York is trisected by two beautifully languid and important rivers, the Ouse and the Foss. The Ouse is the main waterway, and it is here that you will find a host of attractive buildings, both ancient and modern, and a string of restaurants, bars and hotels. The right bank is especially lively, while the left bank offers paths with magnificent views down the river.Time spent crossing the river's bridges, from Bishopgate Street to Lendal Bridge is time well spent.
It seemed to me as if Lendal Bridge was something like York's main bridge, at least concerning the city centre. It is the pretty bridge located close to the entrance to Museum Gardens and Lendal Tower, and you need to cross it to get to the train station and to do the walk upon the city walls. Usually it is quite busy here, and many locals and tourists cross the river at this point every day.
The bridge was built in the 1860s and it spans the river where two old towers are located, Lendal Tower and Barker Tower. Until the construction of the bridge, a ferry service had been operated here. Unfortunately when the bridge was built, it collapsed during the first year and killed five men, so a second one needed to be constructed. A new architect was hired for this, Thomas Page, who also designed Skeldergate Bridge in York as well as Westminster Bridge in London.
What I really liked about this bridge were the ornaments and decorations, such as the coat of arms you can see in my second picture. I thought the features of the bridge looked beautiful against the backdrop of the blue river water.
Opposite of Lendal Tower, there is a smaller, unpretentious tower that can easily be overlooked. This is Barker Tower. It was built a little later than its brother, in the 14th century, and as said in the other tip, a chain was fastened between the two towers to close the river.
Before Lendal Bridge was built, there was a ferry crossing the river at this point, and Barker Tower was rented to the ferrymen. There was also at least one ferry woman! The ferry service continued until 1863, when the bridge was opened. Afterwards, the tower was shortly used as a mortuary to keep bodies that were found in the river.
Between the river and the Museum Gardens, just next to the bridge, there is a fascinating tower that looks very old, Lendal Tower. And indeed, it was built in the 13th century!
A chain was fixed between this tower and opposite Barker Tower, so the river could be closed, either in defense or to ensure that passing boats paid their toll.
From 1631, the tower was used as a water-tower, which means that from here, water was distributed to the city through an amount of pipes. This use continued until the mid-19th century.
Today, Lendal Tower is a private home, and rooms are also rented to tourists - but well, the prices are rather high! ;-)
I think that this is such a fascinating old building, and these old buildings right in the city centre are what make York such a special place!
River Ouse played and still plays a significant position in York. The city of York developed around the River Ouse, which was originally a tidal river and sea going and bound ships were able to depart and arrive at the river ports in the city. Until the 1990s freight was transport on the River Ouse from Hull, a port city, to the centre of York. It is interesting to note a lot of manufacturers had their premises by the river such as Rowntrees, Nestle and other businesses. It could suggest the river was used for transporting produce and goods.
Nowadays, navigation is for leisure purposes such as boat cruises York Boats provides and every July the city hosts the York Rivers Festival.
There is an interesting historical circular walk called the New Walk which my friend and I did. We started from Lendal Bridge and walked towards the Millennium Bridge, near Rowntree factory. We then cross the bridge and walked on the other side of the back and to Lendal Bridge.
You can find out further information about the River Ouse by clicking on the link.
A great way to see York from the river by hiring a Red Boat for one hour - everyday from approx. March 31 to November 4.
The boats are self drive and can take up to 8 people but you must be over 18 to hire a boat and hires start from 09.45 each day.
Seasonal prices from £25-£35 per hour plus a £20 returnable security bond.
You can take a 45 minute boat trip on the river whatever the weather as York Boat has an open sundeck and heated lounges where you can relax with a drink from the bar and watch the ever changing scenery while listening to the live commentary
You also recive discounts on other attractions including The York Dungeon, JORVIK Viking Centre and ChesterBoat
You can get a Joint bus and boat ticket if you like as the York Boat is run in conjunction with York City Sightseeing open top buses.
The tour bus is a hop on hop off service and tickets are valid for 24 hours.
Prices for 2010 (info from website) :
Adults - £7.50
Concessions - £6.50
Child (5-15) - £3.50
Under 5's - Free
Family - £20.00 (up to 2 adults and 3 children)
Combined Bus and Boat Ticket prices:
There are four guaranteed Daytime City Cruises operating everyday from the 6th February - 28th November 2010 at 10:30am, 12pm, 1:30pm & 3pm from King's Staith Landing (10 minutes later from Lendal Bridge Landing). More cruises operate during April - October, with trips departing approximately every 30 minutes throughout the day. Sailing times are displayed at both YorkBoat landings.
The River Ouse runs right through the city centre and it's a great place to walk or to just sit and relax.
You can get down to the river bank by steps at the bridges which are right in the city centre.
The river running through the centre of York is the Ouse ( pronounced Ooze). Its full length is 55 miles and its start is off the River Ure at Cuddy Shaw Reach near Linton on Ouse, about 6 miles downstream of the confluence of the River Swale with the River Ure. It then flows through York ( as shown on the photo) and Selby and Goole before flowing in to the River Trent at Trent Falls near Flaxfleet and in to the huge River Humber.
The Ouse valley is flat and wide and heavy rainfall in this area can bring severe flooding ( see other VT York tips on flooding).
There are weirs at Linton and Naburn ( a nice afternoon trip from York) and this enables craft of up to 4.6 beam to reach York. There is little commercial traffic on the river in the York area but a good variety of pleasure craft to see and travel on.
Regular sailings everyday
One of the more sedate methods of transportation is the York Boat Guided River Trips, which operate every day from February - December giving you the opportunity to see the sights in comfort whatever the weather. Sit on the top deck or retreat to the warmth of the bar and lounge.
You can board the boat at either King's Staith, or Lendal Bridge landings. The Captain gives a live commentary throughout this 45 minute cruise.
There are at least 4 Guided River Trips from both our city centre landings at King's Staith & Lendal Bridge. There are guaranteed sailings EVERYDAY at;
Kings Staith Lendal Bridge
Senior Citizens: £6.00
Child (5 - 15): £3.30
Family: £20.00 (For up to 2 adults, 3 children)
Under 5's: Free
The Guildhall is more of a historic sight than a modern one as today, it houses the city councillors and cannot be visited other than if you have appointments with those. But seen from the river, it is a nice building and especially here along Coney Street, where a lot was ruined in one of the few bomb nights to hit York in WWII.
A pleasant way to spend some time is to hop on a river boat and get a sightseeing tour of York, including a bit of history. York owes its existance to the river Ouse (Celtic for "Hollow river") and the first castle was built by the confluence with the smaller river Foss - a perfect site for water supplies and defence and later for trade to blossom. A boat trips shows you all this but there are also longer cruises to Bishopgate where the Archibishop's palace is, including evening dinner cruises. More touristy ghost cruises and special themse also happen (check the website below). There are at least four cruises a day from February to November and more departures summertime.
I first stumbled across this pretty bridge in the Summer of 2004 when I made my first tentative solo visit to York, and was trying to make my way over to York Model Railway with the route I planned with the aid of VRYork.com + the Aerial photo's on Multimap.
It was love at first sight......... I've since learned, while looking it up to try make this thing look more impressive that it was built in the 1860's by someone called Thomas Page (though I assume he had a few helpers), and it takes both Pedestrians & Vehicles across the River Ouse.
It has a couple of Castle-like structures at each end which were apparently intended to be used as toll booths, but these days at least one of them is a sandwich shop.
Please note the Traffic gets very busy here, and crossing the road can be pretty difficult.
York is located on the River Ouse, pronounced ooze according to Wikipedia. I didn't have time to walk along much of the River but I did pass over it several times.
I also didn't have time to do a cruise along the River but there are at least a couple of companies that do River cruises including Waterline and York Boat should you find yourself with a little more time than me.
One of the best ways to see York, especially if you're tired of walking, is to take a boat cruise on the River Ouse. These narrated tours provide a wealth of information about the city's illustrious history, beautiful parks, imposing architecture, and much more.
A number of different special tours are offered, to include guided river trips, evening cruises, holiday events, and even ghost cruises. This is definitely worth doing.