The earliest church on the site of York Minster was built for the baptism of the Anglo-Saxon king, Edwin of Northumbria. He ordered the wooden church to be rebuilt in stone in the year 627AD. In later centuries after damage to the church and new Norman rulers, the church was improved and enlarged. In the 1200s work began to make huge renovations, and the church pretty much became the York Minster that stands today. Over the next two centuries various additions were made, such as the western towers and a new central tower. By the late 1400s York Minster was complete. Renovations in recent years have unfortunately uncovered no trace of the Minster's Anglo-Saxon and Norman past.
Visitors can climb the central tower to get impressive view of York and surrounding areas, as well as the medieval carvings on the Minster's rooftops. There are 275 steps, so this experience may not be suitable for all visitors. Visitors under the age of 8 are not permitted to climb the tower.
Down in the Undercroft of the building, is archaeological evidence of previous buildings on the site, such as the remains of Constantine's Roman buildings.
The Chapter House is a lavishly decorated room. It contains carvings to the door and walls, and stained glass windows dating from the 13th century.
There is a large gift shop on site, and a tea room is located in a 15th century building behind the Minster. Volunteers provide free guided tours, and large groups can pay for a 'Hidden Minster' tour, which takes visitors to areas of the building that are usually off limits.
Most of the ground floor is accessible with wheelchairs and prams. The tower and undercroft are not suitable however. The Minster has wheelchairs for free loan if requested. Disabled toilets are on site.
York Minster is in York city centre, so is very well serviced by roads, trains and buses. For up to date travel information, guests should contact the Minster direct.
York Minster Visitors Dept,
St Williams College,
4-5 College Street,
Tel: 01904 557216