What a Shambles: a walk around York’s ancient walls and alleys

A grand railway station and one of Europe’s largest cathedrals contrast with tiny medieval lanes on this stroll through the ancient capital of England’s north

There are ways, at least in theory, of stemming the tyranny of the motor car in the old cities of England, such as restricted zones and pedestrian precincts – and then there is York. The survival of this extraordinary place, dominated by the great Minster, is a secular miracle, a vindication of No Surrender by the generations safeguarding the old heart of the town and its Shambolic antigrid of lanes and passages.

If you are even faintly familiar with York, you will know that that adjective has a capital S on account of the Shambles, the long medieval lane barely wider than its pavements and overhung with upper storeys.

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