The Shambles And Harry Potter In York

The Shambles in York is a beautiful medieval cobbled street in York city centre, made even more famous by its connections to Harry Potter and a place you will want to stop for some photos and to browse in the beautiful shop windows.

Harry Potter fan or not, you will fall in love with The Shambles and it is perfect for your next day out in York.

The Shambles And Harry Potter In York

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York Shambles

We live just short of an hour away from York and love to get the park and ride into York and enjoy the best of what York has to offer.

One of those BEST things to do is of course a trip to the world-famous York shambles.

It just takes you back in time.

To a medieval time and the buildings that you see as you walk along the shambles will amaze you.

Then you see the buildings that overhang at the top and almost touch.

No wonder, it has links to Harry Potter with the way it looks.

I’m not a big Harry Potter fan (getting my confession out of the way now) but just love how the shambles look and how it shows great history, just like a lot of the little streets do in York.

Why Is The Shambles In York Famous?

the shambles in york 2

The Shambles were famous for many years, even before Harry Potter.

That is because this historical street in York, features lots of preserved medieval buildings, some of which date back to the 14th century.

It is assumed that when they were looking for inspiration for Harry Potter that they visited York and The Shambles wowed them just as much as it does with us Yorkshire folk.

Of course, The Shambles has become more famous since the first Harry Potter movie was a hit just before our eldest son was born. He is 22 years old now and still loves Harry Potter.

The scene from Harry Potter in the first Harry Potter movie called The Philosopher’s Stone, shows Harry going to Diagon Alley to get his supplies.

Diagon Alley is inspired by The Shambles and when you compare and watch the movie again and see Diagon Alley, you can see how like for like they are.

Though of course, Diagon Alley was not actually filmed in York, it was just an amazing inspiration.

diagon alley vs the shambles
When I showed our Harry Potter obsessed son this photo he showed me a screenshot from the movie and we couldn’t believe how close the resemblance actually is.

Was Harry Potter Filmed In York?

Yes, the scenes from the first movie that reflect Kings Cross station in London, was actually York train station instead.

It’s the only scene from Harry Potter filmed in York.

Many assume the Diagon Alley is actually York and filmed on The Shambles street but the shambles was just an inspiration not the proper location.

Where Is Diagon Alley In York?

Okay, to save yourself getting lost, I recommend using Google Maps on foot when you are in York City Centre and planning to head to Diagon Alley aka The Shambles.

Simply put The Shambles into your Google maps and take a walk there. From the other Harry Potter York favourite, Hole In The Wand, it is JUST 3 minutes walk.

Where Is Diagon Alley In York
You will be pleased to know that The Shambles is also very well sign posted for when you are making your way there on foot.

Things To Do In The Shambles York?

Once you arrive on The Shambles, you will be spoilt for choice for things to do and you could easily spend a couple of hours here, though be ready to brace the crowds and the big queues.

There are plenty of shops for you to admire as you walk up the shambles. You can go in and buy yourself some souvenirs or just window shop or just admire the beauty and old school look that this street is famous for.

But most are here for the main Harry Potter shop. It is called the shop that must not be named and is famous among Harry Potter fans and is well worth a look. I bet my boy wishes I did his birthday and Christmas present shopping here.

You will notice that the shop that must not be named is both on the left of the street and the right. This is because the left (if walking up the shambles) is the main memorabilia shop and the one opposite on the right is just for buying Harry Potter clothing.

Expect the Harry Potter shop to be the busiest on The Shambles and we had to queue about 20 minutes before we went inside. But once you are in, you are in! Then you can walk around at your own pace and check out al the great Harry Potter merchandise and see what you would like to buy.

queue at the shop with no name on the shambles in york
This is the queue outside the shop with no name and this was earlier in the day when the queue was less. It is well worth waiting for with the choice of Harry Potter memorabilia inside.

Then of course, when you are done, head across the road and get yourself some Harry Potter clothes.

Then once you have visited the shop that must not be named, you have other shambles shops to check out. Plus, you will be pleased to read that it’s not the only Harry Potter shop on the shambles.

How Many Harry Potter Shops Are There On The Shambles? There are technically four Harry Potter shops on The Shambles. That is when you count The Shop With No Name twice. I.e. there is one version for the merchandise and one shop for the clothing.

You also have right at the top number 1 The Shambles (called Barghest) which is a discount style merchandise shop and has Harry Potter items but also stuff from other movies too.

number 1 the shambles
This is the corner position that number 1 the shambles has and is also an ideal position to stand and take photos if you want to get all of the shambles in one photo.

The fourth Harry Potter shop is The Potions Cauldron which is an extension of the Hole In The Wand mini golf experience which is just a few streets away. When you do the Hole In The Wand experience you finish with a potion drink, and in The Potions Cauldron you have the option to skip to the shop part and get some potions and grab some sweets.

the potions cauldron at the shambles in york
Here is inside the potions cauldron and the different bottles they do. Our favourite is the cream soda and you can take these glass bottles home with you and refill them with bath salts for a fun memory of your day out in York.

But wait…The Shambles being such a big tourist attraction in York has many more shops….

Roly’s Fudge Pantry York – The fudge inside Roly’s pantry is delicious and they always have some fudge samples for you to try first, before taking some home with you.

Rolys Fudge Pantry York
Here is the fudge that they have made, before it has been portioned up. The best value for money is the made up bags and you can mix and match which ones you want and they have a great deal on the fudge.

The Shambles Sweet Shop – is also close by and in there its like going down memory lane to an old fashioned sweet shop. They have a lot of different containers of sweets and you can get them weighed out in 100g measurements. We chose the soft wine gums, dolly mixture and the teddy bears.

the shambles sweet shop
Is it me. Or do all these tubs of sweets from the shambles sweet shop remind you of childhood too? I just love the wine gums the most.

Monk Bar Chocolatiers – This is another for your sweet treats fix, though when we went during a busy day it was closed. Which was a shame as we would have loved to have tried some.

Nutcracker Christmas Shop – Next door to the Harry Potter shop is a Christmas decorations shop. Though personally, I thought the decorations were too expensive and didn’t bother buying anything.

The Edinburgh Wollen Mill – This is just as it sounds all those amazing wool based things you would buy on a trip to Edinburgh you can buy here. When we were in Edinburgh last summer, I picked up a beautiful blanket for our 3 seater sofa and then went back to this shop to get another one for our 2 seater.

the edinburgh wollen mill in york
You can get some great clothes in here, as well as scarfs, gloves, blankets and other similar products that you would associate with buying in Scotland.

The Cheesecake Guy – Another foodie one for you on the Shambles and can I say not only is this proper cheesecake the way the Americans do it so well, but this guy gave me a free one. And free tastes even better.

My big regret about The Cheesecake Guy is that i didnt go back and get some more because the biscoff cheesecake did look amazing!

Fabulously Rich Bakehouse & Gelato – We had ice creams from here and they were lovely. Well the kids did. Sofia had a biscoff ice cream and Jorge had a bubble gum flavoured one. They also have a few sweet treats inside too that are worth a look.

bubble gum flavoured icecream on the shambles
This is Jorge’s bubble gum ice cream – I thought I better get a picture of it for you as it’s so gorgeous and yes we did change it into a 99.

The York Ghost Merchants – Now this is a queue that is in the league of the queues you would get on the fastest rollercoaster at Flamingo Land on a Saturday in the summer holidays. It doesn’t just stretch through the street but the next street too.

There are of course more shops on the shambles then this, but this is a taste of the shops to expect, and a long way from the street that it originally was with loads of butchers and no sewage system.

Then once you have done the shambles shops it’s time to take some photos of where the two buildings almost meet. This is the best bit of visiting this medieval street. It looks so good no matter how few or how many people are window shopping as you take photos.

the shambles york busy day
This is a photo of how busy the shambles can get. Though people are very polite and it was easy to get up and down the street even when it was busy. Also this time we went someone had left the window open so where the buildings meet looks even more interesting.

After a photo opportunity there is also a ghost train that runs from the shambles, and we noticed a really big queue for it.

the queue for the ghost train
This was the queue for the ghost train when we were there. It literally takes up the whole street. But it’s a single queue of traffic so easy to get up and down the street.

Halfway up you will also notice the turn off for the shambles market. Here we spotted hot dogs and fries for sale as well as a few different foodie options. Much quicker than waiting for a table in one of the restaurants or cafes, and good for when you want food on the go as you check out York.

shambles market
The Shambles market is very well sign-posted and makes a lovely little area for a quick bite to eat. Ideal for if you are starving hungry and the cafes and restaurants are all full.

Because you have outside seating for all the various food trucks, we decided to have a bit of everything.

hot dog and fries on the shambles
The first place you will see in the shambles eating area is the hot dog and fries place. But do have a look around before making your choice as there is so much to choose from.

Sofia opted for the hot dog and fries. The queue was very short, but OMG we waited ages for her hot dog. Though it was very nice and the owner has a funny sense of humour as the menu said Bambi hot dog for the venison!

I headed to the burrito place and had a gluten free burrito bowl. It was so nice and they let me have a bit of this and a bit of that. The guacamole was amazing as was the pull apart meat.

burrito bowl on the shambles
This is the burrito bowl that I had. It was so delicious, and you could pay extra for more guacamole if you wanted to. They also have three types of meat and I went with a mix of all three and it was so, so good.

Then the boys did the Sicilian homemade pizza, and each had a pizza wrap which was like a calzone and folded over and you could choose different toppings. Dom went pepperoni, Kyle had the BBQ pulled pork and Jorge had the cheese pizza. I had a bite, and it was so, so, good!

pizza at the shambles
Just check it out – doesn’t this pizza wrap look amazing? They have a lot of different flavour combos you can get with it too. Just think your favourite pizza topping and go with it!

There were of course a lot more foodie options than this, including the Greek food truck that we have eaten from before and is so yummy. There is also Thai and a few other choices too.

The Shambles On Market Day!

We also had our 3rd visit back to The Shambles on market day and it had such a lovely atmosphere. Behind where the food stalls are, is where they have the market and there were a few stalls to choose from and it was nice to have a look around.

the shambles market
The shambles market has everything you would expect from a market. We spotted some gorgeous looking candles, a massive fruit and veg stall, plus plenty of places selling clothes and of course handbags.

Because we had other shops to visit too and other parts of York to visit, we didn’t buy anything from the market as we didn’t want to carry things around with us all day.

Plus, if you are bursting to go, there are toilets on the market area of the shambles or you can do what most York tourists do and use M&S!

Margaret Clitherow

For something different to do as you head up the shambles why not visit the shrine of Margaret Clitherow? You can head inside and have a look around and its something to do when it is raining, or to add to your free things to do in York and they even have a weekly mass on a Saturday morning at 10am dedicated to her.

shrine of margaret clitherow york
Here is a sneak peek inside the shrine of Margaret Clitherow and there are also candles you can light inside and it’s a beautiful room.

Harry Potter York Itinerary

If you are a big Harry Potter fan you can create your own one-day Harry Potter York itinerary and it can be great fun.

Start your day with mini golf at the Hole In The Wand because it’s a Harry Potter inspired place and the theme is so much fun. You even end with a potion made for you and you can take the glass bottle that the potion came in, home with you as a souvenir.

Then head to The Shambles and have a walk up and down the street, take loads of pictures, then head into the shop that must not be named. There are also other Harry Potter inspired shops for you to visit too.

harry potter books on the street that has no name
And if you need more Harry Potter books there are plenty for sale in the shop with no name. Kyle picked up some books when we visited and that is from someone that has read them all many times and in different languages.

Then go to York Train Station. Take photos of the train station knowing that it was used in train scenes from Harry Potter.

Pat yourself on the back, as you have now done the York harry potter favourite spots and if you still have some energy head to Pickering and check out their steam train.

York Harry Potter Visitor Information

  • What is The Shambles? The Shambles is a medieval street located in the historical town of York. It is a beautiful cobbled street and also has buildings that almost join and looks like something out of a movie.
  • Is Diagon Alley based on The Shambles? Yes, it is. The inspiration for the Diagon Alley scenes from Harry Potter is based on The Shambles. If you look at the scene from the movie and compare it to our photos, you will see the striking resemblance.
  • The Shambles York post code. The Shambles post code is YO1 7LX for adding to your Google Maps to find your way to the street and then to the Harry Potter shop.
  • The Shambles York opening times. The Shambles is a public street therefore it is always open. But most of the shops on the shambles are open between 10am and 6pm.

Pin York The Shambles For Later!

Well, that’s a wrap, do you have any questions then do ask below and if you want to refer back, to this later for planning your trip to the shambles in York then don’t forget to pin it to your travel board or days out board on Pinterest.

the shambles and harry potter in york

you should plan a trip to the shambles
About the author

Run by Sam, Dom, Kyle, Sofia & Jorge it documents our family’s love for eating out, day trips, road trips and great holidays.

We just love a trip, we love to travel, and here we will show you with a little planning, how to have a great adventure and create new memories along the way!

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