A Rail Journey Through Yorkshire
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York is a culturally rich city founded by the Romans and has one of the longest and best-preserved town walls in England, at just over two miles. The ancient wall encircles the city and affords visitors excellent views along its walkable ramparts. York's Roman wall is just the beginning of the area's fascinating history that chronicles the Vikings and Normans as well. Located within the city, you'll find numerous preserved ruins, the splendid Minster Cathedral, as well as medieval buildings and famous pedestrian street, the Shambles. However, there is an abundance of attractions, museums, gardens, and activities in York, in addition to the interesting history.
The best place to start exploring York (a very walkable city) is in Old Town, located in the city center. The winding lanes, alleys and cobblestone streets with old-world buildings are partially to fully pedestrianized.
York is also popular for its fantastic museums; with a recorded history that stretches back to the Romans, it is no surprise. Start your museum visit with the York National Railway Museum that is fascinating for the entire family. With over 40,000 artifacts, housed in an enormous set of train buildings, you could spend days just looking through the collections. From train objects to silver and porcelain ware that were used on the trains, to public and royal carriages, the museum is a fun place to explore. The trains, located in the newly renovated Station Hall, provide an intriguing look into the past with Queen Victoria's elaborate carriage and a view into train travel when it was the main mode of transportation other than sailing ships.
After your visit in York, hop on the train at York Station for a 17-minute rail journey to the Yorkshire Dales and one of the most beautiful luxury Castles in England, Swinton Park, located in Masham. This exquisite castle's origins began in 1695 and combine both Regency and Victorian Gothic style architecture. The entire estate is over 20,000 acres that includes the moors, with about 200 acres of landscaped parkland on the immediate grounds surrounding the castle. In addition to the gorgeous rooms and suites, Swinton Park offers archery, hunting, fishing, biking, hiking, pony trekking, a tremendous spa and their amazing Meet and Greet the Birds of Prey with the estate's falconer. Guests of Swinton Park are able to sign up for an array of thrilling activities with the aviary's owls, hawks and falcons, from flying demonstrations to hunting with the birds and even wearing a falconer's glove and feeding these enchanting birds of prey!
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Patrice Raplee is an accomplished travel photojournalist and editor of Travel Excursion and Seattle Spotlight for Positively Entertainment magazine. In addition, she writes a monthly travel column for the award-wining site Offbeat Travel and is a regular correspondent for award-winning travel radio shows. She is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and the Recording Academy. Her articles and photographs have appeared in national magazines and newspapers such as Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine, Beyond and the Seattle Times. Patrice travels the globe to cover destinations that feature fascinating culture, art, culinary, history and soft adventure.