+ List of York sites of interest
York Minster (Cathedral of St Peter in York, map). The largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, York Minster dominates the skyline and dates back to the 8th century at least. The inside of the cathedral has beautiful stained glass and several interesting and peculiar features – look for the modern statues signalling “Christ is here” in semaphore and the dragon hanging from near the ceiling.
Jorvik Viking Centre (map). Reconstruction of York as it might have looked 1000+ years ago. The visit takes the form of a sit-down ride as you experience the sights, sounds, smells and diverse languages and faces of everyday 10th century life, with the aid of animatronics, dioramas and touchscreen technology.
Clifford’s Tower (map). In the 11th century, the Normans built a castle here to keep the Vikings at bay and subdue the local population following their conquest of England. The Vikings being Vikings, they promptly smashed it, so the Normans built bigger and better – the tower you see today was the castle’s keep.
Fairfax House (map). A Georgian townhouse built as the winter home for the Viscount Fairfax and his daughter, which has today been lovingly restored as a charming example of aristocratic life in York.
Guildhall (map). Built in the 15th century as a meeting hall for the guilds of York, the Guildhall is now also home to the city council chamber.
York Mansion House (map). The grand official residence of the Lord Mayor of York, dating from 1732, holds an unparalleled collection of civic gold and silver, plus extensive items of furniture, ceramics, glassware and art.
York Art Gallery (map). A public art gallery with a collection of paintings, prints, watercolours, drawings and ceramics from the 14th century to the contemporary era.
York Castle Museum (map). Outstanding museum of everyday life with exhibits to appeal to all ages. Highlights are Kirkgate, a recreated Victorian street, and Half Moon Court, an Edwardian street.
St Mary’s Church (map, not to be confused with St Mary’s Abbey). A Saxon church, though most of the current building dates from the 13th century. Its 47 m steeple is the tallest in York and it has some fine stained-glass windows.