York City Walls, Map of the Bar Walls. I’ll give you a little of the history of the Bar Walls first, and then I shall talk about the best way to walk the walls and where to get on or off.
A Short History of York City Walls
In York the City Walls are known as the Bar Walls. The ‘Bar’ part refers to the four main gateways (also known as Bars) into the city – Bootham Bar, Monk Bar, Walmgate Bar and Micklegate Bar. The original walls were built in AD71 by the Romans, and a small part of those remain today like the Multangular Tower in the Museum Gardens.
You can also see parts of the old Roman walls (according to Wikipedia) “at the north-west and north-east sections between Bootham Bar and Monk Bar, as well as a further stretch between Monk Bar and the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, at the end of which the lower courses of the east corner of the Roman wall can be seen on the city-centre side of the existing wall.” The Bar Walls have subsequently been rebuilt and restored over the millennia since.
Which brings us to today! If you are fancying a walk around the city, we would wholeheartedly recommend walking around the Bar Walls. For a start, it is free. It’s a lovely walk to see some views of York you just don’t otherwise see from the street, particularly of The Minster. The Walls are open every day except Christmas Day and days when it might be icy. They open at 8am and stay open roughly until it is dark (they are not lit).
York City Walls Map
Best Route Walking the York City Walls
I’ve put a map together on Google Maps (click above). The red lines are the walls that are complete and walk-able. The blue lines are the quickest walking route between each of them to make a full circle. The walls are between:
Monk Bar and Bootham Bar – 600m long.
Station Rise and Skeldergate – 1.28km long.
Foss Islands Road and Piccadilly – 820m long.
If you don’t want to walk the complete walls then the stretch I would most recommend is between Monk Bar and Bootham Bar. From here you get magnificent views of The Minster. Both entrances/exits are very much in the centre of town too.
The City Walls are not accessible with a wheelchair or buggy, as you can see from the picture of the steps at Monkgate Bar below. Some of the walls are not fenced in and do have a drop so that’s also something to consider with small children.