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Last updated on April 3, 2023 by Wandering our World

Shopping in the UK is a unique experience that offers a mix of luxury, history, and tradition.

From the high-end fashion brands of London and the unique boutiques of Bath, to the vintage finds of Manchester and traditional Scottish tartans of Edinburgh, there’s no limit to the unique shopping experiences you can get in the UK.

And the ten iconic shopping cities in the UK that we will show you below offer a retail therapy session like no other.

Boasting picturesque Victorian architecture, historic streets, and bustling markets – let’s see what some of the best cities in the UK have to offer when it comes to epic shopping!

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iStock.com/William Barton

The 10 Best Cities In The UK For Shopping: Retail Therapy At Its Funnest!

1. Edinburgh

Nestled amidst the breathtaking Scottish landscape, Edinburgh will beckon you with its irresistible blend of timeless charm and modern flair.

The city’s picturesque streets are lined with high-end fashion brands, Scottish shops, and quirky boutiques. So whether you’re in search of tartan, whiskey, or handmade crafts, Edinburgh’s vibrant shopping scene will have it all.

There’s a variety of shopping options and treasure troves to discover and explore.

Princes Street is one of the most popular shopping spots in the city. Lined with high street stores, such as H&M and Zara, and department stores like John Lewis and House of Fraser, Princes Street is the perfect place to lighten your wallet.

Edinburgh’s Old Town is no less than charming. Full of independent shops, offering a variety of Scottish-made products, from tartan scarves to locally crafted pottery, the area is also home to a variety of art galleries.

If you’re interested in looking into contemporary and traditional Scottish art, check out some of the art shops there.

Another great shopping spot within the Old Town is Victoria Street.

Famous for its colourful buildings and a unique shopping experience, Victoria Street has a variety of boutiques and quirky shops, where you can find everything from handmade jewellery to vintage clothing, and souvenirs to take back home.

The true gems however lie in the vibrant Grassmarket area, where vintage shops and quaint bookstores call you to lose yourself in a world of nostalgia and whimsy. It’s the ideal place to be at if you love vintage and second-hand shopping. 

street view of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

2. Oxford

Oxford is a city that effortlessly blends the old and the new. Its cobbled streets are steeped in centuries of history, but it’s not just the architecture that makes it special.

Beyond its picturesque facade lies a shopping scene that is just as exciting. Quaint shops line the narrow lanes, while chic high street brands occupy the bustling retail districts: Oxford is a shopping destination in the UK and one fo the cities that must not be missed!

One of the most popular shopping destinations in Oxford is the Westgate Shopping Centre. The centre is home to over 100 shops, including high-end designer brands such as Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as a great selection of fashion and beauty stores.

If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind experience, head to the colourful Cowley Road area, where you’ll find a mix of vintage boutiques, and cafes.

Or check out and explore the Covered Market. This market is a historic indoor market, offering a range of locally made products such as handmade chocolates, jewellery, and artisanal food.

Bookworms love Oxford too. In addition to having one of the oldest universities in the UK, Oxford has a great selection of bookshops, such as Blackwell’s Bookshop and the Oxford University Press Bookshop.

Blackwell’s is one of the largest bookshops in the UK and is well-known for its vast collection of academic books. The Oxford University Press Bookshop offers a range of academic and non-academic books, as well as a great selection of gifts and souvenirs.

Speaking of souvenirs, go down the rabbit hole (not literally, of course!) to Alice’s Shop, which is famous for its connection to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The shop offers a range of Alice in Wonderland-inspired gifts, including teapots, books, and souvenirs.

Aerial view of roofs and spires of Oxford, England with blue sky in background

3. London

London’s shopping scene is legendary. It is undoubtedly one of the world’s best cities for shopping, nevermind just the UK, with a very diverse and varied range of retail experiences.

With a seemingly endless array of shops, boutiques, markets, and department stores, the city is a shopper’s paradise that never disappoints.

The best thing about London’s shopping scene is that it caters to every budget and taste. From the iconic Oxford Street to the trendy streets of Shoreditch, the fashion boutiques of Covent Garden to the quirky vintage shops of Camden, there’s something for everyone.

And it’s not just about clothes and accessories – London is also home to some of the world’s most famous department stores offering luxury goods and one-of-a-kind shopping experiences.

Oxford Street is one that has it all – high-end luxury shopping with some of the most well-known stores being Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis, and Debenhams. Bond Street is also a popular destination for luxury shopping.

London is also home to a variety of independent and unique shopping experiences.

Camden Market is a vibrant and eclectic market that features a range of stalls offering everything from vintage clothing to handmade jewellery.

Portobello Road Market, the world’s largest antique market, is another must-visit destination, with its colourful rows of shops selling an array of collectables. Street food vendors are also in abundance, so you can take a break and recharge.

If you’re looking for a unique and quintessentially London shopping experience, head to Covent Garden to find a range of independent shops, and street performers.

London is also home to a variety of markets, including the famous Borough Market, which offers a range of locally sourced produce and artisanal food products. The Camden Lock Market is another popular destination for foodies, offering a range of street food from around the world.

Tower Bridge, London. boat below, sunny day

4. Dublin

As the sun sets on the charming city of Dublin, the streets come alive with the promise of evening shopping adventures in one of the funnest cities in the UK.

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is a fantastic shopping destination, where old-world charm meets modern style. From bustling high streets to hidden side streets, the city offers a diverse range of shopping options.

Wander down Grafton Street, the city’s premier shopping spot. Several fashion and beauty stores line the street, while street performers and musicians make the atmosphere lively and vibrant. Iconic brands such as Brown Thomas and Louis Vuitton can be found here, along with other designer brands, cosmetics and gourmet treats. This place is for the chic!

For a more unique shopping experience, head to the Creative Quarter, which is located in the heart of Dublin’s historic city centre. The area is full of boutiques and stores, offering a range of locally made products such as Irish knitwear, handmade jewellery, and artisanal food.

If you’re a fan of vintage shopping, then Dublin has plenty to offer as well, with a great selection of thrift stores and markets.

One of the most popular spots is the Dublin Flea Market, which takes place on the last Sunday of every month and offers a variety of second-hand clothing, furniture, and antiques.

For souvenirs, the Temple Bar district is a must-visit. Full of souvenir shops and craft stores that sell everything from traditional Irish knitwear to handcrafted pottery, this place is a local gem!

busy temple bar area in Dublin, people walking by at night, blurred
iStock.com/Lukas Bischoff

5. Manchester

Manchester, with its vibrant atmosphere and bustling streets, is a true shopping paradise for those looking for a unique experience.

Although more renowned for its music, football, and industrial heritage, the city also boasts a shopping scene that is as vibrant and eclectic as itself.

Explore the trendy Northern Quarter for vintage finds and independent shops. The Northern Quarter is a bohemian area of the city, where you can find unique and quirky products such as handmade jewellery, and vintage clothing.

Another similar spot is the historic Affleck’s Palace, which guarantees a fun shopping experience, having everything from alternative fashion to vinyl records.

If you’re looking to splurge and pamper yourself with some luxury retail therapy, then head to King Street.

High-end stores such as Burberry and Vivienne Westwood are aplenty here. Also located on King Street is the famous and historic department store, Kendals, now known as House of Fraser.

For more luxury shopping, you can also head to Spinningfields, which is home to designer brands and chic cafes.

But no shopping trip in Manchester is complete without a check-in at the iconic Arndale Center. This popular spot is home to over 200 shops, including popular high-street brands such as Primark, and River Island. Arndale makes sure you shop till you drop! 

Manchester truly has a great variety of markets as well.

The Christmas Markets are a gem of the holiday season, offering a range of festive treats and handmade gifts, so you’re sure to get into the festive mood!

Then there’s the weekly Manchester Farmers’ Market, which is also a great place to find locally sourced produce and artisanal food products.

View of a footbridge in Salford quays in Manchester, England

6. Glasgow

Glasgow is a city that never fails to impress when it comes to shopping. It’s a place where you can find everything from the latest fashion trends to quirky vintage stores, all in one place.

And the best part? Glasgow’s shopping scene is as diverse as its people, making it the perfect destination for every kind of shopper. 

Your first stop must be the high street. Known as the “Style Mile,” Glasgow’s high street is where you can indulge in retail therapy with a backdrop of stunning Victorian architecture.

The Style Mile runs from the city centre’s Ingram Street to the iconic Buchanan Street, and to Sauchiehall Street. Together, these bustling streets offer a vast range of shopping options, along with several bars, cafes, and restaurants, so you can stop and recharge between rounds of shopping sprees.

Vintage shops and bargain deals are easy to seek in Glasgow, if you know where to go. Places like Merchant City, and the Barras Market, have numerous shops and thrift stores that are replete with a plethora of unique and locally made products.

There you can find Scottish-made kilts, tartan scarves, handmade jewellery, second-hand clothing, and antiques, and shop to your heart’s content!

Still not happy? If you want a real feel for the city, head to the West End. This area has a great selection of  vintage stores, and fantastic book shops.

If bookstores are your thing, you must visit Caledonia, and Voltaire & Rousseau, both of which would make a bookworm happy!

Scenic Cityscape View Over Glasgow at Sunset With Snow Covered Hills in the Background

7. Birmingham

Birmingham, the second-largest city in the UK, is often overlooked when it comes to shopping, but in reality, it’s a hidden gem for those who love retail therapy. The city’s thriving shopping scene has a mix of high-street chains, designer stores and independent shops.

One of the standout shopping destinations is the Bullring & Grand Central.

With an impressive, spaceship-style architecture, this bustling shopping centre is home to over 200 stores, including high-street favourites like Zara, and H&M, as well as luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Mulberry. This is one place where your wallet will always be out!

But shopping does not always have to be about the same old brands and names. For a more traditional shopping experience, go to the Great Western Arcade. This historic Victorian arcade is home to a range of independent boutiques and specialty shops.

The renowned Anderson and Hill cheese shop, with its extensive range of artisan cheeses, is a must-visit for foodies there. And for tea lovers, the specialist store “The Tea House”, holding over 150 varieties of tea from all over the world, should not be missed!

Birmingham also has a variety of open markets, such as the Birmingham Open Market and the Digbeth Dining Club.

The Birmingham Open Market is the city’s oldest market, selling everything from fresh produce to vintage clothing. While the Digbeth Dining Club is a street food market, offering a variety of delicious dishes from around the world.

For souvenirs and bling, your best bet would be the Jewellery Quarter, with shops offering a range of local handmade jewellery, artisanal food, and antique furniture.

Another, sweeter, option for souvenirs is the Cadbury World Visitor Centre, where you can fill your bags with as  many chocolates and sweets as you want to take back home! 

View of the Birmingham skyline including the church of St Martin, the Bullring shopping centre and the outdoor market. Birmingham, England, UK, Western Europe

8. Brighton

Brighton is a vibrant and eclectic city that’s known for its bohemian vibe, stunning coastline, and lively nightlife.

But what many might not realise is that it’s also a fantastic shopping destination. From independent boutiques and vintage shops to trendy high street brands and quirky markets, Brighton is another shopper’s paradise in the UK.

The Lanes in Brighton are one of the unique and fascinating spots known for their shopping possibilities.

This historic area of the city is home to a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and cobbled streets. Take a stroll around this maze and you will feel you’ve been transported back in time! With over 400 independent shops, including antique shops and jewellers, eateries, and entertainment venues, the Lanes are truly a cultural and artistic hub in Brighton.

For more mainstream shopping, Churchill Square is the best. More than 80 high street stores, plus a range of cafes and restaurants, grace this modern shopping centre.  It’s the perfect place for a day out for a shopping spree!

Brighton is also known for its vibrant markets, such as the North Laine and the Brighton Open Market.

The North Laine is a bohemian area that is home to a variety of independent shops, street performers, and cafes. It’s full of life! On the other hand, the Brighton Open Market is a covered market, where you can find a range of locally made products such as handmade soaps, and ceramics.

If you’re looking for something unique and quirky, head to Snoopers Paradise, an emporium of vintage and retro treasures, including furniture, clothing, homeware and records.

You never know what treasures you might find there – this market style emporium covers several floors, packing in almost everything you can think of! 

i360 and West Pier Brighton
iStock.com/Jack Parker

9. Cardiff

Discover a shopping haven in the heart of Cardiff!

The Welsh capital is a treasure trove for shoppers. Cardiff’s bustling arcades are home to an eclectic mix of shops, from quaint independent stores to large shopping malls, selling everything from vintage clothing to Welsh cheese. The options are endless!

High street favourites can be found in St David’s Shopping Centre, one of the most popular shopping destinations in Cardiff.

This modern and spacious mall is home to a range of high-street brands, as well as designer stores such as Hugo Boss and Michael Kors. And when you need a break from shopping, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat.

For those who love independent boutiques and unique shopping experiences, head to the Cardiff Arcades.

The arcades are home to a variety of independent shops and cafes, offering a range of locally made products such as handmade jewellery, artisanal food, and Welsh wool blankets.

And speaking of Welsh products, the Welsh National Museum is a great place to get some souvenirs. Here you can find a great selection of Welsh-made products such as traditional Welsh love spoons and handmade pottery.

Cardiff also has a great selection of markets.

For a traditional shopping experience, the Cardiff Market is perfect. This is a covered Victorian market, selling everything from fresh fish and produce to vintage clothing and handmade crafts, all under one roof.

The Riverside Farmers Market is another one worth visiting. This market is set up every Sunday and offers a variety of fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts. 

Night time view of Cardiff bay Mermaids Quay at night with bright lights
iStock.com/Tung Chung

10. Bath

Bath is a city that’s steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty. But did you know that it’s also one of the best cities in the UK for shopping?

Bath is known for its beautiful architecture, Roman baths, and Georgian heritage. However, Bath is also a fantastic destination for shopping enthusiasts, offering a variety of unique and independent shops, high-end boutiques, and popular high street stores.

One of the highlights of Bath’s shopping scene is the Guildhall Market. This historic market has been around for over 800 years! It is home to a range of stalls selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.

Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir or some tasty treats, you will find it in Guildhall Market.

Speaking of unique and special shopping experiences, one such in Bath is the shopping arcade, The Corridor. This indoor arcade features a beautiful glass ceiling that will leave you in awe.

A range of independent shops, offering a variety of locally made products such as handmade jewellery, and vintage clothing are available in the Corridor.

Bath is also home to a variety of markets, such as the Bath Artisan Market, which offers a range of handmade products, and the Bath Farmers’ Market, which is a great place to find locally sourced produce. You can find many souvenirs here to take back home.

And if you’re looking for something quintessentially Bath, the Jane Austen Centre Gift Shop is a good place to visit. This shop displays a range of Austen-inspired gifts, such as books, stationary, and souvenirs.

For those who prefer high-end luxury shopping, you can head to Milsom Street where you can find designer brands such as Hobbs, Jigsaw, and Jo Malone.

Also, located on Milsom Street is the iconic Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House and Museum, where you can enjoy a traditional Bath Bun, a local delicacy. Additionally, SouthGate Bath is another great spot for high-street and designer brands’ shopping. 


  • Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.