Clifford’s Tower

See the pretty city of York from above and discover dark secrets at this 13th-century tower on a scenic hilltop.

Clifford’s Tower is a historic landmark that stands on top of a grassy  hill. Its elevated position provides stunning views of the charming city of York for miles in every direction. The tower is a remnant of the castle built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century and earned a reputation for a dark history after 150 Jews died here.

Capture photos of the imposing tower from the base of the grassy knoll and climb the steep steps to reach the castle. The current tower was built in the 13th century after two earlier versions burned down. The tower takes its name from Roger de Clifford, who was hanged from its walls after committing treachery against King Edward II.  

Read the plaques on display to learn about its intriguing past. Henry VIII displayed the bodies of his slain enemies on the castle walls and a bloody anti-Semitic riot occurred here in the 12th century.

Inside the tower, there is a spacious courtyard with arched doors carved into the surrounding walls. See a tactile model, which shows how the tower would have appeared many centuries ago. Occasionally, the tower hosts educational performances that explore York’s history through re-enacted events and storytelling. Check the Clifford’s Tower website for more details. 

See the castle in spring, when daffodils are in bloom on the hillside, or in winter to see locals sledding down the slope. 

The site is open to visitors daily, apart from a few days over the Christmas season. The small admission price is discounted for kids and families. Visit the gift shop for souvenirs and memorabilia.

Clifford’s Tower is located to the east of the River Ouse in the center of York. It is near to the Viking Centre, York Castle Museum and a downtown area full of boutique stores. A parking lot is located at the bottom of the hill.

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