‘Festive joy and genuine excitement’: Readers’ favorite UK independent shopping streets |  Shopping trips

‘Festive joy and genuine excitement’: Readers’ favorite UK independent shopping streets | Shopping trips

‘Festive joy and genuine excitement’: Readers’ favorite UK independent shopping streets |  Shopping trips

Delicatessens galore, Chorlton, Manchester

Instead of spending an afternoon in the Manchester crowds, why not hop on a tram and cycle 20 minutes to the trendy south Manchester suburb of Chorlton? The neighborhood has dozens of crafty boutiques, independent traders and an unrivaled selection of places to eat, drink and be merry. Highlights include The House of Bystander for its local art; Chorlton Bookshop, which is a beautiful independent shop; and Franny & Filer, which stocks contemporary artisan jewellery. After shopping you can find all kinds of food: the Barbakan Deli is fantastic for a fresh lunch, the tapas at Bar San Juan is the best you’ll find outside of Spain and the Beech Inn is perfect for a winter pint.
Mike Ladyman

Sneaky Cocktails, Chapel Street, Penzance, Cornwall

Lovely, colorful Chapel Street in Penzance is a delight and perfect for Christmas shopping. Each shop is quirky and very independent – in 100 meters you can do all the Christmas shopping. There’s fashion, art, handmade toiletries, toys, plants, antiques, housewares and much more. Remember to look up and enjoy the amazing architecture of the Egyptian House and other regency buildings. Lots of pubs, restaurants and cafes too if you need to recharge. My pick: Fishboypz and The Planted House – and 45 Queen Street for a sneaky Christmas cocktail.

Reminiscences of Ted Lasso, Twickenham, South West London

Church Street, Twickenham
Photo: Ian Bottle/Alamy

Tucked away from the main thoroughfare through Twickenham town center is Church Street. The road, which is regularly closed to traffic to allow the many cafes and restaurants to spill out into the street, offers a truly wonderful selection of independent shops. This part of Twickenham is often used in advertising and has recently featured in Ted Lasso. Over Christmas, the road is beautifully decorated with lights and decorations, and the atmosphere always evokes real excitement and festive joy. There are a number of great gift, flower and clothing shops and a fabulous record store, run by enthusiasts and named after nearby Eel Pie Island.
Layla Astley

Tastes of Italy, Faversham, Kent

Forehead tone.
Pannetone is on sale for Christmas at Macknade. Photo: Brent Hofacker/Alamy

It’s not Christmas for me until I’ve visited Macknade in Faversham. It describes itself as a food hall, but it is the most glorious Italian deli and has been open for an incredible 175 years. We buy panettone for the family, Venetian mostarda dI pere to eat with its wonderful cheeses, hams and salami, lovely local fruit, vegetables and meat. One of the staff pointed out a treat that has recently become a favorite, cherries in a syrup that includes balsamic vinegar. It’s sweet enough to pour over ice cream, but with a crunch. I have to go back soon.
Lynn Collis

Into the Beer Trap, Belper, Derbyshire

Belper offers a charming linear coat of independent shops offering a rich selection for the festive shopper. Drop the kids off at the Ritz cinema and head to the top of the high street to The Beer Trap for a selection of beverages. Next, I Should Cocoa for delicious chocolates and Reunion deli for chutneys, cheeses and coffee beans (anda cup and cake in the cafe). At the bottom of the hill, Belle La Vie has enough slippers, smellies, scarves and scented candles to satisfy anyone’s mother. Free parking is available outside the market square.
Anna Kennett

Art and Furniture, Cardiff

Beti Biggs in Pontcanna is outstanding. Shop owner Jan’s daughter lives in Amsterdam, and you can see how Beti Biggs takes her inspiration from Dutch gift and homeware shops – beautiful crockery, a whole wall of candlesticks, lush plants, a selection of Rains bags and coats, and Annie Sloan chalk paint. Apart from having a fantastic eye, Jan is incredibly knowledgeable about furniture recycling, examples that can be bought, and is always happy to give advice. Prices vary from small impulse purchases to more expensive furniture. Jan’s Instagram page is worth a look.
Manon Roberts

Guardian Travel readers’ tips

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Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be presented online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition, visit the Readers’ Tips website

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Books and Gifts, Ludlow, Shropshire

Browsing the Castle Bookshop in Ludlow recently inspired me to visit the other independent shops in town. A couple of paperbacks in hand, I headed out into the main square to the Black Bough gift shop, which is full of lovely clocks and stationery, including beautiful Christmas wrapping paper to impress friends and family – whatever is inside. I then went to a vintage furniture and clothing store in Mill Street, and then to Gallery 131 for antiques and practicals, opposite a small local bakery. I ended up enjoying my shopping at the Green Cafe, watching the river flow by and sipping a hot chocolate and tasting homemade cakes.

Beautiful art shop, Glasgow

There is a fantastic independent little art shop called Draw Art Store in De Courcys Arcade on Cresswell Lane in Glasgow’s West End. It has the most beautiful pens and pencils for drawing and illustration, as well as a large selection of drawing inks and brushes and stationery. The stock comes from Japan, the USA and Europe and it is almost impossible to leave empty-handed because every nook and cranny has something tempting. The resident shop dog is also quite cute.
Carol Guthrie

Taco and Jewellery, Walthamstow, North East London

It’s not just a curio shop, but a whole little street of surprising shopping opportunities at the eclectic Wood Street Indoor Market in Walthamstow. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the selection and mix of shops selling everything from handmade jewellery, curios, antiques, vinyl records and vintage clothing to creations by local makers. Then try one of the small international-inspired eateries such as Stow Grab’n’Go for Pakistani street food or Homies On Donkeys, the market’s own Mexican taquerí.

WINNING TIP: Arcade of artistry, Leeds

Thornton's Arcade was established in 1878.
Thornton’s Arcade was established in 1878. Photo: Bailey-Cooper Photography/Alamy

Thornton’s Arcade, established in 1878, branching out from Briggate, the pedestrianized heart of Leeds, showcases a wealth of independent businesses. Passing under the beautiful Ivanhoe Clock, you can pick up the latest graphic novels from OK Comics, skateboards and streetwear from Welcome, clothing from Masato Jones and carefully curated photozines and books from Village Books. Relax with a coffee at Kapow or head to one of the many nearby pubs to complete your shopping experience. Staffed by passionate protagonists in their chosen field, these stores offer a uniquely personal experience far removed from the algorithmic suggestions you collect while sitting at home surfing the web.
Jono Coote

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