There are many different reasons to book a trip to the UK and, for a large number of tourists, it is the history and culture of these small islands that provides the biggest draw. There are plenty of museums and castles, but there are also several shopping opportunities. It is not all about Paris and Milan, however. Visitors that want to travel to the UK for some retail therapy have plenty of locations to choose from. Four of the best have been showcased below to highlight the different shopping experiences that visitors can enjoy in Britain.
The first name on the list of the top places to shop in the UK is one that may come as a surprise to tourists, and indeed to many UK residents. Bristol is one of those cities that is easy to overlook because it is not as immediately accessible to travellers or as large as somewhere like Manchester or Birmingham. However, it makes up for this with its charm as it provides an interesting blend of shopping opportunities in an attractive, small city. There are two main shopping centers in Bristol-Broadmead and Cabot’s Circus. While they provide the usual blend of high-profile names, restaurants, and entertainment facilities, there are other areas that are more interesting. Visitors should check out Queens Street, the quirky independent businesses around Christmas Steps, and the market stalls around the waterfront.
The next city to consider when looking into destinations for shopping in the UK is one that makes a lot of sense when you consider the scale and grandeur of the city but that may be overlooked because of its location. UK shopping holidays do not have to mean that you have to visit the major cities of England. Cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, and Belfast all have their major malls and charms. Edinburgh has been picked out here because it offers something a little different. It is all about the blend of old and new with this Scottish city. There are still plenty of big stores and familiar names for tourists to browse, but many are housed within the stunning architecture of Princes Street and Jenner’s department store. This setting provides a whole new experience for visiting shoppers and is only enhanced by the number of independent retailers that are available.
Manchester is famous to tourists across the world for two key influences-music and football. Shopping isn’t always something that visitors think about when they come to this Northern powerhouse, especially if they are primarily visiting to see a football match or another cultural event. The large city centre is full of high-end names and great opportunities. The Arndale centre is a short walk from major transport links, with additional tram stops, and it is ideally situated for anyone staying in the Piccadilly area. The modern facelift of the Arndale centre has ensured that everyone has an enjoyable experience - from those shopping ’til they drop to the long-suffering partners carrying the bags. It is an attractive, diverse space with plenty of dining establishments to refresh tired shoppers as well as the retail outlets. Another UK city, Birmingham, gets an honourable mention here because it too has an impressive centre in an alternative location-the Bullring-and provides the thrill of a big city.
The number one destination for shopping in the UK will come as no surprise because it really is on another level from the other cities. London, as the nation's capital, prides itself on having just about everything that tourists could ask for. The shopping experiences take visitors to both ends of the scale. At one end, you have the markets that give visitors a sense of the real London run by real Londoners-from the vibrancy of Camden to the antiques and oddities of Portobello Road. On the other end, you have the extravagance of the designer names and grand stores in Knightsbridge and Oxford Street. If you have money to burn, it is worth finding out why Harrods is so infamous. The other reason that London tops this shortlist is because of the opportunities for Christmas shopping. The city transforms in December as the major shopping streets go all out with their displays, and large Christmas markets can be found in areas like Hyde Park.