York Chocolate Story is an experience we’ve wanted to do for a while. Every time we’re in York we walk past and say something like “we’ll do that next time”. Except we have never done it. Well, we were given the opportunity to visit this past weekend and found it a brilliant family experience. Here’s how our day went.
When you think of York what springs to mind? For me, it’s chocolate and confectionary. York is famous for its place in the history of chocolate making in England and this tour takes you right from the very beginning.
A hearty breakfast
We had our tour booked for 12 noon on Sunday. We’re only about an hour away from York so this afforded us a luxury lie-in on a Sunday. Actually, it afforded Helen and the girls a lie in, whereas I got up to go for a run with Duke! But, more importantly, it gave us time to eat a good breakfast before setting off as we wouldn’t be having lunch until after the tour.
We’re always so busy that we don’t always get to eat together, less so with breakfast. This made a lovely change.
The Chocolate Story
After getting off the bus we made our way up Parliament Street. We had arrived with plenty of time to spare so while the girls had a look in the Disney Store I watch a street musician in the beautiful Yorkshire sunshine. This city really is a fantastic place to be at any time of year, but in summer it is just on another level.
We wandered towards Kings Square and I picked up a new flat cap for myself. As we had arrived at about 11.45 we watched a street entertainer getting his act started.
Once we had checked in we waited to board the lift that would signal the start of our chocolate story to tour.
The tour experience
The first four rooms on the tour are quite dark and photography is challenging to say the least. I also feel that to reveal every detail of the experience would spoil any potential visit you make to York’s Chocolate Story.
Alfie was our tour guide and he takes you from the humble beginnings of chocolate making in York.
I won’t reveal everything we learned, you’ll have to visit yourself to get all the interesting facts. But, I will say that Mr Cadbury started out as an apprentice of Joseph Rountree in York before he moved to Birmingham and created Dairy Milk. That’s just one of the many I didn’t know that moments.
Chocolate samples, of course
You wouldn’t take a tour through a chocolate story and not expect to have some samples along the way, would you? York’s Chocolate Story doesn’t disappoint here. You are able to try various types of chocolate, even the crushed cacao seeds. They are bitter and have a nutty texture, but you get the unmistakable taste of chocolate. There was a 100% chocolate to try. Even I, as a lover of dark chocolate, found this to be bitter and the children’s faces were a picture!
I think the part everyone enjoyed the most was when we got to make our very own chocolate lollipops.
This is a great activity and takes place in a room overlooking the square with the street performers below. You’re given a station to work at and you can create your own chocolate lollipop that you top with a wide selection of confectionary. It’s safe to say all our girls loved this bit.
After making your lollipops you then move along to watch a demonstration by the master chocolatiers. They make working with melted chocolate look easy, but I bet it’s not.
Of course, after watching the demonstration there is, once again, the chance to try some very fresh chocolates and I have to say they were delicious.
Don’t just take my word for it, look at Helen’s face too…
In a well-orchestrated move, as the demonstration ends, the now cooled and set lollipops are returned to you to take away.
The end of the tour
As with any visitor attraction, the tour ends in the gift shop. The shop at York’s Chocolate Story is a treasure trove of chocolate goodness. We clearly hadn’t had enough as we all selected what we would like. I had to try the chocolate coated nougat that I have just watched being made in the demonstration room.
We all absolutely loved this experience. You learn lots of really interesting facts about chocolate as well as getting to sample it too. It’s an immersive experience and thoroughly enjoyable for the whole family.
When in York
The great thing about the location of York’s Chocolate Story is that you are in the middle of the city. This means there’s plenty of other things to see and do while you are there and you can really make a day of it as the tour only lasts about 75 minutes.
We strolled around in the sunshine for a while, checking out some of our favourite shops.
We eventually happened upon the Fossgate street festival. This was a lively mix of music, drink and street food and where we chose to get a bite to eat. I tried seafood paella from a tapa bar for the first time. It was delicious! Helen had an amazing burger, Verity a chicken skewer and the other three all got the buggest hot dogs I’ve ever seen!
All in all, we had a fantastic day out in York. The York Chocolate Story is well worth a visit. Not just if you’re coming to York anyway but as a destination in it’w own right.
Getting to York Chocolate Story
The York Chocolate Story is located right in the city centre. Getting to York by car, train or bus is really straightforward. If you are going by car see below for my view on the fantastic Park & Ride services.
Park in York can be tricky. Ther are plenty of car parks but since we first tried the Pak & Ride we’ve never driven into the city again. If you are driving I would highly recommend the Park & Ride service. There are 6 sites around the outer ring road (A64/A1237) so no matter which direction you come from to get to York you will be able to find one.
Park & Ride costs £3.10 for an adult return and £1.60 for a child return. However, up to three children aged 16 or under can now travel free when accompanied by an adult boarding at any Park & Ride site with one of the tickets shown above. For us, this means only Helen and I pay for a ticket, and at a total of £6.20 this beats paying for parking in the city and the hassle involved.
When is York Chocolate Story open?
They are open daily from 10am and the last tour starts at 4pm.
What does it cost?
|Child (aged 4-15 years)
|Family of 4 (2 adults & 2 children)
|Family of 5 (2 adults & 3 children)
|Child Under 4
If you are a York resident you can receive 1/3 off door admission on Sundays with proof of residence.
Click here to book online for York Chocolate Story.
* All prices were correct when this blog post was published on 7th August 2018.
** Our visit to York Chocolate Story was a gifted experience. This has no influence on our honest review of this venue whatsoever.