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Best shopping cities in the UK

19 Sep 2019

The great British High Street is something that many of us take for granted, opting instead to browse the internet for an easy, online shopping fix. There are so many hidden gems just waiting to be discovered in cities and towns across the UK, so why not hop on a bus and start exploring. Here are five of our favourite cities where you can shop ‘til you drop for everything from designer labels to fabulous vintage boutiques.


Recently named as England’s number one shopping city outside of London, Manchester has something for everyone. Market Street and the Arndale Centre have all the usual suspects of a British High Street, with two H&M stores, a huge Primark, Debenhams, and a three-storey Next, to name but a few. If you’re looking for a more upmarket shopping experience, Manchester boasts two of only three Selfridges stores outside of London, one of which is just outside the Arndale centre in Exchange Square. Choose to venture further around the corner and you’ll discover New Cathedral Street, with a Harvey Nichol’s, Burberry, Hugo Boss and Michael Kors, while Cross Street and King Street also have a variety of designer shops if you have money to burn.

Fancy something a little bit different? Manchester’s Northern Quarter is the perfect place to visit for vintage shops, independent boutiques and charity shops, plus plenty of hipster cafes for coffee and artisan cake when you need to take a rest from all the shopping. Make sure to visit Afflecks – a haven for the alternative scene and full of vintage shops and unusual craft stalls.


Glasgow’s so-called ‘Style Mile’ has everything you need from world famous brands such as Hamleys, to independent boutiques, designer shops and one-off shops including a huge concentration of jewellery stores.

Princess Square is the place to visit for designer fashion – home to Ted Baker, Vivienne Westwood and French Connection, as well as bars and restaurants for when shopping gets too much!

For vintage and independent shops, don’t miss Starry Starry Night for Victorian vintagewear, Glorious for bargain hunting and the institution that is Mr Ben’s Retro Clothing.


Jenners was the oldest independent department store in Scotland until 2005, and opened its doors in 1838. This beautiful building is now a House of Fraser, and  well worth a look around for a taste of Victorian Scotland.

George Street is the place to visit for the most glamorous shops, with the flagship store of White Stuff, Anthropologie and Whistles, and close by, visit Multrees Walk for top designer stores including Mulberry, Harvey Nichols and Louis Vuitton.

Victoria Street is the place to visit if you want to explore vintage shops and artisan crafts in Edinburgh – it’s rumoured to have been JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley! Don’t miss West Port for some of Edinburgh’s best vintage shops, including Godiva and Armstrongs.


In the heart of Liverpool city centre, Liverpool One has over 170 shops, bars and restaurants and is the largest open air shopping centre in the UK. It has everything you need in one place!

For vintage and second-hand shopping, as well as cool cafes and restaurants, Bold Street has some excellent boutiques and charity shops, including Cow and Pop Boutique. If you’re a Beatles fan, make sure to visit Beatwear in Birkenhead for 1960s style dress up.

If you’re a label maven, it’s well worth a trip out of town to Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, for exclusive bargains. The outlet has a huge selection of designer stores, from Mulberry to Nike, Ted Baker to Yankee Candle.


Picturesque Oxford is home to Boswells, which has been trading since 1738 and is the city’s largest independent department store. It specialises in cookware, linen, cosmetics and toys and is located in the heart of Oxford.

Cornmarket Street has some of the most beautiful examples of high street chain stores, such as Next, Boots and Debenhams, and high end shops such as Karen Millen and Jigsaw on High Street. But for something a little different, be sure to visit the covered markets, for independent shops, cafes and souvenirs.

If vintage nostalgia is more your bag, visit Ballroom or Reign for everything you need for your next soiree. For second hand chic, travel to North Oxford to Summertown for the best charity shops.

Still on the lookout for discounted designer duds? Discounted Dior and cheap(er) Celine can be found at Bicester village, the home of hundreds of designer shops with up to 60% discount.