We took the opportunity while it was available to have a day out in York ticking a couple of things off The List which, we would not be able to do with a small child. To be fair, we probably could, but stress levels would be so high it would be untrue!
We arrived in York via the Park and Ride and took a quick walk to the Museum Gardens. This was to be the beginning of our walk round the walls. There is no actual start point of the walls since they circle the city. The "City Walls Trail" follows the path of the walls, with much of the trail being on the walls themselves.
The Friends of York Walls website provides lots of information on the trail, history, events and detail about each section of the walls.
I won't start re-writing all the information we found on the trip, or the detailed info on the above website, but I have to say I was rather impressed (geek!) that there were QR codes on each information point!
The route did take around 2 hours as all the information suggests, but we did take a stop-off at Clifford's Tower. Some of the walls were a bit scary. For me anyway. And just showed that I would not have been able to cope with steering a 3-year-old round there too. Some of the walls were a little too high from the ground to have no barriers, and too narrow when people were coming the other way! Even typing about it now makes me feel a bit uneasy.
The route was marked out with little brass circles, which was very handy for the areas where there were no walls, particularly between Monk Bar and Walmgate Bar.
Along the walls there are several points which offer views of the Minster, and I seem to remember hearing that there are planning laws within the city that prevents high rise developments from overshadowing the spectacle that is the Minster - don't quote me on that - I may have dreamed it, but it seems that you can see the Minster from all over York.
We passed over/around/through the four main bars, or gatehouses. I learned that there is another that I hadn't really known about before: Fishergate bar. And I also found out what a barbican actually is, and it is not a concert or snooker venue!
I went to school in York, so York is familiar to me, but even then there were a couple of areas where the walls were which I was not familiar with. This just strengthens the whole idea behind a few of the things on The List. How often is it that we take the time to notice the history and points of interest in our own locality? I was lucky to go to school in somewhere like York which has all the history right in front of your eyes, but how many times do we walk past something like a brass circle on the floor, or a blue plaque telling us the historical importance of a building somewhere in our neighbourhood or near our workplace? Perhaps we actually do take the time to notice and take part in local cultural or celebratory events, but we should really take more time to act like a tourist in our own towns, and to see the history and importance of places we take for granted.