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article imagePhoto Essay: York and the National Railway Museum

By Eileen Kersey     Dec 30, 2012 in Travel
York - The historic city of York, Yorkshire, England, is a mere 38.2 miles from my hometown Kingston-upon-Hull, yet we had not visited York for more than 20 years. In March 2012 we put that right, with a long weekend break as part of a 60th birthday celebration.
York was a city so familiar to me as a child, teenager and young woman. School trips to York were frequent due to the relatively short traveling distance and the number of museums, galleries and historic buildings to be found all over the city.
You may wonder how come we had not visited York in such a long time and the answer is not complicated. Married for more than 40 years now hubby and I have never owned a vehicle. Neither of us drive. We walk a lot, cycle although less often these days and use public transport.
The privatisation of the railways in the UK played havoc with some regional services. The last time we had visited York we faced either a long bus journey or a train journey that was not a straightforward one. All of this meant that for us, with two rescue dogs sharing our home, a day trip to York was not worth the hassle. By the time we arrived it would almost be time to return.
Yet I had a yen to visit York again for sometime. So our long weekend break was to be a treat and I wondered what would have changed, if anything in York.
There was no change as far as getting there went. Works on a local train line meant that we had to take a coach to a small village called Brough, then walk to a train station in order to get a train to York. We then had to change trains at Doncaster. Ultimately the journey was twice as long as it should have been. It was as well that we were staying over.
So did York live up to our expectations? Yes it did, and some.
Once we had located our Bed and Breakfast accommodation we decided we would explore York. It is not a large city but we managed to get lost. The old part of the city has ancient walls with a couple of historic gates leading out. Mistaking one gate for another we ended up with a mammoth walk.
Historic walls with gates leading into intriguing streets  old and new
Historic walls with gates leading into intriguing streets, old and new
Once bitten twice shy though and by the second day we had found our "York legs" The bonus with walking a great deal day to day is trekking around a city such as York is no problem. There is so much to see as you wander around plus ample numbers of pubs and cafes around.
A must see for many visitors to York, including us, is the National Railway Museum. As we walked to the NRM we passed so many other sights.
York Minster dominates the skyline from the Walls and the city
York Minster dominates the skyline from the Walls and the city
York Minster was so central to our accommodation we used it frequently as a way to get our bearings.
Part of York Minster
Part of York Minster
York Minster is a huge and impressive building
York Minster is a huge and impressive building
After passing the Minster, the famous Shambles are near by. We first walked past a statue. The statue of Constantine was drawing a crowd of tourists, all angling to take the best shot of it. We had to snap the accompanying sign though which made us laugh.
Statue of Constantine
Statue of Constantine
Glancing down the Shambles the familiar overhanging buildings had not changed at all. This is now a shopping area and full of tourists, especially at weekends.
The Shambles  York
The Shambles, York
The Shambles  York
The Shambles, York
A walk past the park, Yorkshire Museum and York Eye eventually led us to the NRM. Although it was March the weather was kind. It was cold and crisp but a beautiful Spring day. So we took in these sights before we finally entered the NRM.
Yorkshire Museum
Yorkshire Museum
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Pretty building in the park now used for wedding receptions and the like
Pretty building in the park now used for wedding receptions and the like
York Eye
York Eye
The National Railway Museum was one place that had changed since our last visit. It is close to the railway station and that has been radically overhauled too. It is just so large. Here are some of the best bits of our visit.
NRM engine
NRM engine
Early engine at NRM
Early engine at NRM
Hubby  whose nickname is Teddy  stands by a name sake engine
Hubby, whose nickname is Teddy, stands by a name sake engine
Finally for us, and the many children visiting the museum, the icing on the cake was the Hogwart's Express. It was outside but many of the engines are indoors. Perfect for British weather.
Hogwart s Express
Hogwart's Express
We decided on a round trip walk back. This was partially so we could remember where the various attractions are located in York. We passed the Jews or Clifford's Tower which is close to the Castle Museum. Both are well worth a visit. The Castle museum is large and has many displays. The Jews Tower is worthy of a visit more for its historic significance.
At the foot of Clifford’s Tower a plaque marks the darkest chapter in the history of York’s Jewish community. On March 16th 1190 a wave of anti-Semitic riots culminated in the massacre of an estimated 150 Jews – the entire Jewish community of York – who had taken refuge in the royal castle where Clifford’s Tower now stands
Jews Tower
Jews Tower
Jews Tower
Jews Tower
Castle Museum area
Castle Museum area
I hope you have enjoyed this virtual walk around York. If you get the chance to visit do so. The attractions detailed here are just some of those waiting for you to discover.
More about York, NRM, railway museum, York Minister, York walls
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