Up Close: York Skyline
Known for its famous architecture such as York Minster, Castle Howard, and the City Walls, York is a city bursting with history making it the perfect place to feature on our Skyline Glassware. Read on for a full rundown of each York landmark to make it on to our balloon gin glass and whiskey tumbler.
National Railway Museum
The award winning National Railway Museum houses Britain’s largest collection of railway memorabilia and began in 1948 when British Railways inherited the collections of rail companies.
With over 6000 objects on display, 100 of which are locomotives, the museum attracts a huge number of visitors each year with 782,000 people visiting in the 2018/19 season. Some of the historic vehicles on display include a Japanese bullet train, the beautiful Art Deco Duchess of Hamilton locomotive, and the world’s fastest steam locomotive, the Mallard.
RANDOM FACT: The Museum’s library contains over 20,000 books and over a million photographs, covering every area of the history of the British railways.
Built in 1770 by miller George Waud, Holgate Windmill is the oldest surviving 5-sailed windmill in the country. Perched overlooking the hamlet of Holgate, the mill was perfectly placed to allow local farmers to transport grain to the windmill and for Wauld to provide high quality flour to the city of York.
The windmill remained in production until the early 1930’s and despite many attempts to restore it, became neglected, eventually leading to the development of a housing estate around the windmill.
Following the creation of the Holgate Windmill Preservation Society in 2001, the mill has been fully restored and continues to produce stone-ground flour to this day. Remarkably, 2020 will see the windmill marking its 250th anniversary!
St Mary’s Abbey
Once known as the richest abbey in Northern England, the Grade I listed St. Mary’s Abbey is a Benedictine monastery first built in 1088 on the North bank of the River Ouse.
Regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals, the history of York Minster stretches back over 2,000 years to Roman York and the birth of modern day Christianity.
The cathedral is home to more medieval stained glass than anywhere in the country and features stunning examples of gothic architecture and medieval stonework. Climb the 275 steps to the top of the Central Tower and you’ll find yourself at the highest point in York with spectacular views across the city and beyond.
The Minster remains a thriving church to this day with daily prayer and worship taking place. If you’d like to visit the Minster, tours run from Monday to Saturday between 10am and 3pm.
Guy Fawkes Inn
We’ve all heard of the infamous Gun Powder plot of November 5th 1605 but did you know that Guy Fawkes was born in York?
Guido Fawkes was born in a medieval inn that stands just a stone’s throw from York Minster on 13th April 1570 before being baptised at the St Michael Le Belfrey Anglican church just across the street. From humble beginnings in York he went on to become the most famous conspirator of the Gunpowder Plot, a failed attempt to blow up the houses of parliament and everyone inside, including King James I.
The birthplace of Fawkes is beautifully preserved and now runs as a 4 star hotel and restaurant, the perfect spot for a tasty meal at the end of a busy day exploring the city.
RANDOM FACT: During his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot, Fawkes gave his name as John Johnson when arrested by the police.
Built between 1878 and 1881, Skeldergate Bridge is a Grade II listed building which links York Castle to Bishophill. It was designed by civil engineer George Gordon Page in a Gothic Revival style, inspired by medieval architecture.
The bridge, together with its attached tollhouse, features beautiful examples of Gothic architecture including the cast iron parapet decorated with six-pointed stars, trefoils, and the icon of York, a white rose.
The bridge was last opened in 1975 and the winding mechanism is no longer in use.
Having won the Flat Racecourse of the Year Award for the fourth year, York Racecourse is known as one of the best race tracks in Europe.
The course attracts over 350,000 racegoers each year and is the third biggest racecourse in Britain in regards to the total prize money on offer. The track hosts three of the UK’s biggest races, the Juddmonte International Stakes, the Nunthorpe Stakes, and the Yorkshire Oaks as well as Europe’s premier handicap race, the Ebor Handicap.
RANDOM FACT: York Racecourse has hosted many distinguished visitors, including Pope John Paul II, who said open-air mass there during his visit to the UK in 1982.
Jorvik Viking Centre
During an archaeological dig between 1976 and 1981, members of the York Archaeological Trust discovered remnants of the Viking city of Jorvik encased in wet-mud beneath the Coppergate site. Regarded as one of the biggest discoveries of modern archaeology, the Jorvik Viking Centre stands on the exact site where the excavations took place.
The museum transports you back to 10th century York with a variety of displays reconstructing Viking-age shops, markets, and street scenes. The latest attraction is an immersive ride experience which takes you on a Viking adventure exploring the people and places of Jorvik. Jorvik Viking Centre is open from 10am daily and is the perfect destination for a family friendly day out in York.
RANDOM FACT: Vikings take their name from the area known as Viki in Oslo Fjord – an area renowned for its pirate raiders.
Castle Howard is a stately home found just outside of York which took over 100 years to complete. The stunning private residence features 1000 acres of land incorporating beautiful woodlands, formal gardens, and numerous lakes. With its incredible architecture, interiors, and world-renowned art collections, it’s easy to spend an entire day discovering the delights of this historic home.
Castle Howard remains a family home to this day and has been so for the past 300 years.
RANDOM FACT: Castle Howard isn’t actually a castle, in this case ‘castle’ is used to refer to an English country house built upon the site of a former military castle.
Clifford’s Tower is the only remaining part of York Castle, first built in 1086 by William the Conqueror. Over time, the castle and tower were rebuilt many times, with the current tower dating back to the 13th century where it is thought to have been used as a treasury or jail.
A climb up to Clifford’s Tower will see you rewarded with amazing panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside.
RANDOM FACT: The tower got its current name in 1322 when Roger de Clifford was executed for treason by hanging in chains from the tower walls.
York Castle Museum
York Castle Museum is home to thousands of historic artefacts which recreate the daily life of York over the past 400 years. Interactive life-size reconstructions include everything from family homes and shops, to the cell where famous highwayman Dick Turpin spent his last night before being executed.
Located in a Grade I listed 18th century prison, York Castle Museum is a great place to visit as a family, kids get free entry with a paying adult!
York City Walls
At 3.4km long, York’s City Walls, also known as ‘Bar Walls’, are the longest and most complete medieval city walls remaining in England today. The walls consist of five main ‘bars’ or gateways, one Victorian gateway, and 45 towers. They were first erected by the Romans in 71AD before being improved by the Vikings in 867AD, and upgraded to stone in 1226.
Today, the walls are Grade 1 listed and attract over a million people to the city every year. A full circuit will take you around 2 hours but there are lots of gaps along the route giving you plenty of opportunity to take a break to enjoy the rest of York’s incredible historic sights.
RANDOM FACT: All together, the walls weigh approximately 100,000 tonnes!
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