Waking up late at my hostel in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, I had to rush out the door to the train station or else I would have missed my train. Missing my train would have meant I would have lost three hours in York. Like a crazed fool, I ran down the road, making it to the train station with plenty of time to spare.
When my train trundled into York station, I enjoyed my first walk through town and stopped and watched traffic entering and exiting the bar, which means gate for the Vikings who once called this city home. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my hostel, Ace York, was in a renovated 18th century townhouse well known for its original beauty.
Hostel travelers, the Ace York is in a central location and beautifully renovated. In addition, the staff is friendly and helpful with any questions about the historic city.
Setting out along the walls of York, the ancient Minster loomed in the distance and made for some incredible photos; though beautiful to look upon, the cathedral felt even more breathtaking when the bells tolled. For those who saw the cathedral built 1,000 years ago, it would be just as majestic as it is today.
Inside the cathedral, the architecture literally breaths history as seen by the stoic statues of kings and queens dating all the way back to William the Conquerer. Far under the Minster, travelers have the opportunity to step back through the centuries. It is not everyday that one can understand the story of Great Britiain simply from studying the cathedral’s foundations.
Romans, Saxons, Normans and Vikings all built upon the Minster’s location at one point. Each of these cultures added to the cathedral known today as York Minster. Once outside, visiting the statue of the emperor Constantine shows newcomers the full extent of York’s storied history.
One can imagine Constantine’s fourth century coronation in York and the fanfare that would have occured as he rode through the streets. It was him who changed both Eastern and Western Roman empires as well as the history of religion as we know it.
Constantine was the first Christian Roman emperor who saw the symbol of Christ at the battle of the Milvian Bridge. Long before York was known as Jorvik to the Vikings’, Constantine would have known the city by its Roman name, Eboracum.
Having come out of the York Minster, I visited the street known as the Shambles. A 15th century laneway, the Shambles retained its beauty from its butcher inhabitants and stretches back to the 11th century. Yes, I had a pulled pork pie in the Shambles. Delicious!
That evening, I watched the Crucible at the York Theatre, which was one of the most incredible plays I have ever seen. Only seven pounds! How I love student prices. I felt a little nervous walking through the streets at 11:00 at night after the play let out, though.
Early the next morning, I ate breakfast quickly and started my day by visiting Clifford’s Tower, which is the last remaining portion of York Castle. As well, it was also the sight of a Jewish massacre. The rest of the castle had long since been demolished in order to build an 18th century prison.
Visitors and travelers alike, there are two museums in the city of York. One is a must see, while the other is a must miss, unless you enjoy completely wacky, inane museums.
Both the historic finds and ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey make the pricy admission to Yorkshire Museum well worth it. For history buffs, a museum that boasts the only marble bust of our man Constantine the Great as well as a great statue of Mars, among a thousand other treasures, is one not to be missed.
On the other hand, York Castle Museum is hands down the weirdest museum I have ever visited and any traveler who enjoys euros in their pockets should stay far away.
Basically, the creator took anything old and put it on display, including sleep inducing exhibits on the history of indoor plumbing through the ages, bathing suits through the decades, a faux jail and a creepy rendition of Victorian London.
Having seen all the sights and wasted some of my money at the Castle Museum, I quickly realized that York has great historical attractions, but many enjoy the city for its river front beauty, it’s wondrous parks and its vibrant street musician scene. Tomorrow, I head to London, England for the final leg of my Great Britain tour.
Click links to visit the United Kingdom
Bath Spa, England – - – Photos, Stories and Traveling with Krushworth episode
Unravel the mysteries of Stonehenge; wonder at the beauty of majestic Bath Spa
Chepstow, South Wales – - – Photos, Stories and Traveling with Krushworth episode
Guard the secrets of Chepstow Castle; wonder at the majesty of Tintern Abbey
Conwy, North Wales – - – Photos, Stories and Traveling with Krushworth episode
Visit the Castles of North Wales – Conwy Castle, Caernarfon Castle
Edinburgh, Scotland – - – Photos, Stories and Traveling with Krushworth episode
Graveyards and underground catacombs of Edinburgh, Scotland
Inverness, Scotland – - – Photos, Stories and Traveling with Krushworth episode
Soaked by wind ravaged Scottish lochs; trudge through the rainy moors
Berwick, England – - – Photos, Stories and Traveling with Krushworth episode
Walk Berwick-Upon-Tweed’s medieval walls; visit the ruined priory at Lindisfarne
York, England – - – Photos, Stories and Traveling with Krushworth episode
Travel through history to Roman, Viking York; gaze up at the majestic York Minster