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Telegraph names Britain's 15 best high streets where Christmas shopping is a pleasure

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

During a tough economic climate with significant challenges for retailers, the Daily Telegraph has named 15 high streets around the country that it says, “retain a healthy selection of quirky and independent businesses, giving Christmas shoppers a fine reason to escape the tyranny of Amazon.”

Edinburgh street

Those included on the list include:

Norwich, Norfolk
The Telegraph says Norwich’s Royal Arcade is “a pretty near perfect prescription for those who crave Christmas shopping but are allergic to the garish American-Mall-ification of the experience elsewhere.

At Christmas, its vaulted glass ceilings and wrought-iron lamps are garlanded in green. Fat Christmas trees, winking with traditional gold lights, are tied with red bows. It really is a tonic. And there’s even somewhere to buy the gin.”

Belper, Derbyshire
The only place to have won the Great British High Street’s High Street of the Year award twice (most recently in 2019), Belper is lauded for its community engagement and proactive association of independent businesses.

Edinburgh, Scotland
“Unexpectedly good for independent shops, the elegant yet whimsical double-decker curve of colourful Victoria Street (historically known as the West Bow) picturesquely connects the Grassmarket and the Royal Mile.”

Stamford, Lincolnshire
“It’s a great hub for shopping: the high street is pedestrianised and many of the town’s 600-odd listed buildings house fabulous independents – speciality food stores, cafes, antique shops, clothing boutiques.”

Chester, Cheshire
“Chester was voted the most beautiful city in the world earlier this year in a survey based on Google Street View. Walking the half-timbered main streets is a promenade through 2,000 years of history from the Romans to the modern day.
The Christmas market opened on November 18 on central Town Hall Square, while nearby examples of Tudor buildings, Georgian townhouses and Victorian flourishes complete a history-spanning backdrop to mooching, gift hunting and hot-chocolate supping.”

Totnes, Devon
“Totnes has become a bit of a cliché through its reputation for independent shopping, green thinking and “alternative” lifestyles….the high street has more Tudor buildings than many cities, and it’s worth pausing on the hike up its steep incline to take in the facades, architectural features and window displays. “

Crickhowell, Wales
“This cute-as-a-button town won Best High Street of the Year in 2018.
Locals have staunchly resisted the tidal wave of chains and here the great British high street lives on, with a butcher, baker and a sprinkling of independent shops from delis to art galleries and bookshops.”

St Ives, Cornwall
“The shops may have new names, but the look and feel of Fore Street has changed surprisingly little over the last century. Pretty slate-hung shops line the winding cobbled street and serve both locals and tourists. This is a proper mixed-purpose main street with a Post Office, the excellent St Ives Bakery, the Allotment grocery, a bookseller and leather goods and clothes shops to suit all ages and budgets.”

Clitheroe, Lancashire
“Clitheroe is one of central Lancashire’s oldest towns. The high street runs from the edge of the park, up and then down, and is full of shops and cafés, historic inns and hair salons – all well used by locals and popular with Lancastrians from outside the Ribble Valley and from West Yorkshire, who trip in for the gaily illuminated Christmas period.”

Petworth, West Sussex
“Petworth is picture-perfect at Christmas. There are many great independents to browse, from the Petworth Bookshop to Guilt Lingerie.”

York, North Yorkshire
“With its age-worn narrow streets York could be the archetypal festive shopping scene of many a Christmas card. Add in the powerful presence of the Minster, in all its Gothic glory, and you’re likely to be humming carols as you trip from shop to shop. While the alpine-style chalets of its Christmas market create a big, warm splash in Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square, there’s a cosier glow in Stonegate.”

Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
Chipping Campden is a Cotswolds showstopper of golden stone and gracious houses. Its high street is almost implausibly exquisite, a parade of dreamily handsome properties built by well-to-do wool merchants between the 14th and 17th centuries.  At its centre is a 400-year-old market hall with arched open sides and a floor marked with the patina of time and trade (“Chipping” derives from the Old English word for market).

Aberystwyth, Wales
“Aberystwyth has its own moody magic in winter, with booming surf adding drama to a festive shop. And when you’re done browsing its boutiques, delis, galleries and craft shops, you’ll find some of the hottest places in Wales to eat and drink.”

Melrose, Scottish Borders
Sitting between the River Tweed and the Eildon Hills, Melrose has a mighty 12th-century ruined abbey and the high street of your nostalgic imagination. There are few chains here. Instead, it has butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers (well, Natural Crafts sells candle-making kits, along with other art supplies). It also has a greengrocer, a fishmonger and traditional sweet shop, well-stocked with handmade festive chocolates and Scottish tablet.”

Lavenham, Suffolk
“With its high street parade of wonky, half-timbered, pastel-painted Tudor houses (300 of them listed), the medieval Suffolk wool town of Lavenham is ridiculously pretty at any time of year. But during the festive season, it’s a ready-made Christmas card. White lights twinkle in shop windows and dress the tree on the market square by the Guildhall. Stop for hot chocolate and mince pies and take the kids on the festive trail that ends at the wishing tree.”

To read the whole Telegraph article, click here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/united-kingdom/britains-15-best-high-streets-where-christmas-shopping-pleasure/

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