A Walk Around York

Exploring England #32

On our first day in York we had one goal – to visit The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, more commonly known as York Minster.

Dating from the 13th century, the church is the second largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. To make the most of our visit, we took a guided tour around the vast interior. With our enthusiastic leader, we learned the stories behind the medieval stained glass, Gothic carvings and ornamented ceilings inside the church and marvelled at the intricate stonework outside.

It would have been a mistake for us to think, once we’d seen the minster, we were finished with York. We spent the rest of the day exploring beyond the minster and found a wealth of historical buildings with their own stories.

Described as the best preserved medieval street in the world, The Shambles isΒ  lined with haphazard half-timbered buildings. Each storey overhangs the one below until, at the top, they almost touch. Once filled with butcheries, the street now bustles with artisan stores, cafΓ©s and souvenir shops.

Until King Henry VIII’s reformation of the churches in the 1500s, the Treasurer’s House was the official residence of the Treasurer of York Minster. It was given to the Archbishop of York in 1547 and now belongs to the National Trust. Built over the top of a Roman road, the house is said to be haunted by a group of Roman soldiers who march in formation to an unknown destination.

The Abbey of St Mary was another building forever changed by Henry. Once the richest Benedictine Abbey in England, it was closed during the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. Much of the stonework was reused on other buildings; today only the north and west walls remain. The gardens of the nearby Yorkshire Museum enhance the jagged beauty of the ruins.

In contrast to the ancient buildings of York, the museum is relatively new. Opened in 1830 by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, it was one of the first in England specially built as a museum.

We came across many more wonderful buildings on our walk. We did not know their history but we were entranced by their appearance.

After wandering the streets, we found a different way to view the beautiful architecture of York. The city wall, complete with medieval gates and defensive towers,Β  gave us another insight into the past.

It also provided us with excellent vantage points to appreciate once more the glory of York Minster.

Join Jo for more Monday Walks

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49 thoughts on “A Walk Around York

  1. No doubt about it, it’s a beautiful city, Carol. One of those you can just wander and wander in. I keep meaning to hop a train down for the day but something else comes up. Did you go up the tower in the Minster? Not cheap but interesting to do. Many thanks to you. Off to snatch 10 minutes of sunshine πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  2. It’s so stunning isn’t it – you made me recall when I first arrived in the UK being so stunned by the seemingly unending parade of beautiful ancient buildings and ruins that the locals walked by, or even leaned negligently against without seeming to notice – while I, starved of the physical signs of a long history, gaped and gawped and gloried in seeing it all…… York is most beautiful and your photos have captured it so beautifully!

    • It doesn’t matter how many times we go anywhere in Europe, we’re always amazed by the “ancientness” of everything. I’m always intrigued by the vast collections of documents dating back hundreds of years. It’s a wonder someone 300 years ago didn’t think it was a pile of rubbish and toss it all away. Thank goodness they didn’t πŸ™‚

  3. York is a splendid city and I have been there many, many times since childhood. Lovely historic buildings and an easy stroll around the city walls.My brothers and I used to play on those walls when my parents went to the York races. I don’t recall going into the Minster (and what a mouthful its proper title is!) so thank you for the glimpse.

  4. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Rufford Abbey and Country Park | restlessjo

  5. I’ve never been to York so thank you for taking me on this interesting walk. I love the black and white houses with the blue front doors πŸ™‚

  6. Lovely photos! I was there not long ago and will be doing a write-up of our visit there at some point too. It was nice to be reminded of just how lovely the area is again! Thanks!

  7. I adore York and cannot wait to get back up North and show my American husband how beautiful it is. You have captured some beautiful photos, the detail is where people rarely look…

  8. Pingback: Out the Window | The Eternal Traveller

  9. What a beautiful place! From the Shambles with those interesting levels stacked as they are, to the intricate and elaborate York Minster, to the beautiful abbey walls — all amazing. I hope I can visit this place one day. πŸ™‚

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