Historic Houses' members visit free. Interested in joining? Find out more.

Overview

Unlock the splendour within one of England’s finest Georgian townhouses and let Fairfax House transport you to the glory days of city-living in 18th-century York.

Originally the winter home of Viscount Fairfax and his daughter Anne, Fairfax House’s richly decorated interiors and magnificent stucco ceilings make it is a masterpiece of Georgian design and architecture.

Set in the heart of York, Fairfax House reveals the domestic interiors in which these Georgians would have walked, the tastes and fashions of the day for architecture, interior decoration, food and furnishings, as well as the customs and habits of York’s wealthy gentry and aristocracy.

It was a place where the winter season could be enjoyed, and with it, all the entertainments and social engagements that this centre for ‘polite society’ had to offer. A beautiful collection of furniture brings the house alive and creates a special feeling of warmth.

It evokes a life once lived in comfort and grandeur, vividly recalling a lost world of townhouse-living in the 1760s.


Today
Today’s opening hours

9 February to 31 December (excluding 24 to 26 December).

Mondays (excluding Bank Holidays): guided tours only, at 11am and 2pm.

Tuesday to Saturday, and Bank Holiday Mondays: 10am to 5pm.

Sundays: 11am to 4pm. Last admission half an hour before closing.

Opening
Opening

2019

9 February to 31 December (excluding 24 to 26 December).

Mondays (excluding Bank Holidays): guided tours only, at 11am and 2pm.

Tuesday to Saturday, and Bank Holiday Mondays: 10am to 5pm.

Sundays: 11am to 4pm. Last admission half an hour before closing.

 

Find Us
Find us

Fairfax House is quickly and easily reached on foot and is within minutes of all of York’s major attractions.

It is located opposite Clifford’s Tower and The Hilton. It is also close to Jorvik Viking Centre, the Coppergate Centre and the York Castle Museum. Look for signs to any of these attractions to help find your way to the museum.

York is served by a Park & Ride Bus Service with stops at many convenient locations around York and close to Fairfax House.

Fairfax house is less than 10 minutes walk from York Railway Station, a major station with connections to destinations across the UK

Taxis are usually available directly outside of the station on a rank.

Parking

Castle Car Park located directly next to Castlegate and Fairfax House. Parking charges apply for this public car park.

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members vsiti for free.

Adult: £7.50
Concession: £6.00 (over 60s and students)
Children: £3.00 (6-16), includes the Townhouse Mouse Trail or Townhouse Mouse Quest
Family ticket (2 adults, 3 children): £17.50

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Guide dogs welcome
Group Visits
Group Visits

If you are looking for a special experience for a group, large or small, historic ‘hidden gem’ Fairfax House in the heart of York offers something of interest for all your party.

Our range of group tours bring this superb townhouse to life, exploring its fascinating history and 18th-century collections which include some of the best examples English cabinet-making and Chippendale furniture.

Whether you want a daytime guided tour or private evening visit, our team of experienced guides will help you.

Find out more.


Things to See

Fun Facts

Behind its classical façade, Fairfax House has many interesting stories to unfold: from its connections to the Fairfaxes, Black Tom and the Jacobite rebellions through to its collection built by the man synonymous with Terry's Chocolate Orange.

Fairfax House opens a door to the world of Georgian city life: dissolute pleasures, sumptuous entertainments, extravagant food and drink and resplendent townhouse interiors, as well as a rich seam of stories about this Georgian city and urban playground for northern polite society.

From its story of Catholic recusancy, through to its radical transformation from elegant residence to 20th century cinema … the very walls of Fairfax House have much to tell.


Upcoming events

15 Feb - 7 Jun 2019

Savage Satire Exhibition

Savage Satire

From the pen of James Gillray

James Gillray, savage satirist, cruel cartoonist and biting political commentator, wielded a power with his pen that few could match in Georgian Britain. His grotesquely exaggerated and wicked caricatures mercilessly ridiculed and poured scorn on politicians, celebrities and royalty alike. 

The visceral and subversive nature of Gillray’s Georgian humour knew no bounds. From the underbelly of British life and the cut-throat business of politics, through to nationalistic squabbles with European neighbours and intensifying notions of ‘Britishness’, all offered a rich seam for Gillray to prod and poke fun at. At the height of his creative powers in the 1790s Gillray’s pen turned out an incessant medley of acidic attacks on everything from insidious tax increases, failed trade missions and constitutional reform, through to the terrors of the French Revolution, war and the threat of imminent invasion. 

200 years on, his often ruthless, sometimes gruesome, but always sharp and sophisticated satires have never been more amusing or relevant.

Drawing on an extraordinary collection of Gillray’s works, a life-time creation by collector Donald Coverdale, Savage Satire draws many parallels between Gillray’s world and today’s current affairs.

Included with admission to Fairfax House (Free to Historic Houses Members).

 


Weddings


Corporate Hire

Corporate events

Fairfax House can also be hired for a reception, corporate event or meeting.

The Saloon offers you a perfect backdrop for any of these events and can comfortably accommodate 50-70 guests. Alternatively the room can be configured for 50 guests seated for an auditorium style event or for 20 in a board table arrangement.

Wine and canapés, finger buffet or tea, coffee and biscuits if you prefer, can all be arranged. (Buffet menu choices and a range of canapés are available on request).

You may like to also consider including a private tour of the house and access to one of the changing exhibitions that the museum features throughout the year.

We are also happy to make arrangements for a musician, instrumental group or vocalist to provide music for your event.

OUR OFFER

  • Projector and screen
  • Dinner
  • Refreshments

School Visits

Fairfax House welcomes visits from schools.

Education visits will transport you back in time to the 18TH century and reveal how Georgian families lived.

We explore what it was like to live in a Georgian house without electricity and modern conveniences, the contrast between the world of comfort and privilege ‘above stairs’ and the hard-working lives of the servants ‘below stairs’, the types of food that people ate and the differences between the 18th century and today.

We aim to promote understanding of the past and the enjoyment of Fairfax House as a place of historic interest. Trips must be booked in advance and we encourage you to contact us to discuss the particular requirements of your school or college.