Travel Follow-Along: Footloose TV Visits York, England

Editor's Note: This is another great post from David and Debra Rixon of the Footloose travel video series. Their feature-length travel videos off deep dives into a variety of British and other European destinations, and you can check out descriptions and links to their videos HERE. You can keep up with their latest productions by following them on Facebook.

Historic York is a wonderful destination – known as Jorvik to the Vikings, and Eboracum to the Romans. It’s just two hours by fast train from London, and on arrival you see a grand, listed Victorian station. The cities’ railway associations are impressive, and the National Railway Museum is sited here in vast, sprawling splendour. A short riverside walk brings you into the centre of York from the Museum, and what a city it is.

For us, to get an overview, we had to take the UK’s most complete city wall walk, which was open to walk in a clockwise direction only. There were two museums within the walls on our visit – dedicated to Richard III and Henry VII – both of which can go on tour at any time, and be replaced with temporary exhibits. Confusingly the ‘bars’ and ‘barbicans’ are actually the gateways into the city, and the streets are called gates. All derived from their Roman and Viking past, which is joyously celebrated.

World famous Jorvik Viking Centre is a wonderful way to travel back in time, and affords a wealth of information that is updated regularly. Nowhere in York can you sink foundations or excavate without archaeologists on site to inspect – and a redundant church has been converted into an innovative ‘dig’ that provides an opportunity for children to learn and discover archaeology.

The Castle Museum is a marvellous place to visit, and we were allowed to film their authentic Victorian street, Kirkgate once the public had left, which made it disconcerting in the twilight with sounds from the past.

No-one who visits York can resist the Shambles, another opportunity to experience the past, with a jumble of period shops unashamedly linking you to the Harry Potter world, and magical properties of locally sourced Jet jewellery. It is, of course, Diagon Alley.

York Minster is magnificent; the third most prestigious cathedral in Britain which stands on the site of a Roman barracks, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery and the foundations of the Norman Minster. The Undercroft is a must-see exhibition whilst touring the Minster.

The city is also well known for its chocolate, and the ‘Chocolate Story’ in the heart of York details the confectionary of the Craven, Rowntree and Terry families. There are tours of Goddards, the Terry family home as well, and of course, we had to conduct our own taste test to be fair.

York is a wonderful jumble of historical epochs, and you switch from Viking, Roman or Georgian periods at any street corner. An authentic Roman ‘leisure complex’ can be found beneath a pub to be visited for a modest fee – the exit is back up through the ‘Roman Bath’ pub, which is a bonus.
Down the enticing narrow snickelways and alleys are hidden gems, and Barley Hall is one of them. A beautifully restored medieval merchant’s hall, with a banquet set out worthy to receive Richard III when he visited York, and with whom the city closely identifies. There is a lot of fun to be had in York, and it is said that ghosts abound in the city and pubs. Nightly ghost walks are in abundance, and one of our hosts was Dorian Deathly, whose own tour is hugely popular.

York is at the centre of regional attractions – we couldn’t resist hiring a compartment on the North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway service to Whitby to visit the haunting Abbey ruins high above the town, and revel in a little Dracula lore. Magnificent Castle Howard is a short drive from York, and further up the A64 is the classic seaside resort of Scarborough.

If you want to know more and see what it’s like, join us, Debra and Dave, in our two-cities film ‘Footloose in Oxford and York’ on Prime Video! Footloose in Oxford and York : Debra Rixon, David Rixon: Movies & TV

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Follow along as David and Debra visit York, England in their latest UK travel video