About York





Clifford's Tower and its views

York Castle


Other skylines and views

From bridges, Safestay Hostel


The Shambles  

  Stonegate, Kings Square, St Helen's Square, L.Petergate

Shambles Market



  Coney St, Lendal
York Minster
Museum Gardens
  River Ouse
Queen Street

Minster Quarter, Duncombe Place, St Williams College, Goodramgate, College St, St Wilfrid's Church



Coppergate, High Ousegate


York Station, Micklegate street, Safestay hostel, City wall

National Railway Museum Jorvik Viking Centre    


YORK BY NIGHT:        
York by night    
Micklegate, River Ouse        


Population:  208 000 (metro Leeds-York 2 454 000)
Tallest building:
York Minster (61m, built 1472)
Founded: 71AD as Eboracum, 95-105 AD
Ceremonial county:
North Yorkshire
Area: 271.94 km²
Year visited: April 2017


York is one of the oldest cities in the UK, it is also one of the most beautiful. It the largest city in North Yorkshire, just about 20km Northeast of England's 3rd largest city, Leeds. Large parts of the City Walls of York are still intact (more then in any other British city) and surrounds the city center, and many of the historical building from medieval times still remain. The original walls were built by the Romans. River Ouse flows through the city, dividing it in two, with Micklegate to the West and most famous sights to the East of it. River Foss flows to the East of the city center, and meets Ouse to the south of it. York is known as a students town, home for University of York (established in 1963), and thus also a party town. The streetscape consists of medieval narrow lanes, beautiful parks and historical churches. York was founded as Eboracum by the Romans, in the country that was then called Britannia. Two Roman empires died in the city. For a time (866-954) York was under Viking rule, then called Jórvík. It was an important river port for the extensive viking trade routes. Especially Danish vikings travelled to York. The name Jórvík later became York, and that is what many people think the large American metropolis was named after by Brittish settlers - New York! But it was named after the title for the 2nd son of English monarchs, Duke of York, that in turn was named after York.

The Shambles is the most famous street in York. It is very short, but yet the most visited street in Europe! It is known for its beautiful historical timber-framed buildings, some dating back from the 14th century, today with mostly gift shops and eateries on the lower floors. It is the best preserved medieval street in the world. In 1872, 25 butcher shops were located on this small street (then called The Great Flesh Shambles), but none is left today. Parallel to the Shambles is the nice Shambles Market, where food, candy, clothes, toys, posters, souvernirs and much else are sold. Stonegate, Swinegate and Petersgate are some of the most beautiful preserved pedestrian streets in the heart of York. They offer small shops, restaurants (many typical British), tea rooms, cafés and pubs, located inside beautiful historical buildings, many of them half-timbered. In Stonegate you find an armour store and a christmas store open all year round! Kings Square is one of the major squares, where you find street artist, (a fire-eaters during my visit), juice sellers and small shops. It is a popular place for tourists and locals to hang out. Parliament Street, one of the wider pedestrian streets of York begins here.

York Minster is one of England's most wellknown gothic churches, and one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. The official name is Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York. Its tower has a height of 61m, that makes it the tallest building in York, and the church is the seat of the archbishop of York, the 2nd highest office in England. The first church built on the site was a wooden church in 1672, and many different churches have been built on the site. The current gothic structue was built between 1220-1472. The church can be visited, for an entrance fee, it is popular to visit its roofs and climb to the top of the tower, that offers nice views of the city. There was a great fire in the minster in 1984, after lightning striked, creating heavy damage! In front of the cathedral you find the Duncombe Place, a beautiful street/square, built in 1859-64 by Augustus William Duncombe (then Dean of York) to create a clear space with views towards the cathedral's West facade. The quarters around are called the Minster Quarter. Between the cathedral and River Ouse is the Museum Gardens, botanical gardens created in 1835 by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society. In the gardens you find various plants, trees and birds, remains of the Roman fortress of Eboracum, ruins of St Mary's Abbey, other historical structures and the Yorkshire Museum, museum about biology, geology, archaeology and astronomy, established in 1830 and home to the Cawood Sword. It is a very popular place to hang out for students and tourists, lots of people were here during my visit. Some examples of York's many churches are All Saints Church, St Wilfrid's Church and Church of St Michael le Belfrey, York City Church and St Mary's Church. The skyline of York is completely dominated by historical buildings, mostly these churches. There are no highrises in the city and no building is allowed to be built taller then the York Minster.

Micklegate Bar is the most famous gate of the ancient wall, with the iconic tower. Micklegate means "mykla gata", "great street" in Old Norse. It was the traditional ceremonial gates for monarchs entering the city, like Richard II. Heads of traitors were left here to rot! Micklegate is also a street with the same name, the main street on the West part of the city. It is curvy and hilly, and is where I stayed for one night.
Walmgate Bar, Monk Bar and Bootham Bar are some other iconic gates to the city. It is very popular for tourists to walk on top of the wall, that offers great views of the city.

Clifford's Tower is the most wellknown ruins of the destroyed York Castle, originally built in 1068 by William the Conqueror to dominate the former Viking city of York. The fortified castle housed prisons, law courts and other buildings. Clifford Tower is a national monument, and was the keep of York Castle. It stands on a hill one block from the river and is a popular tourist attraction that offers views of the city while you walk 360 degrees on top of its walls. It was the place for the Siege of York in 1644 and the Jewish massacre in 1190. The first floor includes a richly decorated chapel, once an apartment. The tower was originally built in the middle ages, but the current structure is a reconstruction form 1643, and already in 1684 large parts were destroyed in an explosion. York Castle Museum is housed in former prison building (opposite the tower), built in the 18th century in neo-classical style. Here you find a recreated Victorian street, a history of toys, an exhibition about WWI and a display about life in prison. Right next is the Crown Court, from the 18th century built in similar style. The reconstructed Raindale Mill faces the river.

Jorvik Viking Centre is a museum and experience about Vikings and Norse rule, created by the York Archaeological Trust in 1984, and named after the Viking name of York - Jórvík. It is situated in the city center, near the Shambles. In the "Time Warp experience" you sit down on a sort of ride, that goes along a track in a large dark room, were fullscale landscapes are built to show the Viking life, with moving and talking mannequins that looks like real people, animals, houses, other structures and objects of the time. Some of the "moving people" are even real actors! All while the history is explained, free to chose a language. There is also a museum part with viking objects, some from pludering, and real skeletons from dead vikings. Under a glass floor in the entrance hall, the original archeological dig is reproduced with actual timbers. A fun anecdote is that the Swedish city of Lund (that is just next to Malmö) was mentioned. The center arrange an annual viking festival in February, and outside there were actors dressed like vikings, playing music and setting up sword fights. The Jorvik Viking Centre was badly damaged by a flooding during Christmas 2015, but reopened 8 April 2017, occasionally the same day as I visited York! The line to get in was very big and they had some problems making the attraction work after that.

York has popular Ghost Tour, that takes a guided tour to York's most haunted places. In York Art Gallery, housed in a neo-classicist building, people can admire works by famous artists as Turner and Hockney. The York Dungeon is a thrilling attraction through York's darkest history. It is also possible to cruise along River Ouse with York City Cruises. York's Chocolate Story describes how York became England's center for chocolate industry. To the Northeast of York is Castle Howard, one of England's finest historic houses, a family castle with world-renowned collections and fine parklands.

The National Railway Museum, that I visited, is the largest railway museum in the world by number of visitors (about one million a year), and one of the largest in size. It was established in 1975 features historical trains like the Rocket (that was the first locomotive built), the Mallard (very futuristic in 1938), and a Shinkansen (the futuristic Japanese fastspeed train). It is home to the national collection of railway vehicles and artefacts, with 280 rail vehicles. There is approximately 100 vehicles in the York museum at one time. The museum is sitauted between River Ouse and Leeman Road, right behind the York Station, a yellowbrick railway station with 11 platforms, built in 1877 (extended 1909). York is a major railway hub, halfway between London and Edinburgh.


I stayed in York for one day and one morning, and the weather was really sunny and pleasant, especially for April. York was my favourite of the 5 cities I visited, it was really interesting to see a typical British city, that still looks like in the old times. I especially enjoyed the old historical streets Shambles and Stonegate, climb up and watch the views from Clifford Tower, the National Railway Museum (that is the largest of its kind I have been to) and Jorvik Viking Center (that occasionally reopened after 2 years afer flooding, the same day I visited!). The staff and other tourists appreciated that I chosed Swedish as the language of the tour! The only negative aspect was that I found out that one and a half day was way too little time to enjoy York. I managed to see the most important streets, places and squares, and three major attractions, visit some restaurants, cafés and pubs in a fast tempo, but not really enjoy the city and I didn't have time to climb the York Minster (cathedral), go on the Ghost Tour and visit the York Castle Museum. As I visited a Friday evening, I saw a lot of drunk, young people in fancy clothes, tottering through the cobbed streets of York in high heels and fancy suits.


Safestay is a very fresh hostel, situated at Micklegate street on the West side of the river Ouse, just a few blocks from the railway station, that is on the other side of the wall. It is part of a chain and looks very fresh, even luxiorious, to be a hostel. That is beacause it is sitauted in a 4-storey historic redbrick building (a 16th century Georgian town house), with a nice basement featuring computers and wifi for internet access. Lots of paintings and signs tells stories about its history With chandeliers, fireplaces and grand stairways, floors and ceilings painted in violet and pink it is very hip today. The shared room was very fresh, and even featured violet curtains that could be closed during night. It also featured a lamp. There was not many people during my visit, probably because the visit was in early spring.A plus was that our room had views of the York Minster and the skyline. The staff was a bit confused and told me the wrong floor twice. That was especially annoying since that the building has no elevator, considering there are 4 floors with very high ceiling. The staff was very friendly though. Breakfast was not included, so I had breakfast at a nearby café. The hostel has both shared rooms and private bedrooms.

The trip to York was part of a tour in England. We also visited the following cities: Manchester , Birmingham , Liverpool and Leeds.

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