City Walls - General, York
York has more miles of intact city walls than anywhere else in England (approximately 2 1/2 miles) and some sections of the walls date back to Roman times.
When the Romans first came here in the first century AD, they built a military fort on the banks of the River Ouse. The town of Eboracum grew up around the fort, and strong walls were built to enclose both the fort and town. These walls form the basis of the city walls that remain today.
Much of the city within the walls has been converted to pedestrian malls, closed to traffic most of the day. If you choose to walk the walls of York you'll be sure to meet the locals; a recent survey revealed that walking along the city walls is the favorite leisure activity of fully 39% of York residents. I wouldn't walk it in the dark however. It was dusk when we were still on the wall and with very few handrails it's rather percarious.
Guided walks begin at the Museum Garden gates off Museum Street. Walks focus on the history of York, with Roman, Viking, and Medieval themed walks, plus guided walks along the city walls.
You just have to walk along the Roman Walls. I walked from Bootham Gate to Monk Bar. Should have done more but...sore feet! These walls were fascinating and I found myself running my hands over the lovely stonework just to feel their texture. There are some seating areas along the way and places to get some good views and photos.
York's well preserved city walls are one of the top attractions in the city. Over two miles of the walls still remains, and you can walk along the top of the walls and get a great views of the city (or peek in to the locals gardens if you're the curious type). The most interesting section of the walls is from Bootham Bar to Monk Bar, a route which takes you around the Minster.
One of the most enjoyable ways to experience York is to walk its walls. I won't pretend to be able to understand the entire complexity of these walls. Like nearly everything else in York the history of the walls starts with Romans and seems to go on forever.
There are at least four major gates all with their own story but the best approach seems to be to just start walking with guide book in hand. Even at the busiest tourist time when I visited, the walls seemed to offer a respite.
If you have a nice sunny day (or at least one without rain), I'd highly recommend at least walking part of the city walls. I missed a section when I jumped off to visit Clifford's Tower but I probably walked about 3/4 of the walls.
Print out a copy of the guide on the attached website (click on download as a PDF), it was very handy to have while walking around as it explains various sites along the walls, the history of the walls and most importantly how to get from section to section.
As suggested in the guide I started near the Museum gardens which is very close to the train station if you are coming in from London.
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.
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.
A walk on the walls is a must do activity on any visit to York. Although they don't fully encircle the city, the walls extend 2.5 miles. They also still retain their gateways (bars) into the city.
From the walls you get many good views of the city. The best being on the stretches of wall next to the Minster & Railway Station.
The walls are free & are open every day except Christmas day. They also close when there is a risk of icy conditions. Opening times are from 8.00 am until dusk.
The Romans built a fort in York in 71AD and surrounded it with walls -- the walls that remain today date back mostly to the 12th to 14th centuries although part of the foundations are the original Roman ones. There is approximately 2 miles (3.2km) of walls to walk and there are information panels and maps along the way -- it's a good way to have some nice views of the city.
The city center of York is surrounded by a castle wall. As you walk along the castle wall, you will be able to see the main sights and off the beaten path sights of York City.
I was lost and couldn't find our coach parking place with some of my friends. Since we remembered that the coach parking is near a part of the castle wall, we ran and toured the whole of York in an hour! I realised how much we can see by going around the castle wall. At some part of the walk, the castle wall seems to be disconnected.
The city walls acted as a defence for the city in the past. York has some of Europe's finest surviving medieviel fortifications. The walls can be walked throughtout the hours of daylight. Its fun walking on it, but not so if you slip and fall on ur arse, or even worst... off the walls!
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.
There's bits and pieces of history all over York, be it Roman, Viking, Mediaeval, whatever; but the one you tend to see bits of all over the place are the walls.
In these enlightened times it is astonishing to know that in 1830 the then council wanted to knock them down for developements sake. Has a familiar 21st century ring to it. Fortunately, even in days of yore, there were those who appreciated their value and, as part of the significant protest against them, a wagon was wedged in the Barbican. They got the message - the walls are there to stay.
Walking the walls is one of the must-dos in York. The walls don't completely circumnavigate the city, but they come close, and they certainly allow you to get a sense of the medieval proportions of what was one of the largest cities in northern Europe at the time of their construction.
The most popular stretches of the wall are near the railway station (on the west side of the Ouse) and close to the Minster (on the east side.)
I was a little surprised how green it was on both sides of the wall. There's a lot of foiliage inside the city walls, even today. There must have been wide fields inside the walls during the middle ages.