The school holidays are a welcome break to spend some quality time with each other. Day trips out and family nights in, they are an essential fun-filled bonding experience. However much those statements rang true or false for you this Easter, all good things must come to an end, and it’s that time: the kids have gone back to school. 

But have you dropped them there with everything they needed and what they wanted? Text books, notepads, stationery, lunchboxes, tablets, bags, masks, and probably much more; there’s a whole lot to remember! Helping you and your child do that in unique style are these eclectic independent shops in York…


Barnitts is a much-loved York institution. A department store opened in 1896 that remains within the family and continues to stock an impressive range in its Grade II listed Aladdin’s Cave. Within the 45,000 square feet of grown up stuff you’ll also find some useful items for practical school classes like design tech tools and food prep essentials, plus pick up those new world necessities that your kid can’t go without: the antibacterial wipes. 

Frankie and Johnny’s Cookshop

Another awesome independent to get your child’s food prep products from, plus some stylish and sustainable essentials, is this inviting store on Bishopthorpe Road. As well as an attractive baking and cooking range, you can also sort your child’s school lunch outfit by picking up eco-friendly lunchboxes, water bottles and coffee cups, and the gift selection might find them a notebook or two.

Just Smile Designs

A lovely little place on Bootham where owner and illustrator Kerry designs and sells a beautiful range of products. For your back to school child there’s some standout stationery and next-level notebooks, plus patterned face masks, stylised hair scrunchies and cute badges.


On Gillygate, Heima is a rare and wonderful thing: an independent bricks and mortar shop with good intentions and great products. Their eco narrative is matched by useful and unique goodies of stylish design. There’s plenty for the parent to pick up for the home, and some equally excellent kit for the child – from insulated lunch bags to wooden tablet stands – to take proudly back to school.

Images: Frankie & Johnny’s Cookshop, Just Smile Designs, Frankie & Johnny’s Cookshop, Heima