Tourist Attractions Travel UK York

York || Clifford’s Tower

gift shop

Clifford’s Tower looms over one side of York. It dominates my walks to work and most walks that I do around town. (Until I get into town proper and the Minster takes its place as the building supreme.) Another name for Clifford’s Tower is York Castle, though it might not tick all the “castle” boxes in your mind. 

It was originally built by William the Conqueror when York was still a Viking city, before it quickly became the most important city in the North. After its strategic military importance, it has a tragic past as the site of one of the biggest pogroms in the Middle Ages (1190), which gets left out of a lot of official information. In fact, a memorial stone wasn’t laid until the 1970s to commemorate the victims of the massacre. Further down the historical line, during the English Civil War the castle was re-fortified as a Royalist stronghold against the Parliamentary forces. And it remained active until an explosion in 1684 destroyed the interior of Clifford’s Tower.

Now it is an English Heritage property that gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. 

Once you are inside the tower, you can look around the main section (including peering into a massive fireplace), before venturing up the very steep stairs to the upper levels. On the middle floor you can explore the medieval chapel before continuing your climb up the stairs to the top. Once you’re at the top you are treated to 360 degree views of York. 

Even if you aren’t interested in history, Clifford’s Tower is worth exploring just for the incredible views of York alone. 

But visit it whilst you still can. There is an extremely hotly-debated and divisive plan to build more parking and a visitor centre around the Tower. The plans are being contested in court at the moment, but if planning goes ahead Clifford’s Tower could close in October indefinitely. 

Adult tickets into the tower are £5 each. It is located at Tower Street, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 9SA

clifford's tower from the outside
entrance into clifford's tower
gift shop
another side
clifford's tower side
me in a fireplace
stairs more clifford's tower model of clifford's tower
clifford's tower
another view from clifford's tower
view from the tower taking photos
me at the top of the tower
me climbing the stairs

Have you ever explored Clifford’s Tower? 

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  • your photos are beautiful! i love the tones in them, so damn pretty and atmospheric ♥♥

    me and my boyfriend love a good bit of culture, we often visits castles and historic sites in the places we visit…and you can’t really complain for a fiver can ya!?

    katie. xx

    • You really can’t complain for a fiver! I love exploring castles and historic sites. I’ve been toying around with the idea of getting a National trust membership. xx

  • Ray
  • Oh it’s beautiful! Perfectly moody photos to go with it! Alice xxx

  • Looks amazing, you really captured something beautiful there 🙂

  • The North Left Blog

    Are they seriously considering closing it?! I’ve never actually visited Clifford’s Tower before, but it’s just part of the furniture in York isn’t it? I can’t stand when cities decide to place conveniences like parking above lovely historic sites like this 🙁
    However….lovely pictures, as always! x

    • I think the plan would be that the close would only be temporary (then reopen in a year or two once the work had finished) but still…. there’s no need! x

      • The North Left Blog

        OK slight relief then ha!

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  • Ok, once I have properly finished writing this play I’m properly planning my trip to York. So much good stuff going on here.

  • It will be so sad if the tower closes! We went up it when we first got our English heritage memberships, it’s so iconic to York!

    • I think the plan is to only have it close for a year or so whilst the renovations take place, but that still fairly rubbish (especially since a lot of people oppose the plans – it adds a proper visitor centre and a bigger car park, I think. x