You can cycle (footstreet hours permitting) to all the ‘squares’ on the officially licensed York version of the Hasbro board game Monopoly.
They’re listed below, in order, by square number (from Go, 00, to York Minster, 39), and their London equivalents. (I’ve written about London’s Monopoly streets in the Other Rides section of this website; they are linked individually below.)
I’ve added a few places of my own, which don’t occur on the official board: they’re in brackets. Chance and Community Chest squares are ignored.
(00 ‘Go’: York Zero Point)
The train station – when it opened in 1877, the largest in the world – is inexplicably missing from the York board, so I’ve put it in here. Platform 7’s Zero Post is the marker from which all rail distances were measured by the ten train companies of the day catalogued on it.
01 ‘Old Kent Road’: Treasurer’s House
Originally the home of the Minster’s money man, but in private hands long since. It’s one of the most haunted buildings in York: in 1953 a plumber claimed to have seen around twenty ghostly Roman legionnaires, plus a carthorse, marching through the cellar.
03 ‘Whitechapel Road’: Merchant Adventurer’s Hall
Dating from 1361, and still the home of ‘merchant adventurers’ – business pioneers involved in daring overseas enterprises. In 2012, York’s venerable Mystery Plays held rehearsals here: appropriately, because the Plays are almost exactly the same age.
(04 ‘Income tax’: York City Council)
I’ve included this to represent the irritating square that always seems to spoil my payday as I pass Go. But it’s good to know my council tax helps create cycle facilities that are every bit as good as you’d expect for a large British city. A bit rubbish, in other words.
05 ‘Kings Cross Station’: Monk Bar
Like all York’s ‘medieval’ walls and bars, Monk Bar has been mucked about with, partly demolished, and rebuilt regularly, since the 14th century. It has city’s only working portcullis, last used in 1953: not against floods, but to celebrate the Coronation.
06 ‘Angel, Islington’: National Rail Museum
The original square is named after a pub, but Hasbro evidently couldn’t think of one in York. Well, there are only 365 (it’s said). Nevertheless, the NRM is a wonderful thing: free entry and full of trains and train things, wonderful for families. And middle-aged men.
08 ‘Euston Road’: York Castle Museum
Collections of this museum, right opposite Clifford’s Tower, are a mixed bag, it’s fair to say: they include chocolate taken by Shackleton to the antarctic, WWI Christmas cards, a 1780s robot clock, and 17th-century iron underpants.
09 ‘Pentonville Road’: York Museum and Gardens
The museum is a brilliant place to learn about the city’s history, from dinosaurs (in stunning virtual reality) to its medieval heyday. The free gardens are wonderful to relax, stroll and picnic in, and include a ruined abbey, a Roman tower, and the half-timbered 14th-century Hospitium.
10 ‘Jail’: York Castle Car Park
York’s jail was on the site of what is now a car park. So it is still a kind of imprisonment. You do not drive your car. Your car drives you. Ponder on this, grasshopper.
11 ‘Pall Mall’: York Maze
Why Hasbro decided that an establishment London boulevard equates to a labyrinth made out of corn stalks half an hour’s drive into the countryside is a mystery only they can answer. We’ve not been to the Maze but it looks fun; I cycle past it every time I go to my mum’s in Hull.
12 ‘Electric Company’: Ghost Hunt of York
York claims to be the UK’s most haunted place, as various tours will tell you. (Our favourite is Mad Alice’s Bloody Tour.) A ghost must haunt my house too, because though we have no mice, and no people admit to eating them, the Chocolate Hobnobs keep disappearing.
13 ‘Whitehall’: Racecourse
Horses are not for me, but York’s meetings are a highlight for many a racegoer. It’s a fair bet, though, that on any sunny day outside those events, the course’s 2km perimeter asphalt track – open to the public – is busy with walkers, joggers, families and cyclists.
14 ‘Northumberland Avenue’: York City FC
The final game at Bootham Crescent’s crumbling postwar ground was on 28 Dec 2020. Unusually, perpetual underachievers York (currently in the sixth tier of national football) won 1-0. The shiny new home is out at Monks Cross shopping centre.
15 ‘Marylebone Station’: Walmgate Bar
Of the four main medieval gateways to the city (all on the board), this is the most complete, retaining its barbican, portcullis and inner doors, with various parts dating from the 12th to 15th centuries. It’s also, thanks to that hall-like barbican, the best to cycle through.
16 ‘Bow Street’: Cityscreen
York’s brilliant arty cinema and bar, with terrace overlooking the river. Downstairs is a basement stage for drama groups and comedy clubs. Everyone seems to have a story about the place: mine was winning a playwriting competition; for one friend, it was winning the heart of his wife-to-be.
18 ‘Marlborough Street’: York Theatre Royal
Built in 1744 on the site of a hospital – parts of which can still be seen – the Theatre stages everything from touring professional productions to small but high-quality local amateur playwriting events won by cycling bloggers. Plus, notably, pantomimes.
19 ‘Vine Street’: Grand Opera House
It’s an unprepossessing building on functional Clifford St, but big stage productions come here. If it’s a tribute band, comedian from off the telly, or show that you first heard of in London, here’s probably where you want.
(20 ‘Free Parking’: Millennium Bridge)
Hasbro’s commercially-minded flogging off of the board didn’t take in the Millennium Bridge, the city’s showpiece sustainable-transport space, so I’ve put it here. A vital link between South Bank and University, and river banks, it also provides seating along its elegant span.
21 ‘Strand’: Jorvik Viking Centre
While out cycling in town, we often stop to help lost tourists rotating their map in bewilderment. They’re usually trying to find Jorvik, the interactive (and rather good) historical experience thing. And a little deflated to find it not in a cobbled alley, but modern shopping centre.
23 ‘Fleet Street’: Walmgate
Chosen presumably as it’s home of the York Press – which is appropriate, because Fleet Street doesn’t have any journalists left in it now, either. Walmgate’s early stretches as Fossgate are more attractive, thanks to indie shops, cosy cafes and bars, and pub gem the Blue Bell.
24 ‘Trafalgar Square’: York Dungeon
Sponsorship trumping equivalence again? York’s celebration/ imperialist-statue area should be Duncombe Place in front of the Minster. Whatever; here’s the Dungeon, another unspectacular building on Clifford St. Great fun to visit, no doubt.
25 ‘Fenchurch Street Station’: Micklegate Bar
The most important of York’s four great entrances, passed through by anyone coming from the south of England, wherever that is. Built in the 12th–14th centuries, it displayed severed heads of traitors until 1754, a tradition some Twitter users would no doubt want reinstated.
26 ‘Leicester Square’: York University
The Uni (perhaps surprisingly not ancient but ‘red brick’, from 1963) has some excellent, almost Dutch, bike spaces among its shiny new buildings; a velodrome out in Heslington East; and even its own solar-system ‘scale model’ to enjoy cycling along.
27 ‘Coventry Street’: Clifford’s Tower
The largest remaining part of the castle built by William the Conqueror, this imposing mound has been treasury, mint, prison, and, er, um, site of York’s 1190 atrocity, when the entire Jewish community of 150 people died at the hands of a mob. It’s currently under construction.
28 ‘Water Works’: River Cruises
The sightseeing boats are a familiar view on the Ouse on any nice day, enabling you to see the city in a unique and otherwise impossible way, except perhaps by walking or cycling the extensive riverside paths. I once promised my partner a cruise for Valentine’s Day, so this is what we did.
29 ‘Piccadilly’: Bettys
The mythical aprons-and-cakestand ritual: afternoon tea at Bettys (no apostrophe, perhaps because the founder was a German-speaking Swiss) is a visitor must-do, as shown by the long queues outside. The overflow Bettys cafe nearby is to become a shop.
(30 ‘Go to Jail’: River Ouse)
The idea of a dip in the apparently benign waters can be tempting to some, especially on a well-lubricated weekend trip. Unfortunately the shock of the cold gets many into difficulties, sometimes fatally. Those rescued probably won’t go to jail but may face other trouble.
31 ‘Regent Street’: Coppergate Centre
Regent St is London’s snooty upmarket shopping avenue, laid out by Nash in the early 1800s, owned by the Crown Estate, boasting Liberty, Hamleys, Jaeger, the Apple Store. While 1980s Coppergate has Primark, Boots, the Body Shop etc. Just saying.
32 ‘Oxford Street’: Minstergate
Presumably, given the shopping theme of the green group, Hasbro means ‘Minster Gates’, the brief but splendid lane by the Minster – not ‘Minstergate’, which is a holiday let round the corner. Curiously, not being a ‘footstreet’, you can legally cycle Minster Gates at any time.
34 ‘Bond St’: Petergate
One of the main streets of Roman York, (High and Low) Petergate is indeed a great place for shoppers on a budget, if that budget is Victoria Beckham’s. That said, there’s also a Poundland and a top local fish and chip shop.
35 ‘Liverpool Street Station’: Bootham Bar
One of the original entrances to the Roman fortress, the modern Bar dates from the 11th century and like the others was ‘improved’ (=half-dismantled) in the early 1800s. A door knocker was installed in 1501 for Scots, who had to ask permission to enter.
37 ‘Park Lane’: The Shambles
York’s iconic visitor sight is the cobbled alley with first-floor overhangs almost touching. Ancient butcher’s hooks attest to the name’s meat-market origins. It’s normally packed with tourists, but the 2020 lockdowns gave the rare chance to see it empty in daylight hours.
39 ‘Mayfair’: York Minster
One of the world’s great buildings, the Minster was finished in 1427 after centuries of construction. Stonemasons continue to maintain it now; see them at work in the yard down the side. National Cycle Route 658 runs right along one side, car- (but not tourist-) free.