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Shopping Guide

Shopping Guide

Shop around for something extra special... 
 

Feel like a spot of shopping along the Great West Way? In the towns, villages and cities along the touring route you’ll find an abundance of antique stores and independent shops as well as super-handy shopping centres and malls. There’s also some marvellous markets selling everything from local crafts to artisan delicacies. Everyone’s tastes are different, of course, so one shopping itinerary could never fit all. To get you started however, here’s some suggestions for 3 distinct themes: 

Vintage fancies 

Whether it’s 40s glamour or Edwardian furniture you’re in to, you’ll find some lovely preloved treasures along the Great West Way. 

The storied city of Bath has some fabulous options. Bath Vintage & Antiques Market, on the last Sunday of every month at Green Park Station, has a good mix of everything - mid-century furnishings, jazzy retro frocks and one-of-a-kind antiques. Elsewhere, Vintage to Vogue can style you in top quality fashion, from the 1900s onwards, then have it tailored specifically to your shape. Very dapper! 

Nearby Bristol is known for its alternative outlook, making it a go-to place for vintage and offbeat fashion finds. 

For quirky places in Bristol head straight to Stokes Croft and adjoining Gloucester Road - the longest street of independent shops in the UK. There you’ll discover artfully-curated charity shops alongside intriguing second-hand stores (with lots of hip cafes in between for when you need a coffee break). At Cox & Baloney’s charming tearoom you can get vintage afternoon tea on pretty crockery. Good to know: If you’re a guy or gal who likes Americana, Uncle Sam’s on Park Street is the best place to find a pair of cowboy boots or classic Levis you can cherish forever. 

If you’re mainly in the market for antiques, you’re sure to stumble upon some rare finds throughout the touring route. Places such as Marlborough, Chippenham, Bradford on Avon, Pewsey, Marlow and Tetbury will all come up with the goods. Those happy to travel a short distance north of the Great West Way should definitely have a rummage at Antiques on High, an Oxford institution where you’ll find everything from original oil paintings to adorable writing desks. 

Souvenir hunting 

Shop like the Victorians and go in search of the ultimate memento of your travels. You will certainly find all the usual cheap and cheerful souvenirs along the Great West Way - fridge magnets, pens and pencils, plush toys. But if you want something a bit more meaningful, think books by local authors, artworks, culinary delights, traditional crafts and handmade memorabilia. 

You’ll find all of the above if you seek out independent bookshops, stores and pop-up boutiques such as We Make Bristol in Westbury-on-Trym, which only stocks products by local artists and designers. But don’t dismiss the gift shops at top tourist attractions or tourist information offices - many work closely with local makers and producers. Stonehenge gift shop, for instance, sells striking lino prints of the stones by local artist Caroline Day. 

Look for shops in unexpected locations, too. St Peter’s Church in Marlborough is now home to a craft shop selling all sorts of cute, colourful gifts. And in Bristol, the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter is a hidden-away haven for one-offs including musical instruments, herbal remedies and fine spirits (the medieval steps themselves make the perfect Insta-snap too).

Markets are fun places to pick up unusual gifts. A short jaunt south, check out the Charter Market in Salisbury on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Or St Nick’s Market in Bristol, every day except Sunday. Try and catch one of the Duck Pond markets, which take place regularly in various scenic locations not far from London such as Henley-on-Thames and Chalfont St Giles. Their ethos is local, ethical and sustainable, so you can feel good about supporting the planet as well as local businesses when you buy. 

Good to know: If you’re shopping local in Bristol, you can make your purchases using the city’s own currency - the Bristol Pound. The vibrant notes are available from Bristol Tourist Information Centre on the Harbourside. 

Dreamy designer buys 

There’s nothing like being on holiday for an excuse to treat yourself to something nice. Luckily there’s lots of ways you can do that along the Great West Way. 

Swindon Designer Outlet is a great place to pick up discounted top name brands like Hobbs, Jack Wills and Osprey. Then there’s Kilver Court Designer Village, a short distance south of Bath, where as well as fashion there’s luxurious lifestyle brands like Liberty London, known for its iconic floral prints, plus a gorgeous garden to explore. Good to know: If you’re serious about bagging some bargains, there are some mighty convenient hotels near Swindon Designer Outlet. 

For a truly personalised service, and exclusive couture clothing, visit one of the posh boutiques along the touring route. Fluidity in Henley-on-Thames attracts high flyers near and far and is rumoured to be Prime Minister Theresa May’s favourite. 

For jewellery, consider getting a bespoke piece made by a local jeweller. Goldsmith Paul Newton in Malmesbury crafts exquisite pendants, earrings and rings set with dazzling jewels (good to know if you’re thinking of making a proposal while you’re away). Or for sensational silver jewellery, go to Tundra Jewellers in Devizes

Top tip: Take a look at our Luxury itinerary for more high end shopping suggestions. 

A few more ideas… 

●    Cabot Circus, Bristol 
●    Parkway Shopping Centre, Newbury 
●    Home Barn, Little Marlow 
●    Clifton Village, Bristol 
●    Hungerford Bookshop, Hungerford
●    Milsom Place, Bath  
●    Eton Fudge Shop, Eton 
●    The Oracle, Reading 

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Product Information

  1. McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Swindon

    Swindon

    McArthurGlen's Swindon Designer Outlet lies within the beautifully renovated Grade II listed buildings of the Great Western Railway Works and is one of the largest covered designer outlets in Europe. 90 High St and Designer brands.

  2. Parkway Shopping Centre

    Newbury

    Top fashion and lifestyle brands in the Berkshire town of Newbury.

  3. Bath

    Bath

    The golden city of Bath has been welcoming visitors for over 2,000 years. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Bath is home to some of the most impressive architectural sights in the world such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney.

  4. Hungerford

    Hungerford

    In the far west of West Berkshire, alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal and surrounded by beautiful countryside, the charming market town of Hungerford boasts impressive transport links for a town of its size. It is conveniently placed for access to the M4 motorway and is on the main train line from…

  5. Marlborough

    Marlborough is situated in the picturesque rural north-east of Wiltshire.

    Much of its great natural beauty is environmentally protected and it offers the discerning visitor a unique blend of modern attractions and facilities. Site of a twice-weekly market, the High Street is one of the widest in…

  6. Chippenham

    North Wiltshire

    The historical market town of Chippenham is one of the West Country’s most vibrant towns.

    Nestled on the banks of the River Avon and a little over an hour’s journey from central London, Chippenham offers an ideal centre for relaxation and exploration of rural Wiltshire, Bath and the Cotswolds.…

  7. Bradford on Avon

    One of the most compelling features about Bradford on Avon is its unique position on the edge of the Cotswolds facing the River Avon.

    The ancient bridge in the centre of the town remains its natural focus and the bridge still retains two of its original 13th-century arches.

    The historical view…

  8. Vale of Pewsey

    Located in the heart of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and between Stonehenge and Avebury, the Vale of Pewsey is ideal for getting off the beaten track and has plenty of friendly and atmospheric places to stay, eat, drink and shop

  9. Marlow

    Marlow

    Marlow is without a doubt one of the loveliest locations on the River Thames. Situated on a broad sweep of the river between Henley and Windsor and alongside the woodlands of the Chiltern Hills the charming Georgian market town is made up of historic streets, boutique shops and plenty of character.

  10. Stonehenge

    Nr Amesbury

    Stonehenge stands impressively as a prehistoric monument of unique importance, a World Heritage Site, surrounded by remains of ceremonial and domestic structures - some older than the monument itself.

  11. Henley on Thames

    Henley On Thames

    South Oxfordshire is an area full of natural beauty, picturesque villages, shops to browse and places to stay and to eat.

  12. Malmesbury

    You might already know of Malmesbury’s rich history as England’s oldest borough or heard about the stunning 12th Century Abbey still very much in use today. But there’s so much more to discover in this charming market town.

    Visit the original Market Cross, the Norman Abbey with its tomb of King…

  13. Devizes

    Devizes

    Devizes is a historic market town with a colourful Medieval past, wealth of history and architectural heritage with more than 500 listed buildings and a large Market Place in the heart of the town.   This can all be enjoyed as you discover the wide range of traditional independent shops or peruse…

  14. Reading

    Reading

    Be amazed by modern Reading – from remarkable medieval heritage and beautiful Thames countryside to award-winning shopping centres, there’s a surprise around every corner.

Itinerary Distances

FromToDistance * (metric)
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Swindon (51.56278,-1.79687)Parkway Shopping Centre (51.40433,-1.32344)33.54
Parkway Shopping Centre (51.40433,-1.32344)Bath (51.3856,-2.36168)64.94
Bath (51.3856,-2.36168)Bristol (51.45152,-2.59816)16.19
Bristol (51.45152,-2.59816)Hungerford (51.41237,-1.51697)67.66
Hungerford (51.41237,-1.51697)Marlborough (51.41998,-1.73264)13.5
Marlborough (51.41998,-1.73264)Chippenham (51.46024,-2.11779)24.39
Chippenham (51.46024,-2.11779)Bradford on Avon (51.34764,-2.25062)14.01
Bradford on Avon (51.34764,-2.25062)Vale of Pewsey (51.3398,-1.76513)30.4
Vale of Pewsey (51.3398,-1.76513)Marlow (51.57048,-0.7734)66.1
Marlow (51.57048,-0.7734)Stonehenge (51.18406,-1.85768)78.09
Stonehenge (51.18406,-1.85768)Henley on Thames (51.53528,-0.90088)69.44
Henley on Thames (51.53528,-0.90088)Malmesbury (51.5838,-2.0968)74.66
Malmesbury (51.5838,-2.0968)Devizes (51.35258,-1.99576)24.01
Devizes (51.35258,-1.99576)Reading (51.45239,-0.97383)64.66
Total Distance *641.44 miles
Estimated Journey Time20.65 hours

* Approximate distance by road

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