Ragnar the Viking launches York Selfie Trail
Ragnar the Viking launches the UK’s first Selfie Trail
Visitors offered ten of York’s most iconic Selfie locations
with new online interactive map
Find the pavement footprints to get the best iconic shots of York
Get your best smile and selfie-stick at the ready and follow the footprints around York to complete the brand new York Selfie Trail. Make It York has picked out the most iconic photo-spots in the city so you can take ten sensational selfies to make your Instagram followers swoon.
Ten of the most iconic photo locations in York have been chosen to be part of this brand new York Selfie Trail, leading visitors around the historic city of York. And Ragnar the Viking was the first to take part in the Selfie Trail this week and has created his own Instagram collage @visityork. You can get a right royal selfie in front of Queen Victoria’s Gladstone carriage at the National Railway Museum, cosy up to Constantine for a group shot by York Minster or wear Clifford’s Tower like a crown from the corner of Tower Street.
2,000 copies of the Selfie Trail will be in stock in the Visit York Information Centre at 1 Museum Street and at York Railway station - and offered to Selfie takers when they arrive into York, with a free customised Selfie stick going to the first one hundred visitors to take part – just bring your smart phone to the Visit York Information Centre and show your selfie to one of the team. The selfie trail promises to help visitors find the best angles and guarantees a great photo in every spot.
The word ‘Selfie’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013 and even then research showed the frequency of use of the word selfie had increased by 17,000% within just one year. The word gained momentum throughout the English-speaking world in 2013 as it evolved from a social media buzzword to mainstream shorthand for a self-portrait photograph. Now tourism brand Visit York is capitalising on the popularity of taking a selfie (and sharing it online) to encourage visitors to explore the city’s most iconic viewpoints.
Kate McMullen, Head of Tourism, Make It York, said, ‘Visitors often ask us which are the best and most iconic places to take photos and millions of visitors take and, crucially for us, share selfies every year. We hope visitors will be inspired by Ragnar the Viking and his collection of selfies, to make their own York selfie collage on Instagram and share their collections with us.’
Paul Whiting, Marketing Manager, Jorvik Viking Centre said, ‘The Vikings were not as hairy and dirty as is commonly imagined and they were actually quite vain. They were keen on looking after their appearance and if the selfie had been invented in 975, they would probably have enjoyed sprucing themselves up for a York selfie – bringing out their inner Norse-issist!’
Visitors can also use a new online map, where you can click on the different locations to find out more, or pick up a postcard map from the Visitor Centre. Post your best #yorkselfie online and be sure to tag @visityork and #yorkselfie on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to be in with a chance to win a selfie stick.
The ten selfie locations are:
Ouse Bridge: For the best views of the River Ouse
Clifford’s Tower: Wear Clifford’s Tower like a crown from the corner of Tower Street
King’s Court: Face King’s Court for the optimal view of the Shambles
Shambles Market: In front of the flower stall, frame yourself with the striking Shambles Market sign
York Minster: Cosy up to Constantine for a group selfie by York Minster
York Art Gallery: Stand by the William Etty statue for a perfectly framed shot
St Mary’s Abbey: Capture yourself with the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey
City Walls – Stand on the walls opposite the Grand Hotel for a cracking shot of Lendal Bridge, York Minster and the city
National Railway Museum: Take a right royal selfie in front of Gladstone, the iconic loco that hauled Queen Victoria’s carriages
So what are you waiting for? Grab your phone, get camera-ready and keep your eyes peeled for the York Selfie Trail footprints (find the pavement footprints to get the very best photo) around the city from this weekend. The #YorkSelfie adventure launches this week!
Vikings are perhaps to this day known for pillaging and plundering leaving destruction in their wake. But according to Jorvik Viking Centre in York they were probably more interested in grooming, fashion and poetry, with over 200 combs and comb fragments found during the 1970’s Coppergate dig in York alone! Folklore also suggests Vikings had ear-cleaning spoons, nail scissors and bronze sticks for cleaning under their nails! And the York Archaeological Trust explains they had a significant cultural impact on Britain. Far from being obsessed with fighting and drinking, the Vikings who settled in the UK were a largely-peaceful race who were even criticised for being too hygienic. They did not, in fact, wear horned or winged helmets. And they appear to have been a vain race who were concerned about their appearance, so much so that the Anglo-Saxon women were known to prefer the cleaner Viking men over the more scruffy and dirty local men.
THINGS YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT THE 10 SELFIE LOCATIONS:
York Railway Station: York’s entirely curved station was built in 1877. It took three years to construct and is still regarded as one of the finest examples of civil engineering to be built during the Victorian era. When it opened it was the largest station in Europe and the 800 foot train-shed roof, held 42 feet above the platforms by iron columns, was widely admired. Did you know: In the first Harry Potter film the bridge that Harry and Hagrid walk over at Kings Cross is actually in York station!
Ouse Bridge: Get the best view of the River Ouse as you take a selfie looking down towards the Old Bonding Warehouse on the riverside. You’ll be able to fit all sorts in your snap – from Kings Staith and the historic Cumberland House, built in 1710, to Queens Staith on the opposite side. This section of river was once the main port for sea-going vessels, and Skeldergate, beyond Queens Staith, was the principle dockside in medieval York. Did you know: The name ‘Ouse’ derives from the Celtic word ‘Usa’, meaning ‘water’ – therefore the ‘River Ouse’ actually means ‘River Water’!
Clifford’s Tower: Clifford's Tower stands as a proud symbol of the power of England's medieval kings. Originally built by William the Conqueror to subdue the rebels of the north, it was twice burned to the ground, before being rebuilt by Henry III in the 13th century. The tower takes its name from one grisly incident in its long history, when Roger de Clifford was executed for treason against Edward II and hanged in chains from the tower walls. With sweeping panoramic views of York and the surrounding countryside, it isn't hard to see why Clifford's Tower played such a crucial role in the control of northern England. Did you know: Throughout its life Clifford’s Tower has been a cattle shed, a Royal Mint and a prison!
Shambles: As mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, Shambles is York’s oldest street. It is also one of the best-preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe. Although none of the original shop-fronts have survived from medieval times, some properties still have exterior wooden shelves, reminders of when cuts of meat were served from the open windows. The street was made narrow by design to keep the meat out of direct sunlight. Today, the beautiful old buildings have been restored and now house cheerful cafés and quirky boutiques. The unique beauty of The Shambles has been recognised and the street was awarded title of the most picturesque street in Britain in the first ever Google Street View Awards in 2010. Did you know: The word Shambles comes from the Anglo Saxon word ‘Shammel’- meaning the shelf from which meat is sold.
Shambles Market Sign: Shambles Market is a historic and vibrant market situated in the heart of the city. One of the North of England's largest open-air markets, it is open seven days a week, all year round. The market has much to offer from beautiful pottery, artisan breads, crafts, handbags and vintage clothing to locally-sourced fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers, deli cheeses, fresh meat and fish from the Yorkshire coast. Did you know: York’s Markets Charters was granted in Saxon 700AD. This meant that a market could be run exclusively in a six mile radius. This charter lasted all the way through Viking and Norman times and is still operational today.
York Minster: The Minster is the largest medieval Gothic cathedral north of the Alps. It is an artistic and architectural achievement and a treasure house of 800 years of stained glass. This is religious architecture on the very grandest of scales. The Minster contains some of the country’s oldest and finest stained glass, has the city’s best views from the Tower and is rich in historical artefacts, dating back to the Roman age. It was probably in this fortress that Constantine was proclaimed Emperor of the Western Roman Empire in 306, before converting to Christianity in 312. It is a wonderful accident of history that the spot where Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, came to power later became one of the greatest cathedrals in Europe! Did you know: Constantine was the first Roman leader to instigate a celebration of the birth of Christ – Christmas!
York Art Gallery: The statue of artist William Etty stands outside York City Art Gallery, facing Bootham Bar which he helped to protect from misguided town planners in the early 19th century. He was born in York in 1787, the son of a baker in Feasegate. Although he spent most of his working life in London he returned to York later in life and bought a house and studio overlooking the River Ouse, close to where he was born. Etty was very active in campaigning to preserve York’s historic buildings. He is buried in St Olave’s churchyard, near the Museum Gardens. Etty is most famous for his repeated use of the female nude in his paintings, which have been seen as quite controversial in the past. Did you know: The Art Gallery is home to the world-leading Centre of Ceramic Art
St Mary’s Abbey: The beautiful botanical Museum Gardens make the perfect setting for a stunning selfie, and with St Mary’s Abbey as your backdrop you’ll be getting likes galore! St Mary’s Abbey was first built in 1088, and was one of the wealthiest and most powerful Benedictine monasteries in England. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1500s, the abbey buildings were converted into a palace for the King when he visited York. The ruins of the abbey still remain, and the nave of the church and cloister are still visible today. Did you know:The walls surrounding St Mary’s Abbey were built in the 1260s and remain the most complete set of abbey walls in the country.
City walls: The penultimate selfie spot on our trail is an opportunity to capture what is arguably one of the most iconic shots of the city. Virtually unchanged for hundreds of years, this view draws the eye down one of the most-used entrances to the city. The city walls in York date back to Roman times, being originally built of earth and wood in 71AD. They were rebuilt in stone in the 3rd & 4th centuries AD. The Anglo-Saxons patched up the roman defences, while the Vikings and Normans replaced them with earthen ramparts. They were rebuilt in stone in the 13th century for defence against the Scots. Did you know: Ancient folklore suggests in medieval times it was it was legal to shoot a Scotsman within the city walls – so long as he was carrying a bow and arrow!
National Railway Museum: The National Railway Museum holds the largest collection of Royal Carriages in the world. Monarchs from Queen Victoria to King Edward VII all travelled in lavish style on the railway, in beautiful carriages known as ‘saloons’. The Gladstone was designed by William Stroudley and built in 1882. It was taken off the rails in 1926, after travelling a total of 1,346,918 miles in its lifetime. Did you know: Queen Victoria’s ‘Palace on Wheels’ is famed for its over-the-top luxury – she didn’t let her trains go faster than 40mph and even had a bath on board marked with a line for her maids to fill the water to so it didn’t spill over the sides in transit!
About Make It York: Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.
York Tourism Facts
• £608 million annual tourism spend
• 6.8 million visitors annually
• 20,300 jobs supported by tourism