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One of the most vibrant, entertaining and historic cities in the UK, York is a must visit for anyone booking a holiday cottage stay in the North Yorkshire area. With a rich, royal heritage, ancient cathedral and famous Minster, historic streets, contemporary bars and restaurants, traditional cafes and tea rooms, fabulous and innovative shopping and a picturesque riverside location, York is a superb and compact destination which will satisfy the most demanding of visitors. With a proximity to the quaint fishing villages and larger resorts of the Yorkshire Coast and the tranquil, purple beauty of the North Yorks Moors National Park, the city and its surroundings makes an ideal place for anyone seeking to discover this most beautiful corner of the British Isles.
The embodiment of two thousand years of living history, York Minster is an architectural masterpiece soaring above the heart of the city, and the obvious starting point for discovering all that York has to offer. Discover a showcase of stunning stained glass in the cathedral’s vaulting windows; enjoy panoramic views over the Yorkshire landscape from the top of the tower and take a step into the history books exploring below ground at the Undercroft, Treasury and Crypt. Dependent on the timing of your visit, enjoy the acoustics at a concert in this fine musical venue, or take part in a service or seasonal celebration. If the cathedral is a living museum, then the city has a number of other museums equally dedicated to enriching the experience of the visitor. The Jorvik Museum recreates the ancient city as it was in Viking times, where the sights, sounds, and smells of life over one thousand years ago are brought, at times, almost too vividly to life. The museum stands on the location of the discovery of the ancient Viking city known as Jorvik, bringing absolute authenticity to an excellent attraction. The Yorkshire Museum covers a wide timeline, displaying astonishingly well-preserved artefacts from Anglo-Saxon, Viking and, of course, Roman times. But history here is uncovered still further, the fossils in the Hunter and Hunted section date back a mind-boggling 200 million years, revealing Yorkshire as it was in truly ancient times. The museum is set in superb gardens, which merit a visit as an attraction in its own right. Ten acres of superbly landscaped green space, filled with ancient trees and a dizzyingly diverse plant collection also contains a number of historic buildings and ruins. They include a Roman tower, the extensive ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, the York Observatory and the mediaeval timber and stone building of St. Leonard’s hospital.
On the other side of town, the unique Castle Museum is dedicated to York’s rather more recent history, and to the paraphernalia of daily life. It centres on the recreation of the city’s Kirkgate area as it was in Victorian times and is filled with displays and reconstructions of everyday items from key periods over the last century. The highlight has to be the chilling Condemned Cell, where highwayman Dick Turpin was held before being hanged for horse thieving; by contrast an altogether more light-hearted and recently added exhibit is dedicated to the Sixties, in a fun exploration of this swinging decade. Perhaps York’s most famous museum, though, is the National Railway Museum, which attracts enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. Entry is free, although specific themed events do attract a charge. Train buffs and historians will appreciate the iconic trains on display. These include the legendary Mallard, Stephenson’s Rocket, the Japanese Bullet Train and a collection of Royal Trains. Watch as engineers painstakingly maintain the rolling stock in the Workshop, and let children run off their own steam in the themed outdoor play area, finishing up with a ride on the miniature railway.
York is an excellent centre for shopping. There are high-end boutiques, mainstream retailers, specialist shops, markets, antique and book shops; indeed, something for everyone. For dedicated shoppers, the city has devised a number of well thought out themed retail trails, whereas the more casual visitor will simply find the compact, pedestrianised centre a relaxing and pleasant place to browse. Restaurants, tearooms and brasseries are in abundance, from top notch contemporary dining to traditional Yorkshire cakes, pies and themed retail cream teas.
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