York is often referred to as the capital City of the north of England. Until the industrial revolution York was second in size of population and importance to London. Largely bypassed by the industrial revolution York has retained the links with its medieval past more than most places in England. You will find yourself captivated by the magical city of York, with its unique atmosphere. One of the most historic cities in Britain, York has 2000 years of history, which it unnfolds for you in its streets, buildings and museums. York is a city where sight seeing is easy, most of the attractions lie within the city walls, the area is compact, yet nowhere else can you find so much history, a variety of architecture and heritage sites, so easily accessible.
The famous Ninth Roman Legion settled in the area in 71 AD, making it the capital of the Roman Empire’s northern territories. They named their headquarters Eboracum, thought to mean “a place off yew trees”. The fort became an important military and trading base, from which Hadrian carried out his campaigns in the north of the country. In 306 Constantine the Great was proclaimed emperor, the first Christian, and only emperor proclaimed in Br
After several attempts the Vikings captured the town in 866, and re-named it Jorvik, from which the name of York is derived. Although the Viking occupation of the city lasted less than a century their influence still remains in many of the street names, such as Goodramgate, Micklegate, Stonegate, and Swinegate, the word gate being the Norse for street.
The thirteenth century saw the building of York Minster (1220-1470) and the city walls. During the Middle Ages, York became the commercial capital of the north of England, its prosperity coming from the wool weaving and cloth trade, as weell as its importance as an international port. At this time powerful guilds came in to being connected to the city’s woollen trade, who created the York Mystery Plays, now one of only four surviving such cycles. Based on the Bible, the plays tell the dramatic story of mankind’s spiritual journey from Creation to the Day of Judgement.
The Plantagenet Kings favoured York, and it was Edward III who first bestowed the title Duke of York on his son. A title wh
As the religious capital of the north, York had many of its religious houses and churches destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries in Henry VIII’s reign, but York continued strong in its support of the Catholic cause.
Charles I established court in York during the Civil War; the famous Battle of Marston Moor (1644) took place outside the city, it is thought that York was saved from destruction, because Sir Thomas Fairfax a soldier in Cromwell’s army was a local man.
During the eighteenth century, York became a fashionable residential City, and with establishment of the railways renewed prosperity was brought to the city. This was largely due to the enterprise of “Railway King” George Hudson, who was lord mayor in the 1830’s-40’s.Today, York like Birmingham, is another City whose prosperity in part comes from Chocolate, with the Terry and Rowntree-Nestle enterprise being based here. For many years York has been one of the UK’s major tourist destinations and the millions of people who visit it annually are an important source of income to the city.
The Medieval City Walls of York are almost three miles long and beautifully preserved. They ha
York has many wonderful attractions for you to discover, and for most visitors to the City the first and most important is the 800 years old York Minster – York Minster is the largest Gothic Cathedral in Northern Europe. Climb the central tower for excellent views of the city. The Foundations Museum shows how the Minster was constructed on the site of a Norman Church.
Clifford’s Tower is another landmark in the city, originally the central keep of the medieval castle built by Henry III.
The Castle Museum features Victorian and Edwardian streets full of shops, the prison cell of highwayman Dick Turpin and a new exhibition entitled “From Cradle to Grave”, which looks at the rites and ceremonies of all aspects of life in York.
Jorvik Viking Centre brings you face to face with real characters from York’s Viking past. Beneath the pavements of Coppergate you can journey back 1000 years and discover how the Vikings lived, worked and traded.
Treasurer’s House is an elegant town house, originally the home of the Tr
National Railway Museum – the worlds largest, where you can see Stephenson’s Rocket and giant steam engines. Eurostar and computer interactives, hands on displays and lavish exhibitions.
York Dungeon you can take a step back into York’s darker past and see the ghostly ranks of the “Lost Roman Legion” and witness the fate of local villains Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin.
York City Art Gallery is home to six hundred years of European painting, from early Italian to the art of the twentieth century. The collection includes work by Bellotto, Reynolds, Lowry and Nash.
Yorkshire Museum shows 1000 years of Yorkshire heritage. There are collections from Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Viking, and Medieval times, also exciting temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
Fairfax House is one of the most distinguished Georgian town houses in the country. Famous for its set piece displays showing life in the eighteenth century.
Shopping in York is a pleasure, with so many shops set in Medieval and Georgian streets, as well as modern shopping complexes, which also offer restaurants, cafes and street entertainment. You will find many of the top high street stores, but many more intriguing specialist shops to discover. For real shopaholics there are out of town shopping centres easily reached from the centre of the city.
You will find yourself spoiled for choice in York, when it comes to choosing where to eat. Whether you want a formal dinner, or just a quick snack, afternoon tea in a traditional English tea room or refreshment at a real historic pub, York offers you plenty to choose from. You can even spend a pleasant evening by taking a themed cruise with dinner on the river.
Evenings in York can be spent by taking a ghost walk from Clifford Tower, an opportunity to discover the hidden magic of the ancient City. A visit to the theatre may be more to your taste, the Theatre Royal or The Grand Opera House will be sure to have something to entertain you with their wide variety of entertainment, everything from Comedy to Classics. The Jack Lyons Concert Hall, the University of York and York Minster all feature regular concerts.