The (impossibly cute) Shambles in York


The Shambles, as they are properly known, is a set of very small streets in central York. It’s the medieval part of town, and it’s really maintained that old-fashioned feel that most Americans only experience in Disney World. Small pedestrianized streets like this one are great, if only it wasn’t so crowded!

As you can see in the above picture, the Shambles in York have a connection to butchery. Even today there is a small market off the main street that has a lot of meat products for sale. Many of the shops also have meat hooks either in the windows or in front of the shop.  I’d prefer to think that the area is called the Shambles because it’s all old and cute and kind of falling down, but unfortunately etymology doesn’t always work that way!

If you’ve ever read a description of medieval or renaissance London, you’ve no doubt learned about the buildings that are built like step-stairs, each level extending out farther above the street. Some descriptions say that the buildings across the street from one another lean across the street, as though they were going in for a kiss!  Even though that description is really vivid, actually seeing buildings like this was a thrill. Look at the above picture … that leaning isn’t imagined!

York definitely has it’s fair share of adorable pubs, including this wine bar and bistro that looked right out of a movie set. Sometimes, when we’re walking around these impossibly cute streets and adorably twee shops, Alex and I have to remind ourselves that these places are real. People live here, work here, and have a pint here. It’s NOT Disney World, or a movie set.  And we are so lucky that we can be a part of it!

Ah yes … the beer store. This was a great little store that has more beer than you can imagine, from all over the world. And yes, they did stock our favorite cider: Rekorderlig. We even picked up a few for our train ride back to London that evening. All in all, a great day!

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Posted on 01/09/2010, in Exploring the UK and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Nikki Williams

    Hi. I am ever so sorry to correct you but The Shambles is only ONE street in York, not a district. Your first picture is of Low Petergate, some 200 yards distant from The Shambles. Your second and third pictures are indeed of The Shambles. I am pleased you enjoyed your stay in York.

    Best wishes

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