5 Best UK Cities for Last-Minute Christmas Shopping
When it comes to Christmas shopping, which camp do you fall into? Are you super organised with all your presents bought and neatly wrapped, ready to go under the tree? Or do you still need to hit the shops? If it’s the latter, don’t panic. There’s still plenty of time to do some last-minute Christmas shopping, and if you’re savvy, you could even book a night away in a different city and turn it into a pre-Christmas treat!
To help you decide where to go, we’ve shared 5 of the best cities for last-minute Christmas shopping in the UK…
There’s a reason that over 40 million shoppers make their annual pilgrimage to London in December - it’s a Christmas shopping paradise! For starters, it has all the enchanting department stores like Selfridges, Liberty and Harrods, dressed to the nines in decorations galore. Secondly, it has a host of trendy vintage and retro stores, as well as all the big markets like Portobello, Covent Garden and Camden Market, perfect for picking up more unique gifts.
And of course, we can’t talk about London without mentioning high-street shopping! On Oxford Street, you’ll find all the big brands and flagship stores, including Topshop, Nike and John Lewis. Regent Street has prestigious international brands, such as Burberry, Calvin Klein and Reiss and, of course, Hamleys toy store! And for British heritage labels, independent boutiques and beauty emporiums, it’s all about Carnaby Street.
Visit London for a last-minute Christmas shopping break, and you’re guaranteed to find exactly what you’re looking for. To make it extra special, why not tie in your trip with a visit to the magical Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park? Don’t forget to do an evening tour of the city, marvelling at all of the beautiful Christmas lights.
Cheap London Hotels
Exciting news - we currently have two pre-Christmas London hotel breaks available on our Resale Deals page:
- Nox Waterloo Hotel, 16th - 18th December 2022, book for £300 (originally £408)
- Ibis London Stratford, 17th - 18th December 2022, book for £125 (originally £149)
- Assembly Covent Garden, 19th - 22nd December 2022, book for $325
Edinburgh is a beautiful city to visit at any time of year. Still, it truly comes alive during the festive season and is the perfect place for a magical and memorable shopping experience.
Let’s start with Princes Street - Scotland’s answer to Oxford Street. There you’ll find all of the big high street chains and flagship stores lining the streets, with a stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. For high-end gifts, take a stroll down George Street and Multrees Walk or go indie gift shopping on Rose Street and Thistle Street for something a little different. In the east end of the New Town, you’ll also find St James Quarter - a new shopping centre with flagship stores that only opened in June 2021. Just like London, Edinburgh’s got it all!
And if you’re looking for a cheap hotel room, check out our Resale Deals. We currently have a listing for a 3-night stay at VOCO Haymarket in the heart of Edinburgh City Centre from 15th - 18th December 2022. Book now for the bargain price of £600 (originally £780).
Regarded as one of the UK’s best cities for shopping, Manchester is brimming with culture, which is reflected in its retail scene. You’ll find all the big brand fashion, beauty and lifestyle labels at the Arndale Centre, Spinningfields and Trafford Centre. But, if you’re looking for something a little different, and dare we say, edgy, set your sights on the Northern Quarter, which has an eclectic range of niche retailers, vintage boutiques and shabby chic stores, perfect for those looking for the gift that no one else has thought of.
What we love about Manchester is that it has a vast range of shopping districts to suit various budgets and tastes. It’s also a fabulous city to spend a night or two away, with plenty to see and do, especially over Christmas.
Search and book a hotel room in Manchester with Plans Change.
The Mediaeval city of York is an idyllic Christmas shopping location with a stunning backdrop of remarkable architecture and historic buildings, including the famous York Minster. Over the festive period, it’s worth visiting the St Nicholas Christmas Fair with its picture-perfect Alpine-style chalets, running until 23rd December.
We also recommend visiting the Shambles market. With over 85 indie retail stores selling everything from traditional crafts to quirky stocking fillers, you’re guaranteed to find gifts for everyone in your family - even those who already seem to have everything!
For high-street favourites, head to Parliament and Coney Street and pay a visit to the independent stores on Gillygate and Petergate. We’re all for shopping small this Christmas and supporting the many wonderful independent retailers in our UK cities too.
Complete your York shopping break with a visit to Betty’s Tearoom and treat yourself - it’s Christmas, after all!
Birmingham is the UK’s second-largest city and is known for having the biggest (and best) German-style Christmas Market outside Germany itself. The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is held in Victoria Square and New Street and offers a fabulous range of products, including traditional German delicacies, beautiful handcrafted ornaments, toys and more. With charismatic carol singers and fun fairground rides, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.
Along with a fantastic Christmas Market, Birmingham is all about the Bullring - a large three-floor retail heaven full of all your favourite stores. You’ll also find Selfridges in Birmingham - and if we’re honest, it’s worth visiting to see the building itself! Housed in a truly iconic modern building, it promises to be every bit as exciting on the inside with a host of designer and popular clothing brands, plus housewares and gift stores.
Like many of the other UK shopping cities on our list, Birmingham also has its share of quirky indie stores, with many dotted around the Digbeth area (once the city’s industrial centre.) But, if it’s jewellery on your Christmas shopping list or you’re planning a romantic Christmas proposal, there’s no better place to head than Birmingham’s iconic Jewellery Quarter. Home to more than 100 retailers and diamond dealers, you’ll be spoilt for choice for Christmas gifts of the sparkly kind.
Book a last-minute Christmas hotel
Turn a stressful last-minute Christmas shopping day into an enjoyable, luxury experience with an overnight stay in one of the UK’s top shopping destinations. Check out our Resale Deals for cheap hotels to book before Christmas, or use our handy search bar to find discounted hotels in your chosen city. And if your festive shopping plans change, don’t worry. You can always list unwanted hotel rooms on our website to help recover costs and ensure you’re not left out of pocket before Christmas!