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The Best Places for Christmas Shopping in the UK

Saturday 10 September 2022

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When do you start your Christmas shopping? Are the presents wrapped and ready to go in the summer or are you still chasing that final gift on Christmas Eve? Whenever you like to do yours, Christmas shopping is one of the most exciting parts of the holiday. Luckily, there are plenty of towns and cities in the UK where you can shop ‘til you drop and get into the festive spirit. Here are the best places for Christmas shopping in the UK.

Manchester Christmas Shopping

Barton Lane in Manchester

Manchester is a city brimming with culture, and this is reflected in its shopping scene. Home to the Arndale, Northern Quarter, Spinningfields, and Barton Arcade – not to mention the Trafford Centre further out – there are a whole host of shopping districts for a variety of budgets and tastes when shopping in Manchester.

At Christmas the city comes to life, with the Christmas markets flowing through its streets and stunning decorations lighting up its historic architecture. To find the perfect gift for someone who likes their brands, visit the Arndale or Trafford Centre for the major retailers. For something niche and independent, head to the Northern Quarter or one of the city’s many arcades.

London Christmas Shopping

London is the capital city of England, and there’s a case to be made for it being the UK’s capital of Christmas shopping, too. The most obvious place to start is Oxford Street, which is lined with two miles of lights and decorations. You’ll find every recognisable retail chain, from John Lewis to Selfridges, which combined attract around 40 million Christmas shoppers every year.

If you’re searching for a niche gift you won’t find elsewhere, check out Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch, East London. It’s packed full of independent traders selling an array of products, from vintage clothing to festive foodstuff. With a variety of food and drink stands, the market is the perfect place for a quirky Christmas shopping day out.

Leeds Christmas Shopping

Trinity Leeds shopping centre

Very few places in the country can boast the variety of shopping Leeds offers. From high-end fashion and designer chains to vintage and independents, the city has it all. Trinity Leeds is perfect for your high street brands, while Victoria Leeds hosts some of the biggest names in fashion. For gifts you won’t find elsewhere, head to the Corn Exchange or the Grand Arcade – both home to independent and local stores.

The annual Christmas markets take place in Millennium Square and, while they may not be as well-known as Birmingham’s and Manchester’s, they provide another option for your Christmas shopping. Away from the hustle and bustle of the markets, the Leeds streets are lined with decorations to give you the ultimate festive feel whilst you shop.

Edinburgh Christmas Shopping 

Scotland’s capital may be the coldest city on this list, but the Christmas shopping more than makes up for it. Edinburgh’s Princes Street is the Scotland city’s answer to London’s Oxford Street, with high street retail chains lined up amid the backdrop of Edinburgh castle. St James Quarter is a brand-new shopping centre which is home to flagship stores, while you can find all of your high-end gifts down George Street or Multrees Walk. For independent shops and fashion, head to the Grassmarket or Stockbridge.

Edinburgh comes alive towards the end of the year with its world-famous Christmas markets. You’ll find pop-ups selling a huge range of gifts and local produce in the heart of the city centre, as well as bars and food stands to make an evening of it. Away from the markets, the whole city is covered in festive decorations, making it one of the most festive places for Christmas shopping in the UK.

Birmingham Christmas Shopping 

The UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham is renowned as being one of the best places for Christmas shopping in the country. Being much smaller and more compact than London means it’s easy to find your way around. The Bull Ring is the centre for all things shopping, with three floors of retail heaven. The Great Western Arcade is host to independents and local retailers, while the Jewellery Quarter is the place to find that special gift.

Birmingham’s Christmas markets are some of the most visited in the UK, and for good reason. Pop-up stores and food and drink stands swarm the city’s town hall, making it the perfect place to find niche Christmas gifts.

Bath Christmas Shopping

Bath Southgate at Christmas

Bath is a beautiful city throughout the year, but at Christmas time it glows. Its Georgian streets are lined with festive pop-ups and decorations, turning the quintessentially British city into Christmas heaven. SouthGate will be your first port of call as home to all the UK’s major retailers, including H&M and Urban Outfitters. Head to Bath Abbey’s winding streets for niche stores and products, while you can find antiques and eclectic shops in the historic Upper Town.

York Christmas Shopping

The cobbled streets of York are lined with dozens of independent shops, which are a dream for finding those niche Christmas gifts. Amongst the city’s historic buildings, you’ll find boutiques and independents selling products you won’t find anywhere else. Shambles market, which takes place daily, is perfect for finding local gifts and produce. If you’re searching for a high street gift, Parliament Street, Coney Street, and Coppergate are home to all of your favourite retailers

Newcastle Christmas Shopping 

Home to one of the largest shopping and leisure centres in Europe, Newcastle is a hub for Christmas shopping in the UK. The legendary Metrocentre is home to all your retail favourites, from Primark and Marks & Spencer to Zara and Boux Avenue. Other high street stores can be found in Eldon Square Shopping Centre, while Central Arcade is perfect for finding niche gifts from independent shops.


If you’re planning a trip to one of the best places for Christmas shopping in the UK, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or our Train Tickets app for zero booking fees. 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.

Written by Julia

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