clifford tower

Forbidden for 340 years!

Clifford Tower now shows parts that were forbidden for 340 years!

Built for Henry III between 1245 and 1272, the Tower had a stunning £5million makeover, which took over 19 years (!).

Clifford Tower

Off-limits for 340 years, now you can see the  unusually luxurious fixtures and fittings, including England’s first flushing loo since Roman times. Rhere’s now a viewing platform at the top affording visitors amazing views of the city.

The transformation of what was York Castle’s 800-year-old keep has been 19 years in the making, with English Heritage’s head properties curator Jeremy Ashbee tasked with the project shortly after he joined the preservation charity in 2003.

‘Nothing beats standing on the spot where history happened,’ states English Heritage’s website, but since a fire that gutted the property in 1684, visitors to Clifford’s Tower have had to make do with a narrow wall walk, accessed by steep steps. In effect, the two-storey tower was an open-air ruin with no floors. As Ashbee admits, it was previously a frustrating visit because so much of the building – including the royal loo – could not be reached.

The new timber viewing platform retains a hole for the elements to enter, and Ashbee is keen to stress that the innovative internal structure, supported by four timber columns, touches the sidewalls of the tower only ‘lightly.’ Visitors climb to the roof — it’s more of a suspended deck, really — via see-through steel walkways.  

Experience stunning views over the ancient city and immerse yourself in centuries of history at one of York’s most iconic sites. Clifford Tower has sat at the heart of the city since the Norman Conquest, and over the years it’s been a royal mint, a medieval stronghold and a garrison in the Civil Wars. Today, a spectacular new roof deck gives unrivalled views over York’s historic skyline, with its medieval buildings and famous Minster. Inside, new walkways and staircases have opened up parts of the tower that have been off-limits for centuries, and immersive soundscapes and stories are bringing the tower’s turbulent history to life like never before.

picture credit English Heritage

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