Shopping Centres in Southern England

Famous Shopping Centres and Towns in Southern England

Famous shopping centres in Southern England boast a combination of historical retail influences, powerful entrepreneurs who built their shops with grit and talent, and a buyer's eye for what sells and what doesn't. The most popular shopping centres and districts in Southern England where you can find interesting items for sale include the following: The Three Largest Shopping Centres in Southern England

Kent - Bluewater

With over 330 stores, a cinema, conference and exhibition venue and oodles of restaurants, Bluewater in Kent is truly a shopping experience. It's the perfect place to source a hard-to-get item at bargain prices with the range and variety you would expect to find only in London. The advantages of Bluewater include free parking all day, everything is undercover, and the lovely interior is roomy enough for comfortable walking and browsing alongside an estimated 40,000 daily visitors.

Basingstoke - Festival Place

Right in the centre of town and just off the M3 junction 6 lies Festival Place Basingstoke, home to over 160 shops, a multiplex cinema and 20 restaurants. Built with shoppers in mind, this Basingstoke shopping district makes the most of functional walkways, shopping floor space and a clever combination of discount shops such as TK Max and BHS, alongside middle-range fashion designer stores found on the high street - Phase 8, Zara, H&M, Oasis, Warehouse and Top Shop.

Bracknell - Princess and Charles Square

Gorgeous outdoor walkways, cafe-style alfresco dining and serious shopping greets you in the Princess and Charles Square shopping centre in Bracknell. The seventh largest shopping centre in the UK boasts an incredible array of own brands including Fenwicks, Bentalls, Primark and M&S. Part of Bracknell's regeneration project begun in 2010, the shopping complex will merge the Princess Square northern retail area to the Charles Square area in 2017, via a modernised walkway connecting the two. The goal is the creation of an impressive pedestrianised town centre and shopper's delight - costing a whopping £240 million.

Famous Shopping Areas in the Southern UK

Dulwich Village - Rigby and Mac

Depending on your definition of 'southern', Dulwich lies approximately 40 minutes south of central London, and is worth a mention for it is the location of Rigby and Mac. Their three stores, named respectively 'Ed', 'The Dulwich Trader' and 'Tomlinsons' are unusual in that they specialise in eclectic and unique homewares and fashions heralding British and Scandinavian styles and designers. It's a bit like IKEA with clothes, and much, much, more quirky. The original store, 'The Dulwich Trader' began operations in 1989 offering vintage and country furniture, a range of women's fashion from homegrown designers and a personal shopping service to boot. There are pricey products in the stores, but also lots of affordable stuff which is great if you are looking for a special gift or outfit.

Kingston-Upon-Thames

A little further south, you'll find a shopper's paradise. Trading in retail shops by Royal Charter since 1208, Kingston-Upon Thames is a perfect place to walk and wander. The whole town is shopper friendly, with most of it paved for pedestrians. You'll find yourself browsing all types of shops from huge high street chains like H&M, Monsoon, Boden, Hobbs, and Gap, to visiting John Lewis' flagship store and taking a load off by one of the many delightful riverside restaurants. Kingston is truly a shopper's delight.

Surrey - Manns of Cranleigh

Run by the Mann family since 1887, Manns of Cranleigh is a delightful trove of retail delight. Vintage homeware, hand-picked innovative products for home and fashion needs, clothing, linen and kitchen appliances - all chosen to satisfy quality and aesthetic requirements, furniture, luggage, gifts and toys, Manns Department Store has it all. Authentically British, and tucked away in the quiet village of Cranleigh, it may surprise you to learn Manns is on the New York Times top shopping destinations in the UK list. For unique items, guaranteed quality and 'British' service, you'll enjoy the experience of shopping at Manns.

Farnham Elphicks

Since 1881, Elphicks has run as an independent retail department store. Initially a drapery store run by George Elphick, the address at 13 West Street is the same today. The business was sold by the family in 2004 to another family business (Tudor Williams) and continues to provide quality and innovative products that are fun and great value. You'll find something to make you smile in Elphicks, which also has an excellent upstairs cafe and lunch restaurant.

Southern Towns

To find quality retail centres where you can walk around, enjoy cobbled high streets, gorgeous architecture, nice riverfront tearooms and an abundance of local craft stores, quirky shops, and interesting fashion items, visit some of England's best southern towns. You'll find Guildford, Winchester, Yeovil, Reading, Farnham and Horsham worth a visit. On the southern coast, visit Poole Quayside for great marina shopping or travel to nearby Portsmouth and take a day trip to the Isle of Wight. Visit Bournemouth for seaside charm, Littlehampton for quirky pottery and craft shops, and venture out to Brighton-on-Sea for upscale markets and fashion inspired by British artists.

These southern towns have the advantage of being big regional centres with hundreds of shops and chains alongside some serious local quality. The towns above are easily accessible via National Rail and Bus services so you can travel to and from each centre. Additionally, each town has a lovely selection of B&B and hotel accommodation, with a variety of interesting restaurants, quality ale gastropubs and coffee shops to visit. An overnight stay combined with shopping is a great city break idea.