York Craft Tour

(Felix in Duttons).

I am busy. I do not find long working days particularly good for either body or soul. During periods of insane activity, one must always find a little time to spend in the restorative presence of friends, and it was great to meet up with Felix the other day. We spent a lovely, crafty few hours in York, highlights of which included a cake shaped like a cauliflower, and these amazing tea-cup buttons that Felix found in Duttons (of course).

(very Felix buttons)

I thought it might be a good idea to produce a map, linking together my favourite York crafty locations. You can click each map-marker to see my notes on each location, or click on ‘larger map’ to zoom in and see the full thing in much more detail.

Each marker takes you to one of eleven craft hotspots. In no particular order, they are:
1. Duttons (for Buttons)
2. Betty’s (tea. baked goods. confectionery.)
3. Viking Loom (embroidery, quilting, beading)
4. Sheepish (best place for yarn)
5. The Japanese Shop
6. York Beer and Wine (and cheese and cider) shop
7. Priestley’s Vintage Clothing
8. Quilter’s Guild Museum
9. York Castle Museum
10. York Brewery
11. Monk Bar Chocolatiers

(Betty’s. Yorkshire delicacies indeed).

This list is entirely personal, and a bit idiosyncratic. For example, I like ‘Sheepish’ for Yarn, and the ‘Viking Loom’ for embroidery supplies, and I prefer both to ‘Craft Basics’ on Gillygate. On my list you will find beer and cheese, wool and cakes, the finest local produce and ingredients, and (perhaps incongruously) some lovely stuff from Japan. There are also two brilliant museums: the York Castle Museum (chock full of fabulous textiles and intriguing domestic objects), and the museum and archive of the UK Quilter’s Guild (now happily housed in their new home in St Anthony’s Hall). Check their websites for opening times and listings of current exhibitions.

(Ysolda by the River Ouse).

One of the best things about York is how compact and pedestrian-friendly it is. All of the craft hot spots on my list are within or near the city centre, and all are in in easy walking distance from each other. Walking around York is aided by two of the city’s unique geographic / architectural features: its rivers and its walls. The city is bisected by the rivers Foss and Ouse, the latter of which is lined by a lovely Georgian path known (then and now) as the “New Walk“. As well as being a genuine pleasure in itself, a quick walk along the “New Walk” takes you to the haven of refreshment that is the York Beer and Wine shop. A York organisation has produced this great guided tour of the New Walk, which I strongly recommend reading. (I used to live in the first location on this tour many moons ago when I was a student. Ahem.)

(The New Walk in 1756)

The Romans built the original walls around the city they named Eboracum. These defensive walls have been rebuilt several times since over the centuries, and today you can walk almost the whole way round the city centre along well-maintained wall paths which, according to York City Council, are tramped on by around a million people a year. Several of my craft hotspots are near to the bars (or gates) which form the stopping-off and getting-on points for wall-walkers. These include Monk Bar Chocolatiers (located, unsurpsingly, by Monk Bar) and The Viking Loom (close to Bootham Bar).

(Felix walks along the city walls toward Bootham Bar).

As I said, this list is entirely personal, but if any of you Yorkshire folk feel I’ve missed a really vital craft hot spot, do tell me, and I can make additions (or amendments) to the map. Hope you enjoy it! Thankyou!

(tree of knowledge on the doorway of York Minster).