Sunday Spotlight – York

No, I’m not writing today about the gateway to America with its skyscrapers and musicals, but the city that it was named after. Well, after ‘New Amsterdam’ was changed to ‘New York’. York is a really great town to visit in the north of England, filled with cobblestone streets and Tudor-period buildings. If you’re making a journey to the United Kingdom, you really have to put York on your itinerary.

Inside the Minster

Inside the Minster

Tudor-period building.

Tudor-period building.

P1050123

I stayed at a great hostel – Ace Backpackers. It’s an historic building, comfortable, nice bar, a great place to meet travellers, and a great place to start. I liked it so much it made my top five backpacker sleeps list for Europe, which you can find HERE. No, no-one paid me! LOL.

Ahh street performers. Profound, huh?

Ahh street performers. Profound, huh?

Now THAT'S an address!

Now THAT’S an address!

P1050210

Love the over-hang of the Tudor period!

Love the over-hang of the Tudor period!

Sorry. Once you’re in York you’ll want to walk around the streets for a bit and soak it up. It’s really picturesque with a blend of the gothic and the Tudor period. The Tudor buildings often feature a first floor that hangs 1-2 metres over the street. I took a wonderful little walking tour that took me around the streets and we passed numerous houses that had the Tudor-feel and then past some street performers adding spice and colour to the streets. We passed a market, and one of the most unusual addresses you are likely to see in the work – 1 ½ Whip-ma-whop-ma-gate (yes really) and of course took in the most amazing of all churches in York – the York Minster.

Inside the Minster

Inside the Minster

The facade of the York Minster

The facade of the York Minster

Stain glass magnificence!

Stain glass magnificence!

One of biggest and most stunning churches in all of the UK, if not Europe, the York Minster has 128 stain glass windows which are simply stunning. The church is the ‘home-base’ if you like for the Archbishop of York, the second most important person in the hierarchy of the Church of England. Although there has been a church on the site since 627AD, the present form was (re)built in 1080.

York is a bit of a citadel, and has appropriate city walls that encircle the city, although today there are gaps. To get a real sense of the city, I walked around the entire length of the walls (and on roads where the walls disappeared). I could see into some lush backyards at times, and the view was stunning.

great views from the city walls

great views from the city walls

The giant gates are also a feature of York.

The giant gates are also a feature of York.

York also has a number of art galleries and museums. I visited a few, and was taken by the somewhat eccentric Richard the Third Museum. Richard was from the region, and as a Yorkshire man the people of York are naturally protective of his history. The museum sets about disproving several things people think they know about Richard. It’s set on many floors in a tower and whilst it isn’t the world’s biggest, most professional museum, it is interesting and quirky.

I'm guessing this one goes fast!

I’m guessing this one goes fast!

Steam engine at the Railway Museum in York.

Steam engine at the Railway Museum in York.

If your appetite for museums hasn’t been quelled, check out the train museum. Sure, it helps if you’re a train buff – I am to an extent, although there are thousands if not more out there who are far more into their trains than I. I’ve visited a few train museums in my travels and the one in York is the biggest and most impressive with by far the largest collection of engines and carriages – some of them being rightly royal – than you could ever hope to see. Even for the person who is not particularly enthused by trains, it’s a good way to fill a couple of hours and for those with kids, well children loved the place.

And that folks, is a little taster of York on today’s Sunday Spotlight. There’s so much more to see and do there that I haven’t mentioned, so if I’ve whetted your appetite, get thee to York! I’d say it’s a must visit on any trip to the United Kingdom! See you all in a couple of days when I tell all about my amazing day trip to Hakone from last week!

3 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s