Lost in York... where’s the Minster?

Sam Farooq, at her desk at the Visit York Information Centre, with York Minster through the window behind her

Sam Farooq, at her desk at the Visit York Information Centre, with York Minster through the window behind her

Published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

Where’s the Minster? That’s one of the commonest questions asked at York’s tourist information centre – situated almost in the shadow of the towering cathedral, as Mike Laycock reports.

SAM and her colleagues have heard it all. After working for a while at Visit York’s Information Centre, very few questions now faze them.

But even so, the occasional question does cause them to raise a polite eyebrow.

Such as: Is there a train to Canada? Or: Are you in the same time zone as London? And: Do you have an underground?

And then there was the tourist who asked whether they could catch a boat to travel to Leeds.

Sam, a visitor services assistant, says that with visitors coming to York from all over the world, it isn’t surprising they take a while to get their bearings. And there can sometimes be additional problems of interpretation – even with visitors who have only travelled 80 miles or so from the north-east.

Sam says a visitor with a strong North East accent came in one day and asked a colleague: “Can you tell me where the stripper clubs are?”

Her colleague started to explain that York wasn’t a city over-supplied with striptease outfits. It then emerged she was actually looking for the “strip of clubs”.

But the question which most regularly pops up is: Can you tell me the way to the Minster?

All Sam and her colleagues have to do is point out of the window at a huge Gothic building which happens to tower over the other end of Duncombe Place.

Sam stresses that she and her colleagues don’t mind what questions visitors ask – it’s their job to help no matter what they ask.

She says she and the team enjoy ensuring everyone gets the most out of their stay and knows everything there is to see and do in York – and how to get there.

Comments (24)

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11:16am Sat 29 Dec 12

bob the builder says...

I get asked where the train station is regularly when stood on Coney St and Micklegate
I get asked where the train station is regularly when stood on Coney St and Micklegate bob the builder
  • Score: 0

11:30am Sat 29 Dec 12

yorkborn66 says...

Most common questions I get asked are:
Where are the public toilets? (Try explaining and directing foreign tourists to Silver Street is a joke.
Are those the Bar Walls?
Can you tell us where the “Brambles “ are? (Shambles)
Most common questions I get asked are: Where are the public toilets? (Try explaining and directing foreign tourists to Silver Street is a joke. Are those the Bar Walls? Can you tell us where the “Brambles “ are? (Shambles) yorkborn66
  • Score: 0

11:53am Sat 29 Dec 12

pedalling paul says...

Amazing how many visitors don't realise that the P&R buses operate a one way loop in the city centre. I often get asked where they should rejoin the bus to leave the centre. When I tell them it's the same stop that they alighted at, I don't half get some odd looks.............
Amazing how many visitors don't realise that the P&R buses operate a one way loop in the city centre. I often get asked where they should rejoin the bus to leave the centre. When I tell them it's the same stop that they alighted at, I don't half get some odd looks............. pedalling paul
  • Score: 0

12:20pm Sat 29 Dec 12

bob the builder says...

yorkborn66 wrote:
Most common questions I get asked are:
Where are the public toilets? (Try explaining and directing foreign tourists to Silver Street is a joke.
Are those the Bar Walls?
Can you tell us where the “Brambles “ are? (Shambles)
Been asked about loos but since the splash palace went I've no idea where the replacements are so I send 'em to Browns!
[quote][p][bold]yorkborn66[/bold] wrote: Most common questions I get asked are: Where are the public toilets? (Try explaining and directing foreign tourists to Silver Street is a joke. Are those the Bar Walls? Can you tell us where the “Brambles “ are? (Shambles)[/p][/quote]Been asked about loos but since the splash palace went I've no idea where the replacements are so I send 'em to Browns! bob the builder
  • Score: 0

12:43pm Sat 29 Dec 12

bloodaxe says...

bob the builder wrote:
I get asked where the train station is regularly when stood on Coney St and Micklegate
Railway station.
[quote][p][bold]bob the builder[/bold] wrote: I get asked where the train station is regularly when stood on Coney St and Micklegate[/p][/quote]Railway station. bloodaxe
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Sat 29 Dec 12

GILLHANCOX@HOTMAIL.CO.UK says...

When asked where is the Minster,It's behind you.
When asked where is the Minster,It's behind you. GILLHANCOX@HOTMAIL.CO.UK
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Sat 29 Dec 12

GILLHANCOX@HOTMAIL.CO.UK says...

When asked where is Minster,it's behind you.
When asked where is Minster,it's behind you. GILLHANCOX@HOTMAIL.CO.UK
  • Score: 0

1:38pm Sat 29 Dec 12

Buzz Light-year says...

pedalling paul wrote:
Amazing how many visitors don't realise that the P&R buses operate a one way loop in the city centre. I often get asked where they should rejoin the bus to leave the centre. When I tell them it's the same stop that they alighted at, I don't half get some odd looks.............
I'm a resident and I didn't know that.

Mind you I would NEVER get on a First bus.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Amazing how many visitors don't realise that the P&R buses operate a one way loop in the city centre. I often get asked where they should rejoin the bus to leave the centre. When I tell them it's the same stop that they alighted at, I don't half get some odd looks.............[/p][/quote]I'm a resident and I didn't know that. Mind you I would NEVER get on a First bus. Buzz Light-year
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Sat 29 Dec 12

Woody G Mellor says...

Usually Americans ask me directions to the Minister.
Usually Americans ask me directions to the Minister. Woody G Mellor
  • Score: 0

1:55pm Sat 29 Dec 12

was york now rotherham says...

Years ago when i worked in a certain italian resturant in goodramgate (oppersit the cross keys pub) we used to get people comeing in asking where the minster was and we just looked out of the window and then they noticed it, but the best one i ever saw was 2 yanks ask a traffic copper where the nearest catheadral was so he sent them off to Ripon after all it was april 1st and it was a good one
Years ago when i worked in a certain italian resturant in goodramgate (oppersit the cross keys pub) we used to get people comeing in asking where the minster was and we just looked out of the window and then they noticed it, but the best one i ever saw was 2 yanks ask a traffic copper where the nearest catheadral was so he sent them off to Ripon after all it was april 1st and it was a good one was york now rotherham
  • Score: 0

2:06pm Sat 29 Dec 12

Older Sometimes Wiser says...

Can I suggest that you do as I have done for some years,carry one or two spare copies of the latest tourist guide in your pocket or bag. If you see someone apparently in need of help or directions, a simple " can I help you", and an offer to show them where they are on the central map etc, makes all the difference.Give them the guide to confirm that York is a friendly City, and and you too will also feel better for helping.
It could be embarrassing if too many of us did this, but many tourist cities have unofficial resident guides. This can be ideal for retired residents with some time to spare.
The comments on public toilets are all too true. It is ridiculous that this is not seen to be a priority by the City Council and York's Tourist Authority, and ."Find the loo?" should not be the game that identifies York on the UK tourist map!
Can I suggest that you do as I have done for some years,carry one or two spare copies of the latest tourist guide in your pocket or bag. If you see someone apparently in need of help or directions, a simple " can I help you", and an offer to show them where they are on the central map etc, makes all the difference.Give them the guide to confirm that York is a friendly City, and and you too will also feel better for helping. It could be embarrassing if too many of us did this, but many tourist cities have unofficial resident guides. This can be ideal for retired residents with some time to spare. The comments on public toilets are all too true. It is ridiculous that this is not seen to be a priority by the City Council and York's Tourist Authority, and ."Find the loo?" should not be the game that identifies York on the UK tourist map! Older Sometimes Wiser
  • Score: 0

3:00pm Sat 29 Dec 12

Woody G Mellor says...

I'm reminded of an amusing incident I witnessed outside The Guy Fawkes Inn one afternoon.

Two American tourists stood looking at the side of St Michael Le Belfrey church. One said to the other " Gee, is that the Minister?"

Sigh.
I'm reminded of an amusing incident I witnessed outside The Guy Fawkes Inn one afternoon. Two American tourists stood looking at the side of St Michael Le Belfrey church. One said to the other " Gee, is that the Minister?" Sigh. Woody G Mellor
  • Score: 0

3:56pm Sat 29 Dec 12

bolero says...

pedalling paul wrote:
Amazing how many visitors don't realise that the P&R buses operate a one way loop in the city centre. I often get asked where they should rejoin the bus to leave the centre. When I tell them it's the same stop that they alighted at, I don't half get some odd looks.............
Amazing how many Yorkies don't know their own town. Try this on the No.9-Monks Cross. And the lady who was going to the `north-East` for the day asked if Newcastle is bigger than York. Ever been in John Lewis's in Newcastle? York would be lost in the haberdashery dept.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Amazing how many visitors don't realise that the P&R buses operate a one way loop in the city centre. I often get asked where they should rejoin the bus to leave the centre. When I tell them it's the same stop that they alighted at, I don't half get some odd looks.............[/p][/quote]Amazing how many Yorkies don't know their own town. Try this on the No.9-Monks Cross. And the lady who was going to the `north-East` for the day asked if Newcastle is bigger than York. Ever been in John Lewis's in Newcastle? York would be lost in the haberdashery dept. bolero
  • Score: 0

4:01pm Sat 29 Dec 12

StephBlah says...

I used to work in a shop at Minster Gates (the area at the Minster-end of Stonegate) and there were a few times when people would ask where the Minster was. Although, I think these people were usually very stressed out and jet-lagged.
I used to work in a shop at Minster Gates (the area at the Minster-end of Stonegate) and there were a few times when people would ask where the Minster was. Although, I think these people were usually very stressed out and jet-lagged. StephBlah
  • Score: 0

5:35pm Sat 29 Dec 12

Osbaldwick Lad says...

A few years ago I was walking past a bus stop at which a Yellow Line park and ride bus was standing. A number of people came running round the corner. One of them said that the bus was not yellow and they turned round and ran back.
A few years ago I was walking past a bus stop at which a Yellow Line park and ride bus was standing. A number of people came running round the corner. One of them said that the bus was not yellow and they turned round and ran back. Osbaldwick Lad
  • Score: 0

10:48pm Sat 29 Dec 12

TT says...

Older Sometimes Wiser wrote:
Can I suggest that you do as I have done for some years,carry one or two spare copies of the latest tourist guide in your pocket or bag. If you see someone apparently in need of help or directions, a simple " can I help you", and an offer to show them where they are on the central map etc, makes all the difference.Give them the guide to confirm that York is a friendly City, and and you too will also feel better for helping.
It could be embarrassing if too many of us did this, but many tourist cities have unofficial resident guides. This can be ideal for retired residents with some time to spare.
The comments on public toilets are all too true. It is ridiculous that this is not seen to be a priority by the City Council and York's Tourist Authority, and ."Find the loo?" should not be the game that identifies York on the UK tourist map!
In total agreement with you. Let us put ourselves in the middle of a foreign city, not speaking the language. We would be pleased to have someone to help. Saying that, most Europeans have a better command of the English language than the English do !
[quote][p][bold]Older Sometimes Wiser[/bold] wrote: Can I suggest that you do as I have done for some years,carry one or two spare copies of the latest tourist guide in your pocket or bag. If you see someone apparently in need of help or directions, a simple " can I help you", and an offer to show them where they are on the central map etc, makes all the difference.Give them the guide to confirm that York is a friendly City, and and you too will also feel better for helping. It could be embarrassing if too many of us did this, but many tourist cities have unofficial resident guides. This can be ideal for retired residents with some time to spare. The comments on public toilets are all too true. It is ridiculous that this is not seen to be a priority by the City Council and York's Tourist Authority, and ."Find the loo?" should not be the game that identifies York on the UK tourist map![/p][/quote]In total agreement with you. Let us put ourselves in the middle of a foreign city, not speaking the language. We would be pleased to have someone to help. Saying that, most Europeans have a better command of the English language than the English do ! TT
  • Score: 0

9:51am Sun 30 Dec 12

Buzz Light-year says...

Indeed. Case in point:

Press wrote:
...one of the commonest questions...

One of the *most common*
Indeed. Case in point: [quote]Press wrote: ...one of the commonest questions...[/quote] One of the *most common* Buzz Light-year
  • Score: 0

12:14am Mon 31 Dec 12

TT says...

Buzz Light-year wrote:
Indeed. Case in point:

Press wrote:
...one of the commonest questions...

One of the *most common*
I rest my case.
[quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: Indeed. Case in point: [quote]Press wrote: ...one of the commonest questions...[/quote] One of the *most common*[/p][/quote]I rest my case. TT
  • Score: 0

4:02am Mon 31 Dec 12

Gyspsy Power says...

I am a resident of York, and the only questions I have is why is it so expensive to park in York? Why isnt PP on the sex offenders register? and where on earth did Gillian Cruddass get her teeth?
I am a resident of York, and the only questions I have is why is it so expensive to park in York? Why isnt PP on the sex offenders register? and where on earth did Gillian Cruddass get her teeth? Gyspsy Power
  • Score: 0

6:50am Mon 31 Dec 12

Davroshasissues says...

"Where is the minster?" seriously? it's the big chuff off church behind you...!
"Where is the minster?" seriously? it's the big chuff off church behind you...! Davroshasissues
  • Score: 0

9:35am Mon 31 Dec 12

MouseHouse says...

was york now rotherham wrote:
Years ago when i worked in a certain italian resturant in goodramgate (oppersit the cross keys pub) we used to get people comeing in asking where the minster was and we just looked out of the window and then they noticed it, but the best one i ever saw was 2 yanks ask a traffic copper where the nearest catheadral was so he sent them off to Ripon after all it was april 1st and it was a good one
The nearest cathedral to central York is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter, better known as the Minster.

Regardless of the date that's a stupid thing to do to visitors.

A British Bobby being stupid...surely not!
[quote][p][bold]was york now rotherham[/bold] wrote: Years ago when i worked in a certain italian resturant in goodramgate (oppersit the cross keys pub) we used to get people comeing in asking where the minster was and we just looked out of the window and then they noticed it, but the best one i ever saw was 2 yanks ask a traffic copper where the nearest catheadral was so he sent them off to Ripon after all it was april 1st and it was a good one[/p][/quote]The nearest cathedral to central York is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter, better known as the Minster. Regardless of the date that's a stupid thing to do to visitors. A British Bobby being stupid...surely not! MouseHouse
  • Score: 0

11:46am Mon 31 Dec 12

YSTClinguist says...

MouseHouse wrote:
was york now rotherham wrote:
Years ago when i worked in a certain italian resturant in goodramgate (oppersit the cross keys pub) we used to get people comeing in asking where the minster was and we just looked out of the window and then they noticed it, but the best one i ever saw was 2 yanks ask a traffic copper where the nearest catheadral was so he sent them off to Ripon after all it was april 1st and it was a good one
The nearest cathedral to central York is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter, better known as the Minster.

Regardless of the date that's a stupid thing to do to visitors.

A British Bobby being stupid...surely not!
Didn't it used to be a local pastime to misdirect tourists? I've heard loads of tales of such.
[quote][p][bold]MouseHouse[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]was york now rotherham[/bold] wrote: Years ago when i worked in a certain italian resturant in goodramgate (oppersit the cross keys pub) we used to get people comeing in asking where the minster was and we just looked out of the window and then they noticed it, but the best one i ever saw was 2 yanks ask a traffic copper where the nearest catheadral was so he sent them off to Ripon after all it was april 1st and it was a good one[/p][/quote]The nearest cathedral to central York is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter, better known as the Minster. Regardless of the date that's a stupid thing to do to visitors. A British Bobby being stupid...surely not![/p][/quote]Didn't it used to be a local pastime to misdirect tourists? I've heard loads of tales of such. YSTClinguist
  • Score: 0

12:55pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Buzz Light-year says...

It can work the other way too.
Often I get asked where is the minster or Shambles or whatever, I point them in the right direction and then they walk away in the opposite direction.
WTF?
It can work the other way too. Often I get asked where is the minster or Shambles or whatever, I point them in the right direction and then they walk away in the opposite direction. WTF? Buzz Light-year
  • Score: 0

3:06pm Mon 31 Dec 12

rockstoff says...

Buzz Light-year wrote:
pedalling paul wrote:
Amazing how many visitors don't realise that the P&R buses operate a one way loop in the city centre. I often get asked where they should rejoin the bus to leave the centre. When I tell them it's the same stop that they alighted at, I don't half get some odd looks.............
I'm a resident and I didn't know that.

Mind you I would NEVER get on a First bus.
Clearly never caught the Monks Cross P & R - it has different pickup and drop off points at both ends!
[quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Amazing how many visitors don't realise that the P&R buses operate a one way loop in the city centre. I often get asked where they should rejoin the bus to leave the centre. When I tell them it's the same stop that they alighted at, I don't half get some odd looks.............[/p][/quote]I'm a resident and I didn't know that. Mind you I would NEVER get on a First bus.[/p][/quote]Clearly never caught the Monks Cross P & R - it has different pickup and drop off points at both ends! rockstoff
  • Score: 0

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