Walks, Tours, Etc, York
This is very good way to the city if you want someone to show you places possibly only known to local people. There are four walks - Snickleways of York, Essential York, Roman York and Secret York. Only Secret York and Snickelways are accesable for wheelchair users.
There are also a number of occasional walks such as the Guy Fakes Trail, Historic Toilet Tour (honestly) and a Choccy and Sweetie tour. The website has full details.
2008 prices are £5.50 for adults and £2.50 children and concessions. Walks start at Museum Garden Gates om Museum Street near Lendel Bridge and walks go with a minimum of 2 people and even in the rain.
Yorkshire Pullman are a well known local tour operator who also have a city sightseeing tour around the city in open top buses. These run every weekend until June 12th from which point they will be running daily until the end of October (2007)
Each tour has a real guide on board and will last approximately 45 minutes. Buses operate on a 20 minute frequency from Exhibition Square and can be used as a hop on - hop off service throughout the day.
We went on the Ghost Hunt tour that meets at The Shambles at 7:30 pm. This is an award-winning tour. The host wears a Victorian gentleman's costume and is very dramatic. I really enjoyed this tour. The tour is just under an hour and a half for £5.
There are numerous ghost tours of York available. DAO arranged for us to go on this tour during the Winter Warmer VT Meeting in January 2007. The tour guide was excellent, fully involving the group in all the stories he told and obviously an accomplished guide (and actor). He also was fully aware of his health and safety responsibilities for both the group and other tourists and locals passing the group.
The tour lasts about 95 minutes and starts at the ends of the Shambles. There's no need to book, just turn up at either end of the Shambles (whatever the weather) and you will be collected by the tour guide dressed in his Victorian costume including frock coat, top hat, carrying a very authentic-looking Gladstone bag, ringing his 'death bell'. Props abound and, with the use of a small step ladder, the guide is elevated above the crowd and easily heard by all (children being encouraged to the front).
Costing just GBP5.00 for adults and GBP3.00 for 'boils and ghouls' - this is family entertainment at its best! Of course, ghosts may join the tour at any time - for free!!
Now THIS was the business! One of the best forms of entertainment in York! We joined the Tour late, it started at The Shambles, but we managed to catch up eventually and it was well worth the frantic gallop.
The Storyteller was absolutely brilliant! He was dressed in period clothes, a caped black coat, a black top hat and carrying a medical bag, similar to the one purported to have been used by Jack The Ripper. This man had presence. Walking behind him along the old cobbled streets of York, from Ghost House to Ghost House was eerily spooky. You could imagine that you had stepped back in time and were there at the time of the Great Plague. His voice was commanding, his charisma riveting and his sense of humour macabre. There was good audience participation and although the stories were sad, we were giggling like scared schoolchildren.
We had a fun experience where the whole group advanced on a restaurant and waved to the diners and then all went BOO!!!!! try it sometime, but try NOT to get arrested....
WELL WORTH the 4 quid!!!
City Sightseeing is, it says, the largest open top tour bus company in the world. I believe them. This is a good way to see a city for the first time. You usually go around in a circle and start to understand what is where and walking distances and directions between things you really want to see. With the ‘hop on – hop off’ tickets you can stay where you want longer and then rejoin here and there. Free headphones give you the audio tour with helpful information as you travel along (multilingual).
I would suggest going in the early afternoon with this company so that you get full use of the 24 hour tickets. What I mean is you may see something t night when you go to dinner and you can see it the next morning. Also you can review what you missed in the evening.
Local details are below. Be careful with your camera. The bus does move and jump when you are trying to take pictures!
These self drive boats are a perfect way to get a good look at the city on a warm summer day plus it's great fun driving the boat!
* Available for 1 hour hire everyday from late March - late October.
* Red Boats are safe and easy to drive and seat up to 8 people.
* Prices from £20-30 per hour, plus £20 returnable security bond.
* You can board a YorkBoat at Lendal Bridge Landing, which is only 10 minutes walk from the station. The YorkBoat Office and Boatyard are also located at Lendal Bridge.
Sure, this is definately a tourist trap, but it is a fun one. You're never sure quite what is true and what is not but you could always look that up later and meanwhile enjoy the chatty atmosphere you get when a group of anticipating tourists giggle their way through this. This is after all the childhood haunts of Guy Fawkes and burial place of Dick Turpin the highwayman. Moreover, York's strong Roman history makes for good stories of lost legions and well...then there are all those other ghosts here and there such as in the Treasury. There are several ghost walks and the most famous start by the Minster, by the King's Arms pub along the river and in King's Square. Look out for boards everywhere announcing the current times.
A unique opportunity to discover the hidden magic of our Ancient City through the real art of storytelling. Tales are drawn from the immense History of York and are told against a back drop of haunting beauty.
The Ghost Walk established in 1973, was an original creation believed to be the first in the world. The walk is accurate, authentic and genuine - we do not need to stage manage tricks or gimmicks. But it remains above all a fun night out for all.
Do you believe in ghosts? Personally, I'm a doubting Thomas. In any case, York is reputed to be the most haunted city in Europe.
This medieval city is justly famous for its ghost walks. These are interesting and informative, as well as entertaining. They illustrate a lot about local history, architecture, and the way that the common folk lived during past ages. Most stories are tragic; a few are real tear-jerkers. Besides, what else is there to do in the evening, other than hang out in the pubs? At least try one ghost walk--you won't regret it.
There are quite a number of them, departing from various sites around the city. Visit the local tourist information centre for more information. The original Ghost Walk, and probably the best known, meets at the King's Arms Pub at the Ouse Bridge, nightly at 8:00 pm. This is known as the "pub that floods", due to its location next to the river.
You know how you see those lovely Tudor style painted black beams, as you will later on in the tour down at the Shambles and other places? Well, the buildings aren't supposed to look like that. In point of fact they're supposed to be covered as they're only there for support, as shown in this particular example. So, this is what buildings of this ilk genuinely looked like.
Asthetically speaking, I'm all for the exposed beams!
And, if you've ever wondered why there are small windows on some of the old buildings, consider this - there used to be a tax on windows! The bigger the window, the bigger the tax. It was from this obnoxious bit of bureaucracy that the term "daylight robbery" evolved.
It was an inauspicious commencement to the tour. We were late, too late I suspected. The advice we had been given as to the amount of time it would take to walk from our accommodation was suspect to begin with and compounded by Rosemarie's slower pace. The 10.00 a.m. guided tour was bound to be departed by 10.15 a.m., and so it turned out. Frantically I tried to question any person in the vicinity of the pick-up point as to which direction the tour had taken but to no avail. Fear that one of the key points of my England trip was about to be missed gripped me.
I was just about to dash over to the Tourist Information Centre when the tour appeared. How lucky was that!
Well, it was twice lucky. It wasn't the free public tour after all but a private one from the Churchill Hotel, an establishment for the moneyed, notably from across the Atlantic. The tour guide's name was Dave Perry and Dave had a passion. That passion was named "York".
Dave had no objection to Rosemarie and I joining the tour and, later, to another couple hitching on as well. Dave just wanted to exalt the wonders of York, in between cigarettes that is. Sadly, this was a habit he hadn't managed to shake.
It didn't detract from his font of information however as he expounded his knowledge and lit up the sites with their history.
The free tour takes two hours. Should you be fortunate enough to get on Dave's tour, you should allow up to four and it's worth every penny, or pound, depending on how much you choose to tip him.
There's free walking tours of york given by volunteers which start from in front of the art gallery. When I was there a few weeks ago, they started at 10:15 and 2:15. The tour guide was brilliant. He really loved York (which is why he gives tours for free!) and it was a pleasure to listen to his stories about it.
I suppose for anyone visiting York, one of the better ways of seeing, and finding out a little of the history of the city, is to do one of the many Ghost Walks around its streets and "snickleways".
Highly theatrical, often funny and amusing, your guided round the city streets in an evening. Your guide takes you to most of the popular streets, and some not so well know passageways (or snickleways as they are known locally) in between. He or she will tell you a little of the history of york, and some of its more unsavoury goings on. If its later in the year, be warned wrap up well it can get chilly, of course if after a while you get tried of the walk, your free to drop out and retire to any of the pubs or bars you will pass on the way.
Take one of the Ghost Tours of York and learn the ghostly history of this city. There are many to choose from and signs for them are posted throughout the city. There are varying starting points, this particular one starts from the Minster.