A couple of months ago, Jo and I went to York. We had never been there before but everyone I spoke to who had been there said it was lovely. They were right. It is a beautiful city with a (mainly) mediaeval wall running through it. There are lots of things to do, free street entertainment and it is great for anyone who is interested in Roman, Viking and mediaeval history.
We went to Jorvik which is all about Vikings. There was a short ride through a smelly Viking street which was interesting but be careful if you ever go on it as it is very easy to hit your head on the huge, hard speakers that are just where your head goes on the back of the seat. Yes, I did it! And it hurt! A lot!!! 😦
Barley Hall was very good. I think it was my favourite place in York. It is a restored mediaeval house where you can sit on the seats and pick things up, unlike most museums. There was even an actor in the guise of a mediaeval barber surgeon. It was great fun. 😀
We had lunch in the Teddy Bear Tea Room. There was a shop selling teddies on the ground floor and the tea room was spread out over a couple of floors above it. It was a bit of a crooked house and the floor was so slanted I was worried that my lunch would end up on my lap! It was a very unusual place to eat.
We also went to the Richard III Experience at Monk Bar, which was small but interesting, and York Minster which I found hugely disappointing. If I’d never been to a cathedral before I might have been impressed by how massive it was and by the stained glass windows (one of which included the coat of arms of Richard III) but it just felt huge and impersonal and I didn’t like the weird orb that houses the very small exhibition about the stained glass windows. It looked totally out of place. Canterbury Cathedral with its small chapels and various nooks and crannies feels much more intimate and is far superior in my opinion. The link to Canterbury Cathedral’s site takes you to the page that has a video about the Cathedral (not the virtual tour which just made me feel dizzy) that shows some of its beauty.
Anyway, back to York. We had to go to The Shambles as it is York’s oldest street. We were amazed to come across a shrine to Saint Margaret Clitherow in the middle of the shops! In 1586 she was accused of harbouring Roman Catholic priests and was executed by being crushed to death. There is also a cat trail in York where statues of cats have been put in unusual places and you have to find them. We didn’t get time to do the whole trail but we did see a couple of the cats on walls above the shops in The Shambles.
We also went on a ghost walk (a bit disappointing as we didn’t see any ghosts) and found the place where Guy Fawkes was born (it’s now an inn). He is probably the most well-known of the conspirators of the failed gunpowder plot to assassinate James I of England by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on 5th November 1605. Maybe I should have saved this bit for Bonfire Night (when we remember the plot by burning an effigy of Guy on a bonfire and setting off fireworks) on November 5th!
We had a fantastic day (yes, it was just one day – we really crammed it in!) but there was still so much more to see. We’ll have to go back another time. 🙂