MORE than 60 top York buildings are to throw open their doors to the public free of charge as part of a new scheme dubbed York Unlocked.

The weekend event in the autumn will provide special access to many buildings that are not normally regularly opened to the public, along with the chance to see ‘secret’ features that are often unseen or overlooked.

Buildings involved in the scheme include The Guildhall, the De Grey Rooms, Kings Manor, the Masonic Hall in Duncombe Place, Hudson Quarter, Monk Bar, the Chapel at York St John’s University, Bootham School, Castlegate House, Garforth House and Bar Convent in Blossom Street.

Many York churches will also take part, along with a selection of RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) award-winning projects, with the full list of unlocked buildings set to be announced by mid July.

"Building lovers, architecture, design, history and heritage fans or people who would simply like a glimpse of usually secret York are invited to save the date, Saturday October 15 and Sunday October 16," said a spokesperson for York Unlocked.

"The celebratory weekend is a unique York take on successful unlocked events already well established in London, Scotland, Bristol, Wales and across Europe.

"York Unlocked is being run on a not for profit basis with aspirations to grow in future years to help even more people explore the urban landscape and appreciate and understand the amazing diversity and richness of York’s built heritage."

They said the company aimed to raise public awareness and appreciation of architecture and the built environment in the historic city of York.

"There will be an educational day linked with the event for invited students to learn more about architecture, heritage and history and York Unlocked aims to increase the educational remit in future years," they said, adding that it was hoped York Unlocked could become an annual event.

Kathy M King, founder of York Unlocked, said the city was blessed with a rich diversity of buildings that all had 'amazing stories to tell.'

She said: "Our aspiration is to open up access to help people discover these gems. Large and small, old to new, award-winning and awe-inspiring – many packed to the rafters with layers of history. We encourage you to create your own list of building must-sees to explore across this unique weekend.”

She said York Unlocked was searching for volunteers in a range of roles across the weekend, including building stewards, and was also keen to encourage more building owners to join the event.

Interested volunteers should email

More information about York Unlocked including the current list of open buildings and volunteer opportunities can be found at