Here we go folks, another chapter on my visit to England.
After leaving leafy Battersea in London, I caught a train up north to spend a couple of days in York. I’m so glad a friend suggested it as I really enjoyed this ye olde town, so rich in history. For me one of the fascinating aspects of travel is learning about the history of a city and it always reminds me just how young Australia is.
My hotel was near the city centre so to make the most of my time I did the very touristy thing of using a sightseeing hop on / hop off double-decker bus which was a great (and cheap) way to see the outskirts of the city AND get a history lesson.
Dating way back to Roman times, York was defended by a city wall. Parts of the impressive wall and entrance gates are still standing today. Had I more time I would have liked to take a walk along the wall – I’m guessing the city view would be amazing.
A thousand years ago York was home to Scandinavian Vikings. I visited Jorvik Viking Centre which is set on top of an archaeological site from the 1970’s showing the remains of Viking homes, household items and human remains. They also have reconstructed a town based on the excavation, demonstrating how the Vikings lived and what they ate.
While walking through the city I came by York Minster, a Gothic-style cathedral that amazingly took two hundred and fifty years to build. The medieval church was completed in 1472 and some of the beautiful stained glass dates back to the 12th century.
Today some of the windows in York remain bricked up and blacked out due to residents from long ago who didn’t (and most likely couldn’t afford to) pay tax for daylight, hence the term ‘daylight robbery’.
The Shambles is a well-preserved medieval street dating back to the 14th and 15th century. The narrow cobblestone lane, with old warped wooden-framed buildings, housed many butchers but are now gift, jewellery and sweets shops for tourists.
Clifford’s Tower is the remnants of William the Conqueror’s castle, otherwise known as York Castle. With history as a prison, a royal mint and having been burned to the ground twice, Clifford’s Tower is now a popular tourist attraction and a great place to see the city from above.
To get into the spirit of York’s history, one night I went on The Ghost Hunt of York – a very theatrical, walk around the city, with a top-hatted guide telling tales of the haunted city locations. It was way funnier than it was scary but certainly interesting to hear some of the morbid local stories.
Next up: I share some with you some of the excellent veg eats I had in York.
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