The Street That Inspired Diagon Alley
The Shambles, York
The Shambles is a medieval shopping street in York, also thought to be one of the main inspirations for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films.
I recently spent some time in York and couldn’t resist taking a look around myself. Walking down the cobbled street it's easy to see the resemblance between this road in York and the fictitious magical alleyway seen in the Harry Potter movies.
J. K. Rowling may well have been inspired by it and location hunters for later film sets have admitted as much, but the Shambles as it is today is actually not the Diagon Alley portrayed in the Harry Potter films. That’s at Leadenhall Market in London and Warner Bros Studios!
The bridge at York Railway Station does appear in The Philosopher’s Stone when Harry and Hagrid walk across it on their way to the famous Platform. I hope to also see it the next time I’m in York!
Goathland Railway Station on the North York Moors was used as Hogsmeade in the same film and Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales was where Harry and Hermione hid from Voldemort in The Deathly Hallows.
Of course, York has really embraced this link to the wizarding world, and the Shambles currently has three dedicated Harry Potter shops -The Shop That Can’t Be Named, The Boy Wizard and The World of Wizardry – selling a range of gifts from wands, prop replicas and goblets to stuffed owls!
The Shop That Can’t Be Named was our favourite, with so much to look at inside, including a huge display of wonderful wands and lots of other goodies. There were also some really unusual items, including a range of themed jewellery and rare collector’s items. I was especially pleased to see lots of Hufflepuff bits and pieces. The staff were all lovely and really friendly, and the window displays were fantastic. There was even a spot outside to hang up your broomstick on the way in!
It was very busy during our visit to the Shambles, with plenty of visitors taking selfies and enjoying the atmosphere. The likeness to Diagon Alley is remarkable, and I loved the various quirky shops that line both sides of the street. I’m so pleased I was able to walk its cobbles and get some photos last month. York is a beautiful place and I’m hoping to take a trip back again soon!