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A Yorkshire Itinerary - Five Days Among Yorkshire's City Gems

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2 of 6

Day 1 - A Day in Medieval York and a Night in Leeds
The Shambles in York

The Shambles, York's oldest street is also the UK's most visited and most photographed. Once a street of butchers and meat markets, the overhanging eaves protected goods from the sun. This York highlight is in the city center.

©Ferne Arfin

See a zoomable map of this Yorkshire itinerary

Founded by the Romans, who called it Eboracum, York was called Eorforwic by the Saxons, and Jorvik by the Vikings before settling down to York, sometime after the Norman invasions in 1066. Today the city wears its more than 2,000 years of history with nonchalance.

York's Earliest Settlers

Walk the city walls and you'll find outcrops of Roman construction amongs the mostly medieval stones. The actual layout of the city center follows the pattern of the original Roman fortress. Here and there you may find Roman inscriptions on building walls: those are mostly copies, though, with the actual inscribed stones found in The Yorkshire Museum.

Find York's Viking past at The Jorvik Viking Center. More than 40,000 Viking items were discovered in the l970s during construction excavations at Coppergate (which means the street of cup makers). The finds included workshops for jewelry making, metalworking and, yes, the manufacture of wooden cups and bowls.

Medieval York

York's real treasure is its vast collection of pristine medieval buildings - in stone as well as half-timbering (called "black and whites" in the UK), many still in daily use and some, like the Barley Hall, only recently discovered, lost within York's tight lanes and snickelways.

While in York, don't miss:

Continuing Your Tour

York and Leeds are so close together that you can easily spend the night in York and move on first thing in the morning, or head for Leeds, about 25 miles and 45 minutes away, at the end of your day in York. That's my preference if you need to stay on schedule because York is such a lovely city that if you spend a second night, you'll just be tempted to stay there.

Travel Tips

Parking in the ancient city of York can be difficult and expensive. If you are planning to rent a car, save money on gasoline and parking, as well as your sanity, by picking it up when you leave Leeds, at the end of Day 2 of this itinerary. York and Leeds are less than half an hour apart by train, with a service that runs from city center to city center, every 20 minutes or so until quite late at night. There is actually an hourly service all night long.

More Travel Ideas for York

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