An amble down the Shambles with its charming cobbles, wonky windows and rickety roofs is essential whilst in York, and not to be missed is the enchanting Aladdin’s cave of vintage treasures that is The Flax and Twine at number 20. With its simply magical, lovingly crafted window displays and its shelves of whimsical knick-knacks and trinkets, this hidden gem is truly a shabby chic paradise, as well as a cake-lover’s dream (it’s also a café!).
Reminiscent of a Berlin flea market, The Flax and Twine is bursting with deliciously old, weathered items and artisan antiques. It is lovingly and tastefully stocked by its owners with zero tat – just beautiful, high quality pieces. From vintage-style floral umbrellas to delicate china tea sets, sturdy old trunks to ornate rococo mirrors, and pretty fabric lampshades to classic childrens’ games, it is impossible not to spend hours wandering around mesmerised by the sheer beauty and elegance of this yellowed, romantic sanctuary.
Had we actually lived in York, our home would now be fully furnished with The Flax and Twine’s captivating collection of charmingly battered shabby chic furniture. Alas we do not, and we forgot to ask about shipping opportunities! Livi literally dreams of those drawers and hopes one day she can find something similar.
Each nook and cranny delivers more delightful surprises and up the stairs decoupaged with vintage sheet music is a gorgeous, cosy tearoom/ café serving freshly baked-on-the-premises cakes and scones. The mismatched wooden tables and chairs, chipped paint and fresh flowers make this unpretentious, homely café a perfect oasis from the trample of tourists on the streets outside.
Items on the menu are seasonal and include both sweet and savoury. We shared a warm chocolate brownie and a large piece of carrot cake (pre our dairy-free days!), which were both wonderful. Their current special (summer 2017) is an apricot and St Clements curd scone with clotted cream, which we think sounds absolutely heavenly! Savoury items include a goats cheese Mediterranean tart and a homemade chili.
Once inside The Flax and Twine it is hard to leave. It weaves its magic effortlessly around you and time stands still. Rummaging through treasures in this grade two listed building built in the 1700s was easily one of our favourite ways to spend an afternoon in York and we’d recommend a visit to anyone and everyone. Without hesitation we say it’s better than Betty’s (by a country mile!) so if you only have time for one tearoom, make it this one!