York Visitor Guide

About Attractions Map

The ancient capital of Yorkshire is York, one of the great cities of the medieval world. Still encircled by its ancient walls, the city is dominated by the soaring pinnacles of York Minster, the finest Gothic church in northern Europe.

From narrow streets, lively with chic cafes and specialist shops, to trips on its tree-lined river, York is a treasure house with a superb choice of museums and galleries.

York is one of the world's most fascinating cities with surviving evidence from the different cultures that have ruled the area.

York began as a fortress, built in AD71 by the Roman 9th Legion for a campaign against the Brigantes tribe. It grew into an important city, then known as Eboracum. Constantine the Great, who later founded Constantinople, was made Roman Emperor here in AD306 .It was the Vikings, who gave York its name, derived from Jorvik or Yorwik.

Norman rule was to last longer and they made the city a vital centre of government, commerce and religion for the north of England.

Their work prepared it well for its important role in the reigns of the Plantaganet Kings, and, in 1485 when this era ended and the Tudor age began, York was at its zenith.

Long years of prosperity had ensured that the magnificent Minster had finally been completed after work lasting 250 years.

It was not until the 18th century that York became a fashionable resort and centre with Georgian elegance adding to its architectural and historical attractions.

In the following century, the Industrial Revolution and the coming of the railway marked the start of a new era of growth and prosperity. Today, York houses Britain's National Railway Museum which is the largest railway museum in the world.

The Map identifies the best known places of interest in the old city, some of which are detailed on the 'Places to visit' page. Wherever you go in York, you will find evidence of its history and make discoveries of your own.

West of York is Selby, with its massive abbey as well as Tadcaster on the River Wharfe, noted for its brewery history.

The Vale of York is a rich farmland lying around York, with natural habitat areas designated as Special Area of Protection and Conservation. The prominent York Minster and city walls can be seen from this lower lying countryside.

Clifford's Tower York Minster York City Walls