York's magnificent city walls

2–3 hours

3 miles


About the game

Ever since Roman times, York has been defended by magnificent city walls and you’re going to see the best of them!

Starting at the ancient Bootham Bar entrance, you’ll climb the walls for magnificent views of York Minster. The route takes in the best parts of the walls standing today to give you a whole new perspective of this wonderful city.

On this adventure, even York experts will uncover something they’ve never seen before!

What you’ll do

You’ll be led around the city by Captain Bess, a snarky pirate who’s testing out new recruits to join her ship!

Bess will send a series of maps, clues and directions. You follow the map and solve the clue by searching your surroundings. When you get the right answer, you’ll move on to the next place.

Don’t worry, if you get stuck you can ask for a hint and Bess’ll get you on your way!

What you’ll see

Along the way you’ll see lots of sights and Bess will tell you some fun facts about some of them. It’s a perfect way of discovering things you might want to come back to.

  • Bootham Bar and Monk Bar - two ancient and ornate city gates, originally part of the Roman fortress.
  • York Minster - one of the world's most magnificent cathedrals, viewed from the walls it's absolutely spectacular.
  • The Shambles - a medieval street with timber-framed buildings so close together you could pass things across!.
  • Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate - one of the smallest streets in York!
  • Fairfax House - a splendid 18th century townhouse containing a magnificent collection of Georgian furniture and clocks!
  • Clifford's Tower - the largest remaining part of York Castle, built by William the Conqueror.
  • River Ouse - a tranquil river flowing through the centre of the city, you'll get some great views from the bridges.
  • Baile Hill - the second defensive castle that William built, few visitors to York know it exists!

What else you should know

  • Take your time—it’s more enjoyable to see everything at your own pace. There's a scheduled break around half-way, but you can take your own breaks if you prefer.
  • Aim to finish before sunset—it's near impossible to find clues in the dark! Check the sunset time
  • You can play in 2 parts—if it suits your plans, you can pause the game and come back after lunch or even the next day.
  • Bess will be scoring you! Your score is the number of clues you got right first time, without a hint. The score is only for your satisfaction, so don’t struggle needlessly!

How the game works

The game works a bit like a WhatsApp group, but on a web page instead. You don’t need to download anything and it doesn’t need any permissions.

Before you’re due to start, we’ll send you a link to the game. Open the link to join the game and share it with your team so they can join too.

Once you’re ready, Captain Bess will tell you what to do next.

What to bring

  • Smartphones with mobile data and full batteries. (It’s OK to share, but it works better if everyone has their own phone.)
  • Shoes for walking 3 miles.
  • Waterproofs in case of bad weather.
  • Wit, cunning and an adventurous spirit!


We've designed the game to be step-free around the whole route. The recommended pubs at half-way and at the end of the game have step-free front access and an accessible toilet.

Here's more information about the accessibility of the game

We are currently looking for wheelchair users to play-test the game before we call it "wheelchair friendly".

If you'd like to test the game, please get in touch!