York, one of the most attractive cities in the U.K. and less than an hours drive from any of the cottages, parking is expensive but the Park and Ride system is excellent and highly recommended. York is a medieval masterpiece and superbly preserved it has lots of eye-catching features and some great tourist attractions.
Just wandering the little streets in the shadow of the mighty York Minster is a real treat and an experience not to be missed much improved by the fact it is all pedestrianised. King George VI once said: “The history of York is the history of England,” and this sentiment will be echoed by any true-blooded Yorkshireman. York hosts the world-famous Jorvik Viking Centre and many marvelous museums including the York Castle Museum and the National railway Museum.
The Jorvic Viking Centre enables you to travel underground to the 1,000-year-old Viking City of York. You can step aboard a time train and travel through the bustling market, dark smoky houses and busy wharfside and experience the sights, sounds and smells as you go.
Betty’s Tea Rooms are fantastic, a real treat where you can enjoy a fat rascal or many other Yorkshire treats with Yorkshire tea, served to perfection in stunning surroundings, but do expect to queue. There have been walls around all the different versions of York since Roman times, originally they were earth banks with a timber palisade on top. The present stone walls date from the 13th century and it is possible to walk along what remains of them. Gateways, or ‘bars’ to give the local name, mark the only points other than the river where it was possible to enter the old city. Each bar has its own place in history.
York is also home to The Shambles, one of the best preserved medieval streets in Europe. The street was home to the butchers of York and takes its name from the hammels, the shelves on which butchers used to display their meat. You can still see these shelves in front of some of the shop windows and the hooks on which the meat was hung. Some of the buildings date back to 1350 and its a joy just to meander around stopping at one of the many coffee shops or hostelries.
Kings have entered the city through Micklegate Bar and the heads of rebels were displayed there as a warning to others. Dick Turpin spent his last night on earth in the condemned cell in York Castle, a cell which has been left much as it was in the Castle Museum an excellent museum and well worth a visit. The other very notable Museum in York is the National Railway Museum which is fantastic, free and well worth a visit whether or not you are a train enthusiast. But it is the York Minster that is York’s crowning glory and it is the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe, drawing visitors back time after time.