Not only is York Minster (which is also known as The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York) one of the largest of northern Europe’s Gothic structures, it also makes a very strong argument for standing as one of the world’s best kept and greatest cathedrals. You can get an interesting account of the building’s construction with a visit to Undercroft, an attraction and education centre which puts a whole lot of perspective on what you’re seeing when you visit this popular landmark that pretty much makes any visit to York complete.
Located to the south of the River Foss, Clifford’s Tower’s initial construction was completed by William the Conqueror as a means through which to get a grip on the north of England which was rather rebellious. Henry the 3rd rebuilt the castle after it had been buried twice in the ground. A hike to the top is best completed during spring time when the daffodils are blooming, otherwise summiting the hill on which the castle sits offers great views of the surroundings.
This walkway which dates back to the 14th century is largely believed to have inspired Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, offering beautiful, quirky scenes of a time long gone by. Many local butchers occupied the buildings which line the streets, but today visitors can drop in on many different shops selling a very wide variety of goods.
Two hours is all you’ll need to walk the City Walls from end-to-end, stretching over 2 miles and offering the best way to get a real feel for what the city of York is all about. You can enjoy an on-site briefing on the history of the walls which date back to the Roman times, through the various signs lining some key points along the way.
St. Mary’s Abbey
Visit the Verdant Museum Gardens of York to catch sight of this beautiful, eerie ruin boasting a history which had it once being the richest in the north of England prior to the monasteries’ dissolution. That event led to its destruction following its closure, but now the remains of St. Mary’s Abbey make for a beautiful backdrop together with the grassy landscapes frequented by locals as a favourite picnic spot.
Merchant Adventurers’ Hall
Beside the River Foss, about three minutes from Clifford’s Tower lies Merchant Adventurers’ hall, which is a fine guildhall boasting some rather unique architecture made up of an unusual mix of brick, stone and wood. Initially built by a religious collective in 1375, the hall is now the largest timber-framed building in the UK, regularly hosting some of the region’s popular fairs, festivals, markets and events.
Originally built by monks in 1360, the Barley Hall predates even the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, but it became disused and suffered degeneration. In 1987 it was saved from demolition by the Archaeological Trust, now standing as a Grade II listed building after it had originally been earmarked to be turned into a museum by the Trust.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay in York, hotels are plentiful and varied and can be found in every quarter and every corner of the city.