York today, all day, no driving but lots of miles covered on foot.
4 Major tourists attractions. One of which we passed on, but three that were excellent. Three that rated very highly indeed. So as pure tourists today we had a great day. Especially since two out of the three are no cost visits - York has been impressive.
The museum is on an old RAF air base and it looks just as you would imagine. The coffee shop is even called the Naafi. Naafi is the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute formed in 1929 to run events and shops for service personnel. Today it is a coffee shop.
The airbase has so many aircraft on display. It even manages to have the first ever flying machine, well a replica, hanging in one hanger, because as you all know, flying was invented in Yorkshire. We loved the aviation museum and recommend it highly if you have even a passing interest in military aviation.
This was the first of the free tours of the day and we did enjoy it. The wall runs for 2 miles around the city and you can walk along most of it.
We walked along and climbed down for other attractions during the day but it was our constant. The views are great, the history is fascinating and it is a great way to get a feel for the size and shape of the town. We did the whole wall and loved it.
I should have mentioned that York is really just one huge open air classroom. School groups are everywhere. They all wear a single colour cap to identify the group so we saw many different coloured caps floating around the town all day showing many schools visiting this day.
Yorvik had many vikings talking to groups as we wandered about and I was impressed with the teaching technique of the vikings. There were obviously well trained to deliver to kids. They devoted their presentation to asking the kids leading questions. It was a delight to see such good primary teaching technique on display all the way through the museum. So good was it that I did not even have time to become grumpy about sharing the exhibit with so many school groups.
The high point of the museum is the tour through the viking village. Nothing had prepared us for just how good this is. We were totally surprised and delighted. The effort this museum has gone to, is amazing. If you ever visit York, just do it. Do not hesitate. Pay the dollars, you will not be disappointed. This was our only paid attraction of the day and the price was totally justified.
Did I mention this was free? It is another outstanding exhibition. We wandered for a couple of hours. The effort taken to be so perfect was again amazing and to be a no cost venue is just outstanding.
So across a day and a bit we saw three brilliant museums and took the fantastic walk on the wall. York really turned it on for us.
Let me just make one comment though about visiting York Minster. Last year I wandered in many, many Swiss churches taking photographs at will and enjoying the brilliant craft in their construction. York Minster was to be the first such building this year.
Getting inside cost $20 per person. Just to enter the church. My grumpy side did pop out. They sell this ten pound fee on the grounds that it gives you access to the church and the display under it for a whole year. This says to me that they are not interested in the international tourist who will be in York for a day or so. A year's membership means nothing to me. I just wanted to wander inside this glorious building and take pictures of the stained glass. I would have paid a fee, indeed expected it but I just found ten pounds each over the top for a church. Grumpy old man perhaps, we left.
Even with the two less than perfect experiences, grumpy host and costly church, York has been brilliant. It is small and walkable. This history is fantastic and the effort to get it just right has been wonderful. Congratulations York!