We’re all more than a little au fait with how to fill a virtual shopping trolley in under five minutes flat, and while online shopping does have a place in our lives, nothing beats physically meeting up with a friend after work or on the weekend for a flat white and a bite to eat, followed by a heavy dose of retail therapy.
Unfortunately, when we think of high street shopping, it’s easy to picture a main drag jam-packed with chain stores and franchises, and to be honest that’s where most people end up spending their pennies when they do get out and about into town. But a closer look in between the big high street brands, or a slight detour off the beaten track will very likely see you stumble upon a delightful smattering of artisan eats, craft galleries and edgy shops selling one-off items; which is exactly what we’ve found in our neighbourhoods. These are a few of our favourite haunts…
Fore Street in Topsham, Devon
Lined with independent shops, art galleries and artisan food stores, Topsham’s Fore Street is a world away from the chain store high streets found across the country, and a selection of lovely restaurants means you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious lunch after you’ve shopped up a storm.
Fore Street in St Ives, Cornwall
Just behind the harbour, St Ives’ main shopping thoroughfare winds its way along cobblestones and bustles with visitors. Gift and bucket-and-spade shops abound but in between you’ll discover a peppering of gorgeous independent businesses and artisan foodie stores selling beautiful and delicious locally made gems.
Gandy Street in Exeter, Devon
Tucked away within the Castle Quarter in Exeter you’ll discover the other-worldly Gandy Street. Period architecture, hanging baskets and higgledy shop signs lend a really cool vintage edge to the place which is right in keeping with its retro clothing stores, handmade wares and eateries.
Middle Street in Brixham, Devon
Photo credit @middlestreetbrixham
At first glance, Middle Street which lies just on from Brixham’s bustling harbour looks typically seaside resort, but a closer look reveals hidden doorways that stumble into unexpectedly cool cafes, makers studios, galleries and a wine boutique.