On the first weekend of February, it is the return of a wonderfully unique annual event. The York Ice Trail is already the biggest of its kind in the UK, and this year doubles from a one day spectacular to a weekend extravaganza!
All over the city, dozens of clear iced sculptures appear in an array of forms, for thousands of people to discover. These expertly crafted creations are at once fun and awe-inspiring, emitting a magic and joy across York for all ages to enjoy.
Making your way around these pieces is also a great way to see the city, and most will undoubtedly get occasionally sidetracked into eating, drinking and shopping along the route. So, with that in mind, we’ve put together a handy little guide to some fab places that will keep you warm on your walk around York Ice Trail.
One thing that you’ll surely be craving in the cold is a cosy stop-off or two. Well, Nice To See You Café on Goodramgate will provide that warm welcome and hot drink – and then some. The natural vibe is emphasised by their attractive wall of plants, and for such a neat place, it oozes comfort, especially in the food menu of cakes, milkshakes, pancakes, and other stuff that doesn’t end in akes. A surefire winning trail break for cool young things and cold old things alike.
Equally inviting is a family-run family-friendly café on Gillygate that serves homemade grub in a homely atmosphere. Osborne’s thinks of everyone, with a menu of cracking classics like their fishfinger sandwich, changing specials, and impressive vegan and gluten free options too. Even dogs are welcomed in as friends in this super little caff that makes for a perfect trail respite.
For a casual quick refuelling, Shambles Market is a choice well made. Here, you’ll find a selection of street food stalls cooking up delicious food from all corners of the globe. As a popular pick for everyone, surely a trip to Italy for a traditional pizza is worth a trail detour. Pizzoli fires this up beautifully, and for any weirdos who don’t want pizza, there’s also delicious lasagne, focaccia and arancino to help you back your way.
Perhaps preferring a more permanent pizza pitstop, over on Goodramgate, Caesars is another fun and friendly place serving great Italian classics, including pastas and risottos for lunch or dinner, in a stylish social setting. Or head back to Gillygate and into Bistro Guy. Days can begin or end here, through their locally sourced breakfast or their weekend pizza and beer evenings respectively. Lunches, wines, coffees and teas are all rather good too, so whether you’re around all weekend or here for the day, there’s a right reason to visit.
There are more venues in York that offer the flexibility for a day or night visit whilst you’re trailing around the city. Mickelgate Social is the younger but bigger sibling of favourite local haunt Fossgate Social. The cool laid-back vibe is just fine for morning coffees and lazy brunches, and even more tempting for afternoon beers that may turn into evening gins. The kind of boozy space that’s equally ok to bring the kids!
Similarly, Eagle & Child on High Petergate is a great excuse for a pint without alienating the family. This traditional pub in a 17th century grade II listed building showcases the ancient charm with a more modern attitude that welcomes all-comers. Food is fresh and local, and for those taking in York Ice Trail on the Sunday, this could be the one to go to for their roast dinner.