Shops In York City Centre Are Charming And Irresistible

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Shops In York City Centre Are Charming And Irresistible

by Sharon Henry

The shops in York city centre ooze old fashioned charm with their wonderful window displays and ‘Olde’ England setting of crooked timber buildings and cobbled streets.  For me it makes the simple act of window shopping in the historic city, one of the top York attractions and fun things to do, on par with visiting York Minster, the Guild Hall and walking the walls!

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

Click here for a map of York city centre and Visit York information.

And reminiscent of those Victorian times, the windows of York city centre shops bulge with all manner of goodies, a catalogue of sorts divulging what’s inside.  Pastries, trinkets, toys, curios, confectionery, home-ware, jewellery, musical instruments… all cleverly displayed to allure passers-by.  It makes window shopping one of the best, unusual things to do in York city centre.

One of the popular shops in York city centre - ‘The Shop That Must Not Be Named’, The Shambles Harry Potter shop displaying a Nimbus broomstick in the shop window.

One of the popular shops in York city centre – ‘The Shop That Must Not Be Named’, The Shambles Harry Potter shop displaying a Nimbus broomstick in the shop window.

 

Free Things To Do In York City Centre

York UK is a window shopper’s heaven.  Yes, there are the usual UK high street shops like York Primark and the Coppergate York shopping centre, but it’s the quaint style of the independent shops and boutiques that sets York apart.  Offering a quirky and unique shopping experience you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

There’s an array of clothes shops in York, vintage shops, record shops and book shops in York England.

 

Wonderful Shops In York City Centre

The shop window displays have an informal, museum-like quality that showcases the lifestyle and culture of the city.  There’s a Mary Shortle doll and teddy hospital shop, a taxidermist and even the all-year-round Käthe Wohlfahrt York Christmas shop.

My favourite are The Shambles York shops.  The Shambles name suggests chaos, and it possibly was in centuries gone as this street used to be the butchers’ market.  Today it’s a magnet for tourists wanting to photograph the Google earned title of ‘Britain’s most picturesque street.’  It makes Instagram candy.

Photography Tip: To eliminate reflections when taking pictures of shop windows, we use a polarizing filter. Click here for more info.

The photogenic shops in York Shambles. Diagon Alley was supposedly modelled on this street.

The photogenic shops in York Shambles. Diagon Alley was supposedly modelled on this street.

 

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

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

 

The beautiful cobblestone streets of York UK.

The beautiful cobblestone streets of York UK.

 

The ultimate toy shop York. The Mary Shortle shop of dolls, teddy bears and plush toys, found on the Lord Mayor's Walk.

The ultimate toy shop York. The Mary Shortle shop of dolls, teddy bears and plush toys, found on the Lord Mayor’s Walk.

 

The shops in York city centre. The Folk Music Instruments shop of <a href="http://redcowmusic.co.uk/about-us/?v=79cba1185463" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Red Cow Music</a>, Donald Trump gets everywhere and chocolates and cakes.

The shops in York city centre. 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.

 

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

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

 

Harry Potter's Hogwarts bedroom slippers and more memorabilia in ‘The Shop That Must Not Be Named’ in York city centre.

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

Unusual Things To Do In York

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 York 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.

 

The <a href="https://www.yorkmix.com/business/famous-york-bakery-gets-new-owners-a-new-look-and-new-treats/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Via Vecchia bakery</a> on The Shambles.

The Via Vecchia bakery on The Shambles.

 

<a href="https://www.yorkmix.com/business/shopping/the-pick-n-mix-guide-to-yorks-sweet-shops/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">York sweet shops</a> - weighing sweets in the scales, not something you see everyday anymore.

York sweet shops – weighing sweets in the scales, not something you see everyday anymore.

 

Finger puppets for sale on The Shambles at the Essence of Peru shop.

 

York model railway a working train set kept us entertained in the <a href="http://www.monkbarmodelshop.co.uk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Monk Bar Model toy shop</a> window.

York model railway a working train set kept us entertained in the Monk Bar Model toy shop window.

 

Medieval knights in the medieval city. The best of shops in York city centre.

Medieval knights in the medieval city. The best of shops in York city centre.

 

Sampling tea fusions at the Flax and Twine tea shop York on the Shambles. They taste amazing.

 

<a href="https://www.daisytaylors.co.uk/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daisy Taylor's shop</a> in York England is the place to go for wedding presents and gifts for special occasions.

Daisy Taylor’s shop in York England is the place to go for wedding presents and gifts for special occasions.

 

The alluring and colourful <a href="https://www.visityork.org/shopping/cleggs-p799491" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cleggs shop</a> near Monk Bar York.

The alluring and colourful Cleggs shop near Monk Bar York.

 

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

 

Little Saffron’s on The Shambles, a typical English shop that makes window shopping in York UK so great.

Come See The Shops In York City Centre

York is just two hours from London by train, perfect for York city breaks or a day’s excursion to see York tourist attractions.  It’s the quintessential biscuit tin picture of an English town.

It’s a fantastic place to visit and for more ideas on things to do in York check this post that’s been put together by a Yorkshire local.

A spot of window shopping in York UK comes highly recommended by us 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: The window displays of the shops in York city centre are quite irresistible.

York Shopping Outlet

As mentioned above, York offers fantastic shopping that caters for fashion, beauty and home to suit all tastes and pockets.  There are a number of York outlet shops and retail parks in and around the city, here’s a quick guide.

This list compiles some of York’s Indie retailers and includes a handy map of where to find them.

The York Shambles Market – can’t visit an English town without browsing a market for an authentic experience.  Here you’ll find over 85 stalls selling world street food, vintage clothing and locally grown fruit and veg.  Situated between Parliament Street and The Shambles.

Coppergate Shopping Centre York located within the city walls where you’ll find Topshop, Miss Selfridges, Primark, Clarks and Fenwick Department Store.

The York Designer outlet shops are a 10-minute drive outside of city, there are over 120 designer and high street brands including Superdry, Timberland and Vans.

Monks Cross York Shopping Park is a 10-minute drive outside the York city centre where you find a mix of popular UK shops including Debenhams, H&M, New Look, TKMaxx and Hobbycraft.

The Vangarde Shopping Park is 10-minute drive outside York for John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Next megastores.

 

In York the word ‘gate’ substitutes street, and ‘bar’ substitutes gate as in gate house. So, the streets are called gates, the gates are called bars, and the bars are called pubs!

Night-time in York – the gate house at the end of the street is called a ‘bar’ in York.  Click here for more our night photography.

By |2019-02-08T05:26:49+00:00January 10th, 2018|City Life, Culture, Tourist Attraction, UK|7 Comments

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.
    Cheers

  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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