Yule in Yorkshire: York Minster and Wall

With a week turnaround after Scotland, I didn’t have long to get used to being back in London before we all jumped back into the car and headed north to York. We’ve booked a little townhouse for this week by the National Railway Museum and managed to get there in reasonable time, given that the south has been hit with some dire storms and that it was so close to Christmas.


I was eager to get out and see York on the first day of our week, as all I really knew about it was it was a walled city and the Vikings were there once upon a time. Our townhouse, while not slap bang in the middle of town, is still in spitting distance of the city so we took a little walk to stake out the centre of town. It being mid-winter in northern England though, it was of course raining (likely the tail-end of the storm, as the River Ouse was extremely swollen). It made for quite a miserable day, but I wasn’t going to let a little water stop me explore a city I knew nothing about. My SLR was braving the elements around my neck and I was diligently snapping away.

When I say I knew little of York at this point, I am being serious. I was sitting in Costa with my parents on that fine, wet day, and after having explained that cities don’t feel like cities to me if you can walk to the centre with ease, regardless of whether they have a cathedral, I wondered aloud whether York even has a cathedral. I was quickly (and rightly) ridiculed by my father who explained that a minster is the king of the cathedrals. And let me tell you, York Minster is, you know, not exactly what I was expecting. A minster in my head sounded like a small step up from a church, looked more like Leicester Cathedral in terms of size and was pretty old and in bad shape.

York Minster is not that.

It’s not that in any way. I nearly fell backwards trying to get it in shot. We managed to peek our noses in on that rainy day but as you can imagine, this time of year it’s pretty busy being a place of worship and not just a feat of architectural majesty. I came back for the proper (albeit brief) shoot the next day on Christmas Eve (when the weather was markedly improved, as you can see!) and also spotted these two playing Christmas carols near one of the old wooden doors.

After that we took to the wall…

York, being such an old city, was once fully protected by a stone wall. Today, you can still walk what’s left of it though places it’s broken up by main roads and the river. It’s the most intact city wall in Britain, however, and has been very well preserved.
We walked the entire length of the wall – only around two miles – and got a good view of the city. We saw the remains of the old Roman wall below, a fair few tower keeps and had the chance to to look back on the minster from a higher vantage point. The wall is barely two people wide and is only railed in places you might fall into traffic (good going, York Council!) so each time you pass someone coming the other way, you feel like one of you might fall off. You’d only roll off down a grass bank in most cases but for those few seconds when you’re close to the edge, you’re hit with a spike of fear!

With no casualties by the end of the walk, we grabbed some lunch and wandered the streets a little, picking up last minute provisions for Christmas dinner, before walking back past the National Railway Museum to our little townhouse…

Yule in Yorkshire
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

P.S Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful day of too much food, silly films and lots of nice presents. I’ll be a bit cheeky here and show off what Kiran (who spent entirely too much money on me) gave me! Seattle Travels’ World Map Necklace – I love it so much!

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