Bishopthorpe Palace, York. part of York Unlocked 2023

Unlocking York This Autumn

More than 70 doors open across the city, to welcome us in
August 6, 2023

A weekend in York is always welcome, but if you can visit on the 7 and 8 October this year - it will be extra special. York Unlocked 2023 returns in October and this unique weekend will see the doors thrown open to around 70 fabulous buildings around the city, FREE of charge.

The special 2 day event opens up access to the magnificent buildings and open spaces in the city that are often closed to the public. It aims to help both residents and tourists alike to uncover hidden treasures and experience familiar places through fresh eyes.

York Unlocked 2023 follows a hugely successful first year in which an estimated 20,000 physical visits were made to 60+ buildings. Visitors came from York and nearby, regional cities including Manchester, Durham, Liverpool and London and from as far afield as Australia and the USA.

A View Of The Assembly Rooms From The Roof

This year the Unlocked Team have added some “Insider Tours”, plus collaborations with City Cruises York, York Georgian Society, and Friends of York Walls. Some favourite sites from last year are being welcomed back and many new buildings and outdoor spaces are also set to participate. The incredibly successful Education Day is also back again on Friday 6 October and will involve schools in visits and numerous activities. Schools interested in participating in 2024 should contact

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. New highlights include Bishopthorpe Palace, the Archbishop’s Walled & Pleasure Garden, St Peters School, St Mary's Tower and the Minster Refectory. This year’s event will also feature a special ‘Architecture of the Ouse’ cruise.

Most sites are close to each other and so, it is possible to walk between them. The City Sightseeing Bus (start Exhibition Square) will also take you near to all key sites, except Bishopthorpe and Holgate. First Bus No. 11 - which you can join at Stonebow, Rougier Street or the Station - goes to Bishopthorpe. Please check the Saturday timetable for times.

Bikes can also be hired for the weekend. Go to for further information and cycling routes

Looking From Garforth House To Bootham School Observatory

York Unlocked is a registered charity and the event is run entirely by a small team of volunteers supported by the goodwill of building owners and managers. The weekend has also been made possible thanks to kind funding from York BID, the Dulverton Trust, RIBA Yorkshire and the York Common Good Trust.

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 what lies behind the door, or you are new to York and want to learn more about its rich history. This special event enables you to see familiar places through fresh eyes and explore these hidden treasures across one fabulous weekend. 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.”

Please visit the York Unlocked website for a list of buildings and events so far for 2023. The full programme will be confirmed later in August.

Eventbrite bookings open 10am Saturday 9th September and full details of tours (including dates and times) are on our website. Tickets are booked very quickly so it's recommended you book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Ticketed events remain FREE to visitors.

Header Image: Bishopthorpe Palace