walls Museum in Nanjing have sent us six iconic images of their incredible Walls, and we’ve sent them six of ours – all twelve are on display at Mansion House until the end of May, and also on display in Nanjing, should you be able to get there!

Pick up your free Activity Booklet and Explorer’s Trail here, and collect the special Nanjing-themed stamp for your Explorer’s Trail here! (Entrance fee not required to pick up the Activity Pack, Explorer’s Trail or to get a stamp).

Check the York Mansion House website for opening times (not open Bank Holiday Monday).