Visit York by Mouse
York (Web site), in North Yorkshire, is almost equidistant from London and Edinburgh, Scotland: 206 miles north of London, 208 miles south of Edinburgh. York has many things that most travelers would find interesting. It has medieval houses, city walls with bars (gates) leading to narrow streets, very old pubs, castles, Roman and Viking ruins, archeological digs, and a huge and beautiful cathedral. The tourist web site lists 69 attractions in all. We have visited three times and have not seen all the things we would have liked. And we would return if we had the opportunity.
Our last trip was in 2003, when we visited a medieval home, Barley Hall, now a museum with specially made period furniture. We intended to visit the cathedral, York Minster, again, but they had just instituted charges, so we passed. The last time we had visited the Minster was just after a large fire. What we remember is that when you looked up at the ceiling, it was dotted with what looked like tiny round little buttons, yellow with a red center, in the shape of flowers. Several of these buttons were lying on the floor, having been taken down because of the fire. They were huge, about three and a half feet across and at least two feet thick. At first we could not believe that what we had at our feet was the same buttons that we saw on the ceiling, but they were. That ceiling is so high that it makes them look that small. There is a web site that has a large number of photos of the Minster and if you click here you will be able to see a floor's eye view of those. And if you click "back to photo gallery" from there, you will be able to see many more photos.
On our first trip we visited the Jorvik Viking Center, a museum constructed to display what was learned from an archeological dig which unearthed a Viking settlement. Archeology is very important in York which is rich in dig sights. In the 2003 trip we visited a live dig near the ruin of a church and have a couple of photos of it. And we visited the Yorkshire Museum which focusses on artifacts related to York's history. Special attention is given to Vikings, including some large cutaway models of Viking ship construction. There was a special exhibit of sea creatures made of glass that were astoundingly realistic. A photo of one of these is on the photo page as is a photo of one of their prize possessions, the Middleham jewel, a sapphire pendant from the 14th century.
Finally, we visited Barley Hall, a recreation of a late Medieval town house. Its great hall had a hearth in the center, and a little hole in the ceiling for smoke to exit. You can take a virtual tour.
If you get tired of museums, it is a great pleasure just to walk the streets. One great area in which to walk is a street called the Shambles. It is very narrow and some of the houses have top floor overhands that make it almost possible for someone on the top floor of a house on one side of the street to hand something over to someone on the top floor of a house on the other side. The street used to be the meat market area. Today the street has many small shops catering to tourists.
If you like old pubs, there are some pretty old ones in York. One, continuously operating since at least 1644, is the Olde Starr Inn. Others can be found here.
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