It’s one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals with foundations rooted in the nation’s earliest history, but behind the stunning stained glass and spectacular stone carvings of York Minster, you’ll find quiet corners revealing unexpected stories and human inspiration.
Below the Minster’s floor lies evidence of settlements over the last 2000 years, from the Roman city of Eboracum, to the Viking stronghold of Jorvik, and a 9th century northern centre of power.
Two archaeological excavations during the last 50 years have unearthed layers of history, shedding new light not just on the story of the Minster’s site, but that of the city of York.
In the Undercroft, visitors can see the remains of an original Roman barracks through glass floors beneath the Minster and touch archaeological remains uncovered over the centuries.
Throughout the day, there are opportunities to join free guided tours filled with stories and facts from the Minster’s 800-year history, along with specialist tours exploring the cathedral’s treasure trove of medieval stained glass.
A highlight for many is the chance to climb the Central Tower, the highest point in this historic city. At the top of the 275 steps wait unbeatable panoramic views, coupled with iconic medieval stonework and gothic grotesques – a sight not to be missed!
Kids are encouraged to get hands-on with a range of activities to help them explore the cathedral’s stories and discover fun facts. Little Explorer Backpacks can be borrowed for free and are packed with gadgets and games like a torch and mirror to investigate nooks and crannies, and a magnifying glass to spot hidden details.
The combination of these hidden treasures and vast spaces alive with the sanctity of worship makes a visit to York Minster truly spectacular.