Sunday, 12 June 2016


Just to prove that I didn't spend my entire trip to York in the Castle Museum, studying the Shaping the Body exhibition in microscopic detail . . .

One wing of the Castle Museum

York was originally the Roman settlement of Eboracum, founded in about AD 71 by the Ninth Legion. Not much of this remains today; not even the street plan. There is more evidence of the Viking town, in particular in the street names.

Some of the street names in York

At first glance it looks as though York had an incredible (and surely not very secure) number of city gates. Actually in this case 'gate' comes from the Viking word 'gata' meaning street. The city gates in the sense of an entrance are called 'bars', such as Micklegate Bar.

Micklegate Bar

Just to confuse things even further, the most famous street in York doesn't have a name ending in 'gate'. Shambles was originally the street where all the butchers' shops were located, and is thought to get its name from the Anglo-Saxon word 'fleshammels'; the 'flesh-shelves' on which the meat was displayed. The butchers are long gone, and now Shambles is best known for its overhanging buildings which almost meet across the narrow street, but many of the shops still have the wide shelves outside.


The original shop shelves

York was an important stronghold for controlling the north of England, and in 1068 William the Conqueror built the first castle there; a wooden building on a high earth mound. Around 200 years later this was replaced by a stone structure, now known as Clifford's Tower.

Clifford's Tower

Despite the fact that I really don't like heights, and am not keen on narrow spiral staircases either, I went up to the top to take some photographs. (The things I do for this blog!)

It's a long way down!

Fairfax House

The spire of St Mary's, and York Minster

The top of the tower was the only place where I could get a decent picture of all of York Minster, because it is just so big, and so surrounded by trees and other buildings.

The West Front of York Minster, taken at ground level (phew)

Not far from where I was staying in Micklegate, I found this beautiful medieval building.

Jacob's Well


I hadn't realized that Guy Fawkes came from York. A Georgian townhouse, now a pub, stands on the spot where he was born.

The Guy Fawkes Inn

For some reason there are lots of cat statues in York; so many that they have a walking trail dedicated to them! I didn't find any complete cats, but I did spot this half one.

Blending into a lintel

As well as cat statues, York is home to lots of small independent shops.


Shop front in Stonegate

Mulberry Hall dates from 1434

Naturally one of my favourite shops was Duttons For Buttons.

Button heaven

After all the culture, cats and shopping, you'll need a nice cup of tea and a sit down. Fortunately York has not one but two branches of Bettys Tea Rooms.

Time for tea

So if you're tempted to visit the Shaping the Body exhibition, be aware that there's lots more to see in York. My visit just flew by.


  1. Lovely post, thank you! Makes me fancy a visit again... But since I live in New Zealand it's a bit far for a weekend! Thank you for sharing the lovely photos and titbits.

    1. Thanks Lyndle, yes it's a bit far to travel for a short break! I work on the basis that a lot of people who read this blog won't know anything about the UK except London, so when I go somewhere I try to share it.