We arrived in York just as the sun was setting. We grabbed our rolly suitcases and headed into town, navigating by phone, to find our AirBnB flat, above a pub. After we settled in, we went down and wandered around the immediate area, trying to decide on where to go for dinner, and finally came back to our pub and ate there. It was very good, kind of gourmet pub-food!
Our flat had an entrance on the ground floor, where a little room had a clothes washer, and then the next floor had the bedroom and bath, and up one more was a living room/dining room/kitchen. It was quite roomy for us!
For some reason there was a small reflector telescope there, set up all wrong. I entertained myself by sorting it out. It wasn’t even pointing up!
The next morning we grabbed breakfast at our pub and headed out to catch the local volunteer guide tour. We met at the museum just outside the city walls. Although there is a modern part of York, we were staying in the historic portion, which is ancient, and is still mostly surrounded by medieval protective walls.
The guide took us to see some of the original Roman walls, topped by medieval walls.
In one place as we walked along the wall you could see where the moat used to be.
In the center of historic York is the Minster, which dates back to at least the 1200s. Obviously it took a very long time to build something that big! It looks amazing from every angle. It very much dominates the skyline.
At one point the tour group stopped in the shadow of the Minster while the guide told us about how the medieval stained glass windows were removed and shipped out to be hidden in countryside homes during WWII to protect them from bombing. We were freezing the whole time, because the Minster is so big it causes winds to blow down the sides of it.
When he let us go, we went back and explored inside the Minster. Unfortunately it was under restoration inside. I would have liked to be able to see it without all the scaffolding. Maybe next time.
Outside the city walls, near the museum, is what’s left of another church. Built in the 1200s, St Mary’s Abbey was torn down during King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539-ish. I think this was one of my favorite things in York!
As we walked around it, we looked down and realized the footprint of the original building is clearly visible, and it was HUGE (as you can see in this view from Google Earth). The best part is that if you go into the museum next door, down in the basement you will find more of the Abbey preserved on display!
And back outside, if you walk around you will find the remnants of the wall that would have protected the Abbey grounds.
We just sat on a bench and rested for a bit and enjoyed looking at this and imagining what it must have looked like in it’s day.
With the big churches out of the way, lets go look around in town…
The whole trip: