Visiting York, England is a must-do for history lovers. A few years ago, just after my 2008 visit to the UK, I was telling a friend about my trip. He recommended the next time I was in the UK, that I’d visit his hometown of York – the medieval city located in the northern part of England.
I took his recommendation and during the UK honeymoon that my husband and I planned, we made sure to do a one-day stop visiting York. Coming back from Edinburgh (see our photo post), we ended up in York in the late morning. Dropping off our luggage and checking into the luxurious 5-star Cedar Court Grand Hotel, we headed out to visit York Minster Cathedral.
With no line-ups and a cheery welcome to take as many photos as we liked, we entered and stared in awe. Built in the 13th century, the Gothic-style architecture, the high vaulted ceilings and the many windows showcase the advanced skills and hard work that went into building such a beautiful place of worship… at at time when man didn’t have the same level of technology to use as we have today.
After our quick self-guided tour of our Cathedral, we headed into the streets of York called The Shambles (an old term for slaughterhouse or open-air market). Retaining its medieval character, York’s streets meander and curve. Many buildings still retain their original architecture of the 14th century. For a lover of anything history-related, this is a place to get a little sense of what it might have been like to live in those times.
A must-do for those interested in medieval history is a visit to the Jorvik Viking Centre, which offers you a tour of reconstructions of York during the period of Viking rule. It’s located on the spot where archaeologists discovered the remains of Viking home, shops and backyards.
Rain started to threaten our touring of the city – after a quick rest and bite to eat, we decided to do a bit of walking along the Roman and Medieval walls of York. But once you get started, you can’t stop! We ended up walking the whole 2 miles, along the ramparts, up and down the stairs, through the various gates until we returned back to our hotel. Along the way we saw Clifford’s Tower at York Castle – an eye-catching structure atop a hill.
We arrived back at our hotel just as the sun had finally set. Our day was over, but we learned one thing – York demands another visit to explore in greater detail the shops, the small streets and the historical sites in and around the area.
What are your tips for visiting York?