The ancient cathedral city of York (map) has a history dating back over 2000 years. It is the historic county town of Yorkshire. The city was founded by the Romans as Eboracum in 71 AD. With the emergence of tourism, the historic core of York became one of the city’s major assets, and in 1968 it was designated a conservation area.
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Romans, Saxons, Vikings, and Britons from all eras have each left their mark. It is home to some of Europe’s best-preserved historical buildings and structures, including York Minster (map) and dozens of other churches, the Shambles (map) medieval shopping street, countless handsome townhouses.
Despite its size, York packs in more history and culture than many much larger places, and is a fascinating and beautiful destination any time of year.
Aside standout attractions, the joy of York is in wandering the ancient streets and coming across surprising buildings and beautiful views all by yourself.
York’s centre (map) is enclosed by the city’s medieval walls (map), which are a popular walk. These defences are the most complete in England. They have the only walls set on high ramparts and they retain all their principal gateways.
+ York Pass is a sightseeing card which gives visitors free entry to top attractions, museums and monuments in York.
A feature of central York is the *Snickelways, narrow pedestrian routes, many of which led towards the former market-places in Pavement (map) and St Sampson’s Square (map). The *Shambles (map) is a narrow medieval street, lined with shops, boutiques and tea rooms. Its unusual name comes from an old English term for an open-air slaughterhouse or meat market.
In June 2015 York CAMRA listed 101 pubs on its map of the city centre, some of which are hundreds of years old. These include the Golden Fleece (map), Ye Olde Starre Inne (map), noted for its sign which has spanned the street since 1733, and The Kings Arms (map), often photographed during floods.
On 18 June 2016, York CAMRA undertook a “Beer Census” and found 328 unique real ales being served in over 200 pubs in York, reinforcing the city’s reputation as a top UK beer destination.