This picturesque cobblestone street has a fascinating medieval history and crooked buildings that appear to almost fall into one another.
The Shambles is a medieval street in York’s center with a topsy-turvy layout full of shops and restaurants. Stroll down the quaint cobblestone road that runs through the narrow street to see the lopsided 15th-century buildings jutting out overhead. Many visitors compare the jumbled arrangement of the street to Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter saga. In 2010, the Google Street Team voted it the most picturesque street in Britain.
Imagine the bustling days of medieval Britain as you wander down this historic street. Take a tour of the area to learn about the buildings’ former uses. Join the spooky ghost-hunting tour that departs nightly from the Shambles’ southern end.
The Shambles’ name comes from the Saxon word “fleshhammels”, which is drawn from the street’s original use as a butcher’s district. Note the cobblestone strip and patterned tiles that run down the center of the pedestrianized road. Butchers used this channel to wash away their waste.
See the shrine to St. Margaret Clitherow , located halfway down the street. Clitherow was a Catholic woman who was sentenced to death for sheltering priests.
After visiting many of the city’s historic attractions, rest your feet at a quaint café. Sip traditional British tea as you look out the window at the charming Shambles. There are galleries, restaurants and gift shops dotted throughout the narrow street.
Visit the York Shambles Penny Press, which squashes penny coins and creates a design of your choice. Press your coin with a York or Shambles logo and take it home as a reminder of your trip to this historic city.
The Shambles is situated just to the east of the River Ouse in the center of York. It is between St. Mary’s Abbey and Clifford’s Tower. Walk east for around 15 minutes from York Railway Station to arrive at the famous street.