Shopping destinations worth visiting this January
We all know the feeling - Christmas is over, the New Year has been welcomed in, and January has well and truly arrived. But it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom - January is the perfect time to hop aboard and explore a new and exciting shopping destination.
Major cities across our network include Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby and Leicester, and all have their own quirky independents, grand shopping centres, and bustling markets to explore. You can grab a bite of something delicious to eat while you’re at it, too!
While Meadowhall dominates Sheffield’s shopping scene due to its sheer size and wide range of stores, it’s worth a trip into the centre of the city to experience the cobbled streets of Fargate and distinctive independent outlets found in the Devonshire Quarter.
If you’re serious about shopping, a dedicated trip to Meadowhall is in order. As well as dozens of high street brands and 50 places to eat, there are some new shops worth checking out, including The Independent Yorkshire Shop, which showcases the best products from businesses in the region, including handcrafted jewellery and locally-made gins and ales, and TOG24, an outdoor clothing company founded in West Yorkshire.
Visit the official Meadowhall site for a full list of shops and restaurants.
Fargate is Sheffield’s main pedestrianised shopping area and is located in the middle of the city centre, about a 10-minute walk from the train station. With its traditional cobbled streets and views of the cathedral, Fargate doesn’t feel like your average shopping street.
Here you’ll predominantly find high street chains and fashion stores, though if you head down the narrow but quaint Chapel Walk, you’ll find an abundance of independent gift shops. Explore Bird’s Yard and pick up something quirky to take home. If you can’t make it to Sheffield, they have an online store too.
Just up from Fargate is the picturesque Barker’s Pool, complete with spacious paved area and modern fountains, which is home to Sheffield's John Lewis store.
If you’re looking for something a little more individual, Devonshire Quarter will have what you need. A half square mile of fashion boutiques, independent music stores and design shops, accompanied by some of the city’s best bars and clubs, here you’ll find old-fashioned brooches at Preloved Vintage, Sheffield’s largest display of indoor plants at Plantology and old jazz and blues albums at Bear Tree Records.
Once you’ve had your fill of everything Sheffield has to offer, you can stroll back to the train station via the Peace Gardens, an open area of grass and fountains in front of the Town Hall – the perfect spot to have a short rest and peruse your purchases.
Nottingham boasts not one, but two large shopping centres, as well as high street favourites, smaller label stores, vintage shops and independent offerings. Nottingham’s pull is arguably its vast pedestrianised streets - meaning that shopping in fashion designer Paul Smith’s home city is very much a breeze. Enjoy spacious streets as you gently amble through the streets and decide which shops you’d like to visit.
Image © The Victoria Centre
The Victoria Centre
The Victoria Centre is the city’s premier shopping centre, and is packed with the big brand name stores. Don’t forget to stop by the Treat Kitchen to pick up a coffee and fuel your shopping trip. Their cakes are pretty great, too…
The Exchange arcade
Outside of the shopping centres, The Exchange Arcade - set within Nottingham Council House is worth the trip alone, just to see the beautiful friezes painted on the ceiling. Shopping-wise, you can find the likes of brands such as Doc Martens and Radley and Castle, or if you’re after something a little fancier, visit Gauntleys Fine Wine, Whisky and Cigar Merchants.
Image © Flying Horse Arcade
Flying Horse Arcade
Enjoy another boutique shopping experience in the Flying Horse Arcade, where you’ll find the city’s Vivienne Westwood store as well as an array of independent businesses, including The Cheese Shop, Brew Cavern, Apalts, Whitewall Gallery and fashion store Gigi Bottega.
You can’t visit Nottingham for a shopping spree without visiting Clumber Street.
This busy thoroughfare connects Victoria Centre with the Old Market Square and Bridlesmith Gate, it features stores such as Lush, Holland & Barrett, Jessops and Schuh.
Hockley – part of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter – provides an eclectic mix of independent shops. On your way to Hockley, you can stop off at nearby Cobden Chambers and browse through hundreds of books, magazines and records, including many by local bands.
In Hockley, there’s Cow, a vintage clothing and accessories store with branded and altered products; Mimm Store, a menswear and streetwear shop that dabbles in music events and art exhibitions; and Void Clothing, Nottingham's biggest and oldest alternative clothing and accessories store, known locally as the place for finding ‘something different’.
Derby is home to an equal balance of high street retail and independent shopping, and the city’s walkable size means that you can do both.
Centrally located in the heart of the bustling city, Derbion shopping centre is a vibrant hub of retail, leisure and dining facilities, home to some of the world’s biggest brands with a host of eateries and entertainment on offer. Expect the likes of H&M, Zara, Mango and Next to name but a few, and don’t forget to call in at Derbion’s food court to pick up a tasty bite to eat.
A short walk from Derbion is the Cathedral Quarter, where you’ll find a mix of independent retailers and specialist shops. Make sure you swing by Bird’s Bakery on Albert Street to pick up an infamous cake or cob. Founded in 1919, it’s become something of an institution to both locals and visitors. We highly recommend the caramel doughnut…
On Derby’s Sadler Gate, you’ll find a number of independent stores mixed with cosy cafes. There’s 80s Casual Classics, an indie shop that stocks rails of ‘80s and ‘90s retro clothes; London Camera Exchange, a rare example of a surviving specialist camera and photographic equipment retailer; BPM Records, which does what it says on the tin; and Threadz - a pre owned and vintage clothing shop.
The area around historic Sadler Gate is a charming mix of boutique shops, cafes and restaurants including national retailers White Stuff and Joules. Connecting Sadler Gate to The Strand is the 19th century Strand Arcade, home to a diverse range of specialist shops, whilst The Strand itself, is a wonderful crescent of Victorian buildings housing a plethora of quality independent retailers.
Derby Market Hall
Derby Market Hall is the city’s oldest market – some local families have traded there since it opened to the public in 1866. Inside the Grade II* listed building, there are bakeries, bookshops, cafes and crafts, plus hardware, clothes, florists and pet products. It’s worth a visit as much to soak up the atmosphere as to make a purchase.
Right next door there’s QUAD, an abstract glass building that couldn’t look more different from the Market Hall. QUAD’s indie cinema shows classic and arty films you can’t see at your local multiplex and regularly hosts art exhibitions and other creative events.
Leicester ticks all the big brand boxes with High Cross Leicester, its gigantic shopping centre. But there are also plenty of boutiques and characterful independent shops brimming with quirky one-off items in St. Martin’s Square, plus award-winning Leicester Market, where local produce has been on sale since the 13th century.
High Cross Leicester
Highcross is the glamorous heart of Leicester and home to over 80 of the biggest high street retailers including the likes of John Lewis & Partners, Zara and Apple. If you want the High Cross shopping experience without the usual hustle and bustle, visit during the weekly ‘quiet hour’ on Saturdays between 9 am and 10 am when the centre and its staff create a calmer, more relaxed shopping environment.
St. Martin’s Square
In contrast to the high street favourites found in Leicester’s sprawling High Cross shopping centre, St. Martin’s Square is the independent heart of the city, full of boutiques and niche independent stores.
The shops of St. Martin’s Square are distributed around a courtyard, so it’s easy to have a thorough look at all of the vintage fashions, home furnishings and unusual gifts on offer.
Vintage clothes lovers and those looking for one-off, quirky pieces should head to The Vintage Scene, where you will find both in abundance. Harriman & Co is the perfect place to visit if you’re dressing your home rather than yourself. Just Fairtrade is a social enterprise store which sells wonderful products that help people in some of the world’s poorest countries to work their way out of poverty.
If you haven't yet shopped 'til you drop, pop in to Crafty Sew & So, Cocoa Amore or Brides of Bond Street for more specialised retail therapy. St Martin’s Tea and Coffee Merchants offers a cosy place to enjoy a freshly roasted coffee or a deli lunch, if you’re looking for somewhere to recharge those batteries!
Leicester Market has existed on the same city-centre site, just south of the clock tower, for around 700 years. Its 270+ stalls offer an abundance of local produce, including hunks of Red Leicester and plenty of Melton Mowbray pork pies. Throughout the year, there are other events held in the open plaza, including specialist markets, antique fairs and a makers craft market. It’s a must-visit location to experience the heartbeat of the city.