Whether you’re a fan of leading High Street brands or are passionate about supporting entrepreneurial and independent traders, Worcestershire is the perfect place to scratch that shopping itch. Worcester itself is a haven for independent businesses and more than 60 per cent of the city’s traders are exactly that, which means that visitors are guaranteed that little bit extra in terms of customer service and the willingness to go the extra mile to acquire the item you’ve set your heart on. On almost every street, you will find one-off gifts, luxury fashion and jewellery, collectibles, antique discoveries, everyday items and so much more.
All of your favourite brands and more
Let’s begin our shoppers’ tour of the Faithful City in Broad Street. Available here are hard-to-get-hold of toys, luggage, sports clothing and equipment at Knowles Sports, Worcester’s largest independent sports retailer, cooking and baking requirements at Cookmate plus Cath Kidston, Seasalt and Yankee Candle goodies at New England Country Store.
Angel Place is home to lively markets selling local food, clothes, crafts and gifts which extend to the High Street most weekends. Crowngate’s two shopping areas, Friary Walk and Chapel Walk, offer goods galore in two covered arcades. With more than 60 stores of High Street fashion, beauty and homewares, large multi-storey car park and bus station, Crowngate is a must visit. Retailers include a bustling Primark, House of Fraser, New Look, The Body Shop, Smiggle and The Retro Sign Company. There are also several eateries to stop off at for a quick coffee or relaxing meal including Bill’s, Wildwood Kitchen and Gourmet Burger Kitchen.
Worcester’s pedestrianised High Street is home to the splendid Guildhall, which regularly houses craft and gift fairs, plus all the major names you’d expect to find in a landmark city. Shoppers can browse the three storey M&S with large food hall and cafe, department store Debenhams, HMV with its recently-expanded vinyl section, River Island, Paperchase, Tiger and Accessorize.
Find all of your favourite brands and more in Worcestershire
Flying the flag for independents in this part of town is Mr Simms Ye Olde Sweet Shop and Peplow jewellers. Located opposite Worcester Cathedral and close to the Elgar statue is Cathedral Square, an exciting blend of retail and pleasure. Here you’ll find popular stores such as H&M, Hotel Chocolat, and Next as well as bars and restaurants including Pizza Express, Cosy Club, Miller & Carter, Yo! Sushi and Ask Italian.
Just a short cut through from the High Street is The Shambles with its wide range of popular retailers including Waterstones, The Entertainer, Argos and Poundland nestled snugly alongside independents such as Robin Elt Shoes. Also close by is covered Reindeer Court, which houses independent stores including vintage clothing outlet Rock Follies Vintage, distinctive ladies clothing retailer Fuel, luxury lingerie store Embrace, Iapetus Gallery, who are specialists in home-made gifts, jewellery and art and established jeweller Ian Quartermaine.
On almost every street, you will find one-off gifts, luxury fashion and jewellery, collectibles, antique discoveries, everyday items and so much more
A short stroll from both the High Street and The Shambles are New Street, Friar Street and Charles Street, where more treasures can be found. Anje Potze is an award-winning premium bespoke jewellery store while Emporio, Espada and Pockets all have an excellent reputation for designer and occasion clothing. Shoppers in this part of the city are walking in esteemed footsteps as New Street played a major part in the Battle of Worcester in 1651 when King Charles II escaped along the narrow street to Nash’s Passage and fled the city.
Pedestrianised Mealcheapen Street is home to many charity shops, with some supporting good causes based locally, and boasts its fair share of independents including eclectic womenswear retailer Acanthus and registered firearms dealer F Durrant & Son. A stroll along Foregate Street past Worcester’s most centrally located railway station takes discerning visitors with an eye for something a bit more unusual to The Tything, which is the go-to street for antique shops. A plethora of antique and vintage shops sell everything from military memorabilia to stylish homewares.
Treat yourself to something unique from a local independent or boutique store
Located just off Foregate Street is Hopmarket. Even before the imposing Hopmarket Hotel was built at the turn of the 20th century, hop merchants were buying and selling local produce on the site as far back as the 1730s. Though the hops have gone and the hotel has long since closed, the building is home to a mix of independent traders and cafes. Worcester is renowned all over the world for Royal Worcester Porcelain, which was established in 1751 and is one of the oldest remaining English porcelain brands still in existence today.
A short stroll from both the High Street and The Shambles are New Street, Friar Street and Charles Street, where more treasures can be found
The Victorian Christmas Fayre
Although the brand is no longer produced in Worcester, products are available in the Museum Shop on Severn Street with all profits going towards the care of the collections. Without doubt the highlight of the city’s shopping calendar and a must for more than 100,000 visitors from across the UK and beyond is the Victorian Christmas Fayre, which was launched in 1992 by traders from New Street and Friar Street. The event benefits the whole county in a variety of ways and contributes an additional boost to the economy of more than £7.3 million a year.
Now more than a quarter of a century old, the Fayre runs for four days at the end of November. It has grown in terms of size and prestige but has remained true to its traditional roots with plenty of Victorian-themed characters, festive treats and a wonderful wintery atmosphere.
Browse the traditional stalls at the Victorian Christmas Fayre
Almost 200 stalls line the city centre streets, selling local arts and crafts, delicious street food and gifts. The air is scented with mulled wine, roast chestnuts and hot chocolate – with a dash of Bailey’s of course! As well as a wide array of stalls, visitors can enjoy a fantastic programme of entertainment. Keep an eye out for Victorian characters in Gin Lane, lofty entertainers on stilts, musicians on numerous stages and buskers on every street corner.
No Victorian Fayre would be complete without a carousel and fun fair and kids of all ages can’t wait to jump aboard the Galloper in the Cornmarket and be whisked around to the sound of the traditional barrel organ. retail parks For out-of-town shopping, there are three retail parks to choose from in Worcester.
Without doubt the highlight of the city’s shopping calendar and a must for more than 100,000 visitors from across the UK and beyond is the Victorian Christmas Fayre, which was launched in 1992
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Garden and craft goods
Blackpole Retail Park and Elgar Retail Park stand alongside each other within the suburb of Blackpole while the Shrub Hill Retail Park is conveniently situated near Shrub Hill train station. A short drive to the north of the city leads to Bevere Gallery, a major centre for the visual arts in Worcestershire with high quality displays and sale of works by nationally-known ceramicists and artists. The gallery has a wide range of outdoor ceramics and sculptures in the courtyard and grounds surrounding the gallery and stocks etchings, prints, woodcuts and a range of art and craft books, cards and magazines for sale.
Continue along the A449 to Kidderminster, renowned for carpet manufacture and now the location of four shopping centres, three in the town centre itself and one retail park. Weavers Wharf houses major names including M&S, Next and Debenhams and has a large car park plus cafes and restaurants. The Swan Centre and Sir Rowland Hill Centre – named in honour of the Kidderminster resident who invented the pre-paid postage stamp – both offer covered browsing.
Crossley Retail Park is home to a large supermarket and other retailers on site include The Range, Smyths Toys and Mountain Warehouse. If gardening is your passion, make a beeline for Webbs at Wychbold on the A38 between Bromsgrove and Droitwich Spa. The Webbs story began in the mid-19th century as seed merchants in Wordsley, near Stourbridge, and led to the family becoming royally appointed seedsmen to the Queen. Still an independent family company, Webbs blends gardening requirements and many decades of know-how with a relaxing retail experience. Lakeland, Cotswold Outdoor and Hobbycraft have outlets on site and there’s a popular cafe, too.
Pick up something new for your garden or home at Hop Pocket Shopping Village
Fans of gardening will also enjoy Hop Pocket Shopping Village in Bishop’s Frome which has something for everyone. From the GreenStage Gallery to an extensive selection of gift ideas, the Hop Pocket is a collection of independent shops spread over a number of old agricultural buildings. It really is a unique shopping experience.
Close to the village of Hanbury with views across the Worcestershire countryside is Jinney Ring, a traditional craft centre where visitors can watch skilled craftspeople at work in atmospheric, 200-year-old barn buildings. A wide range of quirky gifts and craft items are available in the large gift shop and there is also a mini farmers’ market at weekends. Special events including, festivals and exhibitions, are held throughout the year. Droitwich Spa, which is famous for its salt production heritage, has mainly pedestrianised shopping areas including St Andrew’s Square while Bromsgrove has a long pedestrianised High Street.
A short drive to the north of the city leads to Bevere Gallery, a major centre for the visual arts in Worcestershire with high quality displays and sale of works by nationally-known ceramicists and artists
Also located in the north of the county is Redditch, which is home to the Kingfisher Centre with 140 stores including Debenhams, Primark, Waterstones and The Range plus plenty of cafes for a reviving cuppa. The covered centre has extensive parking and easy access to bus and railway stations. For a gift or take-home treasure with a difference, head to Britten House Craft Gallery, a showroom gallery located in an old needle works building in Redditch. The gallery offers a wide range of fine art and photography, textiles, woodturning, glass, ceramics, jewellery, soft furnishings, soaps and candles.
Stores in the town centre of Evesham in the south of the county can meet everyday shopping needs and the Evesham Shopping Park comprises Next, Boots, Marks & Spencer, Poundstretcher and Argos. Perfect for a relaxing day with a mix of brand names and unique gift shops set within 125 acres of stunning Worcestershire countryside is The Valley Evesham. Indulge your love of gardening at Evesham Garden Centre and browse top brands including Fat Face, Barbour, Mountain Warehouse and Pavers Shoes. There are also cafes and restaurants on site.
Find all of your favourite brands at The Valley Evesham
Open seven days a week, The Valley Evesham has free parking and visitors can enjoy dog-friendly walks in unspoilt countryside. Handily located just off the A46, it is also home to the Evesham Vale Light Railway and rail buffs can travel over a mile on 15-inch gauge track through idyllic countryside, enjoying a picnic before catching a return service.
Also based on the same site is the Boardman Performance Centre, dedicated to cyclists of all levels interested in expanding their cycling potential. Founded by legendary British cyclist Chris Boardman MBE, the centre specialises in physiological fitness, function and health, bike-fitting, positional biomechanics and aerodynamics and is home to the UK’s first cycling-specific wind tunnel. Cycling enthusiasts can explore the Boardman range of bikes and accessories and demo a bike.
Also on the theme of getting out and about, The Map Shop in the small riverside town of Upton on Severn boasts one of the largest inventories of maps and travel guides in the world with more than 55,000 items in stock. Established in 1975 by Tony Atkinson who began selling maps as a hobby, the business is the UK agent for the official survey authorities for most of Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA and is an Ordnance Survey Mapping outlet.
Also located in the north of the county is Redditch, which is home to the Kingfisher Centre with 140 stores including Debenhams, Primark, Waterstones and The Range plus plenty of cafes for a reviving cuppa
Art and antiques
The centre of Great Malvern is home to numerous local independent stores as well as big brand stores such as Waitrose, Wilkinson’s and Fat Face while the out-of-town Malvern Shopping Park hosts household names such as M&S, Argos, Matalan and Halfords. Close to the border with Shropshire, Tenbury Wells is a bustling town with many independent traders. Just over a mile to the west of the town lies Burford House and Gardens. Once a Georgian house set in seven acres of ornamental gardens, it is now a garden centre, cafe, garden and retail outlet.
If you have an eye for art and antiques Worcestershire won’t disappoint
Completing our retail round up is the charming north Cotswold village of Broadway, which offers the perfect therapy for shopaholics with its impressive selection of fashion boutiques, homeware stores and souvenir gift shops offering local hand-made crafts.
Whether you’re looking for unique items or beautiful pieces of art, you’ll find plenty of art galleries and antique shops including The Old Print Gallery and antique, silver and art dealer Cheltenham House Antiques.
A walk along the High Street will steer you to several fashion boutiques, such as Sue Parkinson, which stocks high end designer brands such as Mulberry and Diane Von Furstenberg, and Slate Clothing who offer a large selection of ladies clothing and more than 50 labels. Fans of British leather handbags should visit RedMeg for luxury bags designed in the Cotswolds.
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