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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!