From Roman ruins to Viking heritage, this northern English city lives and breathes history on every cobbled street. Here’s our guide to getting the best out of York.
York Minister. Credit: Brian HarrisAlamy
The largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe, the minster was built between 1220 and 1472. Its central tower is visible for miles around and it also houses more than half of England’s medieval stained glass in its 128 windows, the stunning Great East Window is the largest expanse in the country.
The stunning panoramic views over the old city from the top of Clifford’s Tower, make it the ideal starting point for any visit. There’s plenty to discover at this imposing tower standing proud on its high mound. It is almost all that remains of York Castle built by William the Conqueror, and has served as a prison and a royal mint in its time.
Walk the Shambles and you can reach out and touch the beautiful 14th-century buildings. ‘The Shambles’ is sometimes used as a general term for the maze of twisting, narrow lanes which make York so charming. At its heart is the lane actually called the Shambles, arguably the best preserved medieval street in the world. It was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of William the Conqueror in 1086.
York is best experienced on foot and no visit is complete without walking the City Walls. A brass-studded 3.4km trail takes you around the perimeter of the old city, a circuit that dates back to the Roman era, despite much of the remaining walls having been built in the 13th and 14th centuries.
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