Bristol is a fairly small city when compared to the UK’s other metropolis’, but there are plenty of places to go shopping. Each of these destinations has a different feel to them, so it’s good to know what area to hit up depending on what you want!
I’m not a shopaholic myself, but I have lived in Bristol for five years and I know that many visitors consider shopping at specialist stores to be one of the best things to do in Bristol, so I know where’s good to shop – and where’s not!
So let me take you on a tour of all the best shopping areas in Bristol…
Shopping in Bristol: Areas to visit
On Gloucester Road is Britain’s longest chain of independent shops. There is ‘everything you’ll ever need’ at these local stores, and it is widely known as Britain’s last proper high street. Whether it’s an ironmonger, a butcher, a baker, a greengrocer or a toy shop that you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Gloucester Road’s beautiful rebellion against Tesco.
The Stokes Croft area is on Cheltenham Road, which merges from Gloucester Road at the bottom. There are more independent retailers here, as well as charity shops, antique stores, and unique eateries.
Stokes Croft is also a great place for nightlife, with dozens of edgy bars and a few live music venues, two of which (Lakota and Blue Mountain) are open until 6am. If you’re into partying, it’s a fun place to stay in Bristol.
Park Street and the Clifton Triangle
Park Street, the very steep hill that ascends from the waterfront to Clifton, is home to a couple of decent vintage shops, as well as some arty stores. Check out BS8, a long time vintage clothing classic which sells all sorts of garms at fairly reasonable prices. There’s also a huge clothing warehouse across the road, and lots of shops selling paint and other arty products.
St Nicholas Markets
This trendy market is a great place to purchase artisanal goods, including local products and homemade crafts. It’s a fantastic place to get unique Christmas and birthday presents for loved ones, or unique treats for yourself! There’s also a lot of delicious and affordable street food on offer at St Nicholas Market.
This area is home to vintage and antique shops, and is a great place to browse to get interesting things! There are also lots of specialist shops for outdoor activities, all housed in the historic buildings of the Old Market area. It’s also a famous LGBT+ friendly area, with lots of bars, and plenty of shops that are catered toward people in the LGBT+ friendly shops as well.
A new area of Bristol, Whapping Wharf has shops, bars and restaurants all located in shipping containers! You’ll find plenty of unique conceptual shops here; including the Cider Shop, which is home to over 100 types of artisan cider (would you expect any less from the capital of the West Country?!)
The Victorian architecture of Clifton Village gives a hint of what to expect in its shops; classic, antique-y goods, with some high fashion boutique-y items. The most popular location for shopping in Clifton Village is the Victorian Clifton Arcade, dating back to 1878, but there are many individually run stores in the close proximity of the high street.
Along the left (walking toward Cabot Circus) side of the harbourside is the Harbourside Market. Normally open on weekends, the stalls offer handmade goods at reasonable prices. It’s a small collection of stalls, so it’s well worth checking out if you are in the harbourside area.
The most popular shopping mall in the city, Cabot Circus is home to various chain stores. It’s got a covered area which is kitted out with toilets and other services, and its shops include Topshop, Apple, The Body Shop, Flying Tiger and many more. Cabot Circus is located that the end of the M32 and close to Castle Park, a short walk from the harbourside. Browsing Cabot Circus is one of the best things to do in Bristol in the rain.
Another shopping mall in Bristol, Cribbs Causeway is located in the northern suburbs of the city and has a large range of mall shops. Also in the shopping centre are multiple restaurants, a bowling alley, and a cinema.
Big Stores in Bristol
Most tourists who come shopping in Bristol visit for the small independent stores, and at Go South West we really encourage people to use these for shopping. But, as Bristol is a city of considerable size, there are other large chain stores that are worth knowing about, if you need specific things. These are:
- IKEA – located in Eastville
- Tesco Extra – located in Eastville, close to Ikea
- Various Sainsbury’s, including Winterstoke Road and Castle Court that also have clothing lines, Argos branches, and pharmacies, amongst other services
With a range of shops in Bristol, from chain stores to hundreds of independents, any shopaholics will be in for a treat when visiting this city! Be sure to shop responsibly, favour independent businesses, and – currently – to follow COVID friendly protocols when shopping in Bristol – or anywhere in the world.