Best UK high streets you need to visit

The UK is bursting with characterful cities boasting unique boutiques, marvellous markets, designer outlet treats as well as the household brand names you know and love. There’s no better time to go out and discover some of the best UK high streets.

1. York

There’s so much to see and do in the beautiful city of York with its historic city walls, 13th Century Cathedral and peaceful River Ouse making it the perfect staycation escape. What better way to experience this medieval city than a shopping trip. York has a thriving indie scene with cafes, boutiques and award winning restaurants dotted all around the city. A wander through the Shambles Market with its cobbled streets is a great place to start your retail therapy. With over 70 stalls boasting retro and vintage fares from fantastic independent traders, you’re sure to find something uniquely crowd pleasing.

UK high streetsIf you fancy treating yourself to something more luxurious, McArthurGlen’s designer outlet is right up your street with over 120 UK and international designer brands such as Ted Baker and Reiss for 60% less. Coppergate and Monks Cross shopping centres also offer great high street shopping alternatives with Coppergate being home to JORVIK Viking Centre– a museum where you can discover York’s Viking roots.

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2. London

London has so much to offer with hundreds of great attractions and action-packed activities across the city day and night to give you an unforgettable staycation. While many of the sights and attractions are world-class, so is London’s shopping experience. From the vibrant atmosphere of Covent Garden where contemporary shopping meets designer stores with crowd-pleasing live street performances, al fresco dining all within the centuries old open-air piazza, to Carnaby Street in the heart of London’s West End with international and British heritage labels, over 60 bars and restaurants with a range of global cuisines, indie boutiques and one-off retail gems and a quirky character.

UK high streetsIn the northern part of the city at Camden, you’ll find one of the most famous markets in the world where you’ll not only find a quirky and alternative shopping scene but a whole culture and community set around it. There are over 1000 unique shops, stalls and cafes offering up some rare finds, delicious food and an unrivalled atmosphere. There’s also an open-air cinema, mini golf and music venues to keep you entertained throughout the day and night.

Head west to the trendy Notting Hill and you’ll find Portobello Road– home to the world’s largest antique market with a buzzing communal feel. There are 5 distinct sections selling all sorts of wares including food, clothing and secondhand goods. For more high street brands, Westfield shopping centres in both White City and Stratford are the best choice. With multiple floors filled with popular household brands, restaurants and a cinema, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

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3. Brighton

Brighton is well known for its sandy beach and bold character. But if you venture away from the seafront and delve deeper into the city centre, you’ll find an exciting variety of independent and quirky boutiques as well as high street favourites. For a peek into the local independent art world, or even a taste of wizarding magic, North Laine should be your first port of call. Oliver’s Wizarding Shop offers all manner of magical gifts and trinkets from the wizarding world, while Snoopers Attic boutique is a haven of vintage and creative designs from local makers and collectors. There are also galleries to look around as well as bakeries offering mouth-watering treats.

To carry on the independent shopping tour of the area, head to The Lanes where shopping and live jazz music come together to make a truly unique and funky experience. Take a wander through the lanes and alleyways and discover a mix of antiques and jewellery shops nestled alongside high street and designer boutique fashion stores. For alfresco shopping and dining a little closer to the seafront, Brighton Marina is the perfect choice and for high street brands Churchill Square is a one-stop shop.

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4. Manchester

Known for its lively music, art and theatre scene and industrial past Manchester is well worth a visit even for the culture alone. However, with an intriguing mix of alternative, independent, high street and discounted designer shopping experiences to choose from, you’d be silly to pass up a shopping trip in this characterful city. Both Arndale and Trafford shopping centres offer the best in high street shopping with international brands as well as the big UK department stores such as Debenhams and John Lewis.

UK high streets If you’re looking for something a little different, The Northern Quarter is definitely the place to go. Known as the beating heart of the city’s creative and alternative scene, there are countless vintage shops, record shops, quirky cafes, restaurants and bars. Afflecks, self named ‘emporium of eclecticism’ located in the Northern Quarter, is where you’ll find everything indie, alternative and quirky complete with Mancunian charm. If it’s a treat for someone special- or even yourself- you’re after then the Jewellery Quarter offers the best from well-known chain jewellery brands as well as some independent brands you may not have seen before. For designer labels at high street prices, Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet is a great choice if you want to venture a little further afield.

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5. Leeds

Leeds is home to some of the UK’s best shopping experiences. In the centre of the city, you’ll find Trinity Leeds, a huge leisure and shopping complex which offers high street brands as well as more high end options, a wide variety of food choices including street food finds from Trinity Kitchen, and an Everyman Cinema. Even more choice is available in the Victoria Quarter with its elaborate glass and architectural grandeur. The Quarter is made up of many arcades including The Grand Arcade which dates back to 1897 and it is proudly the ‘home of independents’ which is perfect for someone wanting something a little more than the norm.

Uk high streetsTo carry on your venture for independent shopping, the Leeds Corn Exchange is a must-see. Built on years of creative craftsmanship and a friendly community atmosphere, you’re sure to find a hidden treasure in this emporium of independents. For a traditional market stall atmosphere, head over to Leeds’ Kirkgate Market. Known as one of Europe’s largest indoor markets, you can find fresh food, drink, fashion and haberdashery aplenty.

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6. Bristol

Home to a prosperous maritime history, a strong cultural character and dozens of independent shops, Bristol is a great choice for a shopping break away in the south west. Whatever your budget, the city has a whole variety of shopping experiences. In the heart of Bristol’s Old City, St Nicholas Market, housed in the beautiful grade 1 listed Glass Arcade is where you’ll find a huge array of small stalls selling everything from clothes to art, textiles, gifts and sweet treats.

Bristol city For all your high street favourites, Cabot Circus is a great choice. Right in the heart of the Shopping Quarter, you can search for a bargain, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and cafes, take a swing at the crazy golf course or enjoy a film at the Showcase Cinema De Lux. For local independent options, head out of the city centre and south for Bedminster and Southville, an area which hosts the yearly Upfest Street Art Festival and the local foodies and shoppers flock regularly to take advantage of the weekly fair trade food markets and independent local businesses. In the north of the city, you’ll find Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft, home to one of the longest stretches of independent shops and where you’ll find some of Banksy’s best work.

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