York can certainly be a captivating choice when searching for weekend breaks in England and while you may want to visit famous attractions such as York Minster and the JORVIK Viking Centre, there are also several less well-known gems in the city that should not be missed.
One place that is certainly worth a visit is the Quilt Museum and Gallery. The first museum in the country to be dedicated to quilt-making and textile arts, the cultural institution holds a fascinating collection of items from the 18th century right through to the present day.
Various items of clothing – such as bonnets, dressing gowns and skirts – can be viewed at the museum, as can banners and quilts. It is also home to a silk coverlet made in 1718, the earliest known dated piece of British patchwork.
A mixture of both temporary exhibitions and permanent collections can be found here, with various shows by contemporary craft-makers taking place throughout the year.
The museum, which is located in St Anthony”s Hall, is open all year round from Monday to Saturday, so there should be plenty of opportunity to visit it while on a holiday to York.
Stopping by the Museum of the Royal Dragoon Guards can also make for a fascinating afternoon out.
Located on Tower Street opposite Clifford”s Tower, the museum gives visitors an insight into the history of the Yorkshire-based armed regiment from its inception in 1685 right through to the modern day.
There is also a multimedia area where you can watch a number of short films looking at the regiment”s history, as well as its present work. A wide range of military uniforms are on display, including 17th century jackets, ceremonial cloaks and modern helmets, as are paintings from artist Edward Payne, who served with the Dragoons during the second world war.
You can also stop by the gift shop, which sells various books and other items of regimental memorabilia. Admission for adults is £2, while senior citizens and children pay £1 for entry.
York is well-known for its historic architecture; even the cheap hotels in York can be found in some impressive ancient buildings, however you can get a greater sense of the city”s medieval splendour by visiting Barley Hall. Once used by the Nostell Priory monastery and the former home of lord mayor William Snawsell, the oldest parts of the property date back to about 1360.
While it was obscured by an office block in the latter stages of the 20th century, the development has since been restored to replicate what Snawsell”s home would have looked like in 1483.
The exposed timber frames and high ceilings of Barley Hall can give a real insight into what life was like hundreds of years ago, as the development also features what it is thought to be the only horn window – which is made from flattened pieces of animal bone – in England.
Permanent displays of medieval artefacts and costumes can be viewed, while there are also annual changing exhibitions and one-off events taking place. It is open seven days a week all year round, although visiting hours are reduced in the winter months.
Entrance to the hall costs £4.95 for adults and £3 for children. However, your ticket will be treated as an admission donation that will entitle you to free entry to the attraction for 12 months after you visit, so will be able to go on repeat trips to Barley Hall for free!
To see some more of the city”s archaic architecture, visit Fairfax House. Situated in Castlegate, the Georgian townhouse is said to contain one of the finest collections of English 18th century furniture in the world. A range of exhibitions and events – such as music and comedy shows – are held throughout the year, so there is plenty for you to see.
Entrance is £6 for adults and £5 for concessions; however like Barley Hall your ticket includes free admission for a year.
If you”re in need of a breather, stop by one of the two branches of Betty’s tearooms that are located in the city. Here you can tuck into a range of scones, biscuits and other sweet treats, as well as a cup of tea or coffee, before checking out some of York”s other fantastic attractions!