listen to a preview track here!
To conduct the self guided tour, a portable media player is provided, which contains audio tracks for :-
- the 26 stopping points on the tour (varying in length between 3 and 10 minutes each)
- an audio guide for the Richard III Museum (Monk Bar) (entry free as part of the tour)
- 5 background tracks for the different ages of York (Roman York, Dark Age & Viking York, Medieval York, The Civil War, The Final Battle), which can be listened to at any point and provide a great basis for learning more about the history of York
- 7 places to stop for refreshments. With over 3 hours and 2 miles of walls to explore this is fantastic value but its worth stopping off a few times along the way! In conjunction with eatyork.com, we have provided 7 venues all at various points along the walk where you can stop off for a rest, and grab a drink or some food. All have a fascinating history of their own, including York's most haunted pub, York's oldest pub and one of the finest restaurants in Yorkshire. Learn more about them on the audio tracks on the player
With over 3 hours worth of audio tracks, the guide is fantastic value for money and offers the best way to learn the incredible history of York, especially as during your tour
you will see a wide range of hidden secrets not usually seen on the standard tourist trails!
In addition to the personal media player, a Map guide is provided in addition to a pair of new in ear headphones, which are included for the customer to keep although you are welcome to use your own headphones if you wish.
An introduction to the tour including where to start, some general information about the walls and how to use the guide.
2. Monk Bar
Built around 1300, just a few yards from the original Monk Bar which stood on a Roman Gateway, this is the most technically advanced gateway into the city,
and today houses the Richard III museum who was responsible for building the top floor. The Museum discusses who Richard was, how he came to the throne and why his reputation as an evil hunchback is in fact total fantasy.
3. Robin Hoods Tower
This stretch of wall dates back the furthest to the original Roman defences which were built here in 71AD when York was founded. It is
here that you will learn of the story of Constantine - Yorks very own Roman Emperor, the man who brought christianity to the empire.
4. Bootham Bar
Standing directly on the site of a Roman Gateway, Bootham bar has seen many bloodthirsty events and it is here that you can see the stones
thought to be the oldest medieval defences still standinging in York - probably built around 1100AD. It is also here that you will learn of the Battle
of Bootham Bar - fought here in 1489 where the future of the English Monarchy was decided on Bootham Bars ability to defend the city.
5. The Kings Manor
Originally the house for the Abbot of St Marys Abbey, The Kings Manor was later used by Henry VIII when on honeymoon with the fifth of his six wives - Catherine Howard. However,
with a 30 year age difference, Catherine soon looked elsewhere for romance and it would end up with her execution just a few months later. Her ghost haunts this place and this and other
tales are told here.
6. St Marys Tower
Forming part of the defences of St Marys Abbey, the Tower is not quite as it appears - on your tour you will see something
a little odd about it, and it is directly connected to a bloody battle which took place here in 1644 during the great siege of York
during the English Civil War.
7. The Abbey Walls
The finest preserved monastic walls in the whole of Great Britain, the walls of the abbey have a number of fascinating tales to tell. Perhaps the most surprising of these
is why they were built in the first place - not to keep out any invading army but actually as a protection against the citizens of York themselves! Find out why on the tour.
8. St Marys Abbey
The haunting ruins of St Marys Abbey, set in the lush surroundings of the museum gardens, is one of the most picturesque places anywhere in York and your guide will be telling you
the fascinating history behing the abbey from the day it was founded in 1086 by Alan Rufus (the richest man in British history!) until the day the monks left in 1539.
9. The Multangular Tower
The best preserved Roman tower anywhere in Great Britain, the multangular tower is a must see for any visitor to York,
and the audio guide provides a wealth of information about how, why and when it was built - one of the most ambitious building projects
in Roman Britain and built for a very surprising reason!
10. The Walls Through Time
A true example of secret York, this is the point in the city where you will see the range of defences - Roman, Dark Age, Viking, Norman and Medieval defences, all in one place.
Furthermore the audio guide will tell you the fascinating story of the Barbarian Tower - which (through recent research conducted for the tour) has recently been re-dated to around 368AD when
the Barbarian Conspiracy hit Britain and the man who commanded at York (who's descendent is probably the true historical basis for King Arthur) had this tower built, and incredible and very visual
demonstration of the death of Roman Rule in England, and the coming of the Dark Ages.
11. The Colonia
Across the river from the military fortress, the civilian Roman settlement grew up here, and indeed the line of the later medieval defences follow that of the Roman ones.
Discover the delights that awaited a Roman Soldier as he left the fortress and spent his hard earned pay here. In addition you will discover how iron chains, plague and the over indulgence of a solitary man
in the Elizabethan age all had an effect on the defences here.
12. The Old Station
in 1839 the railways came to York, and in 1841 the original station was built within the defences, later replaced by the large station which
remains to this day. The archways here were made to accomodate the trains coming in and out of the new station, and when digging out the foundations
and incredible discovery was made which brought the ancient Roman settlement back to life!
13. Toffs Tower
Actually rebuilt after the civil war there has been a tower in this place since Roman times. And it is here that the tale of the emperor Septimius Severus is told, one of two Roman emperors who died in the city
, a tale of bloody murder and betrayal when the whole of the Roman Empire was run from the city of York.
14. Micklegate Bar
Politically, if not necessarily strategically, Micklegate Bar is the most important of the 4 gateways into York, lying as it does on the main road
South to London. All the monarchs of England have travelled through its gates down the ages, and as such it was a natural point to display the grisly heads
of traitors. Later the road here ran with blood following the battle of Marston Moor, the biggest battle of the English Civil War which was fought just a
few miles from here.
15. The Lost Gateway
Victoria Bar was built here towards the end of the 19th century, to provide a new point of access through the walls. However, when builders moved in to #
conduct the work they discovered an ancient gateway beneath, and through looking through the records its past soon came to life..
16. Bitch Daughter Tower
Part of the defences associated with the Archbishops Castle, Bitch Daughter tower has had a range of uses over the past millenium, everything from a prison
to a cow shed!
17. The Old Baille
York is unique in the UK as it is the only place that had not one but 2 castles - one here and one across the river at Cliffords Tower. The reason? Following the
Norman Conquest, York remained the focal point of rebellion in the Kingdom and in 1068 the Norman garrison here was massacred. Discover the background to this and the
terrible events that followed it, resulting in the castle motte you see now being built.
18. The Knights Templar
Made famous in recent years from novels like the Da Vinci Code, The Knights Templar were a powerful set of warrior monks whose influence was felt
strongly in York, where they held major estates near this point. Find out their history, their beliefs and their downfall here.
19. The Castle
Known today as Cliffords Tower, the motte of the castle is the setting to discuss the many events that have taken place here, including the most
shameful incident in Yorks past - the massacre of the Jewish population in 1190. Find out the story behind it, and the many other events that have taken
place at the castle here, including how Cliffords Tower got its name.
20. Fishergate Postern
Built in 1504 this is the starting point for the Walmgate section of the walls, mostly built by Master Thomas de Staunton in 1345 who is your medieval
guide to the walls. Find out why the defences moved out to this area and the fascinating story behind Thomas building the walls here.
21. The Secret Grave
Like King Arthur, Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes, the man buried here is one of the most colourful characters ever to grace British history.
However, unlike them, the man buried here is a real historical person - with an incredible life story to tell, vastly different to that commonly held by those
who know his name well. Find out the tale of adventure, luck, betrayal and murder that led to him being buried here.
22. Fishergate Bar
Blocked up in 1489 following rioting, Fishergate Bar has a fascinating history of its own, and has been used as everything from a gateway to a house of ill repute!
23. Walmgate Bar
The only medieval gateway in Britain to still retain its barbican, portcullis and inner doors, much restored following the civil war but with a strong medieval heritage.
24. Blood on the Red Tower
The only part of the defences built of brick - incredibly this apparently innocent feature was enough to cause murder and bloodshed here in the late 1400s, and the dreadful tale is retold here.
25. The Burial Ground
The biggest Jewish medieval burial ground ever excavated anywhere in the world, this area has a number of highlights including the oldest standing stretch of wall, the story of the lost treasure and
how the walls have been preserved for posterity.
26. The Fortress Complete
Finishing the tour near to the Richard III museum (entry to which is included with the tour) the remains of the roman corner tower here completes your tour.
- £6.99 for adults
- £4.50 for children
- £20 Family Ticket (2 adults + 2 children)
(Please note, in addition a £5 deposit is required for each audio tour, refunded when the personal media player is returned at the end of the tour)