Inside York

Stairway directory of York

The City of York offers most of the typical high street stores and chains along with many other independent shops that add a diverse and interesting mix of places to explore for shoppers whether local or tourist. If you want to truly experience the wealth and jewels of these independent shops than it seems, in my own experience, you will be expected to climb many a creaky wooden staircase, crawl through small rooms that are bursting with stock, and squeeze through low doorways, their walls and doors displaying the signs of a rich medieval history. Once you have discovered them however, you will be sure to return.


Delrio’s Restaurant

10-12 Blossom Street, York, YO24 1AE, 01904 622695,, Tuesday-Sunday 6pm-10.30pm

Described as “The little Italian restaurant down the stairs by Micklegate”, simply follow the stairs leading down to building’s basement and enter a quaint Italian restaurant. Snugs lit by candlelight provide a more romantic and private setting. Alternatively choose a table in the centre of the restaurant floor and enjoy watching the chefs make your meals through the open window kitchen. A wide variety of food is on offer, from pasta dishes such as creamy Tagliatelle Carbonara, to homemade pizzas to meat dishes such as Beef Medallions. A large selection of homemade desserts will leave any sweet tooth satisfied, especially the Crème Brûlée- if you do not order it yourself make sure your meal partner does so you can have a taste. Locally sourced meat and vegetarian options ensure all taste buds are well catered for.


Duttons for Buttons

32 Coppergate, York, North Yorkshire YO1 9NR,, 01904 632042, Monday-Saturday 9am-5.30pm

Boasting the largest collection of buttons in Britain, stocking over 12,000 buttons, visiting Duttons is not fit for a flying visit. This delightful haberdashery shop, residing in a 1422 medieval building, deserves a few hours of dedicated shopping and rummaging if not simply to appreciate the vast array of stock, although you are guaranteed to walk out with something. The equivalent to a textile lover’s sweetshop, you will be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of eye-catching buttons, ribbons, cotton, wool and material that line the walls like wallpaper. The director, Drusilla White travels the globe in search of unique and exotic buttons, enabling them to stock buttons of wooden, mother-of-pearl, leather, enamel, glass, Swarovski, diamanté and metal varieties. Climb the little wooden carpeted staircases and unleash your creativity and passion for all things arty over three small yet packed floors.



Walmgate Bar, York, North Yorkshire YO10 2UB,, 01904 464050, Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm

Located in an extension dating back to the 1580s, nestled on the bars of York’s castle walls, sits a snug little Christian run café. Climb the stone staircase up to the extension and duck through the small original 12th century wooden door and you will be greeted with an almost Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe-like feeling, where dark mahogany leather arm chairs invite you to rest your feet after a long day of shopping, work or walking the walls. Offering Arabica coffee from Union Handroasted, a London roastery recognised for its ethical trading that uses Direct Contact Trade, you can sip and feel at ease that your beans have come from an ethical source. Tasty inexpensive paninis, seasonal soups and pastries are on the menu if you are feeling a little peckish otherwise feel free to explore the second floor located up a small creaky staircase to relax and admire the well housed tall wooden book shelves and beautiful stone walls. Ideal for studying, supplying free Wi-Fi, or a social lunch break with friends. Be sure to bring your pennies as there are no card payment facilities.


The Minster Gate Bookshop

8 Minster Gates, York, YO1 7HL,, 01904 621812,, Monday-Saturday 10am-5.30pm, Sunday 11am-5pm 

This Georgian townhouse is home to an extensive collection of antiquarian and second-hand books. Situated in a street formerly known as Bookland Lane that has been associated with bookselling since 1580, the shop is dwarfed by York Minster. It is easy to lose yourself in the small rooms that are divided into subject areas, spanning over five floors. The walls lined with books that are bursting with children’s stories, illustrated books and Folklore and Arthurian literature, do not seem to be constricted by the low ceilings. Whether you are interested in purchasing or simply want to marvel and smell the pages, there is something that will catch everyone’s eye. Old maps and prints, lithographs and engravings of York and Yorkshire and book illustrations dating back from 1800-1940 are also available. The wide selection of books make ideal gifts for any antique, vintage and nostalgic enthusiast.


York Brewery

12 Toft Green, York. YO1 6JT,, 01904 621162,

A members only bar, non-members are equally able to enjoy the pleasures of a wide selection of fine ales including Centurion’s Ghost Ale, Guzzler, Yorkshire Terrier as well as seasonal ales, whilst sitting in a quaint bar after taking a tour of York’s working brewery. After climbing the stairs that allow a glimpse into the inner workings of the brewery, step into the cosy attic-like bar home to an assortment of mismatch patterned worn armchairs and sofas, an out of tune piano and collections of old beer bottles. Only fourteen years old, it has received both International and National awards, supplying pubs in York such as Yorkshire Terrier and Last Drop Inn. A gem that is easy to overlook, due to its small badly marked entrance, you will find York Brewery located between Nags Head and the club Tokyo.

Above article by Sarah Wolfe. 

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