24 November 2015

#ShopInYork

I've discussed my love of the city of York many a time here on this blog.  It is second only to dear old Bradford in my affections, and moreover it appears that out of the two cities, York is the one most people agree with me on!

Visitors flock to York in their thousands to experience the city's historical attractions, quaint cafes, iconic architecture and unique shopping opportunities. But since we are the way to Christmas and I've not done any gift shopping yet, I'm going to be mainly panicking talking about shopping!


Within the city walls, open pedestrian areas with the hottest of high street names snuggle up cosily to the cramped and cobbled medieval Shambles.

A stones throw from the centre you'll find the impressive Monks Cross shopping complex. Open late, with free parking and a whole range of great stores including Topshop, Boots and a newly refurbished Rodgers of York, this would be a great spot for picking up those last minute gifts!

Within this huge range of shopping options in the city, there are a couple of spots I never fail to visit - usually leaving a little lighter of purse and a little heavier of shopping bag.



Bettys
The inclusion of this Yorkshire institution on my list will, I'm sure, shock no one. However, much as I am a vocal lover of the wonderful café, the young ones I often have in my company on trips to York are less keen on the inevitable queueing needed to nab yourself a table. There is another option! Anyone can bypass the long line of waiting folk and go straight into the shop where a plethora of baked goodies and chocolatey treats are available, as well as teas and coffees galore to take home and brew up in the comfort of your own home. The place is looking particularly festive at the minute too - the windows are beautifully decorated for Christmas and there are loads of special seasonal items to tempt you. Be warned though, it can be easy to get carried away - I can't count the amount of times I've 'nipped in for a fat rascal' and left £20 lighter....


Museum Gift Shops
Like I said, many of my York trips have kids in tow so it would be a tragedy to not make the most of the wonderful array of museums and educational attractions available in the city - and these inevitably end with a quick visit to the gift shop. Our house is full of wooden bows and arrows from Cliffords Tower, Victorian soap and sugar mice from The Castle Museum, and endless amounts of notebooks, pens that look like arrows or quills, mock historical jewellery and vaguely historical toys from the likes of Jorvik Viking Centre and Dig. There are plenty of great quality beautiful items and wonderful books in between the branded bouncy balls and pencil sharpeners though, and in most cases you wouldn't have to trawl through the museums to visit the gift shops!


York's Chocolate Story
This spot really straddles the two worlds above, as it is the home of both a fabulous attraction about the history of chocolate in York, and a wonderfully sugary chocolate-heavy café. When time allows we love to visit one or both of these but when only a flying visit can be made I still have to pop in for a bar of their amazing rose chocolate, and a chilli hot choc to go!


The Yorkshire Soap Co
Unusually for me, my other favourite shop in York doesn't contain lovely things to eat, thought you'd be forgiven for thinking it did. The Yorkshire Soap Company make the most beautiful soaps that could easily be mistakes for delicate cupcakes and extravagant gateaux. The shop, one of only three across the region (the other two can be found in Leeds and Hebden Bridge), combines wonderful unique products with a really serene shopping experience, making it one of my must-visit spots in York.

I've only scratched the surface of the best places to shop in York - I've not even mentioned the year-round Christmas shop, or the place that only sells things with cats on, and there's the Christmas market any day now which opens up a whole host of other options... do you have any favourites in the city that I've missed?

* Collaborative post

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