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The Best Cities for Shopping in the UK

Friday 24 June 2022

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Whether you’re freshening up your style, on the hunt for an antique, or buying a special gift, the UK is brimming with some of the best shopping in Europe. Most of the cities on the list have an eclectic mix of modern shopping centres, cobbled streets, and historic markets – you’ll be sure to get lost wandering around.

Whether you’re looking for a little retail therapy or just window shopping, here are the best cities for shopping in the UK.


Oxford Circus with Christmas Lights, London

Shopping in London doesn’t need too much introduction. It’s not just one of the best cities for shopping in the UK, but one of the best in the world. Covering all the shopping in London will take a while, so if you’re short on time, it’s best to plan your trip. We recommend taking a trip to Portobello Road Market, the world’s largest antique market with over 1,000 dealers selling an array of collectables.

Or, head to Shoreditch in East London; a young and vibrant part of the city and home to Brick Lane, it’s a paradise for fashionistas and bargain hunters. Oxford Street hosts some of the most famous stores in the world. Whether you’re on the search for luxury in Harrod’s or embracing your inner child in Hamley’s, you’re guaranteed to love shopping here.


With a plethora of fantastic shops, boutiques and markets, shopping in Manchester will keep you shopping until you're dropping. If you're looking for some high street brands, it's best to head to one of the many shopping centres; the Manchester Arndale or The Trafford Centre, will answer all your high street shopping needs under one roof. If you're looking to buy vintage or from independents, the Northern Quarter will answer all your needs - it's home to some of our favourite shopping in Manchester.


In the centre of England, Birmingham welcomes happy shoppers from all over the nation who are ready to splash the cash. Packed with big department stores, historic markets, and quaint independents, you have everything you need within walking distance. One of Birmingham's most popular attractions and one of the best shopping spots in Europe is the Bullring, where you'll find everything you need and more. If you feel like treating yourself or a loved one to some sparkles, the Jewellery Quarter in Brum is one of the best in the UK. For local and independent options, explore the lovely shops tucked away down the arcades – especially the beautiful architecture of the Great Western Arcade and Piccadilly Arcade.


Corn exchange, Leeds

No matter your style, shopping in Leeds will provide fantastic retail therapy for all. For a historical shopping experience, take a step back in time with a trip to Kirkgate Quarter, home to the first-ever Marks and Spencer's. A lot may have changed from when the doors first opened in 1857, but the market remains with over 800 bustling stalls. Another unique shopping experience is the Corn Exchange, Yorkshire's answer to the Coliseum, offering trendy stores and awe-inspiring architecture. We recommend Trinity Leeds, Victoria Leeds, and the Grand Arcade for great shopping.


The Scottish capital is not only delightfully picturesque but also a haven for shopaholics. As well as boasting all the high street favourites, you can easily get lost in the cobble streets finding local artisans, designers, and producers along the way – a quaint and unique shopping experience. From an award-winning bookstore, Golden Hare Books, to one of the world's oldest department stores, Jenner, shopping doesn't get much more enjoyable. It's no wonder Edinburgh is one of the best places for shopping in the UK.


This seaside city has mixture of everything; your retail favourites, one off stores, and a strong emphasis on preloved make Brighton one of the best places for shopping in the UK. A short walk from Churchill Square Shopping centre is the trendy Brighton Lanes, where you’ll find high-end stores and independent sellers. Wherever you’re shopping here, you’ll always be a short trip from Brighton Pier and the famous Royal pavilion – a lovely way to break up the day. Or, if you’re feeling brave, why not take a dip in the sea?


Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow

The hub for shopping in Glasgow is within 'style mile', where you'll find an array of different shops. If you are planning a trip to Glasgow and want a real feel for the city, head to the West End for streets of independents, vintage stores, and fantastic book shops. If books stores are your thing, we highly recommend visiting Caledonia and Voltaire & Rousseau, which both offer a unique book shopping experience.


If you’re planning a trip to one of the best cities for shopping in the UK, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or our Train Tickets app. You can also find information on how to get cheaper train tickets via our special offers page. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

The UK is bursting with fun activities. Whether you’re visiting one of the best castles in the UK, the best theme parks in the UK, or the best waterparks in the UK, you can always travel by train. CrossCountry has services running up and down the country to ensure you can get to the places you need to be.

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