York

As Eboracum, York was the northernmost city in the Roman Empire. Inhabited in turn by Saxons, Vikings, and Normans, York acquired an extraordinary amount of historical treasures before falling into relative poverty during the Industrial Revolution, a perfect scenario for preservation.

Having time available between visiting friends in London and Oxford on the prior weekend and a conference in Edinburgh the next, I decided to take a short break to poke around the city. The cathedral ('York Minster') is the dominant and most photogenic feature. Inside are what seems like acres of stained glass, most dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Underneath, the crypt has remains of the prior Norman church and a Roman fortress still lower. York is reminiscent of former ecclesiastical centers I've seen in southern Europe, with an over abundance of old parish churches on every corner, which are nice to spend some quieter time in. The newly-built museum is small but keeps your interest, plus it's set on a beautiful lawn next to a ruined abbey. Very nice. I'd call it well worth a day or two if you're heading north-south on the east coast of Britain.