03/07/2018

Best York City Walls walk route with map and great views of York Minister

York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
One of the best views and much photographed point on this historic York City Walls walk with the ancient medieval wall leading your eye all the way to an impressive view of York Minister



A must-do activity for any tourist visitor to York


York is a historic walled city in England with a long and rich heritage from Roman times through to Viking times and beyond, and for any tourist to York - a walk around the brilliantly preserved and ancient medieval City Walls is a must and will let you see York from a vantage point that not all tourists do.

York has more intact historic walls than any other city in England, and at 2.6 miles long they are the longest medieval walls in England.


Tip: Take some slight detours to come off the city walls to view the various 'Bars' or 'Gatehouses' from the street in all their glory. In ancient times these 'Bars' where used to restrict entrance into the city and extract tolls.



How long does it take to walk the York City Walls?

The well-preserved walls are 2.6 miles long around the ancient York City centre and I recommend you leave 2 hours to complete the route to give you some time to stop and admire the stunning views.



Where does the York City walls walk start? 

As the York City Walls walk is circular you can start anywhere that is closest to you. I do recommend getting up onto the walls at one of the ancient and still-entact 'Bars' or 'Gatehouses' as shown on the map on this page as this is a more impressive approach. My recommended starting point is 'Bootham Bar' - which is close to York Minister and will instantly give you some stunning views (see map below).


York City Walls Walking route map:


York city walls map, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour

[Click to enlarge] I think this is the clearest map of York City Walls to show you the full route and the parts you actually walk on the walls and where you should walk where there is no wall still standing. The best place to start I think is from the ancient gatehouse called 'Bootham Bar' slightly to the west of York Minister (the blue dot next to the number 1 in the above map) - where you will walk up onto the York City Walls at Bootham Bar and then walk around the walls in a clockwise direction. By starting here you will instantly get really upclose to York Minister with some of the best views on this walk. Whilst I didn't actually use the audio tracks also featured on the above map - it could be useful for those wanting a bit more history of the walls http://www.tourist-tracks.com/tours/york.html



[Click to enlarge] This map clearly shows all the particular defences and gatehouses along the York City Walls and I will cross-reference where I can in my photos below


York City Walls map, route, photos, best view
Keep reading for tips and photos of this York City Walls walk.


Photos of the York City Walls walking route with so you know exactly what to expect:



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
So this is where I started my York City Walls walk at Bootham Bar (the city walls have four main gatehouses or 'Bars' along them - Bootham Bar, Monk Bar, Walmgate Bar and Micklegate Bar. In this photo you can just make out York Minister behind the wall, and you will soon see we get quite close to York Minister at the start of this walk once you climb up the steps and onto the wall.



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
The footpath along the York City Walls is quite wide and flat and you feel very safe with the railings on the high parts (ideal if you are doing this York City Walls walk with young children)


York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
The first and one of many views of York Minister on this section of the York City Wall route



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
Looking back along the first section of the York City Wall we have just walked



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
Many properties have back gardens leading onto the York City Walls so you get views that you wouldn't normally see from the streets in York



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
This particular place is called Robin Hood's Tower and is good for a little stop



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
Approaching Monk Bar



Tip: Take a detour to come off the city walls for a bit to view Monk Bar in all it's glory 



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
We're really up close to the rooftops here!



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
It's a great walk to see York from a vantage point that not many visitors do!




York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
The wall is quite intact on many parts of it



So on this walk we don't always walk on the York City Walls - and after we drop down from the walls at Laythorpe tower - you have to walk along Foss Island Road (keeping the river Foss on your right) until you get to the Red Tower. The reason there is no wall here is because originally this area of land was flooded and formed the 'Kings Fishpond' - a more natural form of York's ancient defences 



Keep an eye on the signs - they are sometimes not the in the clearest eye shot!



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
Now we are at Red Tower and we get back onto the York City Walls!



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
You probably won't bump into many people on this section of the York City Walls




At this section we are approaching Fishergate Bar



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
When you come down off the walls at Fishergate Bar - you leave the walls for a little while. You need to keep the Travel Lodge on your right and walk along Tower Street and straight over the bridge over the river Foss. 



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
Whilst we take a detour from the walls as there is currently none to walk on - we head over to take a look at York Castle or Cliffords Tower - which was built originally in 1068 by the orders of William I to try and dominate these Viking lands. As you can see from the brooding clouds a rain shower was on it's way so it was time to take cover :-)



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
Crossing over the River Ouse once the rain shower had passed



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
Getting back up onto the Walls at the first opportunity at Skeldergate access tower




York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
The York City Walls are a good way to get somewhere and avoid the crowds too!



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
The view from Micklegate Bar



Tip: Come down off the walls again to see the full view of Micklegate Bar



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
Once back up on the city walls - the wall walk now takes us past York Railway station on the left



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
One of the best views on the York City Wall walk as the wall leads you eye all the way to York Minister in the distance. This spot is a very popular spot for photographers wanting that quintessential photo of York - and if you do this walk - get your own photo here :-)



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
This seems to be the busiest part of the wall too



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
Heading back to the York Minister area



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
I'll always try and walk on this section of the walls if ever I'm arriving in York by train



York city walls, walk, map, route, York Minister, distance, guide, tour
Now we are approaching the end of the opportunity to walk along the city walls at North Street Postern before we get to the River Ouse again. You can see Barker Tower to the right and Lendal Tower at the other end of the bridge. Once over the bridge you can go and get a well deserved drink in one of the many coffee shops and pubs/bars - or enter the Museum Gardens near where you started the walk and take a look at the Multangular Tower.



Tip: Take some time out to view the Multangular Tower in the museum gardens - the best example of standing Roman remains in York - which probably date from the early third century.



So there you go - quite a few photos of what to expect on a walk around the historic York City Walls and some of my best views of York. I hope the blog post inspires you to want to take a tour of the York City Walls (its only 2.6 miles and can be done in just over an hour :-) and discover a little more about one of my favourite cities in England. Any questions - just ask!








Post by Stuart Hodgson 
'The Hiking Photographer'


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