Standing at the very centre of the city, and certainly not hard to miss, is York Minster – York’s cathedral and most famous landmark. It may not be off the beaten track, but its gothic architecture, serene atmosphere and intriguing history (there’s been at least three different versions of the building on this site, and it’s where England’s first female bishop was consecrated) are, in our opinion, not to be missed. If you’re feeling energetic, you can climb the 275 steps to the top of its central tower for far-reaching views over the city.
York Art Gallery
Just along the road from York Minster is the city’s art gallery. Not only is the 19th-century, Italian-style building home to pieces ranging from the 1300s to the modern day, but it’s also where you’ll find the Centre of Ceramic Art – a large collection of British studio pottery.
This Baroque house outside the city – built after its creator, John Bourchier, came back from his grand tour of Europe in the early 1700s – is now filled with paintings on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. Contemporary depictions hang alongside 18th century portraits, with a theme of influential figures on British history and culture. Around the house, there are eight acres of gardens to wander through, including a walled garden with over 50 varieties of fruit trees and an impressive display of bulbs in spring.
A 15-minute drive from our store will bring you to Castle Howard, the ancestral home of the Howard family that took over 100 years to complete. As a result, it’s a bit of a mix of architectural styles, from the Arts & Crafts chapel to the Baroque façade (designed by a man, John Vanbrugh, with absolutely no experience of building houses). The interiors are certainly to be awed at, but it’s the surrounding park and formal gardens we love most, with temples nestled amongst the woodland and sweeping views back to the house.