Situated at the edge of York's city center, and along the northern banks of the Ouse River, is the ten acre Museum Gardens. Given to the city in 1828 by the British Royal Family, with the stipulation that a public gardens be created, it is located on the former grounds of the medieval St. Mary's Abbey (1088). In 1835, the then Princess Victoria visited the gardens during its opening year. Landscape architect Sir John Naysmith designed these beautiful gardens , which include over 4500 plants and trees. In addition to the ruins of the Abbey, this site also includes several historical buildings; e.g. The Multiangular Tower of the old Roman fortress of Eboracum, the ruins of St. Leonard's Hospital, the octagonal shaped Observatory, and the Hospitium, guest house for the monks of the Abbey. Just inside the main gate is a large pink granite boulder, which is not native to York. Geologists believe that this was "deposited" on the grounds from Cumbria by glacial action during the last ice age.. These gardens are amazingly stunning and a good place to wander around, have a picnic, or just relax. Entrance is free, which made it all the more enjoyable.
The main entrance to the Museum Gardens along Museum Street.
As you enter the gardens, on the right are the ruins of St. Leonard's Hospital. Considered to have been the largest hospital in northern England, this complex ran up towards the York Minster.
This undercroft was part of the hospital's infirmary.
Just beyond the hospital is the Multiangular Tower of the old Roman Fortress of Eboracum.
Every Sunday there are free walking tours of the gardens with a knowledgeable guide.
Flowers abound everywhere.
There even is a picturesque story-telling area.
Naysmith used everything at his disposal to dress up the gardens, even old stone coffins.
This walkway on the southern edge of the Abbey ruins could be pictured on a postcard.
Everything in the gardens is presented beautifully.
The Hospitium guest house is used today for weddings and special events.
St. Mary's lodge at the gate on Marygate street was used by the poor to collect alms. Today, it houses the headquarters of the York Museums Trust.
Built in 1832, the Octagonal Observatory is the oldest working observatory in Yorkshire, UK.
The Fern Garden was constructed by using stones from the ruined church Abbey. One unique feature of this garden is the upside-down tree trunk. The gardeners are experimenting with creating new growth in the root system at the top.
Champion trees are those that are the largest of its species. There are at least three such "Champion Trees" in the gardens. This is one off them.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.