The Irresistible Charm Of Window Shopping In York

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The Irresistible Charm Of Window Shopping In York


The city of York is Olde England incarnate; cobbled lanes, crooked timber buildings and multi-paned shop windows that oozes old-fashioned charm. In fact, window shopping in the historic city is just as much an attraction as walking its medieval walls or stepping inside the York Minster.

A stroll through the labyrinth of streets (or gates, as streets are called in York) is so enchanting it’s like wandering around a movie set of a Charles Dickens novel.

And reminiscent of those Victorian times, shop windows bulge, laden with all manner of goodies, a catalogue of sorts divulging what’s inside.  Pastries, trinkets, toys, curios, confectionery, home-ware, jewellery, musical instruments… all neatly displayed to allure passers-by.

Window Shopping in York – After closing time the crowds have gone, time for taking a peek at Harry Potter’s Nimbus broomstick in ‘The Shop That Must Not Be Named.’


On The Outside Looking In – Window Shopping In York

Set in the heart of Yorkshire, York is a window shopper’s heaven.  Yes, there are the usual high street chains but it’s the quaint style of the independent shops and boutiques that sets York apart, offering a quirky and unique window shopping experience you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

Window displays have an informal, museum-like quality as they showcase the lifestyle and culture of the city.  There’s a Mary Shortle ‘doll and teddy’ hospital shop, a taxidermist and even an all-year-round Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop, the first in the UK!

My favourite street (gate) is The Shambles.  The name suggests chaos, and it possibly was in centuries gone as this used to be the butchers’ market.  Today it’s a magnet for tourists wanting to photograph the Google won title of ‘Britain’s most picturesque street.’

Window Shopping in York – The famous Shambles in York, Diagon Alley was supposedly modelled on this street.


Window Shopping in York – The Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop located in the Mulberry Hall in York and open all year round.


Window Shopping in York – the beautiful cobblestone streets of York.


Window Shopping in York – The Mary Shortle shop of dolls, teddy bears and plush toys, found on the Lord Mayor’s Walk, York.


It’s a crazy range of goods on display when you go Window Shopping in York – The Folk Music Instruments shop of Red Cow Music, Donald Trump gets everywhere and chocolates and cakes.


Window Shopping in York – The Folk Music Instruments shop, Red Cow Music.


Window Shopping in York – Always a long queue to go in ‘The Shop That Must Not Be Named.’ The place to go for Harry Potter memorabilia.


Window Shopping in York – Harry Potter’s Hogwarts bedroom slippers and more memorabilia in ‘The Shop That Must Not Be Named.’

The Shop That Must Not Be Named

Gone are the hog’s heads and legs of lamb that once hung in the open shop windows (although if you look carefully the meat hooks remain). Instead The Shambles shops offer specialty tea, finger puppets, amber jewellery and buttery beer; a spin-off of a Harry Potter brew.

JK Rowling’s, Diagon Alley was reportedly modelled on The Shambles and the real deal will capture the imagination of all Harry Potter fans, especially as here you’ll also find ‘The Shop That Must Not Be Named’ brimming with Harry Potter memorabilia and a Nimbus broomstick and a Sorting Hat hanging in the window.

But be warned – it’s very popular and there’s usually a long, snaking queue of people waiting to enter.

Window Shopping in York – The Lily Shambles jewellery shop in York was once a butchers, the meat hooks can still be seen outside the window.


Window Shopping in York – The Via Vecchia bakery on The Shambles.


Window Shopping in York – sweets in the scales, not something you see everyday anymore.


Window Shopping in York – Finger puppets for sale.


Window Shopping in York – a working toy train set kept us entertained in one shop window.


Window Shopping in York – medieval knights in the medieval city.


Window Shopping in York – trying out the free tea samples along The Shambles.


Window Shopping in York – Daisy Taylor’s is the place to go for wedding presents and gifts for special occasions.


Window Shopping in York – Cleggs shop near Monk Bar in York.


Make sure you have plenty of time on your hands if you go to the barbers in York!


Window Shopping in York.

Visual Retail Therapy

York is just two hours from London by train and makes a wonderful city break or a day’s excursion.  It’s the quintessential biscuit tin picture of an English town.

A spot of window shopping in York comes highly recommended and is a delightful way to spend a day.  You can literally window shop till you drop, a form of retail therapy (albeit visual) that won’t cost a penny – if you’re strong!  Beware: Those window displays are quite irresistible.

In York the word ‘gate’ substitutes street, and ‘bar’ substitutes gate as in gate house.  So, a street is a gate, a gate is a bar and a bar is a pub!

Night-time in York – the gate house at the end of the street is called a ‘bar’ in York.

By |2018-01-10T04:52:52+00:00January 10th, 2018|City Life, Culture, Tourist Attraction, UK|7 Comments


  1. Rick and Sally Stucker January 10, 2018 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Great photos, a nice addition to your previous posts about York. Looks like we will have to start planning a UK trip.

  2. Paul Carroll January 10, 2018 at 9:24 am - Reply

    I’m originally from York and still love to go back there, particularly when I have friends from overseas staying. It’s a wonderful city and full of inspirational history and architecture, particularly the Minster where I occasionally sang as a chorister. If any of my friends on St Helena are reading this, it’s well worth taking the trip north to visit Yorkas a diversion from the attractions of London. Love to Diane, Billy, Martin, Dinah and Titch on St Helena.

    • WTSDN January 10, 2018 at 12:43 pm - Reply

      As you can tell we had a fabulous time in your home town, Paul it’s well worth a diversion from London, there’s so much to occupy your time. We’ll pass a ‘hi’ on to your St Helena friends whenever we see them next. 🙂

  3. Lawsonhenry January 10, 2018 at 6:47 am - Reply

    Remember some of those places and the market there as well what a historic city great pictures as we have come to expect, good luck with your work for 2018.

    • WTSDN January 10, 2018 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      Thanks Lawson have a few projects planned for 2018. Agree about York, so much history preserved in one place.

  4. bill fulgham January 10, 2018 at 6:07 am - Reply

    superb descriptions of the streets (or gates) of York, Sharon. you and Darrin should qualify to do a bit for the BBC or PBS from anywhere in the world. all the saints should be very proud of you two. looking forward to the Saint Helena trip in a few months.- cheers, Bill Fulgham. Jackdon, Ms. US

    • WTSDN January 10, 2018 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      Hi bill! thanks for your very kind comment. We’ll look forward to seeing you here on St Helena perhaps we can meet up for a drink. 🙂

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