Hundreds of parents have laid into York for becoming ‘like Sodom and Gomorrah’ at the weekends.

A thread on Mumsnet saw people queuing up to relate their shocking experiences in the city at the hands of drunken hen and stag parties.

Many vowed never to visit again – and others said they were cancelling plans to visit after reading about the behaviour.

It began with a resident who counted 23 large hen parties on one Saturday and encountered behaviour including:

  • loud swearing (F and C word) right in front of/across young families
  • completely inappropriate lingerie being worn in the street even before 2pm
  • shop doors slammed in elderly shoppers faces
  • vomiting in the street.

She asked: “At what point do we just call the police on these ridiculous idiots inflicting such unreasonable behaviour on families and regular people?”


In response, the city authorities say that York remains one of Britain’s safest cities and “continues to be a wonderful place to work, live and socialise”.

But they are going to relaunch the ‘Had Enough’ campaign aimed at minimising the anti-social behaviour.

Hundreds of complaints

Photograph: Free-Photos / Pixabay
The original post led to nearly 700 responses, many of which described their own experiences of weekends in York.

They complained of all manner of unpleasant drunken behaviour, particularly from stag and hen parties, in the day time on a Saturday.

Here are a selection of their comments.

My friends and I went to York last year. Arrived Thursday and everything was lovely. By Saturday morning the street were covered in vomit. Empty and partially empty alcohol bottles everywhere. Smashed class all over the path and the road. It was such a shame.

I was [in York] one night. Police everywhere. People fighting, vomiting, pissing in the streets. Disgusting desecration of that beautiful city

Was in York over a previous Bank Holiday weekend and by 3pm the town was swarming with screaming chavs dressed like strippers to go to the Slug and Lettuce, it’s so revolting.

Hen and stag dos were one of the reasons I moved away from York a couple of years ago, I’ve not regretted it for a minute.

Went to York a couple of years ago and ok the old buildings are nice but sweet Jesus after dark it’s like Sodom and Gomorrah. Place was a midden by about 10pm, we saw two separate fist fights, neither of which the coppers were remotely interested in, and there was a tangible air of menace about the place. Certainly won’t be going back to a dump like that again in a hurry.

Saturday evenings in York are pretty horrific at the best of times; on race days they are even worse. Real no-go areas for most folk.

I absolutely encountered the behaviour described. Multiple gangs of hen/stag events marauding around, pissed up, loud, swearing, singing (if you can call it that – screeching/yelling would be a better description – songs with adult lyrics) and yes a huge number absolutely inappropriately dressed (I’d say in for outside the home in general but definitely for 3pm). It was easily 15 “gangs” we encountered of between 6 and 20 people. It’s a beautiful city, but frankly we couldn’t leave soon enough.

I moved to this city from Hull in 1992, and I loved it for 20 years. Now I feel like I’m watching it fall apart.

We were down the big square near M&S and the street with Boots (sorry don’t know the street names) as I wanted to get some shopping. So basically the main shopping area. That’s where we encountered this behaviour. Walking back through the Museum Gardens to where we’d parked there were more gangs of hen/stags sat on the grass behaving anti socially making it impossible to enjoy the beautiful setting. We left without spending anything.

We had a family day out to York stained by such behaviour last month. Groups of drunken screeching women taking over the pavements, falling into traffic, loud and inappropriate language.

I live in York, and it’s dreadful. The other week I took my kids to the library and we had to walk past crowds of drunken women shouting obscenities and throwing around an inflatable sex doll. And while the doll was something I only see every couple of months, the rest of it is typical. It’s destroying the city because local people just avoid the city centre on weekends.

Our beautiful city is an embarrassment at weekends.

Visited quite recently after not having been for a few years and was shocked at the amount and behaviour of both stag and hen dos. York’s a gorgeous city but I definitely won’t be visiting at the weekend again.

Unfortunately York is the new Blackpool

Not coming back

Photograph: Dunnock_D on Flickr
York’s reputation was having a marked effect. “Until I read this thread York was top of my list of places I want to visit before I die. Now it’s not on the list at all,” one Mumsnet member wrote.

Another said: “To all you business owners out there that may be reading this, who support this behaviour: I’ve just decided not to bring my family to York for a weekend away next month!”

And a third wrote: “I won’t hurry back there if I’m honest, didn’t appreciate having to guide my kids around the falling down drunks blocking pavements and staggering around (in the afternoon – we were back at our hotel before 6pm).”

Some posters said they had left the city altogether. “I am from York and moved away precisely because of this behaviour,” one wrote.


“When my son was two/three and still in a push chair some very drunk guy stumbled out of a pub and promptly vomited over my son’s feet then proceeded to lie, paralytic in the path.”

Others called for action. “It’s everyone’s job, people who live in York, people who raise children in York. They should make some noise about this,” one said.

The person who had started the discussion said:

  • I’m glad I’m not the only one who is seeing/disapproving of this horrific plague.

    They’re trashing the city and the damage is going to be irreversible.

More posters said city leaders should sort this out. “It sounds like York City Council should stop pandering to undesirable transient visitors and the businesses – bars or private landlords who rent to students who are anti-social – who cater for them,” wrote one.

Another said: “Hopefully now this thread has been shown to the relevant authorities, York will soon be a go to weekend destination again.”

The council’s response

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Jane Mowat, Head of Community Safety for City of York Council said:

“We welcome anyone who wants to come and enjoy our beautiful city and hospitality responsibly and will act against those who abuse it. The ‘Had Enough’ campaign, which involved numerous partners across the city, sent the clear message that the behaviour of a small minority of people who act inappropriately in our city centre is unacceptable. This campaign is being refreshed and will be launched soon.

“As well as this, there is an ongoing operation (Operation Erase) which is a multi-agency response to late afternoon/early evening alcohol related anti-social behaviour at weekends. This includes work with British Transport Police, the BID rangers, our Neighbourhood Enforcement Officers and police.

“We have regular days of action where we carry out high visibility patrols, put temporary ticket barriers at the station and use our respective powers to engage with anyone behaving inappropriately, encourage them to stop or ultimately issue them with a direction to leave.

“Licensees have also signed up to a code of conduct and the majority do not allow large groups into their premises. As a result of this work, we receive very few complaints from members of the public.

“Other initiatives include the Cumulative Impact Zone, and use of Public Space Protection Orders banning the consumption of alcohol in locations where anti-social behaviour levels have increased. These are aimed at all in the city, whether residents or visitors as part of a multi-agency response to tackle anti-social behaviour.

“York remains one of the safest cities in the UK and York continues to be a wonderful place to work, live and socialise. We will continue to work with partners in the private, public and voluntary sectors to tackle anti-social behaviour and make sure the city remains a great place to visit for everyone.

“We ask anyone who experiences anti-social behaviour to report it to the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”

14 thoughts on “Parents tear into ‘disgusting, horrific’ York – a beautiful city being ‘trashed’ by drunken behaviour

  1. Yeah York pulls in socially acceptable drunkards from all over the North on weekends, they contribute a lot to the economy but they are entitled to think that they can be as arsey so early on during Saturdays especially. I think its daft to not allow large groups to pubs&clubs, but it is certainly reasonable to go after excess alcohol consumption because here we all know that feeds a wee beastie in our hearts… starting with the venues would be good, to “not sell to those already very drunk” etc and yeah blow up cocks during the day time is pretty blatantly awful… still would be a shame to see York lose its fun weekend night partying vibe! I’ve hardly ever found danger on York streets, so it really is just more crazy antics and less actual damage.

  2. I live on the outskirts of York and usually come in with my family twice a month on Saturdays. The marked decline over the past 5 years has been evident for everyone to see but sunk to another level when we visited the Shambles market recently. After calling in the Harry Potter Shop we entered from the bottom end where we were greeted by drunken girls swearing with Fs and Cs and a gang of lads jeering them on, all with various cocktails in their hands and this was in a market for families at 11 45 am in the morning!! YORK CITY COUNCIL where has it all gone wrong!!

  3. A big coach dropped a huge party of women off right where the taxi rank is off Whip-ma-whop-gate…Dressed like a bunch of retard extras from Eastenders..Coach driver couldn’t careless about the taxi drivers wanted to go…And York is not getting worse Oh yes it is,it’s getting cheap,vulgar and common and no one cares..The council don’t,the police can’t cope,not enough of them…It’s so sad to see a beautiful city going to ruin when you have lived here for 55yrs..Unfortunately I’ve seen a change and not for any good..It also applies to too many students too..😢😢

  4. I live very near the city centre (Skeldergate), and must say it’s getting worse. I’m in no way a prude – I enjoy a few beers and a good night out myself, but Friday and Saturday nights in the city centre are now a “no go” zone, especially on race days. Why? Fighting, lewd and bawdy behaviour, “gangs” of drunken idiots (men and women alike) who think it’s acceptable to vomit and urinate in public, bellowing obscenities at all times (day, evening, and night), and jerks who think it’s fine to shout and chant. I’ve seen cars vandalised (my own included). And let’s not even mention the aftermath the following day…

    It all adds up to a permeating air of unease and menace. And it’s embarrassing!

    We need more police officers on the thoroughfares and residential areas between the Knavesmire and the city centre on race days (Tad Road, Bishy Road, Victoria Bar) and for them to deal decisively and effectively with anti-social behaviour. We need stricter enforcement of the laws for those clearly selling alcohol to those who are clearly drunk. I’ll leave the costs and financing of this to those far better equipped to deal with it.

    Not sure if / how often they visit in person on these nights, but I would invite our councillors, MPs, and chiefs of our emergency services to come and witness it for themselves.

    Enough is enough and action is needed to restore our city’s image and dignity, for tourist and residents alike.

  5. I don’t live in York, but frequently visit – and used to often bring my children when they were young. It’s a fantastic city. Of course there is some anti-social behaviour, but there always has been. These comments about some dystopian world of alcohol fuelled madness are ludicrous.

  6. It’s not just alcohol consumption, it’s the general attitude, disgusting tribal group behaviour. To reply to an earlier post, we don’t go out in groups, in fact we don’t go out in the centre of York at weekends because of the threatening atmosphere. I live here, pay over £2500 a year in rates, and for 5 day access? It’s not good enough. Stop the rot.

  7. I am now in my 60,s and agree with all comments. When i was in my late teens-twenties York was
    a treat to visit,Clean,nice people – both locals and visitors -that respected the area. Now it is dirty with
    awful people,not all The last time i visited will be my last for a long time. What a lot of “visitors” to York
    lack is respect,this goes for most of the country i am sad to say.

  8. On Saturday lunchtime I was shouting loudly to my 5 year niece to “stay on the path,” whilst I held her hand to walk on the road. This was a polite request to the hen party, who took up the whole path outside the Slug & Lettuce, on Ouse Bridge, to move to one side. Not one person moved, and at one point my niece had to walk on the road, with passing traffic. Another hen party passed with different blow up ‘things,’ and my niece asked what they were. These women must have children of their own, and I’m sure that they wouldn’t tolerate this behaviour from visitors to their home towns/cities. We pay our taxes to York Council, to make our city welcoming for all visitors, but why should we, when we can’t even take our children into our own city centre on a Saturday afternoon, due to the horrendous behaviour of the visiting stag and hen parties. Come on York Council, and North Yorkshire Police…Step Up!!

  9. This is taken from a thread on mumsnet so reasonable people can ignore it. The idea that the centre of York is a no-go area is laughable

  10. I know that at times stag and hen parties can be loud and inappropriate, but some comments here like the streets full of vomit and smashed glass!!?? Please, as a taxi driver I’ve never seen any of this to begin with,. Always found that the police its ready to stop any disturbance promptly!!! Unfortunately stags and hen parties are a big part of York economy and thousands of people rely on it!

  11. Greedy York City Council do not care – they are counting on the night time economy from these stag and hen parties. They will only do something when serious violent incidents become worse.

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