The UK is one of the best places to shop in the world (we’re not biased, promise!), but where should you be heading to get both your highstreet gifts and unique one-of-a-kind finds?
We know, we know, it’s an obvious one, but the capital offers a huge array of shopping experiences, from the luxury to the low-cost. Harrods is worth visiting just to see the spectacle, from the amazing exterior lights to the impressive displays inside! If you do have a bit of money to spend, the store boasts an unbeatable selection of luxury goods to choose from. Make sure you stop off at the food hall to marvel at the amazing cakes and pastries on display. And as busy as it may be, Oxford Street is one of the most famous shopping streets in the world, host to many flagship stores like Selfridges and Topshop. At least a little jaunt down this street is a must, as the beautiful Christmas lights are now up, glistening like giant snowballs in the sky! For those of you looking for something a little more unique, head to the famous London markets, you’ll be sure to find something at Old Spitalfields, Borough Market, Camden Lock Market or Portobello Road Market. As public transport can get hugely busy in this winter period, why not grab a cab and get to all your shopping destinations without having to haul all those bags around!
There is something for everyone in Edinburgh when it comes to Christmas shopping! In our opinion, it’s always worth heading straight to Jenners, the oldest department store in Scotland and dubbed the “Harrods of the North”. Now owned by House of Fraser, the store has lost none of its historical charms, even keeping its famous gold hallmark across the front of the building. For Christmas, Jenners erects a gigantic Christmas tree slap bang in the middle of the store, which is a wonderful sight to hit you with an extra bit of Christmas spirit. Once you’re finished in Jenners, take a stroll up the rest of Princes Street, where you’ll find the high-street retailers such as Zara, M&S, Primark, and Debenhams. This part of the city also hosts the traditional yearly European Christmas Market, which offers a massive array of crafted gifts, arts, fashion and plenty of delicious foodie treats! There’s also a big wheel, ice rink and carousel for when you need to distract yourself from the hustle and bustle of shopping.
Manchester has a fantastic selection of shopping outlets, with streets dedicated to the luxury and it’s very own gigantic shopping center (trust us when we say it’s huge!). First off, head to the city center to explore the many Christmas markets being held! In 2014, the markets bought nine million visitors over Christmas, so you know it’s worth a good look around. If it’s handcrafted gifts and specialty foods you are after, then these markets are the place to be! If you want to splash the cash on your loved ones (or get a cheeky Christmas present to yourself…), then head to the Spinningfields area. Lining the streets, you’ll find designer stores such as Emporio Armani, Oliver Sweeny and Mulberry, alongside plenty of restaurants and even a huge ice rink for when you want to pop the shopping bags down and show off your best Torvill and Dean moves on the ice. If you’re not a fan of walking far and wide across the city, then head out to the Trafford Center, one of the UK’s largest shopping malls. With over 200 stores, restaurants and leisure centers, you can pretty much spend the entire day here and likely get all your Christmas shopping done in one go! Shopping heaven! The Trafford Center is around 6 miles out of Manchester, so why not book a cab ahead so you know you’ll get there and back without the hassle of carrying a hundred bags!
Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside, even in winter! Brighton is a goldmine for unique shopping experiences, from the independent boutiques of The Lanes to the big name stores of Churchill Square. If you’re after anything vintage, retro or handmade then The Lanes, North Laine and London Road are where you want to be, soaking up the bohemian spirit of the tiny bustling streets. You are guaranteed to find one-of-a-kind trinkets at Snooper’s Paradise, a huge store full to the brim with vintage and retro clothing, homewares and plenty of bric-a-brac. Don’t forget to grab a black and white snap of your shopping trip in their classic photo booth. Try not to get lost! If you want a more mainstream shopping experience, then head on over to Churchill Square where you’ll find 80 well-known high-street stores and restaurants all under one roof!