With Yorkshire literally dripping with historical significance, visits to cities like York are a crucial part of our roadschooling adventure across Europe. There maybe hundreds (& thousands) of history resources on the web! But we're taking a different approach, bringing history to life by taking them to places like the WW1 battlefields or the iconic Berlin Wall. Trying hard to give our daughters the broadest understanding of European History...
Since the Roman's arrived in York in AD71, the city has been a crucial gateway between the north and south of the British Isles. Christianity was brought to York in the 600's by the Saxons who took over from the Romans until the Vikings settled in 866..... But fast forward to 1066 and the Normans begin their quest to take over the UK, with the 'Harrying of the North' in 1069 with the Black Death (Plague) arriving in 1349.... Before you arrive in the 'War of the Roses' from 1453-1487
So where better to follow yesterday's trip to Viking and Roman life in York, than to learn more about this fantastic medieval period at Barley Hall, Henry VII & Richard III Experiences... All easily accessed by those stunning old city walls or quirky cobbled streets in York...... A true Jorvik (the Viking word for York) Experience!
For anyone visiting like us by car (or motorhome in our case)... You're best to come in via the excellent park'n'ride and stop at Stonebow..... After grabbing a few minutes in the York Shambles (try the fudge if you can...), head up towards Mickelgate and the Henry VII Experience. Perhaps best access by the route on the city wall, it's well worth giving this experience a good hour or so....
Located within the Micklegate Bar, the iconic royal gateway of the city of York, the Henry VII Experience is not the first time we've learnt about the young royal prince. Last week saw us in Pembrokeshire enjoying a 'Quest around Pembroke Castle' the birthplace of Henry VII. But it's fascinating to hear more about the events that led to his rise to the crown of England... especially given his birth to a very young Margaret Beaufort.... A medieval 'powerbroker' if ever there was one!
The easily accessible children's activities offer plenty of things to do and see.... including drawing your vision of the Tudor Rose or trying on armour or clothes from the time... But the useful 'question sheet' also helps you understand his journey from an exiled Lancastrian heir to his eventual clamber to the royal throne and the impact on the city of York as it continued to prosper throughout his reign...
Leaving behind stories of royal visits and gruesome stories about the Micklegate Bar.... If like us you want to hear another side of the War of the Roses, then you'll have to head across York towards the Minister and the north of the city Centre to see the Richard III Experience. Both are well priced for individual visits, but the great value York Pass also includes these amongst a host of great opportunities within and outside of York.
Lasting only 2 years as England's monarch (1483-85), Richard III's short reign was marked by controversy, rebellion and challenges to his throne which led to his death at the Battle of Bosworth aged 33 years of age. Fuelled by anger over his father's untimely death... it was an explosive period in the War of the Roses and a great history lesson....
Just like the Henry VII experience, this fantastic experience is set within another of York's historic gatehouse at Monk Bar... Accessed by some exceptionally small stairs, which create a fantastic atmosphere on the way up... you'll soon be met by a huge knight in full armour!
Perhaps slightly edging the Henry VII experience (although only one storey of the Henry VII experience was open at the time, so we'd imagine both would be great from November onwards)... the Richard III experience explains about Richard III's early life as his brother, Edward IV struggled for the throne of England with Henry VI.
There's plenty of gleaming armour and arms on show from his reign and a useful multimedia presentations about the key battles of the Wars of the Roses plus a tent to view the 'Horrible Histories' interpretation.... not to mention this interesting game above that entertained both girls..
So with a better understanding of the 'War of the Roses' history behind us .... there's also a fantastic Medieval opportunity to be had in York at Barley Hall's reconstructed medieval townhouse. One that is currently home to the costumes from the 'Wolf Hall' BBC drama.
Until the 1980s, Barley Hall was hidden under a series of unassuming shops (including an undertaker!) until the building was going to be destroyed when this amazing medieval building discovered and its history was uncovered...
Accessed through the heart of the city centre, it's a fantastic visual guide to life in the medieval life of York... Packed full of impressive medieval rooms including the Great Hall and its mouthwatering feast... There's also plenty of opportunities to learn too including useful information boards focused on Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell's impact on the dissolution of the monasteries...
But there's also plenty for younger children. Who'll love the medieval dice games, smelling barrels and even another 'Horrible Histories' to watch.... It's interactive, engaging and superbly well laid out and easy to pass a few hours in this excellent reconstruction of medieval lives.
With York's medieval history proving utterly compelling to us, it's provided a great 'Roadschooling Day' and we've barely touched the rest of its more recent history that includes Guy Fawkes (born in York in 1570) or the English Civil War (1644) through to Highwayman Dick Turpin hanged in 1739. With George Hudson bringing the railway in 1839 through to it's bombing by the Luftwaffe in 1942...... Or even the iconic Betty's teashop arriving in the 1920s.. but talking of food, if you're looking for somewhere to eat in York??
If you're looking for somewhere to feed hungry tummies in York, you could make them vey happy if you headed to 'Joe's Kitchen'.... Just imagine a dinner packed full of board games and tasty food...
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