Clifford’s Tower – York

Clifford’s Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in York, but what is it actually like inside? With our English Heritage membership, we have been a couple of times and it only felt right to write about it!!

What is at Clifford’s Tower?

The facilities are quite sparse at Clifford’s Tower. After all, it is a about a thousand years old and they didn’t really think about baby changing facilities in those days!!

Family day out at Clifford's Tower
Family day out at Clifford’s Tower

In the basic form, Clifford’s Tower involves climbing up 2 or 3 stories of stairs to see the view of the city of York. It is true that there isn’t much else “to do” and it will probably take 30 minutes or so to look round, so what is the appeal….??

The views

The main reason to go to Clifford’s Tower is to see across the city of York and beyond. On a good day, the views are amazing and the maps handily indicate what you are looking at!!

You are quite high up, so whilst the views are impressive, they are not for those scared of heights!! Rather than me describe the scenes, here are a few pictures which will hopefully do it justice.

What is there for children?

Hopefully the views will take their breath away, but failing that, on the ground floor, there are a few bits and pieces for them.

The best for us was the dress up box with wooden swords and Knights dress-up. As you can see we had good fun “pretend” fighting (There were a few real hits, particularly on my hands!!)

CHARGE!!

There are a few information boards to help educate both young and old.  However, if you have a choice of reading about the history of York, and play fighting, what would you do?! Perhaps the education would be best left for the adults!!

Play fighting

Accessibility

As mentioned previously, Clifford’s Tower isn’t particularly accessible.  You have to be good with heights and climbing tight, winding stairs. There aren’t any toilets and whilst pushchairs are allowed, I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you have a baby carrier/sling.

Clifford's Tower from above

Younger children will struggle with Clifford’s Tower, so it might be something to do when they are school aged.

Whilst in York…

Around 200 yards away from Clifford’s Tower is Fairfax House – a Victorian House mock-up, which is brilliant for inquisitive youngsters. You can read about our previous visit here, in this blog post

Clifford's Tower shield

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Fairfax House, York

We were invited to visit the Georgian Fairfax House nestled in York City Centre, and most importantly, we had a wonderful time exploring a hidden gem in the city.

Essentially Fairfax House is a Georgian House that time forgot. It has been lovingly maintained and preserved by the staff and group of volunteers that help run the house.

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Inside, your self-guided tour takes you through the various rooms of the house to see how the Georgians of a certain “class” lived at that time. There are helpful information notes throughout the house to help you learn more about the house and the time.

However, the star of the show was the children’s guidebook which followed the path of the house mouse, Gregory. The trail throughout the house helps point out particular things of interest to children and ask them questions/activities. This comes as part of the child’s admission and importantly, does help children be enthused about the venue. (Adults without children would also find it useful!)

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Gregory the mouse (on the right!)

The attraction is essentially a piece of history, therefore there is very little that the children can touch, therefore, it might not be suitable for children of a certain age. Also, as the house is from the Georgian times, pushchairs have to be left at Reception.

Besides Gregory, the house mouse, the other star of the show were the volunteers/staff who were based in each room. They were really enthusiastic about the house, therefore were willing to spend a lot of time talking to everyone (both young and old) about the house and the particular nuances of the house. This will also help the littler ones  maintain interest and learn as they go round.

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There are loads of Christmas events going on in the house, importantly including mince pies and story telling, which can be found here: http://www.fairfaxhouse.co.uk/whats-on/

All in all, we spent about an hour at Fairfax House. As it is situated in the city centre, it means you could make a day of it and couple it up with a visit to Jorvik. Jorvik is about 100 yards away, or a trip to the Barbican Theatre is 5 minutes walk away.

As at December 2017, the ticket prices are:

Adult: £7.50

Concession: £6.00 (applies to over 60s and students)

Children: £3.00 (over 6 and under 16) and include the Townhouse Mouse Trail or Townhouse Mouse Quest.

Family ticket: £17.50 (2 adults and up to 3 children)

Importantly, you can visit as many times as you like in a 12 month period – bargain!!! (Taken from http://www.fairfaxhouse.co.uk)

Importantly, photos are not allowed in Fairfax House, therefore, they have kindly allowed me permission to use some of theirs for this post.


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