Much ado about the Minster

York Minster is one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe and is regularly listed as a top thing to do in York. I’ve visited the Minster numerous times during the time that I have lived here, and I’ve never failed to be impressed by its grandeur. However, up until yesterday I had never been up the Tower and I am so glad it is something that I have now ticked off my bucket list.

Tower trips are affected by the weather throughout the year, and obviously the best time to get a good view is when it is clear. As the time that James and I have left in York is once again drawing to a close, it had to be this weekend or not at all for our tower trip. Luckily, when we woke up yesterday morning there were blue skies so we headed straight to the Minster. To reach the top you need to climb up 275 steps (taking you up 230 feet) of a very narrow staircase. It’ll feel like you’ve had a bit of a work-out by the time you reach the top but the views are worth it!

The York Mystery Plays are also currently being performed within the Minster, so we were lucky enough to see some of the staging and props. Inspired by what we saw, and the fact that I had studied the Mystery Plays during my degree and was keen to see them performed, we bought tickets at the box office there and then for a show in the evening (half price tickets if booked on the same day!). We were lucky to get some great seats which were very central for a reasonable price, and were pleased to find that we were allowed to bring in snacks and soft drinks too.

The show was excellent and we were very pleased that we had made the effort to go. The staging was spectacular and the show was very cleverly directed. The highlight of the entire show had to be the Noah’s Ark scene where the animals were very cleverly brought to life. However, there were select moments throughout the show which were very memorable. One of these was when the last supper was depicted by a freeze frame of Da Vinci’s famous painting The Last Supper. Another was an astute commentary on the modern world, where the cast were too busy on their phones to pay attention to the word of God. The performance was also peppered with humour, from the Dodos that quite literally missed the boat (in the Noah’s Ark scene), to the regular cheery “‘Ey up!” mixing in with the middle english script.

There is only a very limited time left for the show (it finishes on Thursday 30 June), but if you are in the area and yet to see it then I would urge you to go! If not, when in York the Minster is still worth a visit…

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