The front of York Minster is always busy with tourists and groups alike but behind this is the Minster Gardens and it’s hard to believe that these gardens are in the centre of a busy town. It’s quiet and peaceful and a perfect place to look at the cherry blossoms in spring, have a picnic (no ball games, or cycling allowed) or to just sit and admire the grandeur of the Minster. On Tuesday evenings the bell ringers practice in the Minster and sitting in the gardens listening to this is magic.
Castle Howard is set in thousands of acres of beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, and the gardens have just won the Historic House Association/Christie’s Garden of the Year Award.
As you explore, surprise vistas keep unfolding - a wonderful example of architecture and nature in perfect harmony.
Close to the house you’ll find the enchanting 18th century walled rose garden, and a stroll along the grass terraces will bring you to Ray Wood, which is particularly impressive at this time of year with a plethora of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias in bloom. There are lakes and fountains, statues, temples and architectural follies galore, as well as the impressive mausoleum which is still used as the Howard family resting place.
There is even an ornamental vegetable garden, and an adventure trail for families. If you - or your offspring - get inspired, then you can call at the garden centre on your way out.
A lovely park by the river, essentially the grounds of the Yorkshire Museum. If the sun is shining you can't beat grabbing a sandwich or salad (nearby Deli De Clare recommended) and joining the office workers, students, young families, couples and parties of (mainly French) school kids on the manicured lawns. Choose to sit in the shadows of medieval ruins, by a timbered tudor lodge or in the shadow of mature trees.
An awful lot cheaper and more enjoyable than being ripped off in a tourist trap.
Entrances on Museum St and Marygate.
Deli de Clare on Lendal by the Museum St entrance.
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