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Places Of Interest in York

Places of Interest in York One of York’s finest focal points is York Minster [map] and no visit to the city would be complete without a tour around this imposing cathedral. Parts of The Minster date back to 1472 and it was built on the site of a Roman fortress.

Visitors flock to view the impressive Gothic and medieval architecture and to gaze in wander at the sheer size and domination of the Minster.

If you like your history on an altogether smaller scale why not meander down The Shambles [map]. The Shambles is often referred to as Europe’s best preserved medieval street and it's easy to imagine how close knit life might have been 900 years ago as the Elizabethan houses jostle for space in the narrow street.

One building to look out for as you wander down The Shambles is that of Margaret Clitheroe's. Margaret is York’s very own saint. She was arrested in 1581 on the charge of harbouring Catholic priests and assisting their passage to safety. She was also accused of having regular masses in her house – then an act punishable by death. The authorities sentenced her to a gruesome death by pressing (crushing beneath a heavy weight) when she refused to denounce her religion. She was canonised in 1970 and her home is now a shrine where mass is still held on a weekly basis.

Get a taste of York’s dramatic and chequered past with a visit to Clifford’s Tower [map]. The Tower is part of York’s castle, a strong hold through many centuries of war. The Tower was first built in 1068 and known then as a keep. It wasn’t given its current name until 1322 when one Roger De Clifford was hanged there. Today visitors flock to The Tower to climb the many steps and read the rich and bloody history about the keep in which they stand.

Further away from the city centre we come to one of the region’s most prominent and grand stately homes. Castle Howard [map] is an imposing house set in more than 1,000 acres of parkland and gardens.

This is the place for a family-orientated day out and there’s a range of activities available including boat trips on the lake, adventure playground, archaeological excavation, and a range of exhibits changing throughout the year. Finish your visit with lunch in the lakeside café.

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