Fire, ice and a carving wall – Here’s what’s planned for the York Ice Trail 2019

Young visitor Adam Treen from Sydney watches Mat Foster carve the flaming phoenix outside York Minster. Photographs: Charlotte Graham

The York Ice Trail is on its way, with some spectacular new additions.

Taken out of the Christmas frenzy, the event has been moved to help boost a quieter time of year. It runs on Saturday 2 February, between 10am-6pm.


It’s the biggest outdoor ice trail in Britain – 35,000 people visited the trail in 2017.

The theme this year is Myths and Legends. Sponsored by the York BID and organised by Make It York the event comes ahead of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Live carving

You can watch live carving
In China the phoenix is known as a messenger of happiness and it was once believed to only appear during times of peace and prosperity.

To bring cheer to the dark winter months, a highlight of the trail will be live carving of a phoenix which once complete will be set on fire.

As in previous years the live carving session, from 12 noon in St Helen’s Square, will offer the chance to see the incredible skill behind these icy creations.

The 2019 trail will see 50 sculptures depicting myths and legends across York.

What’s new for 2019

Burn baby burn
New this year will be interactive sculptures on Parliament Street including a carving wall, where visitors can get hands on and have a go at sculpting the ice.

There will also be a three metre long Shuffleboard, where visitors can push disks along the ice to win points and prizes.

Three of the sculptures will offer a live challenge where visitors can win York Passes, tickets for the Everyman cinema and chocolate bars.

There’ll be a hero camp at Middleton’s Hotel, complete with a fire pit, ice sculptures and Thwaite’s horse and cart will be making an appearance too. Children dressing up for the event as their favourite hero will get a free mini hot chocolate.

Biggest event

Here’s what the leading figures in the event said.

Executive director of the York BID Andrew Lowson said:

  • We’re delighted to back the York Ice Trail again.

    It’s an event that drives footfall to key businesses around the city and is especially popular with families.

    February can be a more challenging time for traders in the city and this move to February will help us work together to increase footfall and retail spend.

Paul Whiting, Head of Visit York, said:

  • This is the biggest event of its kind in the UK.

    We’re adding lots of new elements to the trail and expect it will draw thousands of visitors locally and from right across the UK.

    It’s a fabulous family friendly event and free for everyone to enjoy.

And Mat Foster of Glacial Art said: “York Ice Trail is the highlight of our year.

“We’ll be hand carving over eight tonnes of ice to spread the magic all across the city. We can’t wait to see the reaction to it.”

The sculptures

Griffin sponsored by Make It York

Skipper sponsored by York Theatre Royal

JackJack sponsored by the York BID

Cookie Monster sponsored by Doubletree by Hilton

Ice Train sponsored by National Railway Museum

The Heart of Yorkshire sponsored by York Minster

Roary the Lion sponsored by the York BID

Angel sponsored by Lucia Bar

Squirt surfing the wave sponsored by Turtle Bay

Jordan’s Pegasus sponsored by Kennedys

Wheelbarrow of Flowers sponsored by The Botanist

#Bettys100 sponsored by Bettys

Your Carriage Awaits sponsored by First Group

York Pass Challenge sponsored by York Pass

Pillories sponsored by The York Dungeon

H is for Hungate sponsored by Hungate York Regeneration

Floral Butterfly sponsored by Bloom!

Shakespeare sponsored by Shakespeare Rose Theatre

Shuffleboard sponsored by The York Ice Trail

Carving Wall sponsored by The York Ice Trail

Chocolate Challenge sponsored by The York Ice Trail

Wishing You Well sponsored by York Teaching Hospital Charity

UFO sponsored by York’s UFO from TalkTalk

Niffler sponsored by Shambles Market

Sorting Hat sponsored by Hunters

Cheshire Cat sponsored by Spark York

Unicorn sponsored by the York BID

Dragon’s Head sponsored by The York Ice Trail

Mermaid sponsored by the York BID

A secret unmasked sponsored by Fenwick

Dragon Hatchling sponsored by the Coppergate Centre

Migo sponsored by the Coppergate Centre

DoYouThinkTheySaurUs sponsored by Eboracum Security

Groot sponsored by Middletons Hotel

Iron Man sponsored by Middletons Hotel

Everyman Cinema Challenge sponsored by Middletons Hotel

Viking Helmet sponsored by the York BID

Magical Chalice sponsored by The Principal Hotel

The Grand Hotel sponsored by The Grand Hotel & Spa

Millennium Falcon sponsored by the York BID

Ships Wheel sponsored by City Cruises

Pirate Face sponsored by City Cruises

The Judges Gavel sponsored by Judges Lodging

Seahorse sponsored by Stormfront

Azuma Train sponsored by LNER

Zeus sponsored by Shepherd Group

Dionysus sponsored by The Ivy York

Cathay Aircraft sponsored by Cathay Pacific

Year of the Pig sponsored by Manchester Airport

Phoenix – Live Carving sponsored by Visit York