York is famous for many things, with fascinating historical buildings meeting you at every turn. Looking through York’s history, one of the most exciting aspects about the city is its long love affair with chocolate. Whilst other UK cities had strong cotton or pottery industries, York made its name through the wonderful work it made with chocolate.
Visitors to the city can enjoy The Chocolate Trail, discovering how chocolate was transported into the region, how chocolate was made and, of course, you will get to taste lots of yummy chocolate. The trail takes you to various shops and buildings, that play a significant part in York’s chocolate history, including All Saints Church , where you will see a stained glass window of famous local chocolatier Mary Craven.
During a visit to York Minster cathedral, you will learn about how big name chocolate producers, such as Rowntree and Terry’s, used the famous cathedral to sell their wares. You can take a trip to Terry’s Shop and Team Room, for nostalgia purposes only, as it is now home to Swarovski crystal shop. Not far from the old Terry’s Shop is Rowntree Park, a park that was gifted to the city by the famous chocolate brand, in memory of all of the chocolate workers in the city.
Individual chocolate shops
There’s lots more to see on the full York Chocolate Trail, which you will see on the map that can be picked up at York visitor centre. You are likely to taste a lot of chocolate, as you jump from one place to the next, but you should still find room to indulge in a spot of shopping along the streets of York. Monk’s Bar, on The Shambles, is one of the oldest chocolate shops in the city and there are lots of new kids on the block, such as Rococo chocolate. Betty’s Tearoom is a name known to people from all over the UK, due to the fabulous cakes and afternoon teas on offer, but they also make artisan chocolates too.
York Cocoa House has a library, workshop, cafe and shop, selling chocolates made from own recipes, to give you a true chocolate fix. If you want to find out more about the full chocolate process, York’s Chocolate Story is well worth a visit, to find out how chocolate is made from bean to bar. You will learn about all of the serious stuff alongside fun chocolate facts, such as how it takes 22 hours to make a Smartie!
There is also an annual chocolate festival held in the city each year, which would be the perfect time to go. No matter that time of year you visit York, you are sure to indulge in some of the best chocolate the UK has to offer.