Fodor's Expert Review York Minster

York Religious Building/Site/Shrine Fodor's Choice

The focal point of the city, this vast cathedral is the largest Gothic building north of the Alps and attracts almost as many visitors as London's Westminster Abbey. Inside, the effect created by its soaring pillars and lofty vaulted ceilings is almost overpowering. Come with binoculars if you wish to study the loftier of the 128 dazzling stained-glass windows. While mere statistics can't convey the scale of the building, the central towers are 200 feet high, and the Minster itself is 519 feet long, 249 feet across its transepts, and 90 feet from floor to roof. Especially notable contributions to the spacious, uplifting splendor is the ornamentation of the 14th-century nave: the east window, one of the greatest pieces of medieval glazing in the world; the north transept's Five Sisters windows, five tall lancets of gray-tinged 13th-century glass; the enormous choir screen depicting stylized images of every king of England from William the Conqueror to Henry VI; and the masterful tracery... READ MORE

The focal point of the city, this vast cathedral is the largest Gothic building north of the Alps and attracts almost as many visitors as London's Westminster Abbey. Inside, the effect created by its soaring pillars and lofty vaulted ceilings is almost overpowering. Come with binoculars if you wish to study the loftier of the 128 dazzling stained-glass windows. While mere statistics can't convey the scale of the building, the central towers are 200 feet high, and the Minster itself is 519 feet long, 249 feet across its transepts, and 90 feet from floor to roof. Especially notable contributions to the spacious, uplifting splendor is the ornamentation of the 14th-century nave: the east window, one of the greatest pieces of medieval glazing in the world; the north transept's Five Sisters windows, five tall lancets of gray-tinged 13th-century glass; the enormous choir screen depicting stylized images of every king of England from William the Conqueror to Henry VI; and the masterful tracery of the Rose Window, with elements commemorating the marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York in 1486, which ended the Wars of the Roses and began the Tudor dynasty. Don't miss the exquisite 13th-century Chapter House, with its superb medieval ribbed wooden roof and fine traceried stained-glass windows; the Treasury; the Crypt; and the interactive Revealing York Minster exhibition in the undercroft, which displays Roman plasterwork, the Norman foundation, stained glass, and the 10th-century Horn of Ulf, carved from an elephant tusk and donated by a Viking nobleman. After exploring the cathedral at ground level, climb the 275 winding steps to the roof of the great Central Tower, where close-up views of the cathedral's detailed carvings mingle with panoramic ones of the city. Allow 45 minutes for the Tower tour, which is by timed admission only. Don't miss the newly restored great east window, the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the country, with 311 stained-glass panels dating back to the 15th century. To experience the cathedral at its most atmospheric, attend one of the evensong services with organ and choir.

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Religious Building/Site/Shrine Building/Architectural Site Historical Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

Minster Yard
York, York  YO1 7HH, England

01904-557200

www.yorkminster.org

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Minster £10, Minster and Tower £15

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