Make it York

York Ice Trail: The biggest in the UK

York Ice Trail

The frozen creations have been sponsored by businesses from across the city

Make it York has done it again. The city’s destination management organisation with the mission to develop and promote York has engaged with local businesses for York Ice Trail, an outdoor ice sculpture trail to take place across the city on 9-10 December.

The Ice Trail will see 45 icy figures on display and will transform the historic city into an excuse to explore the city’s streets. The outdoor event is a well-thought strategy to boom tourism while offering a unique experience to visitors. A free Ice Trail map is available from the Visit York Information Centre and online at visityork.org.

The project hit the streets of York for the first time in December 2015 and has been hugely popular with families visiting York and with residents too.

Sponsored by York’s Ultra Fibre Optic by TalkTalk, York Ice Trail invites residents and tourists to follow the trail to find the frosty sculptures made from crystal-clear ice and sprinkled across the city.

Sally Greenaway, head of Visit York, commented: “There are some fantastic designs this year and we’re excited to see the finished results. This is the largest outdoor Ice sculpture trail in the UK, and we’re really proud York’s businesses have got behind it to showcase the beautiful city of York at its most festive.”

From a Lego Batman on Walmgate to the Night King character from Game of Thrones on Blake Street to Garfield at the Cat Gallery, the frozen creations have been sponsored by businesses from across the city.

In St Sampson’s Square visitors can peer into the sky through Talk Talk’s Telescope and collect a ‘chill to reveal’ card for a chance to win an Apple iPod mini.

Live carving sessions will also offer the chance to see the skill behind the icy creations on Saturday and Sunday in St Helen’s Square at 3pm.

Richard Sinclair, general manager for TalkTalk’s Ultra Fibre Optic Broadband, commented: “We’re thrilled to be the headline sponsor for a second year running. The York Ice Trail has been an incredible success and a great opportunity for members of our Ultra Fibre Optic Broadband team to meet with the local community. We look forward to seeing even more stunning ice sculptures this year!”

Explore the city

A highlight on the trail will be The Mighty Viking provided by Hungate York Regeneration. Standing at two metres tall it is one of the largest sculpture on the trail.

For the first time this year Monks Cross and Vangarde shopping parks area are also included on the trail, offering visitors the chance to explore more of York by using the Park & Ride to travel into the city.

Meanwhile, Castle Howard’s chilled cherub heralds their spectacular ‘Angels on High’ decorative theme at Low Petergate.

Mat Foster, creative director, Glacial Art, commented: “Our chainsaws are oiled, and our chisels are honed to razor sharpness as we begin the mammoth task of carving over 90 ice sculptures for this year’s York Ice Trail. This is without a doubt the biggest project we have ever undertaken with over 10 tonnes of hand-carved ice for you to enjoy.

“If you see someone in a “Glacial Art” jacket please come and say hello if you have any questions. It’s not often we get let out of our freezers, so we love to mix with the public and chat about our work. Remember to get out early so you can see the ice sculptures at their very best.”

Themed weekends

The Ice Trail is one of five themed weekends in the run-up to Christmas. Other activities include the Brass Bands Weekend (18-19 November), the Choir’s Weekend (25-26 November), the Family Weekend (2-3 December), complete with toy soldiers on stilts and donkeys, and the Shambles Market Party Weekend (16 -17 December).

A free Ice Trail Map is available from the Visit York Information Centre at 1, Museum Street and online at visityork.org.

This year’s Christmas celebrations will run from 16 November right through to 22 December, all part of the York Christmas Festival.