If you're visiting York on a Mountain Goat short break or just travelling to the city to spend a day, this guide will help you experience the very best of this incredible city
by Rachel Chalmers
There seems to be something specific that makes York special at different points throughout the year.
The daffodils bloom around the city walls in the spring, the summer brings visitors and a buzzing life with our longer days, the Christmas markets are bustling with an amazing festive feel in the winter months. The season that seems to make York really stand out is Autumn.
The air is crisp, the leaves are changing shades, from yellow to orange and finally red as the stooping, pale autumn sun brings a beautiful light to the early evenings in the city.
There is a slower pace that makes it easier to stroll around York without a care in the world.
There is a certain “magic” to the city that may well capture a piece of your heart.
It seems most people come to York for a couple of days, to explore the city and see what Yorkshire has to offer.
It’s a great idea to pair a trip to Yorkshire with a trip out to one of our National Parks as well as spending a day visiting the key parts of the city and seeing the way York showcases Yorkshire as a whole.
Taking a Mountain Goat tour of the Yorkshire Dales or the North York Moors is an amazing way to see what Yorkshire really does have to offer and see what is refer to by locals as “God’s own country”.
York Minster is always a must see. The Minster is the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe and is awe inspiring. It boasts the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world, the “Heart of Yorkshire” heart shaped window, the beautiful rose window and the “Five Sisters” window, each of the lancets being 53 feet tall.
If you get the opportunity to go up the tower in the Minster, you absolutely should. The views from the top of the tower are incredible and you can see over to both the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors National Parks. It’s a view you must see to believe!
Another part of the city that makes York what it is, are the Roman Walls. York has more intact city walls than any other city in the country. They were originally built to protect the city in 71AD and have 4 main gatehouses or “bars” and 2 smaller bars. If you don’t have time to walk around the entire 3.4 kilometres of the city walls, you can choose to do a smaller section. The most picturesque route you could take would be to take the walls from Bootham Bar (near the Minster) and head towards Monk Bar. You stay central in the city and are able to get views of the Minster from different angles as well as seeing a really amazing side of the city.
If you want to see more views from York and see another side to the city, head to Cliffords Tower. The tower itself was originally built by William the Conqueror, burned down twice and rebuilt by Henry III in the 13th Century. Cliffords Tower and York Castle have been important places of history for the city and is worth seeing for that alone.
However, if you visit Cliffords Tower, you will be presented with panoramic views that stretch across the vale of York, and again, able to see the National Parks on a clear day.
To dive into the history of York and Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Museum is one of the best places to visit. Situated in the Museum Gardens, you will be able to wander around the ruins of St Marys Abbey, see the Hospitium and be under the watchful eyes of the local, friendly squirrels. Going into the Yorkshire Museum will bring to life the history of York including a journey back 150 million years, to the Jurassic World.
Highlights of the Yorkshire museum though, would probably be the opportunity to see the Middleham Jewel which is believed to have been owned by Kind Richard III, or possibly Queen Anne Neville, as it was found near Middleham Castle, home of Richard III.
The Yorkshire Museum will also show you the importance of York, the history of being the capital for many years, and the reasons we have all the castles and Abbeys around the city.
York was, and continues to be, one of the most important cities in the country. Many say it is one of the most beautiful cities in the country and the people who live in and around York, are usually incredibly proud to be from here. It is rich in history and culture and has a little something for everyone.
But don’t take our word for it…