Bar Convent Heritage Centre

bar convent


The Bar Convent was established in 1686, at a time when it was illegal to be Catholic, a group of religious sisters, now known as the Congregation of Jesus, opened this secret convent.

Their foundress, Mary Ward, pioneered the idea of religious women working as missionaries- part of that mission was to educate girls. Following Mary’s death, the order founded the first schools for girls in the country- the second in this house. Today, it is the oldest living convent in the UK, it is central to the global order and there are more than 200 schools worldwide in Mary Ward’s name.

Explore the history of this fascinating house through incredible artefacts, engaging interactives and stories of the people who changed the course of history.

For those who want a truly unique experience, they can enjoy a stay in the UK’s oldest living convent, with comfort, convenience and a welcoming, friendly service in the stunning heritage surroundings that promise a great night’s sleep and an award-winning breakfast to wake up to. To include an award-winning cooked breakfast, it is necessary to book direct with Bar Convent.

The Guest House has recently undergone a major refurbishment project with all rooms being newly decorated and some being brand new rooms. The location of Bar Convent is second to none, just around the corner form York Railway Station and a stone’s throw from Micklegate Bar which is the main entrance into York’s historic walls, with an easy ten-minute walk into the city centre.

Opening Times

  • Café: Open Monday–Saturday, 8am–3pm (Hot food served until 2:30pm)
  • Exhibition, Chapel and Georgian Parlour: Open 10am–5pm (Last admission at 4pm)
  • Closed on bank holidays and some religious holidays


  • House visit is complimentary
  • Admission charges apply only to the exhibition


For accessibility information, please visit here.


Bar Convent Heritage Centre, 17 Blossom Street, York, YO24 1AQ
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