The unique two-day day event opens up magnificent buildings and green spaces in the city that are often closed to the public. It aims to encourage residents and tourists to uncover hidden treasures and see familiar places through fresh eyes.

York Unlocked 2023 follows a successful first year in which an estimated 20,000 physical visits were made to 60+ buildings. Favourites from 2022, including the Assembly Rooms, Duncombe Place Masonic Lodge and King’s Manor, are back on this year’s programme along with a wealth of new-for-2023 buildings, spanning historic to modern times.

This year’s event will also feature a special Architecture of the Ouse cruise in collaboration with City Cruises and new ‘insider tours’. Kathy M King, founder of York Unlocked, explains: ‘York is blessed with a rich diversity of building gems and open spaces that all have amazing stories to tell. ‘Maybe you’ve walked past for years on your daily commute and wondered whatlies behind the door, or you are new to York and want to learn more about its rich history. ‘Whether you are an architecture buff with a tick-list of specific buildings or a family seeking to see the city in a different light, York Unlocked is guaranteed to inspire, delight and intrigue.’

October 7-8,

Inside the Bishop’s Palace

The stunning Bishopthorpe Palace is the rightly grand residence of the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell. Originally built 1241 by Archbishop Walter de Grey, it was later doubled in size by Archbishop Rotherham with improved kitchens with north wing. The Gothic block was added 1766-9, designed by John Carr. The listed gatehouse clock was manufactured by W Potts & Sons Ltd in 1913.

Bishopthorpe Tours Sat 10am, 11am, 2pm & 3pm

Great British Life: Almhouse at Cameron walker Court. credit: York UnlockedAlmhouse at Cameron walker Court. credit: York Unlocked

Cameron Walker Court

An almshouse on Bishopthorpe Road, created at bequest of Charles Cameron Walker Estate. Opened 1912. 18 homes were built for residents within a 10-mile radius of York central Post Office.

Sat 10am-2:30pm

St Mary’s Tower

St Mary’s Tower Marygate is part of precinct wall of the grade 1 listed St. Mary's Abbey. The circular tower with unusual octagonal two-storey interior was built in 1324 by Stephen de Austewyk. It was repaired in 1644 due to Civil War damage. It has been the base for York Singing Academy studio since 1995.

Entrance for 6 people at a time.

Sat 10am-1pm & Sun 2pm-4pm

Great British Life: Get up close with the history of this well-known restaurant. credit York UnlockedGet up close with the history of this well-known restaurant. credit York Unlocked

The Star in the City

Look beyond the menu at this historic building. The building at 9 Lendal Engine House was built in 1836 to house the pump for city centre water. Later it became offices and was then renovated by CSP Architects to become the popular riverside restaurant. Insider tours of the grade II listed building provided by owner Gem Construction.

Museum Street Tours Sat & Sun 10am (Book Online)

Castlegate House, Castlegate

A Georgian townhouse designed by John Carr c.1763 for Peter Johnson, Recorder of York. It was later occupied by the Quaker Girls School (The Mount School York). Now a Masonic Lodge and Grade I listed. Temple added 1920, was designed by architects Ward and Leckenby. Grade I listed.

Sun 11am-3pm

The Phoenix Inn, George Street

A late C18 public house. Refitted 1897 with designs by Tadcaster architects, Bromet and Thorman. The last surviving pub inside the city walls to serve cattle market that was held in Fishergate Bar until 1827. Reopened 2009 following restoration. 2023 York CAMRA Pub of the Year. Grade II listed.

Sat & Sun 12pm onwards

City Screen Picturehouse

In Coney Street, this is the former Evening Press and Yorkshire Herald offices. An Arts Council funded redevelopment, by architects Panter Hudspith created the cinema, bar and restaurant complex which opened January 2000.

Great British Life: The Assembly Rooms taken from the roof. credit: York UnlockedThe Assembly Rooms taken from the roof. credit: York Unlocked

Assembly Rooms, Blake Street

Stunning Georgian assembly rooms. Designed 1730 by Palladian architect Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. Building was completed 1732 to be the earliest neo-classical building outside Italy, based on Egyptian Hall design. Refronted and portico added by JP Pritchley in 1828. Now ASK Italian restaurant. Grade I listed. Smoking room open 10am-11:30am each day.

Smoking room open 10am-11:30am each day.

Sat & Sun 10-4pm + Roof Tours (Book Online)

Middletons Skeldergate

Luxury hotel across six buildings. Includes C18 Sheriff of York residence (No.56 Skeldergate), sawmill (Cromwell House), hospital (Lady Anne House), C17 townhouse (Chaplin House) owned by Hans Hess, former York City Art Gallery director, Sir Joseph Terry Cottages and Organ Factory event space. Grade II and Grade II* listed.

Tours Sat & Sun TBC (Book Online)

Great British Life: St Mary's Bishophill Junior. credit: York UnlockedSt Mary's Bishophill Junior. credit: York Unlocked

St Mary’s Bishophill Junior

St Mary’s Bishophill Junior was built mainly in the 12th and 13th Century. The 10th Century west tower, constructed with Roman stone, is the oldest ecclesiastical structure in York. Repaired, reroofed and embattled in 1411. Se the Stations of the Cross by local artist, Fiona Kahn FitzGerald. Grade I listed.

Sat 1pm-4pm & Sun 11am-4pm (with some restricted areas)

The Grand, York Station Rise

Built in 1906 for North Eastern Railway Company. Designed by William Bell and Horace Field. Described as ‘Palace of Business.’ IN 2010 it became York’s first 5-star hotel. Grade II* listed.

Tours Sat & Sun 10am & 1pm (Book Online)

Brew York Walmgate

10 barrel craft brewery, tap room, and extensive brew hall. Founded 2016. One of two warehouses, previously Victorian maltings building. Yard overlooks River Foss. Awarded Within the Walls Pub of the Year 2018.

Sat & Sun 12pm onwards

Great British Life: York Lodge. credit: York UnlockedYork Lodge. credit: York Unlocked

York Lodge No. 236, Duncombe Place

The oldest purpose-built Masonic Hall in York. Built 1862-63, altered in1866 with 20th Century extension. Designed by J Barton-Wilson and John Edwin Gates. Grade II listed.

Architecture of the Ouse Cruise

This 1.5 hour cruise presents key buildings along the historic River Ouse including St. Peter’s, Kendall Tower, Barker Tower, All Saints North Street, the Riverside Development area, King and Queen’s Staithes, Georgian New Walk, Rowntree Park, Bishopthorpe Palace and more.

(with City Cruises York) Tours Sat & Sun 4pm (Book Online via City Cruises York website)