Shambles is one of the best-preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe. Although none of the original shop-fronts have survived from medieval times, some properties still have exterior wooden shelves, reminders of when cuts of meat were served from the open windows. The street was made narrow by design to keep the meat out of direct sunlight, but you can readily imagine the Shambles packed with people and awash with offal and discarded bones.
Today, the beautiful old buildings have been restored and now house cheerful cafés, quirky boutiques and even a coin & stamp dealer. The unique beauty of The Shambles has been recognised and awarded the title of the most picturesque street in Britain in the Google Street View Awards. York’s most famous shopping street. Once lined with Butchers’ shops, today the smells are rather more pleasant with aromas from the chocolate, fudge and sweet shops, clothes and accessories and gift shops.
With its cobbled streets and overhanging buildings, Shambles is believed to have been the inspiration behind Diagon Alley from the movie adaptation of the Harry Potter series. York has now become known as a hot spot for Harry Potter fans and is indeed home to the country’s original wizarding emporium, The Shop That Must Not Be Named, and you can also mix your own "potions" at The Potions Cauldron at Shambles 9 3/4!