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todayDecember 1, 2020 11

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90 Minute Daily Festive Walking Tours exploring the History, Tales and Traditions of Christmas Past

According to one 19th-century historian,  almost exactly 1,500 years ago, in AD 521, King Arthur and his retinue celebrated Christmas in the city of York ‘not by holy conversion and devout exercises,’ as he wrote reprovingly, ‘but in the spirit of heathen revelry; with feasting and mirth; in wantonness and many excesses… This was the first ever Christmas festival held in Britain’

If this is true then York is THE original Christmas City. If not, then York has still witnessed two millennia of Mid-Winter festivities in the guises of Solstice, Saturnalia, Yule and of course Christmas! They have all left their mark on our celebrations today.

So, put on a Christmas jumper, gloves and a hat, and join Blue Badge Tourist Guide,  Sarah Cowling,  for a stroll through the twinkling,  cheerily lit medieval city streets every day, just as the windows are lighting up like the dates on an Advent calendar.

Is York really England’s Most Christmassy City? Is it true that it held the first-ever Christmas celebrations almost exactly 1,500 years ago in 521 AD? We’ll discover where Rudolph got his red nose from,  Which grinch tried to cancel Christmas and see where a famous author read his stories in York – and made us a present of Boxing Day

Our walk will carefully observe government guidelines*.  A great way to stay safe, outdoors and socially distanced whilst hearing tales of Christmases Past and looking forward to a much brighter future. Plus,  who knows? – we might even pass a takeaway mulled wine stand!

Don’t let 2020 be the year that got away. Come and celebrate a York Christmas in style.

*If guidance changes and the walks can’t go ahead, there will be immediate, full refunds.

Each walk costs £12 per person and departs from the Statue of Constantine, Minster Yard. The walks run from 3rd  to 24th December. See website for times (

Written by: YO1 Radio Web Team

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