A Medieval City Behind Walls
If you’re looking for history and legends in the U.K., then York is a perfect destination to start. I teamed up with The Fairytale Traveler’s U.K. correspondent and Midnight Folklore’s, Scott Malthouse to explore its legends and Viking history. I have to say, I fell pretty hard for this storybook city behind medieval walls.
The Fairytale Traveler Experience
We approached York’s Micklegate Bar (bar means gatehouse). I had to chuckle as I watched cars pass through its medieval portal. This gateway to the city, with its towering stature and fairytale-like archways, has stood sentinel for over 800 years. It seemed more fitting for a Knight in shining armorescorting a princess than an Audi escorting a school aged boy. I shouted over to Scott, “If there’s a fairytale capital in England, this has to be it!”
A walk down the cobble stone streets of York sent us through Roman, Viking and Norman rule straight to the Jorvik Viking Center and the York Dungeon. We soon found out that prince charming wasn’t exactly riding his brawny steed through Michlegate. In fact, it was used not only as a gatehouse, but as a pedestal for the heads of traitors and tyrants -not exactly the fairytale I had played out in my head then again, even the storybooks have their bloodshed.
Jorvik Viking Center is situated above the excavated remains of the Viking settlement in York. It houses a collection of archaeological artifacts along with a ride through replication of life during the Viking age in York. This is a fascinating place to start understanding the history of York, and it is entertaining for the whole family.
From the commanding ancient York Minster to the harsh living conditions of the Vikings some 1,500 years ago, the city certainly has its stories to tell, and we were hellbent on uncovering them. So, we headed over to the York Dungeon, a dark and rather foul smelling hole, where history and legends come to life in the most entertaining fashion.
Together, Scott and I had been footing around the tangled cobblestone streets of York for hours. Our curious eyes and wandering feet made for a lovely day. My only regret was that it was time to go.