Monday, May 14, 2012

UK Roadtrip: York

I've become a fan of the road trip.  There's a certain thrill to loading everyone and everything into the back of the car and setting off the see the country.  And see it we did on our weekend trip to the north of England and the lovely walled city of York.

The Micklegate Bar is one of the entrances to the city.  Historically, it is the gate that royalty uses to enter York. 

Micklegate Bar             

Real Viking bones at Jorvik

Highlights of the trip included a visit to Jorvik- a recreated Viking village.  This museum is built right on top of an actual archaeological site where viking artifacts have been found.   My favourite part of the recreated village was the scene with the viking dad in the backyard outhouse holding a wad of grass to be used in place of toilet paper!  The main thing I learned about viking life:  it looked miserable and dirty. 

Then we headed to DIG where the children got some hands-on experience with real artifacts.  The guide was excellent and it was fascinating to learn about the people who have lived in York- from the Romans to the Vikings, right up to the Victorians. 

Learning about archaeology at DIG

One of the most famous sites in York is the beautiful (and huge) York Minster.  It was stunning.  Everything- from the windows to the carved statues to the tombs- was so grand and so detailed.   Can you spot the stone heart in the center window?  The Minster is often called the "Heart of York".

Bride and Groom driving away in front of the Minster

Interior of the York Minster
The National Railway Museum is another must-see in the city of York.  We loved walking through the Great Hall and looking at all the different trains.  We saw a Japanese bullet train, antique steam trains, and even the scarlet "Hogwarts Castle" that was actually used in the Harry Potter movies.  All the the trains were gleaming and gorgeous.  The museum is built on the tracks and they sometimes hold special events which include train rides.  We also had a chance to peek into the royal carriages used by Queen Victoria.  Talk about first class travel!

National Railway Museum
York is a great walking city.  This street, The Shambles, is one of the best preserved medieval streets in Europe.  The old timber framed buildings lean in towards each other and their roofs almost seem to meet in the middle.  The street is crammed with pedestrians and charming shops.  I couldn't help feeling like I was at Disneyland or on some type of movie set.  I can see why The Shambles was voted Britain's most picturesque street.
The Shambles

York was a fun place to visit with the family.  We were able to overlook the hordes of scantily clad ladies (I use the term loosely here) out for their "hens-do" parties (it was 45 degrees outside- I was shivering just looking at them!) and a few drunken idiots brawling in the street as evening approached.  Instead we focused on the charming atmosphere and the rich history.  And after getting our fill of the city we drove out to the East Yorkshire coast. 
Check back tomorrow to see some photos from part 2 of our road trip!


  1. What a wonderful adventure! Visiting from SITS. You're pictures are great makes me want to be there :)

  2. I love all your pictures, especially the one with the seagulls (or some kind of bird). That was a great shot.

    Happy SITS Day!!

  3. We visited a Viking site in northern Germany this past summer where they had a whole village set up. And yep, it didn't look like the cleanest, nicest sort of life. But they made some wonderful jewelry, if I do say so myself. The Vikings, not the staff of the historic site.

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  5. What a lovely trip! I'll get myself to Europe one of these days... I swear.

    {{ stopping by from SITS }}

  6. We are going there this summer - great to have a sneak peek! XOL


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