Planned right, Christmas shopping can be a lot of fun. The stores pull out all the stops for customers at this time of year. And a shopping trip can be just the thing to get you in the festive mood.
The UK’s cities have a wonderful array of great shopping experiences. From world-famous stores selling some of the biggest brands on the planet, to small independent stalls, they’ve got it all. We’ve picked out four of our favourite UK cities to bring you Quingo Scooters’ guide to the best accessible Christmas shopping in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and London.
Edinburgh has it all. Grand gothic architecture, a castle that dominates the skyline, great galleries and world-class shopping. It’s even got its own mini-mountain, Arthur’s Seat, slap bang in the centre of the Scottish capital.
But if you’re looking for somewhere to come and do a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping, then there are few better places. Edinburgh has more than its fair share of the big high street names and for these you’ll need to join the throngs on Prince’s Street.
It’s the main shopping street in the city, and if you’re after a bit of luxury then head to Jenners, also known as the Harrods of the North. The team there now have a dedicated app for customers with mobility needs. The app is designed to help you to contact the store team and customise your visit according to your needs.
If you want to escape the crowds for a while, East Princes Street Gardens also now has an accessible path. Or, head to the accessible Scottish National Gallery cafe with its views of the gardens.
Any discussion of the shopping scene in Birmingham has to start with the iconic Bullring, long the commercial heart of this great city. Today, the remarkable Selfridges building with its flowing silver lines is a real magnet for Christmas shoppers. It’s a fantastic space and well worth a visit, especially if you’re looking for an accessible shopping centre experience.
But Birmingham isn’t all about the Bullring. Another fantastic building – the Mailbox – is now also home to a huge Harvey Nichols. You can access all floors via a lift, direct from the building’s own car park (which has 16 Blue Badge holder spaces).
If you’re looking for something a bit more local and low key, then head to the city’s beautiful Jewellery Quarter. Remarkably, over 40% of British jewellery is made here. So, it is the perfect place to browse for unique, locally made presents for loved ones. It is generally accessible, although some of the smaller studios are not. There is a comprehensive guide to shopping in the area here.
For more accessibility information for your trip to Birmingham, head here.
Where Birmingham has the Bullring, Manchester has the Arndale Centre. Once again, it’s the place to go for all the big names. And as you’d expect it is fully accessible and easy to get around for those of us who use a mobility scooter.
For something a little different, then Manchester has no shortage of independent shops too. The Manchester Craft and Design Centre is worth a visit if you want to see local makers at work (although there are no lifts to the first floor).
And for a spot of luxury, head to the Royal Exchange. This historic arcade is packed with independent boutiques and shops selling all kinds of luxury brands. The building dates from the early 1800s, but most of the stores here are accessible to all. The Royal Exchange team do suggest you give individual stores a call before your visit however in order to double check.
Where do you start Christmas shopping in a city as vast as London? Well, we had to begin in historic Covent Garden. The area is full of designer shops and Covent Garden Market Hall itself is a wonderful place to pick up a gift. The whole market is fully accessible via ramped access.
Another great area to explore is around Portobello Road market. It’s packed with antique shops, second-hand stalls and has a great atmosphere. Our tip is to head down there early in the day before it gets too busy.
If you’re up for a truly upmarket experience, then look no further than Knightsbridge. Of course, it’s home to the most famous department store in world – Harrods. There are lifts to all floors, but this is a world-famous store and so be prepared for busy crowds.
Knightsbridge is full of high-end stores, but we also love Alfie’s Antiques Market. It is one of the best in London, and the ground floor is completely accessible, as well as parts of the first and second floors.
About Quingo Scooters
The Quingo Scooter range features six models to suit your needs and budget. New models are now available from just £22/week on our new contract hire scheme which includes all servicing and maintenance, Insurance, Roadside Recovery, Call Outs and Consumables including Batteries and Tyres. For more information on this or the latest Quingo Scooter range, please visit our website. Alternatively, if you have any Service questions you can always contact us or call customer services on 01582 430 900.
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All Quingo Personal Mobility Vehicles are provided by Forever Active, the UK’s exclusive distributor. Forever Active is a trading name of Advantage Marketing Corporation Limited (AMC). AMC Limited is an appointed representative of First Senior Insurance Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. First Senior Insurance Services FSA Register number is 30847