Every day a tour guide brings visitors to Shambles and tells them that it is the inspiration for Diagon Alley.
He explains how, when they came to build the set for the Harry Potter movies, the film’s designers visited York’s most famous street to study the real-life version of JK Rowling’s fictional thoroughfare.
Well now that tour guide can direct Harry Potter fans to a shop that sells anything and everything to do with the boy wizard.
The Shop That Must Not Be Named opened on Shambles two days ago.
Enter the Potterverse
The store is the brainchild of Adam Rodway, who owns Give The Dog A Bone, the popular culture and gift shop on Fossgate.
He has been looking to open a Harry Potter emporium for two years, but never found the right location.
Then number 30 Shambles, formerly home to the Yankee Candles store, became vacant – and his search was over.
Crossing the threshold is like entering the Harry Potterverse. Customers are greeted with the words, “Welcome, Muggles” – and are asked which house at Hogwarts they would like to be in.
There is everything the Potter fan could want. From socks to scarves, mugs to posters, jewellery to bags – all official merchandise.
It has proved a big draw in its first two days – with bestsellers including wands and notebooks.
“It’s been so busy – this is supposed to be my day off,” said Ariel Miller, who was weekend manager at Give The Dog A Bone before joining the new shop.
One of the staff, Shelley Dunn, is kitted out in full Hogwarts uniform, complete with gown and wand.
Both she and Sara Fredheim, who was working the till on our visit, had to answer Harry Potter trivia questions as part of the job interview. Shelley got 20 out of 20 correct, and Sara only dropped one point.