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What are some good towns/cities/places to go Christmas shopping?
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# 1
C J
Old 16-11-2007, 3:38 PM
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Default What are some good towns/cities/places to go Christmas shopping?

Hello everyone!

Every year, my husband and I have a day out together in early December(without the kids) and go off somewhere Christmas shopping. Of course, by that stage I've pretty much finished all *my* shopping, but it's nice to have a day with just-the-two-of-us. We live in central south England and will travel up to two hours in any direction - we like places which have something a bit more interesting than just all the usual big retail stores (well, when you've seen one Boots/Currys/Debenhams/Starbucks, you've seen 'em all, haven't you?!), and prefer places which also have some little independent gift shops or good markets. Also a good coffee stop, for break time!

In the past we've tried Cheltenham, Reading, Southampton, Milton Keynes, Bath, Gloucester and Birmingham.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a good shopping location for this year's jaunt? What's your town like? Where do *you* go when you fancy trying somewhere different? All recommendations warmly received

Thanks!
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# 2
gooismeid
Old 16-11-2007, 3:49 PM
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Try Manchester, 2 hours from London on the train nowadays. The Christmas market there has expanded beyond all recognition in the past few years and the atmosphere is just brilliant. I get my yearly fix of gluhwein and bratwurst there and there are loads of stalls selling interesting food and Christmas decorations and small gifts. Plus there are lots of places in Manchester with interesting shops outside of the normal chains - like oriental knicknacks in Chinatown, or posh designer stuff in King Street and the Triangle (which used to be the Corn Exchange), or crafty stuff in the Northern Quarter, or "alternative" things in Affleck's Palace and around Oldham Street. A good coffee stop is Starbucks in St. Anns Square (sofas in the basement and no pressure to finish off your coffee quickly) or for an independent one, either branch of Love Saves the Day on Deansgate or Thomas St in the Northern Quarter. http://www.lovesavestheday.com/love/?view=menus
Have fun and a merry Yule to you wherever you decide to go.
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# 3
haylibo
Old 16-11-2007, 4:10 PM
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Oxford is my favourite for sheer prettiness. Nice atmosphere too and good train links.

Hayles
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# 4
wannabe_a_mum
Old 16-11-2007, 4:16 PM
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Every year, my friend and I meet up to go SALE shopping somewhere. We're both originally from Gloucester, but I now live in Preston.
We usually go to Birmingham/Bristol/Cardiff/Cheltenham

I also like Hereford - but granted it's not exactly a "BIG" place........
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# 5
LuciferTDark
Old 16-11-2007, 4:23 PM
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You could try Peterborough, the Queensgate centre is a good place to spend some time wandering about, loads of shops outside too, a continental market will be back outside next week or so, plus there's a temporary ice rink in the cathedral square for Christmas ( they switch the christmas lights on tomorrow), railway station a short walk away & the bus station is under the centre. Also theres a huge carpark attached to the centre which has quite a reasonable charge £1.10 for the first 2 hours then it goes up by 50p an hour after that.
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# 6
threesacrowd
Old 16-11-2007, 4:24 PM
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I think it might be too far but i love botany bay its fantastic for extra special craft gifts and if you look on the website you might get a better idea of whats available. also love the days gone by section which is on another sight but is full of antiques.
another favorite is cheshire oaks outlet which has all the big names, but also has a few specialist stores.
freeport at fleetwood is ok as well.
i think you can tell i love shopping
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# 7
louidog
Old 16-11-2007, 4:30 PM
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CJ that is a really nice idea
I am watching this thread now to see what suggestions are made....might just take hubby out on a similar day out shopping too!
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# 8
financegirl
Old 16-11-2007, 5:05 PM
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Winchester!!

It's lovely, very quaint and worth having a nosey around one of the most expensive places to live in the UK. It's very charming and quaint.

They also have a fab Xmas market - www.winchesterchristmasmarket.co.uk

It takes me about an hour and half to drive there from Luton.
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# 9
kitchpoo
Old 16-11-2007, 5:16 PM
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Norwich! 2 Malls and a riverside shopping area and an oldy worldy bit......granted, it is a bit of a drive but good shopping!
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# 10
poppett
Old 16-11-2007, 8:15 PM
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If you can get away for the day and possibly the evening how about trying Worcester between the 29th Nov - 2 Dec as they are holding their annual Victorian Christmas Fayre. I come from Worcester and miss popping down there now I've moved away.
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# 11
thrifty_sue
Old 16-11-2007, 9:35 PM
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What about Brighton? We have the lanes here, which have lots of interesting shops.
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# 12
kazimojo69
Old 16-11-2007, 10:32 PM
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Nottingham!!!!

We live in the isle of man and go away for a few days each December to finish xmas shopping.

Loads of shops, olde pubs.

This year tho - most of the shopping wil be done and the kids are coming with us. So we are going to the Panto, there will be an ice rink outside in the square, xmas markets with mulled wine................mmmmmm cant wait.

I am mega lucky this year tho as I get to go to London and Manchester as well for weekends before xmas. So excited about all of the trips.
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# 13
nearlyrich
Old 16-11-2007, 10:38 PM
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I like to go to places like Kendal, York or Chester but we are a bit further north than you. I think I will be doing my shopping online this year, there are not enought days left to trawl around the shops LOL.
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# 14
MoaningMyrtle
Old 16-11-2007, 10:54 PM
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I'd second Winchester, beautiful place to visit.


Salisbury is lovely too, as is Guildford.
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# 15
arlybarly
Old 16-11-2007, 11:09 PM
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i know youve been to birmingham before but there is a brilliant German market that runs from now till 20th dec. loads of different stuff to see thats quite a l;ot different from a lot of stuff in the shops. the food is scrummy as well. people come from miles around just for this.
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# 16
qwiksave
Old 16-11-2007, 11:45 PM
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Default Christmas Shopping Town

Royal Leamington Spa where I live is known for good quality shopping. Off the main street (where the mainstream shops are) there are lots of independent & interesting shops. There's also a market on the 'Parade' every Sunday from October to Christmas and several nice cafes around.

If you were looking for a few places, I would also recommend Solihull or Stratford-Upon-Avon for character, all nearby.

HTH,
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# 17
gemmyk16
Old 17-11-2007, 12:07 AM
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Lincoln has a Christmas Market at the beginning of December which is really good, there is also plenty unique gifts shops around the cathedral/steep hill area.
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# 18
Horace
Old 17-11-2007, 4:09 PM
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Birmingham is always good because we have one of the largest German markets outside Germany!

Shrewsbury and Chester are also good for Christmas Shopping. Ludlow in Shropshire is also good as its a foodie heaven...mmm...Ludlow sausages its making me hungry just thinking about them.
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# 19
Horace
Old 17-11-2007, 4:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arlybarly View Post
i know youve been to birmingham before but there is a brilliant German market that runs from now till 20th dec. loads of different stuff to see thats quite a l;ot different from a lot of stuff in the shops. the food is scrummy as well. people come from miles around just for this.
It was on the local news arly - and they said the Christmas market ends on 24 December.

I love it, all those little stalls selling Christmas decorations, presents and those yummy chocolate marshmallows.
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# 20
poppyamber
Old 17-11-2007, 4:20 PM
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I live in Salisbury and would say you would be disappointed, we have all the big names and not too many individual stores really. I dislike shopping here.

Bath is the place i find all the one of gifts and trinkets etc. They have lots of one off shops, Poole is lovely too and Dorchester has a market, i believe on a Wednesday and thats full of surprises.
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