Explore York’s historic streets, ginnels and snickelways and discover a world of paintings, antiques and rare books.
Shopping for books, antiques and paintings in York
- First, venture beyond the city walls, turning right out of the Tourist Information Centre to Gillygate, where the Adze Gallery stocks contemporary paintings, sculptures, original prints and ceramics. Retracing your steps, turn right into Bootham, where Janette Ray Rare Books (open Fridays, Saturdays or by appointment) specialises in architectural, design and garden books. Return to St Leonard’s Place – perhaps via York’s Art Gallery to see the beautiful William Etty works in the flesh, among its impressive collection. Continue past the Theatre Royal to the Red House Antiques Centre on the corner of Duncombe Place. The centre is dateline vetted and has over 60 antique dealers selling everything from furniture to jewellery.
- Cross at the traffic lights into Blake Street where the Blake Gallery has original works in many mediums as well as highly collectable Sally Arnup bronzes. Now into Lendal, via St Helen’s Square, and to the York Antique Centre, home to around 15 independent dealers selling smaller antiques, silver and a mix of old and new jewellery.
- Return to medieval Stonegate, the street of printers and booksellers up to the 18th century. On your right, at the entrance to Coffee Yard, look out for the scarlet Printer’s Devil, which historically advertised the location of printers and is one of many attractive old signs which adorn this picturesque street. For other picturesque streets to visit in York, take a look at our things to do in York guide. But back to the trail now. The Antiques Centre has one of the best collections in the North of England and staff have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the stock. Over 150 dealers specialise in everything from glass and porcelain to jewellery, clocks and books. Just opposite, Cavendish Antique and Collectors Centre has over 50 showcases specialising in jewellery. For collectors of fine period English silver jewellery, a visit to Barbara Cattle at 45 Stonegate is a must.
- At the top of Stonegate in Minster Gates, the Minster Gate Book Shop houses a vast collection of antiquarian and second hand books and an interesting selection of decorative prints, maps and engravings. For those with a fascination for ancient artefacts and coins, turn right into High Petergate to Ancient World where all items can be authenticated. Now, retrace your steps into Low Petergate, and the Braithwaite Gallery – the studio of local artist M.J. Braithwaite, where you can buy original and signed limited edition prints.
- In Goodramgate, Mulberry Bush is a quaint, busy antique shop and gallery selling smaller pieces of furniture, silver, ceramics and contemporary paintings. Here you will also find York’s oldest row of houses, dating back to the 14th C, and don’t miss the gateway to Holy Trinity, one of York’s finest medieval churches.
- Across the river, Ken Spelman has been trading in Micklegate since 1948. With over 40,000 rare, antiquarian & fine books, the shop is run by ex-students of the University of York, and offers a free book-search service. The French House is a treasure chest of 18th and 19th C French furniture including fabulous beds, gilt mirrors and lighting.
- If you’re looking for country furniture and collectables, try Ruth Ford Antiques on Fossgate, a short walk away back across the River. Next door, Philip Martin Music Books attracts customers from miles around to its impressive collection of new and second hand music books. Happy hunting!
Tip – Don’t miss the Barbican Bookshop with 10 rooms full of new and second hand books, including specialist sections on York and the surrounding area and the railways.
Do you want more ideas for days out in York? Take a look at our other York travel itineraries and create a great day out the next time you are looking for something new to do in York.