When I saw the Red Tower I was really surprised because it looked totally different compared to the other gates and towers of the city walls. When I read the information sign, I learned that this is because the lower part of the tower is now buried in the earth, so what we see is only the top - together with a rough stone base, it would look much more alike to the others. Makes sense to me! Of course it still looks unusual because it is made not of stone or rough rock, but of red bricks. This material was much cheaper. It lead to a bit of trouble, though: The masons who usually were employed to built the city's towers and gates were angry when they heard that this time, the new tower was built by tilers and not masons. They planned to sabotage the construction and the tilers had to be protected by the city council. Still, one tiler was murdered.
The tower was constructed in 1490 and on one side it is not attached to any walls, because this area was covered by the large King Fishpool, a lake and marshland that was created to make the area impassable. In the 16th century, it already fell into disrepair, but was restored several times and also used as a gunpowder factory.
After passing along Clifford's Tower, you get to another very picturesque stretch of the walls, and this is where Fishergate Tower and Fishergate Bar are located.
Fishergate Tower was built between 1504 and 1507 and apart from the roof which was installed in the 16th century it has not changed its appearance since then. The small archway next to the tower, the postern, originally featured a portcullis.
The tower is only open to visitors on special days.
Fishergate Bar was very important as it was the closest bar to Clifford's Tower, and you can see this by the city's coat of arms situated above the main archway. The earliest written record of this gate is from 1315, but the present appearance was constructed in the 15th century. However, the bar was nearly destroyed by rebels in 1489 and afterwards it was bricked up. Originally, there were storeys and towers in top of it just like on the other main gates, but they were all damaged and destroyed. The bar was only re-opened in the middle of the 19th century, although some parts of it were used as a prison under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
After the wide and open sections around Victoria Bar, you get into a small wood where it suddenly gets darker and greener. This was once part of the proud southern tower of the city walls - it was as big as Clifford's Tower! This tower was made of wood, though, and so nothing remains of it. Today it is easy to miss, but yes, this was "York's other castle"!
This motte and bailey castle was built upon the order of William the Conquerer in 1069 and was surrounded by a ditch full of water. The street that now follows the city walls was built right where that ditch was located. It is not known why Baile Hill was abandoned, but it is certain that in the 1300s, it was not used anymore. When the city walls were constructed, they were built around the hill. When you now walk down the hill, you end up at a small, unpretentious tower where the information sign is located. I did not really understand everything until I did more research back home, and this is also why I did not take any photos of the hill and the wood - I rather focused on that small tower. There is no trace of the wooden structure that was once the twin tower of Clifford's tower.
York is lucky to have its original city walls almost entirely preserved although this was also the reason why its development halted in crucial times in history. The fiirst city walls were no more than wooden palisades erected by the Romans in 71 AD. In medieval times, they grew to become the present structure. The wall is open for visitors, meaning that you can walk on the same paths where once the city guards did their duty. Some sights are directly connected to the wall, this includes some of the gity gates, for example Micklebar gate. Monk Bar and many other access points. The walls are Grade I listed. They are officially open from 08:00 a.m. until dusk. However, it is quite easy to climb onto them from inside the city afterwards.
York, an original walled city, still has some of the most complete city walls in England. These give great views over the city and York Minster.
The walls date back, in some parts, to the original laying of foundations in 71 AD when Romans built a fort on the banks of the River Ouse and formed the city's defences.
The walls are a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I listed building.
The city walls are open from 8:00am in the morning until dusk. The closing process starts at Fishergate Postern and travels in an anti-clockwise direction, taking about one hour.
York's ancient walls were first built by the Romans. Most of them date back to the Middle Ages. They remain almost intact. Most other European cities pulled down their old walls as they grew and modernized. But the Industrial Age by-passed York, leaving its medieval character much as it was.
Stolling along York's walls provides an excellent preview of the city's attractions. It's also a good way to get some exercise, without taking time out from sightseeing. Most of the walkway is narrow, but level and quite safe.
York has more miles of intact city walls than anywhere else in England, some of them are from Roman times still.
The city is not completely surrounded by walls but it is still a very nice walk around the town to follow the walls. The walls and its gates ("bars") are all from different centuries, the majority of it dates back to the 12th to the 14th century though.
Walking on top of the wall surrounding Old York.
I walked the whole wall. It's complete and gives a good view of York. It probably took me an hour or so to walk it. If I remember correctly, one or two of the gates contained little museums. Check out the webiste to take a virtual walk of the walls.
The city wall is free to walk and you get to see so much of the city. The walk is easy, the hardest part are the stairs up to the top level. It doesn't go all the way around the city. There is a section missing. At each tower, there are stairs down and some sort of museum or informational place (not all of them are free). Great fews, took the best pictures.
The city walls of York were built to defend the City in the 13th/14th Centuries. They are the best preserved medieval walls in Britain. If you walk around the walls from the Bootham bar area, you can get some good views of the Minster, the views are probably the best in the winter when there are not so many leaves on the trees though! The wide ditch surrounding the walls once occupied a moat which was created in medieval times.
The Groves York
1 Review and 426 Opinions The Groves is in a quiet cul-de-sac just outside the gate at Bootham so it’s an easy short walk in...
1 Review and 1222 Opinions I was recently in York for a couple of days and a friend recommended the Cedar Court Grand, a...
1 Review and 578 Opinions One of of York's best situated hotels - virtually opposite the Minster and not far from the main...