A day trip to York.
Trailing the city wall as it wraps around the centre with bold Roman columns and distinct signs of war, conquest and the towns people, surrounded by freshly cut grass and gardens that flourish, nearly 2000 years of history passes by. Built by the Romans in 71 AD and fought and won by the Vikings nearly 800 years later, the city is rich in history with battles not only between the Romans and Vikings but also the Saxons, Edwardians and Georgians whom all have left their marks on the city.
The town centre, known as The Shambles, with old cobbled streets from the Norman times is filled with butchers, markets, bakers, shops, cafes and restaurants housed in beautiful timber framed houses preserved and restored from the period. The streets are often filled with locals moving about their day but can become extremely congested with tourists over the weekend. At street intersections, magic shows and buskers collide with this historical quarter adding an even greater medieval feel to the streets.
York minster reflects medieval themes too as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in England with stained glass windows and some of the oldest stone sculptures in the country. Despite its medieval origins, the Anglo-Saxon takeover of the cathedral is architecturally what we see today within the exterior. The large, open garden space is tranquil and traditional and is a popular place for visitors for picnics during the warmer months. Tours of the underground chambers – recently renovated – and visits to Tombs and the Roman crypts give greater insight to the depth and history of the region and climbing the steps of the central tower reveal quite remarkable views.
Down the street lies a proud symbol of Medieval English Kings; Clifford’s Tower. Built originally by William the Conqueror, the structure was last rebuilt by Henry III during the 13th century after it was twice burned down. Named after the execution of Roger de Clifford who was hanged from the tower wall, the gore and war details of the tower are just some of the facts about the history of the area. The tower has a very strategic location with views of the sea and surrounding countryside and therefore played an important role in the management and control of northern England for centuries.
Like most cities conquered during Roman times, the river Ouse runs through the centre of town and is a popular spot for bars and restaurants as well as boat trips down the canal. With the sun shining or the flurries of snow, the riverbank is especially popular for weekend visitors and parties for out-of-towners.
Make sure to stop off for high tea any day of the week with many hotels, bed and breakfasts, cafes and team rooms to choose from making sure there is no shortage of scones, cucumber sandwiches and petit fours in this town. With a range of variations from the traditional to the experimental and with a glass of champagne, tea and coffee often included, York delivers some fantastic food from the region.