GUIDED walks, talks and Lego building sessions will make part of the first ever York Walls Festival this week.

Community groups including volunteers from the Red Tower Group, Friends of York Walls, Explore York library and archives, The Jorvik Group and City of York Council are supporting the event, which will run on Friday and Saturday.

The launch event on Friday evening will be held at York St. John University with a talk by John Oxley, city archaeologist, and a visit from the Lord Mayor, while Saturday will see a host of guided walks, events and open days across the city centre.

The aim of the festival is to give the public chance to find out more about parts of the three-mile circuit they might not often visit, and will be a rare occasion which will see all the towers on the walls open at the same time.

Martin Hetherington is a member of Friends of York Walls and one of the organisers.

He said: "It’s great to be working with other local groups who are passionate about sharing the city’s heritage with the public. Plans are advancing for a York Walls Visitor Centre at Fishergate Postern Tower, and a display there will show progress to date. Our volunteers will be showing off highlights from the city’s archive photo collection too."

Cllr Keith Aspden said: "Over a million people take a walk through 1,900 years of history on York’s city walls every year. They are a key symbol of the city and are valued by residents and visitors alike.

"Last year, the council announced an exciting five-year programme of investment to preserve and protect the medieval walls, which are renowned as being the finest and most complete walls in England. Some of this work is already complete, for example at Micklegate Bar, and what better way to celebrate this than opening the walls up to a new festival."

A York Walls Explorers Trail will be held for children, in which they can collect stamps as they make their way around the city, with the chance to build the walls and other city landmarks out of Lego.

To find out more, go to or follow @WallsYork and #YorkWallsFest on Twitter.