Saturday, 30 May 2015

10 Reasons to Visit York

I may be a little bit biased, as York is my home town, but I think this is one of the best cities in England. It's a beautiful place and its full of history, so here are my ten reasons why you need to visit York asap.

1.The York Minster

The York  Minster is one of the most impressive and iconic sights in the city, so it's only right this should be number one on my list! It's one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe and its architecture, both inside and out, is absolutely jaw-dropping.

2. The Shambles

The Shambles is an old, narrow street in York full of overhanging, mismatched and higgledy-piggledy timber framed buildings. A lot of the buildings date back to the medieval times. As well as the quirky, picturesque street being amazing to look at, all the little independent shops and café's are definitely worth a visit!

3. Harry Potter

If you're a complete Harry Potter nut like I am then you'll be pleased to know you can see a couple of places from the film right here in York. The Shambles were actually part of the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the films, and when you walk down the street you can see why - I can definitely imagine buying potions ingredients and spell books down there! Also in the first film the scenes in Kings Cross Station were not actually filmed at Kings Cross but at the beautiful York Station! And just outside York you can hop onto the North York Moors Railway and head to Goathland Station which is where Hogsmeade Station was filmed.

4. Ghosts

York has a lot of history, with buildings dating back to the 12th Century and connections with famous historical figures such as Guy Fawkes and Richard III. And with history often comes hauntings - in fact York is thought of as the most haunted city in England! There are many places in York which are reportedly haunted, including a number of pubs, one of which - The Golden Fleece - was featured in an episode of Most Haunted. There are many different Ghost Walks/ Tours in the city, which take you to places that have a sinister history and reports of ghostly encounters! Even if you don't see anything supernatural yourself the stories your guide will tell you about previous experiences will leave you with chills down your spine.

5. Vikings

York was once a Viking settlement called Jorvik, after they conquered the city during 866. If you visit the Jorvik Viking Centre you will be transported back in time to see what the city would have been like back when it was inhabited by the Vikings. An archaeological dig in York uncovered many interesting items and building materials that help us to understand how they lived back then. You can learn all about this at the centre as well as being able to take a ride through a life-size model of part of the Viking city!

6. Museums

York has an abundance of museums you can visit. There's the Yorkshire Museum which has five galleries full of Medieval, Viking and Roman archaeological objects as well as fossils and rare animals and birds. There's the National Railway Museum - a museum dedicated to the history of railway locomotives and features a Japanese Bullet Train and many Royal carriages in it's collection. And then there's the Castle Museum which has a life size recreation of a cobbled Victorian street which you can explore, as well as an old fashioned sweet shop - yum!

7. Bettys Tea Rooms

What could be more British than enjoying some lunch or afternoon tea at Bettys? This beautiful building is an iconic part of York and the traditional service and food you receive is outstanding. At peak times people are often queueing all the way round the outside of the building for a table - but it's well worth the wait for the delicious food and tea!

8. The City Walls

The York City Walls are towering stone walls which once enclosed and defended the city. They were originally built by the Romans in around 71AD, although very little of the original stonework remains and the walls that stand today were mainly built in the 12th-14th century. You can walk the whole circuit of the well-preserved walls and admire all the ancient bars and towers along it, while also getting an amazing view of the city.

9. Clifford's Tower

Clifford's Tower is the medieval keep of York Castle, built on the orders of William the Conqueror after the Norman conquest on York. The tower is pretty much all that's left of the castle and it has quite a gruesome past. It's an impressive building which offers great views of the city.

10. Museum Gardens

The Museum Gardens in York are more than just beautiful botanical gardens. They're also home to historical buildings and ruins (yeah I know, York has sooo many old buildings! haha) You can see the glorious ruins of St Mary's Abbey as well as one of York's largest timber framed buildings.

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