Nestling in the embrace of York’s miraculously preserved wall is one of the great medieval town centers of Europe. You can walk the wall itself and then descend to the winding streets including the narrow Snickelways and the Shambles, now considerably cleaned up since the days when its rivers of blood and offal made it a synonym for chaotic mess.
York offers architectural marvels at every turn, the most impressive being the enormous York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, renowned for its outstanding stained glass. Climb the tower for an unparalleled view of the city.
Elsewhere, York's days as a Viking stronghold are brought to life in Jorvik, a reconstructed village. Other must-see sites are the Norman fortifications of Clifford’s Tower, the medieval Merchant Adventurers’ guild hall and the gruesome thrills of York Dungeon, which recreates some of the most violent episodes of the city's history.
I'm a fan of City Hop-on Hop-off Tours while travelling, especially internationally. Not being familiar with these cities, and trying not to miss any important sites, this is a fantastic opportunity to see the best of what each city has to offer. This particular tour had an extremely knowledgeable guide, Lisa, who was local from York. Not only did she provide interesting facts about the city, but was also able to add funny trivia and folk lore as well. It was very easy to book this tour online. I printed off my voucher, signed it, surrendered it to the driver of the tour, and was on my way. A very reasonable price for a lifetime of memories.
A great way to see York.
I was very happy with this tour. I only had half a day before I needed to travel elsewhere by train, but I was still able to see many of the great sites I wanted to see, there was a live guide on board, rather than an audio commentary, which allowed for questions we might have had. This is a fantastic way to get a valuable introduction to the city, even if you have limited time.
With a 2 hour train ride from London you can just about cover York’s highlights in a day trip, but the city deserves at least an overnight stay. Streets in the city center are closed to traffic during the day; hire a bicycle and follow well-signposted paths to get the most out of your visit.