ACES National Conference 2023 - Social Programme


Venue: City of York

Date: Thursday 21st September 2023.

and Friday 22nd September (optional)





09.10:    Leave Radisson Hotel for short walk to York Minster. Arrive 09-30 for 1 hr guided tour of Minster. Delegates staying at other York hotels – please be at Minster by 09-30 hrs

10.45:    Leave Minster for short(ish) walk to the National Railway Museum, arriving 11-00 hrs (If road train operating this early, take road train).

Short DIY tour of museum, with coffee break

12.15:    Leave Museum – by road train or walking – for return to the Minster. Then short walk through city, taking in some of the sights, to King Staith Landing on River Ouse, near Ouse Bridge, for a City Cruise on the river with a Yorkshire Picnic lunch.

Boarding from 12-30 hrs. Cruise starts 13-00 hrs

Returns to King Staith Landing by 14-00 hrs

14.00:    Choice: Either walk through city, enjoying sights, to King’s Square, for a visit to York’s Chocolate Story, for a one hour plus guided tour of York’s historic connection with chocolate-making, starting at 14-30 hrs,

Or:   Marcus will lead a complete circuit of the city walls (weather permitting), starting at Barker Tower, Lendal Bridge. Total circuit of some 4.5 km takes 1.5 hrs at a modest pace. Descend wall by Bootham Bar for a visit to “Hole-in-the-Wall” pub for a post-walk pint.

Circa 16.15:   Leave Chocolate Story or Hole-in-Wall pub for return on foot (or by bus) to Radisson Hotel to meet-up with partners and friends. Say goodbyes if leaving York today.

18.30:  If staying over Thursday night, set-out on foot (or take bus) to southern end of the city, for a dinner engagement at the Olive Tree restaurant, which overlooks Clifford’s Tower. Timing allows for a stop-off en route for a tipple.

Dinner at 19.30 hrs



* Delegates stay in York on Wednesday night

* Delegates stay at the Radisson Hotel or nearby Travel Lodge or another Central York Hotel

* Delegates are capable of walking short to medium distances between venues at a slow to modest pace.  Bus information to be given to those who cannot manage the  walking.

Thursday Social Programme Costs

(link to booking form to follow)


All venues: universal cost to all social delegates:   £ 60

(Includes entrance to all venues, road train – if used, river cruise with picnic lunch, pop-out map of York)


Delegates to choose (for booking numbers – cost same for both and all included in above):

Either York Chocolate Story,  or City Walls walk

Wednesday President’s Dinner:   cost £70

Thursday dinner at Olive Tree (Menu):    cost £ 40

Visitor Pass for Friday 22nd September 2023:    cost £ 59


Please note that our preferred payment method is online by card which you will see on the booking form. This is a simple and trusted method of payment now used regularly by ACES for payments such as membership subscriptions.  We will also be happy with payment by BACS transfer. Bookings will be confirmed upon receipt of payment.


The Venues – Thursday

York Minster 

The Minster, built of pale limestone, with its three great towers, dominates the city of York. From vantage points on the city walls to glimpses all around the narrow streets, the great Gothic cathedral, built to rival Canterbury, is with you wherever you walk. The current Minster dates from 1220 and for the next 250 years sections were added to create the present-day cathedral, which was consecrated in 1472.  In 1984 a near disastrous fire destroyed the South Transept roof and between this date and 2016 a major repair, conservation and restoration project returned the Minster to its original state of repair.

Today’s tour takes us through the main body of the Minster, starting at the West End, through the Nave, the Central Crossing between the North and South Transepts, the Quire and the Chancel.

Choral Evensong is usually between 5pm and 6 pm – check on the day if interested in attending.

The National Railway Museum 

Tells the story of rail transport in Britain and its impact on society. The museum opened in 1975 on the site of a former locomotive deport, a short distance from York railway station. The museum has some 6,000 objects on display and at times upwards of 100 locomotives, in the museum’s South Yard, Station Hall, Great Hall and North Shed.

Our short visit today will be unguided and informal – delegates might like to stop for a coffee in one of the cafes in the museum.


City Cruises Sightseeing & Boat Trips in York 

After visits to the Minster and the Railway Museum, delegates should enjoy relaxing on board a City Cruises vessel, up on deck if the weather is fair, or below in a comfy saloon if it is inclement, as we venture out and back on the river Ouse, with the boat’s skipper providing a running commentary on the sights we pass. Lunch – a “Yorkshire Picnic “- is provided, and for those of you who like a tincture with their lunch, a well-stocked bar awaits your custom in the boat’s saloon.


York’s Chocolate Story 

York is the home of Rowntree’s, Terrys, and Craven chocolates, and in bygone years their factories employed 14,000 workers: today some 2,000 remain employed, and Nestle UK is still based in the city, whilst the big factories are long gone, although the chocolate families’ charitable foundations remain. The Chocolate Story tour takes you through 4,000 years of chocolate history, from the rain forests to the historic chocolate families of York, to the skills of present-day chocolatiers: you will have a go at creating your own chocolate, before indulging yourself on chocolate treats in the visitor centre at tour-end. This is a very popular tour – and a must for chocoholics amongst our social delegates.


York’s City Walls  

 Date from the 13th century and were built on top of older earth banks. The walls are the most complete for any city in England. Walking along the walls’ walkway takes you through or by four main “bars” (fortified gates) and two lesser bars or “posterns” (small gateway and tower). You see the city of York from every perspective along the way. Some sections of the walls’ walkway have no protective barriers and here a head for heights comes in handy. There are a number of ups and downs as you descend at the bars and there is a bit of road walking in two places where the wall is “absent”. This is a good leg-stretcher for those who are not into chocolate.



Delegates planning to stop for 2 nights in York  (Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st)

This is recommended to those who have not visited York before as there are many museums and sights of interest awaiting you.

Some of these are as follows:

* Jorvik Viking Centre

* York Museum

* York Dungeon

* York Army Museum

* Barley Hall

* York Castle Museum

* Clifford’s Tower

* York Mansion House

* York Minster – for a revisit

* Golden Tours Hop On /off bus

* Van Gogh Experience

…and many more (total 20 attractions included in visitor pass)

Delegates planning to visit several of the above – you can purchase a one-day visitor pass for Friday 22nd at a cost of £59, which includes all of the above venues and attractions. Depending on how many of the above you pack in, your saving over individual entrance fees will be at least 25 %.

Your retired member social delegate will arrange / obtain passes for you for Friday 22nd if you select this option from the social programme menu.

Contact Us

If you would like to get in touch give us a call and we can help answer any questions.