Taking the slow train from King’s Cross Station in London to York requires about 2 hours, and if you buy your tickets way ahead of time, it’s only 12.5 pounds. Although I’ve been to Rome twice, I think I’ve learned more Roman history by visiting just about every other country in Europe. Those Romans, they were everywhere! Including York, another city founded by those guys in 71 AD.
The Vikings were there, too, taking over for almost 100 years from the mid 6th C, and we would have toured the museum, but it is under renovation as it was severely damaged by floods last Boxing Day.
It seems that every place you go, the cathedral is a must-see. We try to limit our indoor visits to these places to avoid glazed-over eyes, so the York Minster was the one cathedral we chose. To visit this largest Gothic church in Northern Europe for free, one can attend the 5:00 Evensong service, which is what we did. (No photos allowed.)
We recommend the free walking tour offered 2-3 times per day (truly free, given by docents). Our guide told us about the 12th C. Church of the Holy Trinity which is tucked away, accessible through a hidden alleyway between Poundland (think 99-Cent store) and a swanky shop. He said it was worth a 10-minute stop. (Don’t tell anyone we took in a second church, but this one wasn’t a cathedral.)
A walk around the old Roman city walls equals a chance to photograph old stones.
When Henry VIII replaced the Catholic Church with the Church of England, he had monasteries and abbeys dismantled, including St. Mary’s Abbey. Through its ruins, one can see what a magnificent structure it was.
The Shambles is a medieval street which Rick Steves describes as an “atmospheric old butchers’ quarter, with colorful, tipsy medieval buildings.”
All this walking around gave us quite the appetite for a high tea which we consumed at Bettys Tea Shop (there is no apostrophe, so don’t tell me I missed one). Even though the line was long, it only took a half hour before we were seated, and it was definitely worth the wait.