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Ey up, what’s that? : A Guide to the Best Independent Spots in York

Image: Elle Hibbert

Forty-Five Vinyl Café

29 Micklegate, YO1 6JH

As soon as you enter the dog-friendly Forty-Five Vinyl Café, you’re bound to feel at home. Tucked away on Micklegate, this relaxed establishment is a friendly community music space founded upon the rejection of digital music services. Offering a large array of secondhand vinyl for purchase, it’s a great place to unwind and relax with friends. Infamous for their cheese toasties (complete with vegan and gluten-free options), Forty-Five Vinyl Café is the perfect place to have lunch whilst you admire the artwork by independent artists on sale. With regular in-store live sets, it’s the perfect place to discover new music with a locally brewed beer. Whether you’re searching for the independent music scene in York, or want deliciously affordable comfort food, Forty-Five Vinyl Café is a must-go.

To find out what’s on and what there is to eat, visit or follow @fortyfiveuk for updates.

The Minster Bookshop

8 Minster Gates, YO1 7HL

Minster Gates has been associated with the selling and printing of books since the 1500s. Spread over five floors of a Georgian townhouse, this bookshop covers a large and diverse range of subject matters. Whether you’re looking for newly released fiction or scouting out old classics, you can guarantee that the Minster Bookshop will provide something for every book lover. With books piled upon each other, the shop is full to the brim of intriguing titles and interesting reads. It’s recommended to designate a substantial length of time to rummage around the shop. Often cheaper than Highstreet bookshops, arrive armed with a tote bag to carry all the purchases you fall in love with.

Pushed for time? Access their online book collection at or e-mail them at

Expressions Vintage

12 Walmgate, YO1 9TJ

Expressions Vintage is a must-visit. Its intriguing array of upcycled and customised clothing offers a multitude of fashionable possibilities, from 1950’s dresses to charming accessories; the shop is bound to have something for you. Specialising in vintage American sportswear, the owners of the shop are approachable and helpful, offering a request service if you’re after an item from a particular era. A family business since 2004, Expressions is a great place to scout unique gifts for special birthdays and events. No need to worry if you’re from outside York, as this wonderful shop also offers free U.K. delivery!

The Giftery & The Shop of Small Changes

177 Burton Stone Lane, YO30 6DG

With two distinct shops under one roof, this is the perfect place to visit if you’re wanting to live sustainably or reduce your disposable waste. The Shop of Small Changes is York’s first non-food zero waste shop, allowing you to bring in your own containers and stock up on various household essentials. Meanwhile, The Giftery showcases a range of gifts and keepsakes made by local creatives from recycled materials. Visiting this family-run business is essential before Christmas, as they stock a range of lovely festive greetings cards and unique gifts. Mel, the shop’s owner, is enthusiastic about facilitating a dialogue about ways to reduce waste so pop along and chat.

Want to find out exactly what products are stocked? Check them out on Facebook or get in contact at: +44 7771 812639

Rainbow Ceramics

15-17 Bootham, YO30 7BW

A stone's throw away from York Minster and open 7 days a week, Rainbow Ceramics is the ideal place for a session of artistic relaxation. The shop offers a large range of ceramics for you to hand-paint, allowing your creative juices to flow freely. The chance to design unique and personalised pieces make this a great place to create memorable keepsakes for you and those close to you. Offering a range of hot and cold drinks, it’s definitely a destination to bear in mind when you’re wanting to escape Yorkshire’s rain and wind. or +44 1904 675533

The Habit

40 Goodramgate, YO1 7LF

Previously owned by The Minster, this building is a treasure cove of cosy corners spread over two floors. Showcasing a large range of musical talent five nights a week, the space has something for everyone. With a free open mic night on their schedule, The Habit is a place of energy and character. Though often busy, its welcoming vibe is accentuated by a charming roof terrace offering views of York Cathedral. The dog-friendly establishment offers a rotating ale menu and a large global drink selection. Catering for vegans and being an affordable place for a hungover breakfast, it’s a wonderful local place to visit in York, no matter the weather.

Visit or call: +44 1904 611072

Millie Rosette

illustration by Elle Hibbert @helliegibs

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