The Snickelways of York – York, England - Atlas Obscura

The Snickelways of York

This network of narrow, medieval passages has the most delightful name. 


If you were unaware of York’s many narrow, medieval streets, it would be easy to walk past them without noticing a thing. But these delightfully named hidden passages allow you to seemingly magically transport from one street to another, avoiding the tourist crowds.

These passages are neither snickets, ginnels, or alleyways, but a mixture of all three! “Snickelway” is a term coined in 1983 by local author Mark W. Jones, which is now in popular use throughout York.

The whimsical word describes the many passages which are only accessible on foot throughout the city. In his book A Walk Around the Snickelways of York, Jones outlined a trail you can follow around the city, taking in all of these medieval passages.

As the Snickelways are largely medieval, they often feature weird and wonderful names such as “Mad Alice Lane” in reference to a woman who was hanged after poisoning her husband, “Hole-in-the-Wall,” and “Nether Hornpot Lane.”

The word has become so popular that located right to the side of one such path is a building called the Snickleway Inn, a which uses a common misspelling of the original term coined by Jones. However you spell it, the Snickelways are a great way to see a hidden side to the city that most tourists miss.

Know Before You Go

All of the Snickelways are found within York. For a detailed tour of the Snickelways, you can buy the original book that popularized the term by Mark W. Jones. Otherwise, a more simple map of the Snickelways is available on the author's website.

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September 24, 2018

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