Top Historical Sights in York

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Founded in AD 71 as the Roman capital of northern England, York has a long and tumultuous history. Today, the city is renowned as one of the grandest in the UK. Here are a few highlights to explore during your visit to the north of England.

York Minster
With its striking gothic edifice, the 13th-century York Minster is widely considered to be Yorkshire’s most famous medieval building and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Highlights include the mighty towers dominating the western flank of the minster and the beautiful stained glass windows.

Castle Howard
Constructed in the 17th century, Castle Howard is a beautiful stately home hidden in the countryside northeast of York. Although not technically a castle, it looks more like a palace than a stately home. Make a stop to admire the impressive baroque facade, and don’t miss the chance to take a walk through the landscaped gardens.

York City Walls
The majority of York’s top historic sites date back to the medieval period, but few enthrall travelers the way the 13th- and 14th-century city walls do. The ancient walls were built to prevent attacks from present-day Europe and today shine a light on the former layout of the city. The well-preserved remains of the walls include four ancient gatehouses—including the monumental Micklegate Bar and the Monk Bar, which now houses the Richard III Museum.

Clifford’s Tower
Overlooking York and the Ouse River, the 13th-century Clifford’s Tower was once part of the now-destroyed York Castle. With such a central location, it’s the perfect place from which to start exploring the city. Visit the mighty towers, walk along the top of the fortified walls, and learn of the unfortunate prisoners held captive here over the centuries—including infamous highwayman Dick Turpin.

Jorvik Viking Centre
The Jorvik Viking Centre is named after the Old Norse name for York—Jorvik—and tells tales of Viking activity in the United Kingdom during the ninth century. Learn about fearsome Viking invaders including Ivar the Boneless and King Halfden, and see ancient jewelry and treasures from this turbulent time in York’s history.
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