If you like an old world with a higgledy-piggledy atmosphere, a visit to Medieval York is must on your bucket list. Old York is a walled city in North Yorkshire England, and has produced evidence of ancient settlements as far back as 7-8000 years BC, way before the wave of invasions like that of the Romans, who named it as Eboracum in 71 AD.
York today, with its charming mixture of history, it’s one of Yorkshire top tourist destinations.
York can be reached easily by all modes of transport, especially by train, York station being very close to the gateway of the old city and its walls. Visiting by train also allows you to admire this beautiful and magnificent Victorian structure, a place worth visiting in its own right, opened in 1877, it was the largest railway station in the world. Adjoining the station is the NRM, The National Railway Museum, established in 1975 and is home to a vast collection of British and International traction. York is approximately 208 miles from London, or around 5 hours drive traffic permitting, with good motorway connections.
Where to start?
The Cathedral and Metropolitan Church of Saint Peter in York, more commonly known as York Minster, dominates the city and its skyline, and is one of the largest cathedrals in the Northern Europe. Amazing gothic architecture with lots of stunning stained-glass windows, awe inspiring statuary, woodwork and a fascinating crypt. There are guided tours conducted around the scheduled service times, these are guided tours and do attract a cover charge.
Walking around the Top of the Walls is a fascinating way to appreciate the city, it provides an opportunity to see a different perspective of York, from its ancient times to its industrial past and its embrace of the future. You’ll pass imposing gardens and beautifully preserved houses and can exit from various places along the walkway for a closer look and wander about, there is no shortage of classic English Tea Rooms to the delights of Asia to quench thirst and hunger after a good days walking, not forgetting the excellent pub scene, where ales and homemade food can give comfort to the tired traveller.
Al-loh-ha-mohr-ah, Harry Potter’s spell to open and unlock doors and if you’re a fan of this novel then The Shambles is your fantasy destination, try the spell and a door might open and will transport you to the 14th century Medieval butcher street. Not to miss is the shrine of St Margaret Clitherow, who was deliberately crushed to death because she would not reply when asked if she had harboured a Catholic priest. Today, occupants to the quirky buildings are shops, restaurants and cafes.
Step back in time at the York Museum, such a vast amount to see, it shows aspects of British daily life throughout the ages. The Victorian Street recreation is fascinating and will enthrals everyone, young and old. There are several type of exhibits, so allow plenty of time to enjoy. Entrance fees do apply, https://www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk/your-visit/tickets/ .
A leisurely boat ride along the River Ouse gives another perspective of appreciating your visit to York. Relax as you cruise along the historic sights, bridges and historical buildings. Some cruises offer a bar so you can enjoy a drink and sights at the same time.
York has an exciting food scene on all levels, from top notch restaurants, traditional pubs and coolest bars. And what a way to finish off a day with a sumptuous dinner in one of York’s top restaurants or even a take away and enjoy the historical surroundings of this city. We immensely enjoyed cocktails and ales along the river on a sunny afternoon.
If your visit allows you to stay longer, other places of interest are The Jorvik Viking Centre, York Dungeon, York Castle and York Museum Garden.
(When we visited York, we arrived in the evening and stayed overnight. We did the self – guided tour of the city the following day. A visit to York is definitely worth adding to your bucket list.)