Even when you’re a seasoned shopper (like myself) the thought of Christmas shopping can be a little daunting. As much as I love London, the pre-Christmas rush on Oxford Street is just too much for me to handle! With that in mind, here are the 10 best Christmas shopping cities outside of London – the perfect places to enjoy a short break and get that Christmas list all crossed off in one go!
Perfect for: The ultimate Christmas shopping break
Princes Street is wonderful – perhaps the best-known and best-loved high street in the UK, it has all of the best fashion and department stores and is an ideal destination for all your Christmas shopping needs. Cockburn Street is also a must – with alternative boutiques perfect for extra-special gifts, it’s long been another favourite shopping destinations. Georges Street, running parallel to Princes Street, has a great array of bars and restaurants in which to take a break from shopping ‘til you drop. When shopping gets too much altogether, Edinburgh’s just a great place to visit on its own merit – visit Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse or the Royal Yacht Britannia – all fabulous ways to make your Christmas shopping getaway unforgettable.
Perfect for: Gifts for Mum & Dad
Another destination perfect for a visit at any time during the year, York’s centre is handily compact. See the sights – like the gorgeous Minster and the famous and ever-popular Shambles – whilst getting your shop on at high-end stores and niche boutiques aplenty. You’re sure to find something special, and to get you into the festive spirit the year-round Christmas Angels shop on Low Petergate is a must. For great label shopping for a bit cheaper, check out the fantastic Designer Outlet, just outside the city.
Perfect for: A pre-Christmas treat
Admittedly, Paris isn’t much less crazy than London. Having said that, the French capital offers something completely different; not only do you have its world-famous Fashion boutiques on hand to buy extra-special gifts for your loved ones, you can also treat yourself to a magical short break away from it all this winter. Christmas is only one day, and very often the best gifts are the ones we give ourselves! For Paris boutiques proper, Le Marais is the destination of choice, and for the high street brands you’ll recognise head to Boulevard Saint-Germain.
Perfect for: The best of Shopping Centre shopping
Manchester city centre is great for many of the chain stores essential to Christmas shopping, but the main draw of the city has to be the Trafford Centre. Absolutely huge, the centre is one of the best of its kind in the country. The perfect place to pick up a gift for your fashionista daughter and gadget-mad son, or vice versa, the Trafford Centre is well worthy of a full day of shopping.
Perfect for: A bit of everything
The great thing about Leeds is that nearly everything you need can be found within walking distance of its centre. For high street brands the Trinity Centre is one of the best new shopping centres in the country, where you’ll find shops such as Next, Topshop, River Island and Armani Exchange. From the fantastic Kirkgate Market (the biggest covered Market in Europe) to the stunning Victoria Quarter (home of Harvey Nichols and Louis Vuitton) – it’s great for everything. Be sure to check out the decorations at the Corn Exchange, and the annual German Christmas market is a firm city favourite too.
Perfect for: Gifts for the glamorous Girls of the family
You could say that Liverpool is the Paris of the north-west: when it comes to high-end fashion, there are not many places that beat it. Liverpool One is of course a huge draw to the city – with its plethora of high-street stores – but for a truly special shopping trip make sure you visit both the MetQuarter and the uber-trendy Cavern Walks.
Perfect for: Boutique shopping and unique gifts
Don’t overlook Brighton just because it’s not the height of summer – easily the best Christmas shopping on the south coast, it’s a great place to pick up something a bit different. The Lanes are known for their independent shops and boutiques and is a particularly good place to find antiques and jewellery. North Laine meanwhile has great Vintage fashions – think of the Christmas jumpers!
Perfect for: Being the shopping capital of the North
Widely considered to be the best shopping in the UK outside of London, where better to get all of your Christmas gifts than Buchanan Street. Home of the most expensive retail space outside of the capital, only the best of the best will be vying for your attention here. For something a bit different – a lot different in fact – then head to The Barras for literally hundreds of market stalls; offering bargains on everything you could want and more, it’s a legendary Glasgow experience.
Perfect for: One-stop shopping at the Bullring
Birmingham is the UK’s vibrant second city – it’s no surprise that it’s home to the big daddy of shopping centres: the famous Bullring. Something of a modern architectural gem, treat the Bullring as a one-stop haven for your Christmas shopping needs. Treat yourself in the humungous Selfridge’s store, or recharge in the fantastic onsite restaurants. The Mailbox is also great if you find the Bullring a bit busy.
Perfect for: A long weekend between the centre and the Metro Centre
The premier destination for shopping in the north-east, and possibly just the friendliest city on our list, Newcastle is a great place to spend any weekend. When in the centre, head to Northumberland Street – the Oxford Street of the North – for a great range of high street brands and the flagship Fenwick’s department store. Well worth the trip too is Gateshead’s Metro Centre; a mere 15 minutes on the bus or train, it’s Europe’s largest shopping and leisure complex.
Where are you heading for your Christmas shopping this year? Let us know in the comments section below!