‘Festive Joy and Real Excitement’: Readers’ Favorite Independent British High Street Shops | Shopping trips

Delis galore, Chorlton, Manchester

Instead of spending an afternoon in the hustle and bustle of Manchester, why not hop on the tram and take the 20-minute ride to the trendy south Manchester suburb of Chorlton? The neighborhood has dozens of artisan shops, independent merchants and an unparalleled variety of places to eat, drink and be merry. One of the highlights is The House of Bystander for its local art; Chorlton Bookshop, a wonderful independent shop; and Franny & Filer, which stocks contemporary artisan jewelry. After shopping you can find every cuisine: Barbakan Deli is delicious for a fresh lunch, the tapas at Bar San Juan is the best you will find outside Spain and the Beech Inn is perfect for a wintery pint.
Mike Dameman

Sneaky Cocktails, Chapel Street, Penzance, Cornwall

Glorious, colorful Chapel Street in Penzance is a delight and perfect for Christmas shopping. Each shop is quirky and very independent – you can do all your Christmas shopping within 100 metres. There is fashion, art, handmade toiletries, toys, plants, antiques, housewares and much more. Don’t forget to look up and enjoy the beautiful architecture of the Egyptian House and other Regency buildings. Plenty of pubs, restaurants and cafes too if you want to recharge. My picks: Fishboypz and The Planted House – and 45 Queen Street for a sneaky Christmas cocktail.

Memories of Ted Lasso, Twickenham, South West London

Photo: Ian Fles/Alamy

Tucked away from the main road through Twickenham town center is Church Street. The road, which is regularly closed to traffic to allow the many cafes and restaurants to hit the streets, offers a truly wonderful selection of independent shops. This part of Twickenham is often used in advertising and more recently has been featured in Ted Lasso. At Christmas, the road is beautifully decorated with lights and decorations, and the atmosphere always creates genuine excitement and festive joy. There is an array of lovely gift, flower and clothing shops and a fantastic record store, run by enthusiasts and named after nearby Eel Pie Island.
Layla Asley

Flavors of Italy, Faversham, Kent

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

It’s not Christmas for me until I visit Macknade in Faversham. It modestly describes itself as a dining hall, but it is the most glorious Italian deli and has been open for 175 years. We buy panettone for the family, Venetian mustarda dI see to eat with their glorious cheeses, hams and salami, wonderful local fruits, vegetables and meats. One of the employees pointed out a treat that has recently become a favorite, cherries in a syrup with balsamic vinegar. It’s sweet enough to pour over ice cream, but with a tart edge. I have to go back soon.
Lynn Collis

In the beer trap, Belper, Derbyshire

Belper offers a quaint linear gauntlet of independent shops with a rich choice 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 drinks. Then I Should Cocoa for delicious artisanal chocolates and Reunion deli for basket-filling chutneys, cheeses and coffee beans (and cuppa and cake in the café). At the bottom of the hill, Belle La Vie has enough slippers, smellies, scarves and scented candles to satisfy everyone’s mother. Free parking is available outside the market.
Anna Kennett

Art and Furniture, Cardiff

Beti Biggs at Pontcanna is excellent. The daughter of shopkeeper Jan lives in Amsterdam and you can see how Beti Biggs takes inspiration from Dutch gift and homeware shops: beautiful tableware, an entire wall of candlesticks, lush plants, a selection of Rains bags and jackets, but also Annie Sloan chalk paint . As well as having a fantastic eye, Jan is incredibly knowledgeable about upcycling furniture, examples of which are for sale, and is always happy to offer advice. Prices vary from small impulse purchases to more expensive furniture. Jan’s Instagram page is worth a look.
Mann Roberts

Guardian Travel readers’ tips

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Tips from Guardian Travel readers

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Books and Gifts, Ludlow, Shropshire

Browsing the Castle Bookshop in Ludlow recently inspired me to check out the other independent shops in town. Paperbacks in hand, I headed to the market square to the Black Bough gift shop, which is full of fine watches and stationery ideas, including beautiful Christmas gift wrap to impress friends and family – whatever’s inside. I then went to a vintage furniture and clothing store on Mill Street, then 131 Gallery for antiques and trinkets, opposite a small local bakery. I ended up gloating over my shopping at the Green Cafe, watching the river flow by as I sipped hot chocolate and sampled homemade cake.

Lovely art shop, Glasgow

There’s a fantastic independent little art shop called Draw Art Store in De Courcy’s Arcade on Cresswell Lane in Glasgow’s West End. It has the finest 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 US and Europe and it is almost impossible to leave empty handed because every nook and cranny has something tempting. The resident shop dog is pretty cute too.
Carol Guthrie

Tacos and Jewellery, Walthamstow, North East London

It’s not just a curio shop, but a very small street of surprising shopping opportunities in the eclectic Wood Street Indoor Market in Walthamstow. Enjoy wandering slowly through the many shops selling everything from handmade jewelry, curios, antiques, vinyl records and vintage clothing to the creations of local makers. Then try one of the small internationally inspired eateries such as Stow Grab’n’Go for Pakistani street food or Homies On Donkeys, the in-house Mexican taqueri.

WINNING TIP: Arcade or artistry, Leeds

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

Established in 1878, Thornton’s Arcade branches off from Briggate, the car-free heart of Leeds, and showcases a wealth of independent businesses. Passing under the beautiful Ivanhoe Clock, you can pick up the latest graphic novels in OK Comics, skateboards and streetwear from Welcome, clothes from Masato Jones, and 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 of their chosen field, these stores offer a uniquely personalized experience that is a far cry from the scattered algorithmic suggestions you collect while sitting at home and going online.
Jon Coote

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