York Minster – 275 steps to the top!
- 12 October 2021 -
Fancy finding muscles you didn’t know existed? Then Coxwold Cottages recommends the 275 step climb to the top of York Minster’s central tower, built between 1407 and 1472. Reach the top and you will be 235 feet (72m) above the ground! The views you will enjoy in every direction are fantastic – you can even see our own local landmark, the famous Kilburn White Horse, some 20 miles away. The climb up the tower at York Minster is also rather special. Mainly up winding spiral staircases, at one stage you emerge onto the roof of the South Transept from where there are wonderful views of the twin towers at the western end of the Minster and the flying buttresses supporting the Nave. Provided you are physically fit and don’t suffer from vertigo or claustrophobia this should be the highlight of any visit to the City of York.
Whilst waiting to climb the tower, it is well worth looking at the fabulous 15th-century choir screen that separates the choir from the crossing and nave. It contains stone statues of English Kings from William the Conqueror to Henry VI and has been skilfully restored with gilded canopies set against a red background. It is worth taking you time to explore the rest of the Minster as well, including the magical West Window, constructed in 1338, and the Great East Window, finished in 1408. Together, the windows in the Minster form the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world.
About York Minster:
The first recorded church on the site was a wooden structure, built in 627. Ten years later this had been replaced by a more substantial stone structure. In 741, the church was destroyed in a fire, the first of many such tragedies right up to the present day. Most recently, in 1984, there was a serious fire in the South Transept, probably as the result of a lightning strike.
The Minster was declared complete and consecrated in 1472 after several centuries of building. Today, York Minster is the second-largest Gothic cathedral of Northern Europe and clearly charts the development of English Gothic architecture from Early English through to the Perpendicular Period.
York Minster was once the site of an important Roman basilica. Indeed, Eboracum (as York was then known) was an important Roman stronghold in Britain and, from 208 until his death in 211, Septimus Severus actually ruled the Roman Empire from York. Outside the front entrance of the Minster is a statue of Emperor Constantine who, in 306 AD, was proclaimed Emperor of the Western Roman Empire in York.
A link to Coxwold:
The tomb of Archbishop Sterne was carved by the famous Grinling Gibbons, with an exhibition at York Minster currently helping to mark the 300th anniversary of Gibbons’ death in 1721. Sterne was Archbishop of York from 1664 to 1683. His great grandson was the famed Laurence Sterne, author of Tristram Shandy, whose Shandy Hall in Coxwold attracts visitors from around the world to this day.
How to reach York Minster from Coxwold:
Drive to Rawcliffe Bar Park & Ride from Coxwold Cottages and then hop on a bus and be dropped off to within 150 yards of York Minster – the whole journey should take no longer than 45 minutes. Advance booking at the Minster is essential currently. Our recommendation is to check the weather forecast the day before and make sure you pick a sunny day so you can enjoy the best views from the top. Afterwards, you can come back to the comforts of our lovely holiday cottage or luxury shepherd’s hut – and relax those muscles!