Time Travel to prehistoric ages, walk through history and step into the future on ‘A Journey Through Time’ at York Ice Trail 2023. Organised by Make It York, with main sponsors York Park & Ride, the hugely popular free event returns on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th February.
The first look at one of this year’s sculptures has been revealed. Photographed by Charlotte Graham in Museum Gardens, with the backdrop of the historic St Mary’s Abbey, Make It York’s ‘A Journey Through Time’ is one of 36 sculptures set to line York’s historic streets during York Ice Trail.
The grounds of Middletons Hotel will be transformed into a mystical world of mythology, including four show-stopping ice sculptures and plenty of photo opportunities throughout the day. York Gin, City Cruises and The Potions Cauldron will be on-site, with crafts, competitions and surprise creatures – there’s something for everyone to enjoy! Their sister property, The Judges Lodgings, will also feature a spectacular ice sculpture. Make sure you check out the famous Thwaites Shire Horses in all their finery too.
Fittingly, 2023 is a big year for anniversaries in York. The National Railway Museum will be celebrating the centenary of the Flying Scotsman, with their interactive sculpture. While the Grand Opera House celebrate 121 years of making magic and LNER will mark their 100-year milestone with their respective sculptures.
York is renowned for its rich chocolate heritage, which will be brought to the ice with York’s Chocolate Story’s working Terry’s Clock Tower – with a hot chocolate twist! Learn more about York’s history with York BID’s six sculptures, all inspired by York’s fascinating historical figures that can be found on the York Quest app.
‘Busloads to Love’ by main sponsor York Park & Ride gives you the chance to be the driver and get a selfie. The sculpture, celebrating the importance of the bus in public transport, will be situated on St Helen’s Square.
Travel from York to London with Grand Central’s spectacular Skyline sculpture, or transport into another space and dimension with Hiscox’s adventure bound sit-on space shuttle. For those wanting to go back to the future, don’t miss Ate O’Clock’s DeLorean inspired ‘ATEY ATE Miles Per Hour’ sculpture.
There’ll be live ice carving across the weekend at St Sampson’s Square with Icebox, where you can see for yourself how ice sculptors bring the ice trail to life. Plus, there’s a chance to win some cash with YorkMix’s Casha-saurus T-Rex, who can be found on Parliament Street across the weekend.
The last York Ice Trail took place in March 2022 and was a huge success, following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Over 40 ice sculptures lined the streets of York over the March weekend, with an estimated 25,000 people participating in the trail. Research commissioned with Qa Research showed that 94% of participants would recommend the trail to family and friends.*
The free trail also had a positive impact on businesses in the city, with 81% of participants eating out or drinking in the city’s restaurants, cafes and bars. Plus, more than 50% were likely to go shopping or visit an attraction.
York Ice Trail 2023 will once again see the ‘coolest’ sculptures around the city, all sponsored and concepted by local businesses. UK and Europe’s leading ice specialists, Icebox will design and create all the sculptures for the 2023 trail for the second year.
Free trail maps will be available from the Visitor Information Centre on Parliament Street or can be downloaded online at visityork.org/ice
Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “We’re incredibly thankful to all the brilliant local businesses who support the York Ice Trail and to our headline sponsor, York Park & Ride. Their support makes it possible for us to keep running these much-loved free events in the city. York Ice Trail 2023 will spark imaginations, transporting visitors across time and dimension from sculpture to sculpture. Our ice partners at Icebox have done a phenomenal job at bringing the ideas to life and we can’t wait to see all 38 sculptures line the streets of York in February.”
Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of the City of York Council, said: “The York Ice Trail brings imaginative, ‘cool’ and unique sculptures to York’s streets and is much loved by residents and visitors, so it’s excellent to see the event return once again. This year's theme and creations are paying a fitting tribute to York’s rich history and imagination of our local businesses.
“Our city is well known and loved for its vibrant businesses, so many of whom have joined the festivities this year, with an impressive 36 sculptures set to bring some extra magic to the city. With so many sculptures and ways to get involved, this year’s festival promises to be another unmissable event.”
Greg Pittard, Managing Director at Icebox, said: “It is our privilege to be returning as the sculptors for the second year for York Ice Trail 2023. From mammoths to DeLoreans, the carvers have been working non-stop since late August to deliver ‘A Journey Through Time’. This year’s theme has inspired some incredible designs and we can’t wait to unveil all of this year’s ice creations!”
John Godfrey, Head of Marketing for First Bus in York, said: “We’re delighted to continue our commitment to supporting one of the must-see attractions in York this year. Leisure and social life in the city has really bounced back, from local people and visitors.
“We would encourage everyone planning to come and enjoy the Ice Trail to think about sustainable travel to get here and consider leaving the car at home or using the Park and Ride network. This helps avoid congestion, which makes travel around York easier, especially with such an event creating a bustling and lively atmosphere.”
For more information, visit https://www.visityork.org/york-ice-trail #YorkIceTrail
*Research based on a survey of 393 visitors
Full list of sculptures for York Ice Trail 2023:
- A Journey Through Time, Parliament Street – Provided by Make It York
- Growing The Future, Parliament Street – Provided by Dalby Forest
- Cash-asaurus T-Rex, Parliament Street – Provided by YorkMix Radio
- York to London Skyline, Parliament Street – Provided by Grand Central
- ATEY ATE Miles Per Hour, High Ousegate – Provided by Ate O’Clock
- 121 years of making magic, Spurriergate - Provided by Grand Opera House York
- Every Moment Matters, North Street – Provided by Park Inn by Radisson
- Where ever I lay my hat…. , Station Rise – Provided by The Grand, York
- 100 years of LNER, Station Road – Provided by LNER
- York Quest App: The Roman, Micklegate – Provided by York BID
- The Enchanted Unicorn, Middletons – Provided by Hole In Wand
- Ginny the Dragon, Middletons – Provided by York Gin
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Ouse, Middletons - Provided by City Cruises
- The Monstrous Chimera, Middletons – Provided by Middletons
- York Quest App: The Butcher, Kings Staith – Provided by York BID
- Coppergate Viking, Coppergate Centre – Provided by Coppergate Centre
- E.T. COMES HOME, Piccadilly – Provided by Spark: York
- York Quest App: Dick Turpin, Walmgate - Provided by York BID
- Adventure Is Out There, The Stonebow – Provided by Hiscox
- York’s Chocolate Story Clock, Kings Square – Provided by York’s Chocolate Story
- Erupted Volcano, Grape Lane – Provided by Lucia Bar
- The York Rose Diamond by Kay Bradley, Low Petergate – Provided by Bradley’s Jewellers, York
- Minus 200 Degrees Coffee, Low Petergate – Provided by 200 Degrees Coffee
- York Quest App: Anne Lister, Goodramgate - Provided by York BID
- Gothic Grotesque, Minster Piazza – Provided by York Minster
- Celebrating 100 years of Flying Scotsman, High Petergate – Provided by National Railway Museum
- York Quest App: Guy Fawkes, Gillygate - Provided by York BID
- The Pearly Cow, Clifton – Provided by No.1 Guesthouse
- Layers of Time, Exhibition Sq - St Leonard's Place – Provided by North York Moors National Park
- York Quest App: Wally Herbert, Museum Street – Provided by York BID
- Ryedale Roman Hoard, Museum Gardens – Provided by Yorkshire Museums Trust
- Greek Minotaur, Lendal – Provided by The Judge’s Lodging
- Busloads to love! St Helen’s Square – Provided by York Park & Ride
- The Bettys Express Train, Davygate – Provided by Bettys
- Fire Breathing Dinosaur, St Sampson's Square – Provided by Cut and Craft
- Live Carving, St Sampson's Square – Provided by York Ice Trail
For more information, please contact:
Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer
Communications Team at Make It York
Notes to Editors
York Ice Trail 2023 will return on 4th and 5th February from 10am. York Ice Trail is a Make It York event, sponsored by York Park & Ride.
About Make It York
Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.
- City positioning and profile-raising
- Ensuring an exciting city centre
- Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy