Ever since I heard that The Shop That Must Not Be Named opened up on The Shambles in York, I was absolutely desperate to visit. I love York as a city, it’s quaint little shops, old cobbled roads and buildings leaning over so far you could high five the person in the opposite building.
After a three hour journey (with a pit stop for Burger King) we arrived and popped into a local pub for a quick G&T; sitting in the car for three hours really takes it out of you!
We expected queues for The Shop That Must Not Be Named, especially with it being the school summer holidays now as well. The queue from the door extended around the side of the shop and into the markets behind, however we only queued for an hour and were entertained by Luke, a street magician who absolutely blew our minds. He started off by showing us some card tricks, the classic tricks; of course when you get it my age you start to concentrate more in order to try and catch the magician out, but it was impossible – I stared at a deck of card in his hands and they literally disappeared before my eyes and into his pocket. He then went on to show us some tricks with a Rubik’s Cube, jumbling it up then just throwing it behind himself and it was solved. I really do believe in magic.
Thanks to our entertainer, the queuing time seemed much shorter, and we were in The Shop That Must Not Be Named before we knew it.
Inside the small store were shelves upon shelves of Harry Potter themed goodies, gadgets and gizmos. Wands, Time-Turners, Broomsticks even the Sword of Gryffindor, along with Extendable Ears, Chocolate Frogs and Stationary. The staff only allow so many people in the shop at one time so that everyone can have a proper look and can enjoy their experience. I brought myself a Chocolate Frog at £3.99 and a heat activated Marauder’s Map mug at £9.99. Mischief managed. I wanted to buy myself so Bert’s Every Flavour Beans but I was too much of a wimp – got put off by Ear wax, Earthworm and Dirt.
After making my purchases we went across the street to The Flax and Twine, a little tea rooms selling their version of the Harry Potter beverage Butterbeer. Dad and I ordered Buttery Beer Sodas, Victoria Sponge and St Clement’s Cake; Mum went for a fruit scone with clotted cream and jam and a pot of tea and Jake had a good old bacon butty. Dad absolutely loved the Butterbeer drink, which we have kind of guessed the ingredients of and will be attempting to create at home to tell you all about. It was a little too sweet for me though, so Dad annihilated what I left.
We pottered about The Shambles, in and out of little shops all leaning into each other – you can definitely see where JK Rowling got her inspiration for Diagon Alley.
In the middle of The Shambles is a shrine to St. Margaret Clitherow, a woman who, in the 1500’s harboured priests and taught children Catholicism illegally from her home, which is in fact the shrine. Inside was a little book where people could write their prayers; it was a really heart-warming and insightful visit.
I spotted an old school sweet shop amongst the crooked shop doors and vintage hanging shop signs, and so picked up some goodies for us to relive our childhoods – literally like a kid in a sweet shop. We picked up some Haribo Strawbs, Pontifract Cakes, Flying Saucers and some Willy Wonka Nerds. Let me let you into my little secret, buy a pack of Nerds and buy a plain McFlurry – best topping ever.
After walking through The Shambles main stretch, we took a look in the market stalls, where the BananaMoon Music stall caught mine and Jake’s eye – CD’s and vinyls for a quid, so obviously I snatched up a copy of The Stone Roses One Love album.
Our final little giggle for the day was a trip to the Disney store – because if you go anywhere that has a Disney store you have to go in. This is where we discovered my Dad and Jake’s likeness for Mufassa and Scar from The Lion King – uncanny right?
It’s been a lovely day out and the weather stayed beautiful too. I think next time I visit York it will have to be an overnight stay, as six hours driving in one day doesn’t give you the time you need to truly admire York and go sightseeing. For now though, I’ve had an amazing time and will now sit down with a cup of tea in my Marauder’s Map mug and relax.
Until next time, York.