The 30th of July is International Friendship Day: a time to celebrate friendships old and new and perhaps make some new memories with the special people in your life. If you’re wondering what to do in York to mark the occasion, look no further. Whether you and your friends like to get creative, have a good dance or enjoy a cocktail in the sunshine, there are plenty of fun days out to be had in the city. Below you’ll find some of our favourite activities in York to enjoy together.
Make your own chocolate bar at York Cocoa Works
If you and your friends love chocolate, why not celebrate International Friendship Day by learning how to make your own chocolate bar or lollipop together at York Cocoa Works? A chocolate bar making masterclass costs £22.50 per person and lasts for 1 hour and 15 minutes. You’ll get to try a selection of white, dark and milk chocolate and learn about the origins of the cocoa used in York Cocoa House’s incredible creations. You’ll then be shown how to work with tempered chocolate and will experiment with flavours to design and create your own delicious masterpiece. Once your bars have set, you can wrap them up and take them home. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more purse-friendly creative experience, you can pop in and decorate a chocolate lollipop for just £4.50 each.
Unwind with a spa day at Middlethorpe Hall
Hidden away behind the facade of two Edwardian cottages, in its own private garden, the Middlethorpe spa is the perfect spot to spend some quality time relaxing with your besties. Their full spa day experience starts from £140 and includes use of the spa facilities and gym, along with a number of treatments of your choice, depending on the package that you opt for. You’ll be greeted with a hot or soft drink on arrival and can enjoy a light two-course luncheon, served in the Club Room or on the terrace. You’ll also be given a robe and slippers to wear for the day, so you can look and feel the part. For those struggling to make time in a busy schedule, Middlethorpe Hall also offers half day spa discovery sessions from £105.
Get creative at Bish Bash Pot
If you and your friends are artistically inclined and love to get creative, why not mark International Friendship Day with a pottery painting session at Bish Bash Pot on Walmgate? Choose from a wide range of individually-priced bisque animals, plates, mugs, bowls, jugs and more. You’ll then decorate your item using brushes, stamps, sponges and paints of all colours. When you have finished your creation, it will be glazed and fired ready for you to collect in seven days time or, if one of you lives far from York, it can be delivered to you for just the cost of postage. The shop has its own cafe, serving Suki tea and other goodies to snack on if you get peckish. There’s also a small soft play area to keep any little ones entertained while you catch up.
Treat yourselves to a luxurious afternoon tea at Bettys
If you fancy celebrating International Friendship Day in real style, you could treat yourselves to a sumptuous afternoon tea at Bettys. Located in a beautiful art deco-inspired building on St Helen’s Square, Bettys first opened its doors in York in 1937 and is now considered a Yorkshire icon. Bettys famous afternoon teas all feature a tempting selection of sandwiches and dainty cakes and there are vegetarian and vegan options available too. If you’d like to really splash out, their Prosecco Afternoon Tea comes with four types of sandwich, including Yorkshire chicken with tarragon and lemon mayonnaise and dill cream cheese with gin-pickled cucumbers and capers. These are accompanied by scones, miniature cakes and a glass of Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore – all for £39.95.
Learn a new skill with a cocktail making masterclass at Fancy Hank’s
Tucked away on Goodramgate, a short walk from York Minster, Fancy Hank’s is a restaurant and cocktail bar that’s inspired by America’s Deep South. If you and your friends like to indulge in a cocktail or two, one of Hank’s cocktail making masterclasses could prove an entertaining and informative way to spend International Friendship Day together. Costing £25 per person, their brilliant masterclasses are suitable for groups of six or more and each one starts with a glass of fizz to enjoy. You’ll then be invited to get behind the bar, learning how to mix and muddle to create the perfect drink.
Solve your way out of an escape room at Mindlock
Providing a unique and thrilling experience for friends who love a good puzzle, Mindlock is home to four imaginatively-themed escape rooms. Enjoy a classic murder mystery with ‘Cluedo’, enter a world of witchcraft and wizardry in the ‘Dark Arts’, escape from Viking limbo in ‘Valhalla’ or save the world from a deadly virus in ‘V90’. As you search for clues, your patience and endurance may be tested. Will your friendship stand the test as you work together to find the exit? Sessions can be booked online on the Mindlock website and prices start at £45 for two players.
Boogie with your besties at Meadowfest in Malton
If you’re looking for days out in York or slightly further afield, this one day boutique music festival in the characterful market town of Malton may be one of the best ways to spend International Friendship Day. Meadowfest is held in the beautiful grounds of the Talbot Hotel and is attended by some wonderful local street food sellers. This year’s festival will be headlined by The Feeling with a line-up featuring bands from across Yorkshire, performing music from a variety of different genres. Grab yourselves a hay bale and enjoy all of the delicious food and drink and the unique mix of live music. Meadowfest tickets are £32.50 for adults, with accompanied under 15s getting in for just £2.50.
Grab an ice cream together at Roberto
If you’re looking for a simple treat to share with a friend, there’s nothing like a refreshing ice cream on a hot day – especially if you have little ones in tow. Located on York’s Goodramgate, authentic Italian gelateria Roberto sells a wide range of ice creams and sorbets. The shop was opened in 2015 by gelato maestro Roberto Culivicchi, who makes all of the ice cream himself on the premises. You’ll find many interesting and unexpected flavours here, including Guinness sorbet, pistachio cream, vegan dark chocolate and lemon and basil, as well as homemade semifreddo lollies.
Indulge with a bottomless brunch at Skosh
Situated in a gorgeous Grade II listed building on Micklegate, Skosh serves a menu that’s influenced by some of the best-loved food from around the world. The restaurant specialises in small plates, making it a great place to go for brunch with friends. You can try raw fish and meats, like lindisfarne oysters or BBQ spring lamb tartare here, or enjoy hot dishes such as the crispy pork belly or asparagus salt ‘n’ pepper. Skosh also offers intriguing savouries for ‘afters’, like the wonderful tunworth with brown butter waffle, fig, artichoke and truffle honey, or lanark blue ‘trifle’ with rhubarb, pickled beets, sorrel and buckwheat. Their sweet spiced bread parfait with cherry, pistachio, smoked tea and shiso is also highly recommended. Plates start at £4 so you can order a selection to share between the table, or to graze on while drinking some of the restaurant’s great seasonal cocktails or wines.
Images: Middlethorpe Hall, Bish Bash Pot, Betty’s, Mindlock, Skosh