York has, since Roman times, been defended by walls of one form or another. Substantial portions of the walls remain, and York has more miles of intact wall than any other city in England. The walls are generally 13 feet (4m) high and 6 feet (1.8m) wide. Before going up onto the walls I was invited to the City Walls Experience, formerly known as the Henry VII Experience, located in the southern gatehouse at Mickelgate Bar which was about five minutes’ walk from my Hotel, The Principal. Historically the main entrance to the city for anyone arriving from the south, at least six reigning monarchs are known to have passed through this gate, so I was in very exclusive company! A restoration of the Bar was completed in late 2017 and the City Walls Experience opened this year in 2022!

Created by the excellent team behind the award-winning JORVIK Viking Centre, I explored all three floors of this important gatehouse and discovered a great deal about how York came to be a walled city and how the famous walls have evolved and changed since the first embankments were built by the Romans.

The top floor featured a central map with displays highlighting the features from different periods in history that are still visible today, as well as those that have been lost to time. From Royalty to soldiers and even a policeman lived here, some very good video presentations brought their stories to life. If visiting the beautiful City of York make sure you visit the City Walls Experience at Micklegate Bar, you will not regret it! Then start walking and enjoy some wonderful views of York from above!