York, England, UK Walking Tour

York, England, UK Walking Tour

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There are so many wonderful sights to show you  in York, England, such as the great cathedral   towering over the medieval town and the  famous narrow lane called the Shambles.   York has one of the largest pedestrian zones  in the country, filled with places to eat,   and shop, and walk around. There is a street  market every day and sometimes it's a very long   market that takes up many city blocks. You'll enjoy the scenic vistas along   the river where you can sit at an  outdoor café or take a boat ride.  

York is a great medieval city that's filled with  lots of things to do and historic sites to enjoy.   We'll be taking you up into York castle and  showing you the amazing medieval wall that's still   standing and runs all the way around the city. We'll spend most of our time strolling through   this magnificent pedestrian zone with its  old-fashioned buildings and modern shops.   The map provides a quick idea of our walking  route that you can take upon arrival at the   train station in York. It's just a couple  of hundred meters to cross over the river  

and have a look at the gardens along the way, and  continue on to the Minster, the great cathedral,   a prime destination for most visitors. And  then begin to walk on the pedestrian lanes,   down Petergate, through the narrow Shambles, and  around over to Parliament Street, to Grape Lane,   along Stonegate, then come around on Coney.   We're heading south now down to  the castle and Castle Museum,   and that completes a quick overview of the main  sights. Of course, there are endless little   possibilities in the many lanes of the pedestrian  zone of York that you'll want to explore, and also   you want to take a walk along the medieval  wall that surrounds the old part of town.  

York's Gothic cathedral, built 800 years  ago, is still the tallest building in town   and generally considered to be the number  one attraction of York. We will take you   inside this magnificent building later  in the program for a closer look. But for   now we're getting started on our walking  tour through these great little lanes.   The streets are narrow and wind in  all directions with many old timber   and plaster dwellings featuring overhanging  stories, and high-peaked red tile gables.   You'll be walking right through history,  passing for example, this Italian restaurant,   that's in a 300-year-old building  that was formerly a girl’s college.   We'll take you on a big walk all around through  the pedestrian center showing you the various   attractive lanes, starting out with Petergate,  one of the two or three main shopping streets.  

Cars are not allowed in this area, that's called  Within the Walls. There'll be some delivery   vehicles in the morning, perhaps, and working  vehicles with permits, but generally pedestrians   are free to just stroll down the middle of the  road here, making it a perfect place to meander.   It seems every few steps, you'll pass another  place to eat - perhaps a nice French restaurant,   or a snack shop, or maybe a pub. It must be some kind of miracle  

these old buildings are preserved so well and  then a testament to modern urban planning and   the economy that they are thriving today with  these businesses, all seeming to do very well.   Of course York is one of the most popular  visitor destinations in the country,   so tourists do bring a lot of money in  here that helps all the merchants. As   you'll notice walking around, there are  a lot of places to do some spending.   At the end of Petergate we arrive  at King's Square, which is a large   plaza that's a lively gathering place. King's Square, as the name might imply, is very   central in old York, with six streets emanating  out from it, old buildings all around. It's a tree  

shaded plaza, with benches to sit and some pubs  to enjoy, and it will lead us right into the most   famous little street in town. It's the Shambles. The Shambles is so narrow they say it was possible   for neighbors to reach out across the street  from their second-story homes and shake hands.   You'll probably return several times here as  you wander through the town, but you'll find   the best time to enjoy the shambles and  get an uncluttered photo and experience   is early morning or evening when the  shops are closed and the crowd is absent.   Be sure to have a look at the Shambles in this  peaceful hour, for this narrow quaint shopping   lane fills up with people during the day,  something like bumper cars at rush-hour.   These kids on their school outing  enjoying one of those rituals of the   group photo with this classic background. Many of the buildings on this historic lane   date back to the 14th and 15th centuries  when it was used as a row for butchers.  

Even a hundred years ago there were 30 butcher  shops, but none remain now. Mostly it's a mix of   restaurants and retail and there's a bookshop  and a bakery, or drop in for a cup of tea.   The lane is not just for tourists. You'll see  locals out with their kids and walking their dogs,   maybe showing them off for passersby, and the  locals like to do some people watching too.  

I did not spot any loose cats  walking around, but there are plenty   of dogs here, almost always on their leash. Notice the shop sign behind that says "Yorky."   That's what you can call somebody who lives in  York, they are Yorkies, and yes, the Yorkshire   Terrier originated in the same area. Take a picture and strike up a   conversation. Dogs are always good icebreakers. There are five little alleys leading off from the   Shambles that you might enjoy exploring they  call them Snickelways. We have an entire movie  

about the Snickelways of York. The town  has a network of those little alleys.   One little lane from Shambles leads to  Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, the longest name   for the shortest street in town. It's this  half block – nothing special but the name.   Little Shambles is the widest lane that  branches out and this is a quite interesting   one because it leads over to the Shambles  Market. It's open-air with dozens of stalls   and it's open just about every day. They have got all kinds of things for sale  

here from food to T-shirts, jewelry, old junk,  hardware, pots and pans, electronic goods, hats   and just great stuff everywhere. Wander around,  take some pictures, chat with the local merchants   and just have a great time here at the market. It's a rare example of authentic merchandise not   imported from any other country,  but right here in England.   And you can have a snack or  lunch at the outdoor café.  

Back over to Shambles to complete our walk, and at  the end we come across the street called Pavement,   which soon becomes a street called High Ousegate,  yet another route that's just for pedestrians.   This connects up with the widest of all  the pedestrian lanes in York center,   called Parliament. It's more of a plaza or a  park rather than a street, with lots of stores   along and benches, specifically designed  in the mid-19th century as a market street,   continuing as the city's main market until the  1950s, and in 1990, it was pedestrianized.   And once in a while they have a special street  market, much bigger than the one that we just   saw by the Shambles. The kiosks and vendors are  organized by a group called Marketplace Europe,   which stages 70 major market events every  year across the United Kingdom. It features  

food and merchandise from all over the world. York also has one of the UK's top-10 Christmas   markets. It runs from the middle of November right  up through Christmas Eve, which would also be a   very nice time to be here. Actually, wintertime  in general in York is obviously much less crowded   with tourists, and not bitter cold and all of  the shops and hotels and restaurants are open.   Early in its history York had been a major  commercial center. Starting from the year 1212  

when King John granted the city's  first charter that confirmed trading   rights for commerce in England and Europe. And then during the later Middle Ages, the   York merchants imported wine from France, cloth,  wax, canvas and oats from the Low Countries,   timber and furs from the Baltic, and they exported  grain to Gascony, and wool to the Low Countries.   York then became a major cloth  manufacturing and trading center.   The economy got a major boost when the railroad  arrived in York in 1839 and established York as   a major rail center by the late 19th century. Of course, tourism is now a major component of   the economy, but this is very much a  city for the local residents as well.   In fact it was described in 2018 as the Best Place  to Live in Britain by the Sunday Times newspaper,   and that same year, there was a national survey  done of opinions of how people like their cities,   and York came out on top with 92 percent  of its residents saying they like it here.  

This is a very livable place, whether you are  a resident or just visiting for a day or two.   Parliament connects back into Shambles Market  and the extension of Parliament, called Davygate,   connects in with St. Helen's Square,  another major focal point of the city,   with St. Helen's Church at one end, and the  Mansion House at the other, which is the official   residence of the Lord Mayor of York. Open to the public as a small museum,   it was first occupied in 1732 by the Lord Mayor,  and that's a tradition that continues to this day.  

Built in the early Georgian style,  it's the oldest purpose-built house   for a Lord Mayor in the country. There is a famous restaurant on St.   Helen's Square where you can have a  fabulous meal. It's called the IVY.   For many years there was only one IVY restaurant  and that was a very exclusive place in London.   But now they have expanded and  are found in dozens of locations   throughout the British Isles. So while in York,  you have a chance to enjoy some superb food here,   open from 9 AM until 10 PM, with a casual  atmosphere, and several dining rooms   for breakfast, lunch, afternoon  tea, dinner or just some drinks.   Even if you're not looking for something to eat,  it's a real pleasure just to hang out here at St.  

Helen's Square a, lively place  with four streets leading into it.   Coney Street is one of those lanes  extending out from St. Helen's Square.   It's quite a wide pedestrian street  - one of the major arteries of town.  

While we stroll along here and then walk  by the riverside, just one block over,   I'll share some travel tips about  how to best plan your visit to York.   The only problem with York is that it  is so popular, which means it can get   too crowded. It is such a lovely place that  7 million tourists come to see it every year,   and they could get in your way unless you  take some precautions as we will share here.   Hotel occupancy averages 80 percent  throughout the year, so it's advisable to   reserve rooms well in advance. Come in the off-season, if possible,  

and you'll have no problem with crowds. Great  months to be here are April, May, September   and October – the weather's good, nice and  cool, and there's enough people around to   make it interesting, but not crowded. This  program was photographed in early May.   If you do travel in the summer, there are some  survival tactics to employ: avoid the main streets   and midday, when they are warm and most packed,  and perhaps visit museums and other historic   sites during the midday. If you do most of your  walking tours in morning and late afternoon when  

the streets are less crowded, you can absorb the  historic atmosphere in relative tranquility.   It is possible to visit York as a daytrip,  perhaps from London, which is just two hours away   by train, so you could spend maybe eight hours  walking around in York, and have a nice meal,   but that's really rushing it. You've seen,  there is so much to enjoy in this town. It's   worth spending at least one, perhaps two or three  nights. There are many fine hotels in all price   ranges to pick from. And then you can explore  the Yorkshire Dales and countryside all around   it. That's good for another couple of days With the large number of excellent restaurants   to pick from, you might need a whole  week, such as the Judge's Lodging,   near St. Helen's Square, on Lindal. It's part of a five-star boutique  

hotel that's located in this Georgian  townhouse that was built in the early 1700s.   Another nice restaurant a block away on Blake  Street, right next to the tourist information   office, is Ask Italian. It's located in the Grand  Assembly Rooms, that were built 300 years ago in   the Palladian style of architecture. You'll  be surrounded by tall Corinthian columns in   this elegant setting that was originally  used for high-class social gatherings.  

We're very close now to the Museum  Gardens just across the street,   so let's pop in and have a look. Get away from  the city streets and step into a natural setting,   with several spectacular historic ruins. This old wall and row of pointed arches   are the remains of St. Mary's Abbey, that was  first built by William the Conqueror in 1088,   and it became one of the wealthiest and most  powerful Benedictine monasteries in England.  

However, this ended in the 1530s with King  Henry VIII, who banned all monasteries. The   monks were pensioned off, and the Abbey  buildings were converted into a palace   for the king when he visited York. They fell  apart and became these picturesque ruins.   A much older historic site in  the park is a wall and tower,   which is the only significant  remains here of the ancient Romans.   The Romans occupied York until the  beginning of the fifth century,   and during that time it was one of their most  important cities in England and was a base for   the armies that kept the defenses at Hadrian's  Wall, the northern boundary of the Roman Empire.   The Romans founded York in 71 BC, and  some of their artifacts are on display   in the Yorkshire Museum, which we have shown  you in one of our other movies about York.  

Here's a quick sample of some of the artifacts  that have been discovered in the York area.   Aside from all the history, the gardens  are just a lovely place to relax.   And it turns out to be a nature preserve for a  bunch of squirrels, typical of English parks,   and they are well taken care of. There's a group of good Samaritans who come over   to the park nearly every day to feed the squirrels  and play with their little furry friends, who all   seem to know each other and get along quite well. "And then I'm going to go to the next area and   feed there. Breakfast. So we leave them in the  shells, and they have to break the shells open,   so it's good for their teeth." Then we continue walking from the  

Museum Garden one more block around the corner  to the Kings Manor, which began life as the   residence of the Abbott who looked after that  Abbey in the gardens. When Henry VIII visited,   it was converted into a royal palace. And several  future kings also stayed here in their travels,   including Charles I, who came here several times.  That's his coat of arms on top of the door. The  

buildings are now part of the University of York. Just next door is the Theater Royal which has been   putting on live performances since 1744. That puts us right at one of the main gates   into the old city. It's called Bootham Bar,  which provides one of the best access points   for a walk along the medieval walls of York. The walk brings you past many of the sites  

that played a role in the long history  of York and provides lovely views.   Walk up the short staircase and you are on the ,  which leads right into the most scenic section,   a 1/2 mile route that takes just 15 minutes  and provides lovely views in both directions,   into the town center and beyond to the more  modern neighborhoods. We'll see various angles   on the Cathedral and other fine sights on the  way to Monkbar, the next gate in the wall.   The map shows our walking route,  starting out from Bootham Bar,   walking along the wall, around the corner, another  nice stretch, and then exiting at Monkbar.   You could walk the entire wall, nearly 3 miles,  which might take two hours with time for stopping   to admire the views and snap your photos. But  most people find the short segment is just right.  

Romans were the first to build a wall here, but  the massive walls we see today were constructed   primarily in the 13th and 14th centuries. The walls themselves date back to the Middle Ages   and they are about 95 percent intact.  They're about three miles long,   making it the nation's longest continuous  stretch of medieval fortifications.   Coming down from the wall at Monkbar  put you onto Goodramgate, another one   of the many typical pedestrian lanes of town,  with many shops that cater to the visitor as   well as to the local clientele, and of course  you'll find some restaurants along the way.   Grape Lane is in the neighborhood with more places  to eat, and watch out for those little alleys   branching off that sometimes lead to a lovely  internal courtyard with more restaurants, offering   a peaceful atmosphere, like here at Norman Court. If you'd like to do some stylish shopping in the  

heart of town, take a stroll along Stonegate,  which was one of the original Roman streets,   called the Praetorian Road that led  to the Roman military headquarters.   Now it's a peaceful place to spend some money. Look for the Red Devil here, who represents   the young printer's apprentice in the old  days who caused mischief in the printshop –   a reminder of York's important role in printing  and publishing up through the 18th century.   Stonegate intersects with Petergate, that we  saw earlier, and here I got a lesson on how to   wash windows on the third floor up above, without  any kind of a mechanical lift to help you out.   "That's a very long pole you've got there." "Yeah ,yeah." (laughter)   This fellow was using the longest handle for  a squeegee hose brush that I've ever seen.  

Were taking a walk along Fossgate, which is a  street just south of the pedestrian zone, although   it still pedestrian friendly. Only service  vehicles and residents can drive here during   the day, so it's rather quiet. The city government  calls Fossgate "one of York's best-loved streets,   with its own special character in the heart of  the city. The variety of independent shops, cafés,   restaurants, hotels and pubs attracts a diverse  range of residents and visitors," slightly off   the tourist center so you might get some better  prices at the restaurants here. And were heading   this way because it leads to the most spectacular  of all the fortified gates in the medieval wall.   This is Walmgate Bar. The arch  dates back to the 12th-century,  

and leads us inside the barbican, which is  a fortified extension out from the wall,   where invaders would get trapped and be  fired upon by the defenders up above.   The wall extends out on both sides, and is freely  open to the public as part of the wall walk.   You can go inside the tower and get  a close look down at the barbican,   and there is a surprise in here. It's a  coffee shop, one of the best in town.  

Convenient shelves for their coffee are part of  the portcullis gate that would have been dropped   down to seal off the entrance to the city. This interior was a private house   for centuries up until 1957. When the gatehouse café is open,   you're welcome to walk out onto the barbican. This type of gate extension was typical during   the Middle Ages because the gateway was always  the weakest point in any defensive wall,   so this enabled the defenders to surround  anybody who dared attack to keep them out.  

The gate tower has three levels and you're welcome  to climb up to the very top, which is an outdoor   terrace for the café, with a beautiful view. Other gates in York may have had similar   barbicans, but this is the only one to survive  and it's the only barbican in the entire country.   It was attacked several times, but has been  restored to original condition for us to enjoy.  

An even more impressive defensive structure  is Cliffords Tower, part of York Castle,   originally a wooden fortress up on the hill,  built by William the Conqueror back in 1068.   Cliffords Tower was the headquarters of the  military defense of the city in the Middle Ages.   An easy climb up the steps brings  you right inside the tower.   Described as Mott and Bailey, this was the  typical style with fortress built on top of an   earthen mound, to control the natives  in those days of Norman invasion.   The castle was built in quatrefoil shape with  four rounded corners to repel the attackers.  

It's the only clover-shaped fortified  tower left standing in England.   You'll have a view from the top looking down  at the Castle Museum, a wonderful place that we   have shown you in our other movies about York. In the other direction you'll have fint views   across the rooftops of the old town, with the  Minster in the distance, the great cathedral   that we will soon visit. But first, along  the way from the castle, we have to stop in   at the Jorvik VikIng Centre, that re-creates life  during that important Viking period of York.   It's perhaps the most popular museum in town, with  traditional displays of artifacts in glass cases   and fascinating animatronic displays, with  moving characters in realistic settings,   and guides in period clothing, explaining  some of the history, such as coin making.   "It's going to be placed between two dies,  tapped with a hammer, producing a penny."  

These guides are quite knowledgeable  in Viking history and are happy to   answer any questions you might have. Comfortable automated cars carry the visitor past   complete houses and workshops that still  contain furniture, utensils and tools that   were left behind a thousand years ago. By these Vikings who lived here for about   100 years and left a noticeable impact  on the society. It's like a Disney ride,  

but with history and vivid sights, sounds,  and smells that are brought to life.   And now finally we arrived at the great cathedral  of York, the Minster, saving the best for last.   This is the largest Gothic  church in all of England   and one of the largest in northern Europe. Construction on the present building began   in about 1230 and was completed by the year  1472, taking nearly 250 years for construction.   Regular maintenance and renovations  have continued every year ever since.  

Today the Minster is an awesome place that  requires 1000 people to keep it functioning.   The Minster impresses with its massive size.   Spaciousness is the leading interior feature with  the widest nave and all British Gothic churches,   giving an affect to the whole composition  of great stability and permanence.  

The stained glass is especially  important, with the total of 128 windows,   making up the largest collection of medieval  glass in the world, containing a total   of about 2 million individual pieces. The choir entrance is set in the screen   with stone carvings representing the kings  of England and from William I to Henry VI.   The choir is rich with carved wooden seats  the, western end occupied by canopied stalls.   Be sure to walk downstairs to  an impressive historic display.   Remains of the original Roman fort from 2000 years  ago, along with traces of the norming Cathedral,   were found under the South transept. The massive church was created because   religion was the dominant factor in the  social and political life of medieval England.  

Bishops vied with each other in making  their cathedrals more and more beautiful.   The entrance to the spectacular  Chapter House is quite inconspicuous,   but be sure to look for it and go on inside.   This elaborate setting was a  place for daily church meetings.  

While were spinning, let's climb up that spiral  stone staircase to the roof of the Cathedral.   Just take your time. It's not that hard to  climb up, and you will enjoy some incredible   views looking out across the old city. It  makes the grand finale to our visit to York.  

Be sure to look for our other  movies about this magical city.   We frequently upload new movies  so please subscribe to our channel   and click that little alarm bell so you'll  be notified and if you enjoyed the movie,   how about thumbs up and we always welcome  comments down below, or if you have   questions about the destination, make note  and will answer them. Thanks for watching

2021-06-24 23:17

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