A walk along the walls is a highlight for many visitors to York. The City Walls have been a feature of York since Roman times, though today’s date mainly from the Middle Ages.
There are three main sections of wall, with interruptions between. This guided walk follows this division.You can walk all three sections in one go (reckon around 2 1/2 hours). If you do only one part, it should perhaps be Section 3 (short, scenic, near the Minster, partly Roman).
You can also walk the stages separately. Each section is described separately here. The walks go in an anti-clockwise direction.
Children will enjoy making a souvenir rubbing of the relief maps and pictures provided as a kids’ activity along the walk. The maps for the Retrace project are metal and set into the walls, usually near stairs. The tourist information office has map, paper and crayons available.
If you are following this itinerary from Section 1, approaching from the city, start by having a look at the nearby Multangular Tower.
Lendal Bridge – Micklegate Bar – Baile Hill
2. Walk on and you pass the Cholera Burial Ground below (on the right), a reminder of an epidemic of 1832. On the left is the former office block of the North Eastern Railway, now converted to a 5 star hotel. On the right is the railway station.As you turn to the left you will also pass York’s original railway station inside the walls, now refurbished as the new home of the city council. York’s nineteenth century railway boom meant that the original station soon had to be moved.
3. Pass over Micklegate Bar with its views up Micklegate. This became the main route out of town to the new Knavesmire racecourse in the eighteenth century. Continue along the walls past Victorian cottages on your left.
4. Turn left along the walls round Baile Hill. This man-made mound was the site of York’s second wooden Norman castle (1069). In medieval times the area was used for sports such as archery
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Fishergate – Walmgate Bar – Red Tower
This section of the walk passes between quiet back gardens and busy roads. It takes around 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes along the road to Section 3.
1. Join the walls at Fishergate (at the end of Piccadilly, opposite Travelodge Hotel) behind the Castle Museum. Walk along them to Fishergate Postern, then descend, before climbing back up again.
2. Walk along to Walmgate Bar. Go down to street level again to cross the street, as the bar is closed. Climb the steps at the other side of the road.
3. The wall stops at the Red Tower, a medieval tower built (unusually) of bricks rather than stone.
If you are going on, you will now need to walk along a stretch of Foss Islands Road beside the river to section 3 of the walk.
Layerthorpe Bridge – Monk Bar – Bootham Bar
This stretch of the walk, behind the Minster takes around 25 minutes.
1. Climb the steps at Layerthorpe (Peasholme Green). The modern car park on the other side of the road is on the site of a medieval Jewish cemetery (Jewbury).
2. Along the walk you will pass a round ice house down outside the walls, (plaque set in path indicates where). This was used to store ice in
3. Descend at Goodramgate and cross the road to find the small doorway with steps up Monk Bar.
4. As you walk on you now have good views of the Minster. This part of the medieval wall follows the route of the original Roman wall. You pass the Minster gardens and the Treasurer’s House.
5. Pause at Robin Hood Tower on the corner.
6. Walk to Bootham Bar, where you can view the raised portcullis. Don’t forget to peep through the wall on the people down High Petergate.
The walk finishes now. The section of walls beyond Bootham Bar were demolished to allow for the widening of the road. Their
route continues behind the library, where a display shows different sections of wall near the Multangular Tower. You can rejoin the walls at the first section near Museum Gardens.