A centre of trade since Roman times, York still excels at providing retail therapy for shopping enthusiast everywhere! With more than 2,000 shops, shopping is one of York’s main attractions. The fantastic range of unique independent and designer shops so perfectly intertwined with magnificent attractions, pedestrianised streets and peaceful havens make shopping in York an experience in itself. I definitely came home with a new pair of boots, shoes, a jacket, a new backpack and a few more goodies. I had so much fun walking the streets of York and popping in all of the shops!
Why shopping in York is an experience in itself
The city centre has a vast array of shops – many of them unique to York – selling everything from fine china and heraldic art to handcrafted souvenirs, unusual books, antiques and designer clothes. And, of course, they sit alongside York’s magnificent historical buildings, so shopping and sightseeing are easily combined. The Coppergate Centre is the only shopping centre within the city walls, home to not only the JORVIK Viking Centre, but York’s premier department store, Fenwick, which features a host of designer labels from MAC cosmetics to Mulberry handbags and the latest fashions from Paul Smith to Vivienne Westwood. There are bargains galore at the city centre’s only Primark, and specialist stores from The Whisky Shop to Castle Fine Art. Just outside the city is York Designer Outlet (over 120 stores with up to 50% off all the labels you love, including Armani Collections, Coast, LK Bennett, Hobbs and Jaeger) and Monks Cross shopping for a huge TX Maxx, Outfit and Laura Ashley.
York’s shopping streets at a glance:
- The Shambles – one of the best preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe and awarded the title of most picturesque street in Britain in the Google Street View Awards. Some of the beautiful old buildings still have exterior wooden shelves, reminders of when cuts of meat were served from the open windows.
- Stonegate – leads to the Minster from St Helen’s Square, and was originally the ‘Via Pretoria’, or principal road of Roman York. One of York’s prettiest streets, it boasts some fantastic medieval and Georgian architecture.
- Swinegate Quarter – a stone’s throw from the Minster, in the former medieval swine-market and red light district, this area is made up of Little Stonegate, Back Swinegate and Grape Lane (for obvious reasons once known as Grope Lane). Cobbled streets, snickleways, the city’soldest print works and the famous medieval Barley Hall add to its character.
- Goodramgate – dates from the 14th century and is home to the oldest row of houses in York, and possibly the country.
- Petergate – named after the Minster, which is dedicated to St Peter. It started life as one of the main streets through a massive fortress housing 5,600 Roman soldiers in AD71.
- Coney Street – York’s most modern shopping street runs along the course of a former Roman road, which lay just outside the Roman fortress and almost parallel to the eastern bank of the River Ouse.
- Fossgate – home of the fish market in medieval times it was also known as Tricksters Laneafter the unscrupulous traders who set up shops there. These days it is far more respectable, although it retains a certain bohemian charm. Mysterious tunnels in Fossgate, discovered when a pub was demolished in the early 1960s, are now thought to be the Roman Sewer System.
Shops to try:
- NEW Northern Antiques – Northern Antiques of York specialises in quality antique pottery, porcelain, glass and silver and other antiques, dealing primarily in 17th, 18th and early 19th century stock, with a range of antiques to suit most tastes and budgets.
- NEW Winstons of York – Winston’s of York is an independent mens’s clothing and footwear shop in the heart of York.
- NEW Kathe Wohlfahrt – Käthe Wohlfahrt boasts an extensive range of products are candles, Christmas tree decorations, nativity scenes and nutcrackers. All products are made from hand and out very quickly. The shop is open all year long and boasts the world’s largest selection of traditional German Christmas ornaments.
- NEW Love Thy Interiors – A family run business offering beautiful furniture and stunning accessories for your home.
- Hairy Fig – ‘Purveyors of Fine Fodder’ – quirky deli with lots of local produce to buy.
- Palenque – independent jeweller occupying a beautifully restored and maintained Tudor building with a double fronted window and original interior features.
- Monkbar Chocolatiers – Artisan chocolatiers – chocolates are made on the premises and customers can see the various stages of production.
- York Antiques Centre, Stonegate
- Red House Antiques Centre, Duncombe Place
- Minstergate Books – you can find anything in there from old country maps to the newest copy of number one crime thrillers.
- Stonegate Teddy Bears – The finest Teddy Bears available. Featuring the ever popular Charlie Bear collection and the stunning Steiff range. There are bears for every taste.
- The Inkwell – a small shop specialising in vinyl records and pop culture oddities. A true hipster’s must see.
- Via Vecchia is a small Italian bakery on Shambles, offering delicious fresh bread and pastries.
- SpaceNK – Haircare and beauty shop with a skilled team of makeup artists and skincare specialists on hand.
- Burgins’ Perfumery – founded in 1880 and still going with over 2,000 perfumes for men and women.
- According to McGee is a quirky art gallery offering works by local artists.
- Yorkshire Soap Company offers incredible looking soaps and bath bombs. With itsmagical and delicate interior Yorkshire Soap Company offers a true experience.
- The Imaginarium is part of the Yorkshire Soap Company. It’s full of the most interesting and bizarre trinkets and decorations one could imagine. You’ll feel like Alice in Wonderland after entering to the shop. It’s considered to be one ofthe best experiences in York.
- Bowler Vintage is offering beautiful vintage clothing and accessories for men and women.
- Rafi’s Spicebox is a small family run business offering a wide selection of spices and mixes forcurries. Rafi’s has become so popular they’ve had to open another shop in Harrogate.