Who needs its transatlantic namesake when the ancient city of York proves itself well qualified to compete in the Carrie Bradshaw shopping stakes?
The great thing about shopping in York is that everything is so incredibly close. Take a left turn down Stonegate and there’s a cracking Cath Kidston shop and the prettiest branch of Whistles you're likely to see. Things really get interesting on Low Petersgate when you reach Selkie. Featured on Mary, Queen of Shops, it's arranged in a higgledy-piggledy town house over three floors, with a beautiful bleached wood winding staircase and a gallery on the top floor. Here you’ll find great individual pieces. I loved the crazy party dresses by the Unique Boutique label, killer heels by Shalimar and great bags by Johnnie Loves Rosie. If you’ve got a hot date or a big do coming up, this is definitely the place to head.
Further on down the road is Sarah Coggles, a relatively big emporium with everything from dVb Victoria Beckham jeans to McQ by McQueen, Lulu Guinness and UGG boots. Moda in Pelle and Chinelli, on the wonderfully named Grape Lane, sell to-die-for shoes, while the fabulous Priestley’s Vintage Clothing is so tucked away on Norman Court, you’re sure to find a gem.
Heading down to St Sampson’s Square you find Browns of York, the grande dame of York’s department stores and home to classic fashion brands such as Alex & Co, Jacques Vert, Radley bags and Jane Shilton.
If ethical fashion is more your style, then shimmy past Mango, H&M and Zara on Market Street, down Peter Lane for One Ethical Boutique, where all the clothes are either ethically or ecologically sourced. I had my eye on the Izzy Lane and Beyond Skin shoes and the Earth Squared kimonos.
If you’re intending to be a lady who lunches, there’s no finer place than Bettys Café Tea Rooms in St Helens Square. It may not serve Manhattans, but it does a mean cup of Yorkshire tea and comfort food of the highest quality. The Yorkshire Rarebit definitely bolsters you for even more energetic shopping.
I recommend you stay at the fabulous Hotel du Vin York for some tried and tested boutique hotel chic. The more jaded among you may have tired of the boutique label, but the Hotel du Vin chain was one of the pioneers of the movement and has successfully stuck to its guns with ultra comfortable dark wood rooms, slick, sexy bathrooms, above average cuisine in the bistro (themed around the racecourse – my dad would approve), and a bar that will serve you a decent cocktail when everywhere else has closed. Oh and there’s even a Cigar Shack out the back, if you fancy an old-school smoke!
The York Pass allows free entry into 29 top tourist attractions and comes with a free guidebook. It costs £28 per day for an adult and £18 per day for a child.
Fashionistas might like to catch the Sixties exhibition at York Castle Museum to see what fashion was all about.