York, England, a walled, medieval city in the northern part of the country, is a well-preserved look at England during the Middle Ages. The city center is pedestrian-only, cobbled, and loaded with charm. Walk the city walls for a great perspective on the area. However, visit during the daytime, since the shops close and everyone seems to disappear after 6 PM.
The York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps, is stunning inside, with its intricate choir screen, made of stone, depicting kings of England, and its beautiful Chapter House.
Travel north from York into Northumberland to visit the Durham Cathedral, another of England’s Norman churches whose construction began in the 11th century. Also visit the nearby Norman Castle.
1. While in the York vicinity, get a good map of the area and take a driving tour of North York’s Moors National Park for an intriguing look at this landscape, made famous in the classic novel, Wuthering Heights.
2. North of York, near the border with Scotland, lies Hadrian’s Wall. Located in the far northern part of England, it dates back to 120 AD, when the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, had the wall built to separate the most northerly reaches of the Empire from the Scottish barbarians. The wall is much lower than it was originally, but is surprisingly intact for much of its 120 km (75 mile) length. It was dotted with “forts” where Roman soldiers were quartered and tended to. These forts are in ruins now, but enough remains to offer the visitor a glimpse into what life might have been like back then. Housestead Fort is one of the largest and most interesting.