“The history of York is the history of England” so said George VI and it really is. With so many eras to explore in this historical city we cannot see everything in a day, so with this tour for families we are just focusing on the Romans and the Vikings.
The Romans came to York in 71AD when the 9th Legion took York and built a Roman fortress on the site where the Minster is today. What started as a wooden fort gradually became a stone structure and a civilian settlement set up around it across the river.
We can go and see parts of this fort in the Undercroft of the Minster, and in the piazza we can see a Roman column from the Minster excavations and meet Emperor Constantine.
We can visit the Multiangular roman tower and see parts of the original Roman city walls – and even visit a recently discovered Roman Baths!
Then leaping forward to 866 – we can encounter The Vikings. No trip to York is complete without a trip to the Jorvik Viking Centre – its welcomed over 17 million visitors since opening in 1984.
When excavating the site for a shopping centre, a 9 metre layer of peat was found which had perfectly preserved the Viking era – not just bones but clothing and tools. In all over 40,000 objects were found making it one of the most important archaeological finds ever in the UK.
Many of the items can be seen in the Museum and there is a ride, which takes you back in time to the sites, sounds and smells of the Vikings. Their reputation as ferocious warriors is explored and we can see how they settled in York making it their trading capital and capital in England.
There is so much to learn and a few suprises too!