Discovering Hidden York

York Minster

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I had half a day to spare in York and decided to set myself the challenge of seeing something new. A tall order, perhaps, as this is a city I had been visiting regularly for many years. But I was determined to try, and managed to discover a Hidden York walk, compiled by the AA. (Unfortunately this walk is no longer available on the AA website, but read on and you can follow some of the route for yourself…)

Lady Row, York
The houses in Lady Row are the oldest in York

Hidden York: Something Old Or Something New?

Of course, when I say I wanted to see something “new”, I really mean something “old”. This is a city that is more than 2,000 years old, colonised by the Romans and the Vikings, and one of the most important towns in medieval England. It’s one of those places with something to see on every street corner: a Roman column, the birthplace of Guy Fawkes, or even a cholera graveyard…

York passageways
York is full of tiny passageways

Coincidentally the Hidden York walk began just opposite my hotel (the inexpensive but comfortable Jorvik House on Marygate). It took me across the Museum Gardens, past the Minster, and through the historic heart of York. And, despite the fact that most of the route was familiar to me, I did come across some hidden passages, old pubs and small chapels that I had not seen before.

Hidden York
Pinnable image of the York Museum Gardens – archway and The Hospitium

The Hidden Spots Of York

There are lots of unusual things to do in York. And, like many old cities, it constantly surprises me with things I’ve not spotted before. Even on the well-trodden routes: I didn’t know that there was an old observatory in the Museum Gardens. And I was surprised by the Edible Wood, a garden planted with all manner of edible plants (this one actually is new, having been planted in 2015).

Then there were the narrow passages (like Lady Peckett’s Yard with its 16th century buildings), and quiet streets that were almost devoid of tourists. I even passed a few old pubs I had never been to (and I really thought I knew all the pubs in York…)

I did take the odd detour, but that is the point of a walk like this. I stopped at Barley Hall, a medieval townhouse that is now a museum, and enjoyed the special exhibition of “Magic and Mystery” (that one has now finished, but there are new exhibitions all the time). And, given the number of times I had walked the city walls, I was surprised to discover a section of medieval wall I’d never seen before – part of the enclosure of St Mary’s Abbey.

York Minster
Catching a glimpse of York Minster along a quiet street

There was one disappointment. I was looking forward to walking through Holy Trinity Churchyard, described as “secluded and leafy”, but it was closed by the time I got there. But at least it means I’ll have something new to discover next time I go to York.


6 thoughts on “Discovering Hidden York”

  1. This article is a good reminder that English history by no means started in 1066. I lived in England (Devizes, Wiltshire) for a year as a schoolgirl with only school holidays during which to travel. York is one of the many places I didn’t have a chance to visit. Maybe next time.

  2. I visited York briefly forty years ago. I don’t remember much other than York Minster. I’d love to go back and explore these hidden places, as well as the not-so-hidden.

  3. What a lovely place to spend some time strolling around town. I’ve never been to York, but find no matter how many times I’ve been to a destination, I can always find something I haven’t seen before.

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WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…


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