The River Ouse, which flows through the popular North Yorkshire tourist city of York, attracts visitors due to its twists and turns past many of York’s famous and historical sights. The river was named in the Saxon era and the word Ouse has been said to mean clear and flowing water, with the river remaining to be a thriving home to a large variety of fish and birds.
When you sail along the River Ouse, you’ll discover many new sights and facts from history.

St. Peter’s School

St. Peter’s is one of the oldest established schools in the Britain, originally founded in 627 by Archbishop Paulinus. The school has taught a number of famous pupils over the years including James Bond composer, John Barry and the leader of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, Guy Fawkes. On the 5th November the school hosts a firework display, but don’t expect to see a guy on the bonfire as it is deemed bad etiquette to burn an old pupil.

York Minster

The current and prominent York Minster that you see today is the fourth incarnation of the original church.  The first church was built out of wood in 627 before being replaced with two stone structures. The latest and most current church was started in 1220 but took 252 years to be completed. York Minster is the largest Gothic building in Northern Europe by volume and the Great East Window is also home to the largest stained-glass window which is made from two million pieces of stained glass.

Lendal Bridge

Lendal Bridge, completed in 1863, was designed by Thomas Page, the same architect who designed Westminster Bridge. During the bridge’s construction John Leeman lived in a tower to the right of the bridge and would row people across the Ouse for a small fee. When Lendal Bridge opened John was given a handsome redundancy of 15 pounds with a horse and cart – this was a lot of money in Victorian times.

Rowntree’s Park

York has a close connection to the confectionary and sweet maker family Rowntree, who gifted Rowntree’s Park to the city in 1919. Chocolate bar production has and remains an important part of York’s economy. Rowntree were large commercial users of the River Ouse with sailings recorded even as late as 1982 when 15 barges would make their way up from Naburn Lock to York.

Bishopthorpe Palace

The official residence of His Grace the Archbishop of York, the palace was first built more than 750 years ago as a small manor house for Archbishop Walter-de-Gray. The palace has been added to over the years with new additions made in the 16th and 18th centuries. Today, Bishopthorpe Palace contains over 40 rooms and sits in more than 7 acres of land. An impressive sight along the river it is a highlight for many as they sail past.

Clifford’s Tower

As you sail along the River Ouse, tourists will catch a glimpse of Clifford’s Tower, the remnants of York Castle’s keep. Tourists will also see the remains of some of the castle walls which form part of the Castle Museum. The medieval 13th century structure, built in the shape of a four leafed clover is one of only two towers in the world with this design. The only other structure can be seen at Chateau d’Etampes in Northern France.