This Street In England Was The Inspiration For Harry Potter's Diagon Alley

This Street In England Was The Inspiration For Harry Potter's Diagon Alley
The Shambles in York has a centuries-old history but it is now popularly known as ,

The Shambles in York is quite the charmer with its cobbled paths and leaning buildings, and it is an absolute delight for Potterheads

OT Staff
November 09 , 2022
02 Min Read

JK Rowling's Harry Potter series has transformed children's literature and had a tremendous influence on pop culture. One of the most popular and successful book series, it has had fans across the world trying to guess which actual places were the inspiration for the memorable settings, from Hogwarts to Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Some of the places in the series have been spelled out by Rowling; for instance, she chose King's Cross Station as the portal that would take Harry to Hogwarts because this was where her parents met on a train to Scotland. Others are still up for the guessing game. Among them is the setting that inspired Diagon Alley. Some speculate that Rowling got the idea from Victoria Street in Edinburgh. Others say it is a mediaeval street in York, England. Here's a look at the latter, known as The Shambles.

The charming medieval town with narrow cobbled alleys is best known for its rich history, Viking past and glorious architecture. And it is also pure magic for muggles thanks to the atmospheric The Shambles, an atmospheric street that is said to be an inspiration for Diagon Alley from the wizarding world of the Potter books. The narrow cobbled street is lined with beautifully preserved mostly timber buildings, some dating back to the 14th century.


There are three Potter shops in the area stocked to the gills with magic-themed merchandise than you can shake a wand at. The first and original one has the best name - The Shop That Must Not Be Named. All three stock a range of licenced Potter merch from wands to mugs, scarves, hats, frog chocolates, potions, and much more. The Potter influence isn’t just limited to the three shops. Some eateries such as the café at The Flax have developed Potter-themed dishes.

Once a hub for butchers and meat shops - you can still see meathooks hanging on the walls - the street has been preserved well over the centuries with most of its historic features still intact.  Look out for the cobbled channel that runs along the street between raised pavements - it was once used to dispose of the meat shop waste. The overhanging upper floors blocking out natural light may give you a sense of claustrophobia but these were built to shield hanging meat from sun and rain. They are a common feature of Tudor architecture.

Walk through the street lined with quaint shops, charming boutiques and hipster cafes and bakeries and you will understand why it was named the most picturesque street in Britain in the Google Street View Awards. This small area is also a heaven for shoppers with indie store fronts advertising premium jewellery, artisan bread and handmade chocolates. Hit up Monk Bar Chocolatiers for artisan chocolatier with more than 60 varieties of luxury, handmade chocolates; Roly’s Fudge Pantry has the best  handmade fudge with free tasters; pick up contemporary silver jewellery at Lily Shambles and Silverado. Zatchels sells British satchels and leather handbags made using traditional manufacturing techniques. Got an incurable sweet tooth? The Shambles Sweet Shop is York's finest independent sweet shop serving over 300 varieties.

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