Inside York

The Proof is in the Pudding - York Shopping Guide

Don’t let the rustic, cobbled façade of York fool you; despite its somewhat medieval exterior, the shopping district of this traditional city is far from primitive.

York is home to many leading high street brands such as Marks and Spencers, Fenwick and Mulberry. Competing with these popular, universal labels are charming boutiques and the humble, yet reassuring, famous open air market. The atmosphere alone is enough to entice you, never mind the alluring content. Coinciding with the exuberant and animated stalls of the bazaar, are more exclusive and refined designer boutiques conveying that there is something for everyone in the unassuming region.

Cultural Shops

Held within the historic confines of the city’s wall, lays a shopping district that reflects the eclectic mix of the city town’s Viking and Roman heritage. The Red House Antique centre is home to around 30,000 beautifully preserved items sold by over 60 dealers ranging from a mere £1 all the way to £5000. The red brick exterior and multiple large parallel windows give the building a formal, town house appeal that invites visitors to meander around its collection of narrative bearing stock. Each individual item tells a story of the town, many leaving the history of the object ambiguous allowing the potential buying to project their imagination onto the varied stock.

The culture of York does not stop however at antiques, within a short walking distance of the antique centre sits Castle Galleries, a cosy art gallery that allows visitors to both appreciate the art as a spectator and to purchase the works.

To complete the cities more eloquent ideals, are the highly regarded bookstores located within some of the town’s most historic buildings. Janette ray Booksellers is a specialist dealer in not only modern day standard literature but periodicals and trade literature on art, design and architecture providing York with an educated oeuvre that is fitting to its highly regarded university.  


Bringing the city back to westernised civilisation, is its modern approach to beauty. Along with widely recognised brands such as The Body Shop and standard nail bars such as Nail Bar One LTD, there are more controversial and contemporary approaches to preening available. Apply Feet offers a natural pedicure (toenail treatment) from Garra Ruffa fish – the small fish gently nibble away the dead skin as you place your feet in a relaxing warm basin of water while staff within the vicinity wait on you hand and foot (quite literally).  Modern techniques such as this are normally offered in fashion capitals such as Central London but despite the historic preservation of the city, it is still able to offer the same treatment as the stylistic hotspots of the world.

Furnishing Designs

Keeping the interiors of peripherally preserved buildings up to scratch are furnishing stores such as Rodgers that offer any kind of interior decoration imaginable. Whether it be periodic style decoration fitting to the town’s structure and heritage you are after, or a completely new-age contemporary design; Rodgers holds the key to your dream interior. William Blake patterned sofa recliners are juxtaposed with Biba esc bed sheets in an array of choice that could easily be overwhelming to the viewer. References to traditional and modern patterned fabric do not stop in York’s soft furnishing departments, they extend all the way to the high street which is inhabited by the likes of Topshop , Topman and Pure, that take designs straight from the catwalk and adapt them to make them applicable for every day wear. Their clothing is suited to those who commute to work via cobbled roads opposed to  the seamless catwalks of Milan and Parris.

References to big names and urbanised environments aren’t always maintained throughout the high street however; amidst the hustle and bustle of hectic locals going about their everyday lives, buried away nurturing the corners of the streets, are modest, retiring charity shops such as the British Heart Foundation. It is known throughout York for stocking second hand furniture and passing its proceeds onto a charity which helps millions of suffers worldwide.

Contradictory to York’s hardened outer walls that encapsulate the city, the inner workings of the town and its shopping district has a heart of gold that welcomes all and serves to provide something for everyone is today’s diverse climate.

Article written by Eve Pearce. ©


The York Pass