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York Travel Tips

Posted: 2009-06-22

York Travel Tips

The historic city of York is one of my favourite places to visit in the UK. If you enjoy history, you'll enjoy York; everywhere you turn there are reminders of the long and richly varied history of the city, from Roman remains to Viking artefacts or some of England's finest medieval buildings. Here are my top tips of places to see in York.

  1. York Minster - this was an easy choice to add to the list! York Minster is one of the finest medieval churches in Britain, an architectural wonder.
  2. Barley Hall - a medieval house, now restored to appear as it would have been in the 15th century. Barley Hall aims to create a 'hands-on' approach to history; visitors are encouraged to handle historic replica objects, and dress up in medieval costumes - our kids loved it.
  3. Merchant Adventurers Hall - a fantastic medieval building, the Merchant Adventurers' Hall is one of the finest examples of a medieval guildhall in England. It was built around 1357, and has survived almost unaltered since, save for the addition of Elizabethan panelling. It boasts a vaulted undercroft featuring very early brickwork.
  4. York Castle Museum - seeks to recreate daily life in England over the past four centuries through a series of tableaus of street scenes from different time periods, including a Victorian high street, and a recreation of the Edwardian Half Moon Court. A feature of the museum is a Jane Austen costume collection. The museum occupies part of the old prison buildings of York, and you can see the cell where the famed highwayman Dick Turpin spent his last night before execution.
  5. Fairfax House - Just around the corner from the Jorvik Viking centre is this delightful Georgian townhouse. FGairfax House features wonderfully decorated rooms filled with quite magnificent period furniture.
  6. Cliffords Tower - sometimes called York Castle, this Norman fortress built by William the Conqueror sits atop a high, conical mound. The castle was the scene of one of the darkest days in English history, when, in 1190 an angry mob killed the Jewish citizens of York who had taken refuge there.
  7. Medieval City Walls - one of the great joys of York is walking the old city walls. The original medieval walls still stretch most of the way around the historic core of the city, and are punctuated with several of the remaining medieval gates, like Monk Bar. The majority of the wall dates from the 12th to the 14th century, but incorporate sections of the much older Roman walls.
  8. The Shambles - an almost perfect example of an old medieval street. The houses are built out over the cobbled lane beneath, and at one point are so close that you could reach from one side of the street to the other. In the Shambles you will find the house of St Margaret Clitherow, who was executed for her Catholic sympathies in 1586.

Yorkshire Travel Tips - my top suggestions for visiting Yorkshire
York Travel Guide - more information about York, including accommodation listings

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