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.