York Races make for a fantastic day out and caters for everyone from couples to parties and even families. In the article we find out more on the history of York Races and what you can expect today from such a well known event in York’s calendar!

Based on the well known Knavesmire, York Races is easy to access from the city centre but also main routes into the city.

Racing in York has been around since the Roman times, with archaeological digs uncovering evidence that there may have been horse related activities that could have included forms of racing on the site of the Knavesmire as early as neolithic times. The city corporation supported the sport from 1530 and, in 1607, racing is actually took place on the frozen River Ouse, between Micklegate Tower and Skeldergate Postern.

York’s most important meeting is the Ebor Festival held annually in August. The feature of this meeting is the Ebor Handicap, one of Europe’s premier handicap races.

The Juddmonte International meeting is another important date in York’s racing calendar, home to the Juddmonte International Stakes.

In 2005, York Racecourse acted as a replacement host to the Royal Ascot meeting, due to its usual home at Ascot Racecourse being closed for redevelopment priced at £185m. In 2006, it also hosted the St Leger.

York’s highest attendance for a race meeting was recorded in 1851, when a crowd estimated at 150,000 saw The Flying Dutchman, winner of the Derby and St Leger in 1849, beat Voltigeur, who took both races the following year, in the so-called Great Match. The highest record in more recent times is the 42,586 who attended one July Saturday in 2010.

As well as racing, York races hold a variety of conferences and music events. For example, this year you will be able to see Olly Murs perform live at the racecourse.

We highly recommend a visit to York Races when you are staying in York. Whether you are having a flutter or just soaking up the atmosphere, you won’t be disappointed!

Barley Hall in York is a reconstruction of a medieval building that once stood on the site as early as 1360. A new wing was added to the building around 1430. Not long after that, the Hall became the home of a well known York citizen, William Snawsell and it was even home to the Lord Mayor of York.

In 1540, due to the building being monastic property, it was confiscated by the crown.

By the 17th century it was divided up into several smaller dwellings with the result that the “screens passage” – which is an internal corridor – came to be used as a public short-cut through from Stonegate to Swinegate.  It remains a public right-of-way through the very centre of Master Snawsell’s house!

By Victorian times, the house was “a warren of tradesmen’s workshops” and its last use before being sold for redevelopment in 1984 was as a plumber’s workshop and showroom.

In the 1980’s it was earmarked for demolition with offices and apartments due to stand in its place.

In 1987, the York Archaeological Trust purchased the property and restored the property into what you see today.

Nowadays, Barley Hall is a tourist attraction that has been restored to its original medieval splendour. It’s high ceilings, exposed timber frames and medieval interior give you a true feel of what the Snaswell home in 1483 would have looked like. If you are visiting York during the Christmas period you can participate in a recreation of a medieval Christmas. You will see much greenery and colour as you are taken back in time to explore the beautifully decorated rooms of Barley Hall, each dressed to reflect the various activities that would have taken place in the home and around the city of York in Lady Snawsell’s time.

Barley Hall allows you to relive the medieval experience. You can sit at the furniture and handle various medieval objects. Barley Hall is open all year round and sits in Coffee Yard and can be accessed from Stonegate or Swinegate.

Why not take the time to experience Barley Hall and other York attractions in one of our short stay lets. View our properties page to see everything we have to offer!