Great West Way Travel Magazine


With one-of-a-kind independen­t boutiques, selling antiques, arts and crafts, books, fashion, jewellery and clothing, historic department stores, markets and entire shopping villages, there is an abundance of shopping destinatio­ns to be enjoyed

- Words: Emma Johnson

PERHAPS IT’S DOWN to its history as a main arterial route between the east and west of southern England, flanked partly by the Thames. Or because it wends its way through some of the most beautiful and sought-after English countrysid­e around. Whatever the reason, the Great West Way boasts some of the most wonderful cities, towns and villages for indulging all your retail desires. Whether you want to pick up a few mementos of your trip from local artisans in Marlboroug­h and Windsor, rummage through the antiques shops in Hungerford and Tetbury, or splash out on renowned British brands in Bath and Richmond, shopping along the Great West Way is both diverse and inspiring.


At the beginning of your journey west, make a stop in Richmond, where you can find upcycling and preloved beauties at Mary’s Living and Giving; quirky home décor in Anthropolo­gie; 30th Century Comics, who specialise in back issues of every comic ever made; and The Open Book, an independen­t bookshop with an amazing range and knowledgea­ble staff. Richmond also has a Whole Foods Market.

And, don’t miss shopping in Kew too, close by and a lovely place to shop, with a number of wonderful galleries, especially those whose artists are inspired by their botanical surroundin­gs. Next to each other, the Marianne North Galley and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art are both well worth a visit. While at Christmas, a showstoppi­ng trail of festive light installati­ons runs through Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew until early January, with more than a million pretty fairy lights installed along the route and a festive market selling homemade food and gifts.


From Richmond and Kew, you’ll journey away from the big city and soon find yourself in delightful little towns whose independen­t shops and boutiques have been steadfastl­y preserved. A beautiful and historic town, Windsor is also somewhere that prides itself on having a thriving and popular high street. Many important British names, from Jigsaw and Jo Malone to Joules and Hobbs London are here, located in the beautiful Windsor Royal Shopping centre, previously the old station booking hall, and a glorious glass-covered atrium, with numerous shops, restaurant­s, cafés and bars. Close by, you’ll also find country outfitters Barbour, tailors New & Lingwood (just over the river in neighbouri­ng Eton) and just outside of town, Windsor Farm Shop and Café which sources meat and game from the royal estate, and also sells local honey, craft ales, flowers and fresh produce, as well as royal estate gifts and hampers.

Close by, beautiful Henley on Thames is a smart, chic town with a great mix of independen­t shops and carefully chosen brands. Amidst the likes of classic British homeware brand Laura Ashley, luxury beauty store Space NK and British fashion names Joules, Crew, White Stuff and Whistles, you’ll also find Fluidity - a chic fashion store which recently shot to fame as the store responsibl­e for Prime Minister Theresa May’s eclectic wardrobe; as well

“The Great West Way boasts some of the most wonderful cities, towns and villages for indulging all your retail desires.”

as Way’s Rare & Secondhand Bookshop, nautical fashion emporium Boatique and Italian shoe brand Moda in Pelle. Moving west, you’ll come to Newbury, whose Parkway Shopping complex is a great town centre addition, featuring John Lewis at Home, L’Occitane, Hotel Chocolat and Neal’s Yard Remedies; while in Hungerford you can spend an entire day exploring the Hungerford Antiques Arcade, home to more than 100 antiques dealers – and plenty of weird and wonderful finds.

Antiques are also a popular feature in the beautiful market town of Tetbury. Make sure to visit Lorfords, who sell their own range of traditiona­lly upholstere­d, contempora­ry sofas/armchairs; Muir Antiques, who mix contempora­ry design with selected pieces from the 20th century, French decorative antiques and retro; and Brownrigg, based in an impressive Georgian house, spread over three floors dealing in period antique furniture, decorative antiques and painted antiques. A short drive away is Malmesbury, England’s oldest borough, where you’ll find local favourite French Grey Interiors, gift shop Woodcock & Cavendish and the popular cashmere knitwear brand, Sassy & Boo.

Don’t miss out on a potter down the high street of market town Marlboroug­h, either - one of the widest high streets in England, with a host of adorable tea shops, as well as interior design shop Susie Watson and modern British art gallery Katharine House Gallery.

And, not too far away, in Bradford on Avon, the honeycolou­red stone and meandering, cobbled streets are home to the likes of Made In Bradford on Avon, a collective of local artisans’ wares in the old vaults, vintage treasure trove Instant Vintage, gift shop Strawberry Blue and the wonderfull­y pungent The Cheese Shop.


Towards the end of the Great West Way, you’ll pass through both Bath and Bristol, wonderful cities with very different but inspiring shopping scenes. In Bath, celebrate the beauty of the city’s extraordin­ary architectu­re, while perusing the likes of Jolly’s – the oldest department store in the UK, and Rossiters of Bath, an independen­t department store in a wonderful higgeldy piggeldy building.

Also, make sure to wander along Pulteney Bridge in

Bath. This gorgeous Georgian bridge is one of only four worldwide to have shops lining both sides and is a classical, and retail, masterpiec­e.

From here, take your time exploring the winding Georgian streets in search of the best boutiques and bookshops. Mr B’s Emporium is best for books, Vintage to Vogue is a top destinatio­n for vintage fashion, while, when it comes to homewares, you’re spoilt for choice – Found, Graham & Green, OKA, Brissi, The Fig Store and The Loft and Looking Glass of Bath are all inspiring, beautiful shops.

The newly launched Bath Gift Card is also a great idea if you’re planning a weekend away here or in search of a unique present. Accepted across the city in over 200 shops, bars, museums and beauty salons, the Mastercard-based card works in the same way as a store gift card, but can be redeemed at a wide range of participat­ing retailers, hotels, restaurant­s and attraction­s. (You can buy a pre-loaded card online, bathgiftca­ or at the Visitor Informatio­n Centre, just off Terrace Walk.)

In Bristol, Cabot Circus shopping centre remains the perfect destinatio­n for contempora­ry fashions, but for a sense of heritage you can’t beat St Nicholas Market – an award-winning indoor market dating back 275 years. There are a host of independen­t food stalls, as well as shops →

selling vintage records, art, handmade knitwear, books, board games and model-making kits.

It’s worth setting aside some time to explore the rest of Bristol too, as little shopping enclaves with popular local names are starting to emerge. Park Street, The Arcade and Gloucester Road are the places to head to for second-hand shopping and vintage fashions. We love S8, a popular independen­t department store on Park Street, and also the Bristol Guild, with a heavy focus on design, it features everything from dining and kitchenwar­e to toys, jewellery and ceramics.

The Stokes Croft area includes Gloucester Road, the longest street of independen­t shops in the UK, which has a trendy, indie feel. Stokes Croft is also where you can see one of Bristol-born artist Banksy’s best pieces. Iota sells homeware and gifts, Fig does interiors, and you can refuel at Joe’s Bakery with some organic, artisan fast food. In Clifton, start at the amazing Clifton Arcade, a veritable rabbit hole of old-world charm, with quirky antiques, vintage fashion and sweet shops. Around Clifton itself, don’t miss the jewellery in Bees & Graves or fashion in Fenice and Grace & Mabel. Also try Focus on the Past for antiques, pick up beautiful stationery at Papersmith­s and enjoy organic artisan food at Arch House Deli.


Housed in the beautifull­y renovated Grade II listed buildings of the Great Western Railway Works, McArthurGl­en Designer Outlet Swindon is one of the largest covered designer outlets in Europe. With everything from Bose and Jack Wills to Joules and Links of London, it is the perfect place, in a great location to pick up a bargain. As well as many dining options, McArthurGl­en Designer Outlet Swindon also houses a great selection of cafés including Starbucks, Soho Coffee and Costa. The on-site STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway offers families the chance to learn about the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway and National Trust has its own café and shop.

Head south from Bath, a short detour off the

Great West Way route, and nestled in the heart of Somerset just one mile from the world famous town of Glastonbur­y, and you will find your way to Clarks Village where you will discover big brands and hidden gems - all under one roof.

Clarks Village is no ordinary designer shopping outlet. It was establishe­d in 1993 on the site of old

C&J Clark factory buildings and was the UK’s first ever outlet shopping centre to open its doors. Less than 20 minutes from the M5, you will find paved walkways and canopies, award winning landscaped gardens, seasonal flower beds and an amazing array of mature trees.

There are more than 90 high street and designer brands, cafés, ‘grab & go’ kiosks and restaurant­s that continue to offer great value for money to fashion foragers and style seekers. You will find a wonderful emporium of big name brands including Jack Wills, Hobbs, Barbour, Dune London, Jack Wolfskin, Hotel Chocolat, Mint Velvet, Levis, Vans and Joules.

 ??  ?? Pictured: Couple enjoy shopping in Windsor
Pictured: Couple enjoy shopping in Windsor
 ??  ?? Pictured above left (then in a clockwise direction): McArthurGl­en Designer
Outlet Swindon; Clarks Village; and restored Great Western Railway works
Pictured above left (then in a clockwise direction): McArthurGl­en Designer Outlet Swindon; Clarks Village; and restored Great Western Railway works

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom