A Christmas Shopping Weekend in York

It feels wrong to be talking about Christmas already and way too early for shopping. But if your diary is anything like mine, it’s most likely filling up and you might like to schedule in a weekend away from the madness of modern malls and generic high streets.

I don’t actually like shopping, I find Christmas with kids rather stressful and I’m a bit of a scrooge when it comes to gifts. However, when done right (avoiding the high street and last minute panic buying) I love Christmas in my hometown, York.

York is not a city for rushed shopping. It’s an age old place to savour and enjoy. It’s a quirky place full of unusual shops, cute boutiques and family businesses.

Apparently a law still stands that it’s legal to shoot a Scotsman, but only with a bow and arrow, and only through the eye, and only on Sundays.

Expaters, if you’re here for shopping and not just it’s history, walk from the station towards the centre…

york expat luxury weekend

Wander down Stonegate, a medieval street famous for residents including Guy Fawkes. Today it’s popular for shops such as Jo Malone, Whistles, The White Company, as well as smaller souvenir shops and prom dress outfitters, Molly Browns.

Stonegate a luxury weekend in York

Take a peek at the Minster cathedral, and in jewelers Ogden. Its main store is in the Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate, but its sister shop here is just as lovely.

The family business has served royalty and state figureheads for generations and my family have been customers for almost as long too. The staff are friendly and never pushy, knowledgeable and open to all sorts of queries. They gladly repaired my father’s antique watch which he had once entrusted to a less reputable dealership (hence why it was broken).

While they stock some great watch brands – Omega, Parmigiani and Baume & Mercier, to name a few, they don’t offer some of the big names, like Rolex. A word of warning: if you’re set on such a name, I’d avoid the other designer watch shops on the main shopping thoroughfare, Coney Street. They’re all rather hectic and the service is much less personal. I tried them and walked out. Go for Ogden, or go to another city.

Jewelry shop - a luxury weekend in York

Venture forth for stocking fillers at the cutest Christmas shop in the world, Käthe Wohlfahrt. But be warned, if you’re coming with your children, it’s not always so easy to get them out…

luxury Christmas decorations in York luxury Christmas decorations in York

And don’t forget to look up. Such pretty shop fronts!

beautiful shop in York

Visit the Stonegate Teddy Bear Shop for the cutest bears in town…

teddy bear shop york

Meanwhile for adults, Petergate, Grape Lane and Swinegate feature all the best designers, including one of my favourite underwear shops, Temptation. Handbag heaven Mulberry is here too…

mulberry handbags york

If you’re looking for something to wear just once, The Bridal Rogue Gallery is here also…

wedding dress shop york

And while you’re on Grape Lane, take a peek down its little arcades…

arcade in york shopping street

At this cute little vintage shop (some seriously feel good swooshy 50s gowns here)…

vintage fashion in york

Or spoil a friend with something more modern at Giselle (a bright Laura Orchant luxury silk scarf makes a fab gift)…

designer fashion in York

Or spoil the man in your life at luxury men’s shoe shop Old Sole… (how about booking him in for a pair of handmade bespoke ‘just for you’ shoes?)

luxury men's shoes in York

Or consider a more unusual gift from The Art of Protest Gallery

quirky art gallery in york

I hope you like York as much as I do. In fact I challenge anyone not to like it. Anyone except a Scot on Sundays, that is…

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