Peregrine Falcons of York Minster

What can you see at York Minster besides the cathedral itself? If you look up at the minster you can see the gargoyles and grotesques, but you may also see a nesting pair of peregrine falcons.

Since around 2015 there has been a nesting pair of Peregrine falcons at York Minster. During the 2018 they were reported to have raised four young. Two of the three times I visited York I was able to spy some falcons flying around the minster, landing on grotesques and the towers.

I saw this one in July 2017. It was resting next to a nearby building’s chimney pot. A birdwatcher told me this was a young one on its first day of flight.

If you are going to try to catch these birds of prey, bring a powerful pair of binoculars or a zoom lens. They land pretty high up on the minster. Whether you are a birder or not, they are enjoyable to see in flight.

For more information check out a Twitter page devoted to the York Minster Falcons: https://twitter.com/YorkPeregrines?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Or this website: http://www.yorkperegrines.info/wp/

National Railway Museum

Where is the largest railway museum in the world? Where would a train enthusiast be on cloud nine? The location I am speaking of is the National Railway Museum in York, England.

What’s There

To say this museum is large is an understatement. It has over 6,000 objects on display including signage, model trains, posters, tickets, nameplates, clocks, furniture and other items. Signage catches my eye, so I will include images of some of these items. The museum is massive and I think its best to not spoil it too much.

Seating for one of the locations in the museum that serves food.

There are over 100 locomotives or rolling stock on display with other stock held elsewhere. It has the largest collection of train cars and locomotives held in what formally was the North York Locomotive Depot. On display are Queen Victoria’s railway carriage and other trains such as one used by Queen Elizabeth II. They also have international holdings such as a Japanese Bullet train and a Chinese locomotive. Train displays vary and they rotate displays with other museums.

Front of one of the Royal Trains
Inside of a Post Office sorting carriage
Visiting

They are open daily through out the year including bank holidays with the exception of 24-26 of December. Their hours are from 10-5 (10:00-17:00) most of the year, however, during the summer months they are open 10-6 (10:00-18:00).

If you are a train enthusiast, you could easily spend a blissful day at this museum. If you fancy trains, this museum should be on your bucket list. The historical aspect will appeal to others as well.

The Shambles

Would you like to see one of the best preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe? Are you a Harry Potter fan and are interested in seeing a street that is an inspiration for something in the novels? Then head to the Shambles in York, England.

Shamble is an old word for an open air slaughterhouse and meat market. The pavement is raised on both sides of the street to form a channel or ditch where butchers could wash away blood. The street was intentionally built narrow to keep sunlight from hitting the meat that was hung by hooks outside the shops. The buildings on the Shambles in York date back to between 1350-1475.

I have not taken a course in Photoshop or Lightroom yet. I think removing the van is beyond what I know. Even though this street is pedestrian only and I was there about an hour that van was sitting there the entire time. So I never viewed the street without it.
Film Location

The Shambles is thought to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films. Today there are a few shops related to Harry Potter on the Shambles, one of which is The Shop That Must Not Be Named.

The Shambles doubled for 18th century London in Knifeman. It also appeared in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Are you interested in medieval architecture? Do you fancy visiting Harry Potter filming locations and scene inspirations? Visit York and see The Shambles.

York City Wall

What location has the longest medieval town walls in England? What place has gorgeous views from those walls? If you answered York, you would be correct.

In some sections one side does not have a railing. I believe this was from the area of the train station looking towards York Minster.
One view of York Minster from the wall with also some lovely back garden views.

York has an old section of town that is surrounded by the remains of the old city walls. You can walk around most of this section of the city on top of the wall. You will have some nice views of York Minster and other parts of the old city from the wall.

History

The original walls were built by the Romans in AD 71. However, the walls you see now were the upgrade to stone built in 1226. They are the longest Medieval town walls in England at 3.4 kilometers (about 2 miles) and are very well maintained.

Another view of York Minster from the wall
A sentry on the wall
The wall is just too narrow in many spots, so dogs are not allowed.
Visiting

It is open daily 8 a.m. to dusk. It is closed on Christmas and any days that the conditions are icy or slippery. As it is an old wall, it is not handicap accessible. Also, dogs are not allowed on the wall as most of it is narrow. Some areas do not have high ledges or railing on one side, so one has to take care. Someone with a fear of heights may not enjoy this walk.

If you are visiting York, hiking on the old city walls is a must to get another perspective on this lovely city.

One of the gates through the wall into the old section of York.

Haunted Pubs-The Hole in the Wall

There are many places that are said to be haunted in York, England. A few places that lay claim to this are pubs. One such pub is The Hole in the Wall.

Ghost Story

The story up on the wall of the pub is this pub was formerly named the Board Inn. A builder was said to have found a tunnel beneath the pub. Ghostly footsteps were heard echoing in the dark, so they quickly bricked it up. They say in 1816 excavation was done and a hole discovered that led to an eery dungeon where chains and manacles were hanging. We asked the bartenders about the story and they said both were working one night and they heard a voice talking, but no one was there.

The name of this beer goes well with the pub’s haunting story.
Location

The Hole in the Wall is on High Petergate in York not far from York Minster. It is in the older walled in section of town. You can get to York via train. If hiking is not a problem you can walk from the train station to the old walled in section.

Unique decor in one of their rooms.
Cute gargoyle, which fits in well with the area. This pub is in close proximity to York Minster.
Their sticky toffee pudding was pretty good. My friend can vouch for it.

There are several pubs and places in York with stories of ghost sightings or haunting tales. They even have tours covering some of these establishments. If you are into this sort of thing, check out The Hole in the Wall.

University Rooms York

York can be an expensive city to visit. One alternative that is less expensive, but still within the old city walls is the Student Castle York University. I booked it through University Rooms website.

I have stayed at York University before booking through University Rooms. However, previously I stayed on their main campus, which was about a 20 minute bus ride from the walled in area of York. It was cheaper two years ago and worked out well as I stayed in York for a week. They had regular bus service from the main campus to the old section of York.

This time however, when I booked well in advance, the only dorm that came up in December- January was the more expensive apartment dorms that are Student Castle. It was more expensive much much closer to where I wanted to be.

Accommodations
Small kitchen with TV

The Student Castle is a group of of dorm apartments buildings. It is modern inside. It includes a small kitchen, shower/toilet room, double bed, TV, table, desk and plenty of outlets. They appear to have parking spots in the quad area. There is access to free wifi.

Room at Student Castle York
Private toilet/shower with towel warmer

I was told this facility rents out rooms throughout the year. There are grad students and some undergrads staying in the dorm, but the first floor is reserved for people visiting.

I found this was a nice alternative to hotel rooms in the area that can be quite expensive. The location is optimal. If you would like to stop by a grocery, you may be able to cook your own meals. If visiting York I highly recommend Student Castle York.

For more information go to: https://www.universityrooms.com .