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Places to Visit in York

For visitors to York, the Original York Ghost Walk gives a spirited introduction to the City's attractions. York History Tours provide tours of famous historic scenes in the area such as battles.

York Minster

York's major church uses the old word Minster, meaning a centre of Christian teaching or ministering. It is also a cathedral, containing the Archbishop's 'cathedra' or throne. The first Minster was 7th century. The present one is the fourth on the site.

Among the Minster's many treasures are its 128 windows of stained glass, dating from the 12th to the present century.

It is the largest medieval structure in the United Kingdom. Its grandeur and its surpassing beauty attract visitors from all over the world. Archbishop de Grey began the great building about 1220. Stage by stage the work proceeded until finally, in 1472, the Minster was complete.

The City Walls
York's first walls were Roman. Substantial fragments of these still remain but it is the medieval walls, carefully maintained and restored, which now encircle the old city, almost three miles round.

The earth ramparts on which they stand were raised by the Romans and the Anglo-Danish kings of York. The Normans strengthened them. They are now planted extensively with daffodils. Open daily till dusk.

The Bars
Gateways let you in but they, can also 'bar' your way and often, in York's turbulent past, that was the thing which counted most.

Bootham Bar is the defensive bastion for the north road. On the road south is Micklegate Bar, traditionally the monarch's entrance, where traitors' heads were displayed.
Monk Bar has kept a portcullis in working order, while Walmgate Bar is the only town gate in England to have preserved its barbican, a funnel-like approach, forcing attackers to bunch together.

Gates and Streets
A number of York's streets have names ending in 'gate', the Vikings' word for 'street' but Stonegate existed long before the Vikings came - it was the 'Via Praetoria' to the main gate of the old Roman fortress.

The pedestrianised Stonegate and the narrow medieval Shambles are York highlights.

York Museums
York is noted for its excellent museums covering Yorkshire, heritage, and events. The National Railway Museum offers a fascinating insight into the development of railways. The award winning York Castle Museum covers 600 years of everyday life, the Yorkshire Museum takes you back in time, and the York Art Gallery spans from the Wars of the Roses to the present day.

Historic Buildings
Fairfax House is one of the finest 18th century townhouses in England and home of the famous Noel Terry collection of English furniture and clocks. Barley Hall is a unique survival in York, a city of wonderful buildings. It is a medieval building in the centre of the city, concealed until a few years ago under a jumble of run down derelict offices and workshops.

Guildhall and River
Two rivers meet at York; the Ouse and the Foss. The Ouse, at one time tidal here, enabled the city to become a great port and trading centre.

The 15th century Guildhall was virtually destroyed in an air raid in 1942. It has been expertly restored and the interior contains some splendid carving. The adjoining Inner Chamber escaped destruction and may also be viewed.

The River Ouse is navigable upstream to Ripon, and south of York is the riverside Bishopthorpe Palace, home to the Archbishop of York.

York Minster York City Walls York Shambles York Castle Museum Gardens River Ouse
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