If you’ve not started your Christmas shopping yet, don’t panic. We’ve found the four best destinations in the UK where you can tick off your entire Christmas shopping list in one day.
These UK cities each have a huge range of options, from giant shopping centres with late-night shopping, to hidden-away streets crammed with independent stores. They have festive market squares and pop-up market stalls. And of course, they all have their fair share of Christmas lights.
So, take a look and see which one you fancy visiting this December. Then choose a date and browse our range of tickets to get you there. Just don’t forget your shopping list…
Christmas shopping in London
If you’ve never done it, make 2016 the year you go Christmas shopping in London. The UK capital is a haven for festive shoppers, and Oxford Street is the most famous place of all. Hundreds of shops line the road from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road. And there’s something for all budgets – find some designer gifts in Selfridges, or pick up some Christmas bargains in Primark. Just make sure you stay into the evening, when the street is lit up with more than 1,700 snowball-shaped lights.
Covent Garden Market is another must for Christmas shoppers. The famous market building is decked out in mistletoe chandeliers, and the cobbled piazza outside is home to London’s biggest Christmas tree. Scan the digitally-enhanced tree with the Blippar app and, thanks to some clever technology, you can unlock special offers to use in the shops nearby.
Christmas shopping in Exeter
The ancient city of Exeter makes a really festive Christmas shopping destination. The Christmas market takes place in Cathedral Green, in the shadow of the city’s beautiful cathedral, until 18 December. The traders here sell everything from local crafts to food and drink, and there are some smaller markets over on Fore Street and Castle Street.
Markets aside, Princesshay is home to more than 70 high street brands including names like Joules and Cath Kidston. It’s close to the cathedral, so it’s easily walkable. Independent shops are in no short supply, either. They’re ten a penny in the West Quarter and Castle Quarter, so you can pick up unique gifts you won’t find anywhere else.
Christmas shopping in Leeds
Leeds is going to be a hard one to beat this Christmas. Thanks to the newly-opened Victoria Gate shopping centre – a £165million pound development – it’s now the third-biggest shopping destination in the UK outside London. In fact, the Rough Guide to Britain named Leeds the best shopping destination in the country. It’s no wonder, considering it’s so easy to walk everywhere.
For upmarket shops, Victoria Gate and neighbouring Victoria Quarter are the places to go. Victoria Quarter is home to the first Harvey Nichols outside of London, and Victoria Gate has a brand new, five-storey John Lewis. Trinity Leeds, meanwhile, has lots of mid-level brands under its glass roof, and is right next to the likes of House of Fraser and ZARA on Briggate. For something more bespoke, the Corn Exchange and Grand Arcade are the hub of independent stores. Plus, there’s a traditional German Christmas market –the Christkindelmark – over in Millennium Square. It runs until 18 December.
Christmas shopping in Cardiff
Cardiff’s main shopping options are at opposite ends of the spectrum. On the one hand you’ve got the brand new Cardiff Mall – or St David’s Dewi Sant – a modern shopping centre with more than 200 shops split over two levels. There are some great options if you’re shopping for children, including a Hamleys and a LEGO store. There’s even a whole floor dedicated to food and drink, so it’s virtually impossible to go hungry.
On the other hand, Cardiff has six Victorian shopping arcades that are full of old-world character and charm – especially at Christmas. You can shop for things like vintage clothes and crafts in High Street Arcade, Duke Street Arcade and Castle Arcade, which are all in the Castle Quarter. There’s more of the same at the nearby Royal Arcade and Wyndham Arcade, and Morgan Arcade is home to Spillers – AKA the oldest record shop in the world.
Of course, there are plenty more brilliant destinations for Christmas shopping this year. Manchester’s huge Trafford Centre has late-night opening hours and thousands of shops under one roof, so it’s good for all weather. Edinburgh has shops lined up along Princes Street, while Glasgow’s shopping hub is known as the Style Mile. And as well as plenty of shops, Plymouth has a traditional Christmas market in The Piazza, a walk-in snow globe, and a land train that takes you from the West End all the way to Drake Circus and back again. What more could you want?
Wherever you’re heading, get there with megabus this Christmas. Book today.