A centre of trade since Roman times, York still excels at providing retail therapy for shopaholics of every type. The range of unique independent and designer shops are intertwined with world-class attractions, pedestrianised streets and peaceful havens, so shopping and sightseeing are easily combined. Shops in the city centre boast an array of unique items from heraldic art to handcrafted souvenirs, unusual books, antiques and designer clothes.
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 and Vivienne Westwood. While just outside the city is McArthur Glen’s York Designer Outlet with over 120 stores with up to 60% off all the favourite brands, including Armani Collections, Coach, Mulberry, Levi’s and Malton Brown.
Shambles is 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, connecting the Minster and St Helen’s Square was originally named ‘Via Pretoria’ or principal road of Roman York. It is one of York’s prettiest streets and boasts some fantastic medieval and Georgian architecture.
Petergate - named after the Minster, which is dedicated to St Peter, started life as one of the main streets through a massive fortress housing 5,600 Roman soldiers in AD71. While Goodramgate dates back to the 14th century and is home to the oldest row of houses in York, and possibly the country.
Home to the fish market in medieval times and previously known as Tricksters Lane due to unscrupulous traders setting up shops there, Fossgate now is far more respectable, although retaining a certain bohemian charm. After a demolition of one of the pubs in 1960s mysterious tunnels were discovered and are believed to be the Roman Sewer System.
There are many shops every visitor must step foot in while in York. There is an array of antiques on offer including Northern Antiques specialising in quality antique pottery, porcelain, glass and silver. Occupying the Grade II 18th century former townhouse designed by William Etty is the Red House Antiques Centre with 10 showrooms on 3 floors, including a dedicated vintage room in the attic. York Antiques Centre has goods covering many periods from Ancient Rome to Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco through to contemporary.
Käthe Wohlfahrt is a year round shop where Christmas never ends. It features candles, Christmas tree decorations, nativity scenes and nutcrackers. All products are made from hand and with only limited numbers available, stock sells out very quickly. Perfect for unique gifts - Stonegate Teddy Bears features the ever popular Charlie Bear collection and the stunning Steiff range. Yorkshire Soap Company offers mouthwatering-looking soaps and bath bombs, while the ‘sister’ shop The Imaginarium is full of the most interesting and bizarre trinkets and decorations one could imagine. Much like at the Yorkshire Soap Company, one can feel like Alice in Wonderland after entering to the shop.
Minstergate Books is full filled with books and prints from country maps to the newest copies of number one crime thrillers. For art lovers According to McGee is a quirky art gallery offering works by local artists while Art of Protest Gallery is a space that facilitates urban contemporary dialogues on environment, consumption, identity and the global audience, inviting visitors to “disagree or not”.
To feed the inner gourmet, visitors can step foot into Hairy Fig - ‘Purveyors of Fine Fodder’ and a quirky deli with lots of local produce to buy.