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Christmas presents by the tree

6 Christmas shopping experiences not to miss

How’s your Christmas shopping going? Whether you’re one of those people who completed it months ago and you’re smugly browsing for little extras, or you’re a leave-it-til-the-last-minute festive shopper with a whole list still to buy, we’re here for you. We’ve scoured the UK’s top cities to find the best Christmas shopping experiences up and down the country, so you can make a day of it – wherever you decide to head. And if you get there with megabus, you won’t have to fight for parking in the Christmas rush…

1. Christmas shopping in Bristol
The bustling city of Bristol has no end of Christmas shopping options, from high street finds to high-end purchases. But for a really festive shopping experience, head to Clifton village – the city’s hub of independent sellers, small boutiques and antiques shops. You’re much more likely to find a one-of-a-kind gift here, and there are tonnes of quirky cafés when you need a break. Make it a mulled wine afternoon tea from No4 Clifton Village to really seal the seasonal deal.
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2. Christmas shopping in Cardiff
Visit Cardiff for a Christmas shopping spree and you’re in for a treat. The Welsh capital has a clutch of pretty Edwardian arcades to stroll through, as well as the huge St David’s shopping centre. After a day of shopping, pay a visit to Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland – there’s an ice rink, loads of festive food and drink, and a family funfair, all in the city centre. And if you’re hanging around in the Welsh capital for a while, you could even take a trip out to Seasons Garden and Christmas Outlet – a massive Christmas shop nearby in Brynmenyn.
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3. Christmas shopping in London
Christmas shopping in London is an absolute must. But with the whole city at your fingertips, where do you start? Biggies like Oxford Street and Regent Street are always a winner at Christmas – wall to wall with big-name shops, both are lit up with Christmas lights that are well worth staying past sunset for. And if you’ve not got too much shopping to carry, it’s only a 20-minute walk to Covent Garden – and well worth the trip. There's lots of quirky shops and loads of Christmas lights.
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4. Christmas shopping in Leeds
Fancy a spot of retail therapy in Leeds? If it’s high-end goodies you’re after, spend a while shopping for luxury items at Victoria Gate – the huge Harvey Nichols here is an experience in itself. Then head over to the Corn Exchange, which is the place to go for independent shops and gifts you won’t find anywhere else. Once the sun goes down, the city comes to life with Christmas lights. And if you’re here with the family, book a ticket for Robin Hood The Rock 'n' Roll panto at City Varieties Music Hall. It’s the perfect way to round off a festive day.
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5. Christmas shopping in Sheffield
You’ve got lots of options when it comes to shopping in Sheffield. Meadowhall shopping centre is the most well-known shopping spot around here, and it’s about three miles out from the centre if you fancy a trip. But it’s well worth shopping in the heart of the city, too, and you’ll want to head to the Devonshire Quarter. There are independent shops aplenty along Devonshire Street and onto Division Street, with everything from vintage clothes to collectible records on sale. Keep an eye out for Christmas events on Devonshire Green while you’re here, too – there’s usually something fun going on here.
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6.. Christmas shopping in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is an incredible place to visit at Christmas. In fact, the city transforms into a winter wonderland from November all the way through to January, with the unmissable Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on NYE. If you’re here to shop, Princes Street and George Street are the best places to splash the cash, and Multrees Walk is home to Scotland’s only Harvey Nichols as well as big names like Louis Vuitton. When you’re done on the main shopping strips, you can pick up handmade gifts and festive treats at the Christmas markets dotted around the city – you’ll find one on George Street between Castle Street and Charlotte Square. This is also where you’ll find the ice rink, and it would be rude to head home before you’ve squeezed in a quick skate first.
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