Medieval Yorkshire street voted nation’s prettiest

The Shambles has existed in York since the 14th century.  Pictures by James Hardisty.

The Shambles has existed in York since the 14th century. Pictures by James Hardisty.

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It was already well-known as one of the best preserved Medieval shopping streets in Europe, but now it has been voted the very prettiest of all thoroughfares across Britain.

The Shambles has existed since the 14th century and once played host to a thriving meat market. Characterised by overhanging timber-framed buildings that hug the roadside - some dating back more than 700 years - the street is now lined with independent shops and is a must-see on the itineraries of city visitors.

A variety of independent shops line The Shambles, which help continue to make it a popular visitor attraction.

A variety of independent shops line The Shambles, which help continue to make it a popular visitor attraction.

It has been ranked the prettiest street in Britain by coach firm National Express following a survey of 1,000 people across the UK, beating Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile and the sweeping Georgian architecture of the Circus in Bath into second and third, respectively.

Howard Proctor, proprietor of Earl Grey Tea Rooms on The Shambles said the recognition came as little surprise, saying: “It’s well deserved. It’s not a museum. Its buildings are still very much alive.”

Alan Milner, brand development executive at cufflinks retailer, Cuffs & Co, added: “If you spend any time at all on The Shambles you will understand why people vote it one of the prettiest streets.

“Because there’s not a lot of light, it’s how you imagine it was in the early years of The Shambles.”

Chris Hardy, spokesman for National Express, said he hoped the list would inspire people to explore somewhere they had never visited before during the Easter bank holiday weekend.

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