Being a Tourist at Home – York Minster

Today I became a tourist in my own city and visited York Minster for the first time.

It’s funny isn’t it, you can spend years around some of the most beautiful sights and never appreciate them. I always see these images of York’s most popular tourist attractions and think well, I see them every day.

I started my day by doing some shopping in town and met a friend for coffee. I decided to bring my camera with me and see if I could get some nice images of York for Instagram and for future blog posts. We had a little wander around the York Minster area and had a peek into the Treasurer’s House Gardens as it was such a beautiful day.

The Treasures House – Gardens

We decided to then have a drink at the Vanilla Cafe which has the most perfect view of the Minster. I then had a little bit of an epiphany and thought I have never been in York Minster. How is that even possible?

The View from the Vanilla Cafe

York get’s just under 7 million visitors every year. Many of those people will have been inside the Minster and even seen the view from the top of the Tower. I have lived in York for 23 years and have never done this myself. So, I decided to be a bit spontaneous and be a tourist for the day.

I entered York Minster and paid around £15.00 for the entry which includes £5.00 for the Tower tour. They only will send groups of people up the Tower so they can monitor the numbers and the next tour was at 13:15pm so I decided to have a little wander around the interior.

York Minster Interior

York Minster is absolutely beautiful, hands down one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have been in. There is so much hard work going into the refurbishment of York Minster.

Last year the incredible East Window finished it’s refurbishment after 10 years with work happening on the windows and the stone work.

York Minster East Window

They are currently now raising funds for the £2m refurbishment project of the organ pipes. 30 of the pipes being restored are beyond repair and to raise funds they will be auctioning off these pipes, giving the public a once in a generation opportunity to own a piece of history. The auction is currently open and will end on the 27th September – to find out more information head over to this link:

You can follow the journey of the Organ Refurbishment set to be completed in late 2020 on social media with the hashtag #ORGAN100

The Undercroft Museum

I decided to have a little look through the Undercroft Museum which shows how York Minster came to be what it is today. You could spend around 45 minutes walking through the exhibit.

I discovered that the Minster is built on a Roman Fortress as Constantine the Great who was declared to be Emperor in York (or Eboracum as it was known). Several fires and reconstructive work have now made it one of the largest medieval churches in Northern Europe.

The Chapter House

I had some time to wander around before the Tower Tour so I had a really good look around the Minster. I walked through the Central Tower and the North Transept into The Chapter House. I was truly blown away, this stunning room is where the day to business of the Minster occurred.

The Chapter House Windows

I loved how the windows all as if with some kind of optical illusion automatically made your eyes drift upwards to the stunning roof. The paintwork is beyond my imagination and the sheer intricacy of it makes me truly regret not experiencing this sooner. It was so relaxing in there and I could have sat and gazed at the incredible craftsmanship all day.

The Chapter House roof

The Tower Tour

Now before I bought the ticket for the Tower Tour, they did make me read a health and safety warning that there are 275 steps which are fairly narrow and steep. I am not great with heights but I did the Astronomical Tower in Prague and the The Petřín Lookout Tower and the view was 100% worth it. Plus visiting the Tower was one of the other reasons why I wanted to go in the Minster so I could experience the view from the top.

You start by going up around 100 steps to begin with and then you have a walkway which gives you a glimpse into the view you are about to experience.

York Minster Walkway view

There was then around a further 170 steps up to the very top. The further you get up those stairs the narrower it gets so if you are claustrophobic it’s not the best idea for you. My wobbly jelly legs managed to get me to the top. On the way up I was speaking to the girl in front of me and she was visiting York just for the day and decided to visit the Minster. I explained how I lived in York and I have never visited the Minster before, and even just saying it out loud made me question why only now am I doing this?

The View from the Tower

When I reached the top I was so proud of myself and I walked around the Tower and stopped at the several viewpoints and it was all completely safe with just little peepholes where you can take your photos through. I really loved how they had a little map in front of the viewpoints which explained what you could see in the distance.

I sat down and took in the view, I let my legs relax and made it down the stairs. I took my time and it definitely felt like a much quicker journey on the way down. I was very hot and slightly tired when I got to the bottom but it was all completely worth it.

I had done it! It was only just before 2pm and I achieved something that I have been meaning to do for years. I will definitely be coming back and now whenever I have people coming to visit me in York I can take them around many of the sights, having actually been there myself.

York Minster – check, now what’s next?

York Minster Interior

Today really got me thinking, now I have visited York Minster what else have I not done? I think my next visit will be Clifford’s Tower, something I actually have tattooed on my leg as a symbol of being born and growing up in York. I remember visiting right the way back in Primary School but I should definitely go back again.

I have also got several trips coming up so I get to utilise my camera so much more. I am heading to Split, Croatia on Thursday, I have also made it a goal of mine to visit more places in the UK. It’s easy to look at planning to go abroad yet there are many brilliant cities that are really not far from York and we are quite lucky to have great rail connections. I will be visiting one of my lovely friends in Liverpool in October and then I will be heading over to Bruges for the Christmas Markets in November.

Many more photos and blogs will be coming up so keep your eyes peeled and make sure you are subscribed so you can get emails as soon as the blogs are posted. You can also follow me over at @bookitblogger on Instagram and Twitter, I have been posting a lot on there lately.

I hope this has inspired you all to become a Tourist where you live too. Is there any places you haven’t been and yet it can be so easy to go?

Let me know in the comments where you are from and your favourite place to visit it might just encourage other to go too!


Thank you for reading,


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