The beautifully preserved medieval walled city of York has everything from the majestic York Minster through to the snickleways and medieval architecture – York is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Walk the medieval cobbled streets and soak up the history of the city, once ruled by the Romans and the Vikings. A melting pot of culture waiting to be discovered, where Chocolatiers created the world’s finest chocolate and ghosts roam the snickelways.
This strikingly beautiful city straddling the River Ouse is one of Britain’s premier sights. York has a multitude of museums and historic buildings spanning a range of historic periods.. Much of the city’s compact heart is pedestrianised, so it’s a great place to explore on foot taking in its wealth of shops and vibrant street performers. York is an easy and pleasant city for walking, and a circuit of the city wall is an excellent way to get your bearings. Among the most evocative streets are the Shambles, originally a street of butchers shops and retaining its overhanging, jettied timber-framed buildings, and Stonegate, where shop signs and frontages span several centuries.
York has numerous distinguished medieval churches – one of the best if is Holy Trinity Church (Goodramgate) with its inward-facing box pews and late 15th century stained glass.
The magnificent 13th-century castle walls snake around the medieval centre and at its core is the magnificent York Minster, one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world.
A Brief History:
York is draped in history and has a very colourful history. The Romans arrived in 71 AD and built the capital of the Roman Empire’s northern territories naming it Eboracum. From here Hadrian masterminded the pacifying of the north and the building of Hadrian’s wall. Constantine was proclaimed Emperor here in 306 AD.
When the Romans withdrew their army from Britain in the fifth century AD, York was conquered by the Anglo-Saxons, who made it the capital of the kingdom of Northumbria. In 627 AD, bishop Paulinus baptised King Edwin in a specially built wooden church of Northumbria which added to York’s political clout. Within six years the church became the first Minster with Paulinius becoming the first Archbishop of York. Fast forward a couple of centuries and in 867 AD the city of York fell to the Vikings who renamed it Jorvik and it became the capital of the Viking–dominated Danelaw. Their hundred-year occupation ended in 954 AD when York regained by the Anglo-Saxon King Eadred of Wessex.
In 1066 English Kind Harold defeated an invasion jointly led by Harald Hardrada of Norway and Tostig, King Harold’s half brother at Stamford Bridge but then William of Normandy landed in the south and the English army were defeated in the Battle of Hastings. The city was destroyed during William the Conqueror’s ferocious “harrying of the north”, punishment for having had the temerity to oppose his occupation of the country. A new cathedral was built by the Norman Archbishop Thomas, starting in 1080, and this spearheaded the development of the city as the religious centre of the north of England.
Some Great Itineraries: