Some cities are built on industry, but few have the sweet distinction of being built on chocolate. York’s Chocolate Story, a three-story interactive museum, details the city’s 300-year relationship with the confection. Regularly-scheduled guided tours highlight the three major chocolate companies that got their start in York: Terry’s, Rowntree’s, and Craven’s, as well as some of the most popular creations to come out of York including the Chocolate Orange and Kit-Kat. The city’s industry sparked a love for the chocolate that ultimately enveloped the globe: a tin of Rowntree’s even traveled with Shackleton on his Antarctic voyage in 1908.
In addition to York’s history as a chocolate town, museum displays detail its origins in the far-flung jungles of Central America. Interactive exhibits illustrate the process of turning cacao beans into bars, candies, powders, and more. Sampling stations at the end of each section allow all visitors to taste freshly formed sweets, and onsite confectioners hold lessons in professional chocolate tasting, and even guide visitors in creating their own treat at the end of the tour. The museum also has a chocolate-themed café and gift shop.
York’s Chocolate Story is the culmination of York’s Chocolate Trail, a self-guided walking tour in York’s historic downtown that includes chocolate attractions — Terry’s Shop & Tea Room, Terry’s Mansion House, Rowntree Park, Goddards House and Gardens — and several chocolate-y dining locations.
York’s Chocolate Story is in King’s Square in the heart of York’s historic center. Car access is limited, but it’s a short walk from York Railway Station, and city buses stop outside the square. The museum is open daily from 9:15am ‘til 6pm. Tours run from 10am to 5pm, and advance online booking is recommended to ensure the tour departure time of your choosing. Most visitors spend at least an hour and a half exploring the museum. General admission is £11.50 ($14.35) adults and £9.50 ($11.85) for children aged 4-15. Discounts are available for senior citizens, students, and families visiting the museum together; children under age four are free.