Click to download infographic
Glasgow has cleverly encapsulated its main shopping streets under one umbrella: The Style Mile. Known to be the UK’s best shopping experience outside of London’s West End, it is the perfect place for any shopaholic.
Shopping in Glasgow could not be more convenient with a close concentration of shops in one area, bringing together the city’s many department stores, shopping centres and high street brand stores, as well as high-end designer labels. In total, over 200 stores make up the Style Mile. And, it doesn’t end there. Nestled amongst them are endless numbers of cosy and stylish cafes, bars and restaurants for that well-needed rest during some retail therapy.
Many of the stores in the Style Mile are housed in Glasgow’s most historic buildings, so as well as a fantastic shopping experience you will also absorb some of the city’s beautiful architecture.
The three main shopping streets that snake through the city centre are Sauchiehall Street, Buchannan Street and Argyle Street, also known as the ‘Golden Z’. Shopping couldn’t be easier as you start at one end and follow the flow. This is where most of the action is but there are many smaller surrounding streets that are also worth exploring. The great thing about the Style Mile is that it is mostly pedestrianised and offers late night shopping every Monday to Wednesday and Friday, when it is open until 7pm. The majority of shops are also open on Sundays.
Sauchiehall Street is probably the most laid back of the city’s shopping streets and where you will get more of a feel for the real Glasgow. It is a delightful street with known high street stores such as M&S, Schuh, Superdrug, Primark, River Island and much more. If you would like to pick up some traditional Scottish tartan or Harris Tweed then stop by Geoffrey Tailor Highland Crafts.
Source: Lola Tailack Photography/Willow Tea Rooms
Perhaps the highlight of this street and one of the city’s most iconic locations is Willow Tea Rooms, famous for its design by the renowned Architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, in 1904. Indulge in a traditional afternoon tea in the atmospheric café and remember to browse the gift shop before you leave.
Buchanan Street and Galleries
There is definitely a change of feeling as you leave Sauchiehall Street and approach the Royal Concert Hall and the adjoining Buchanan Galleries at the top of Buchanan Street. From here, you can see the length of the street and its beautiful architecture, a mix of old and new. The Galleries are a relatively new addition to the city centre with over 90 retail outlets spanning several floors, including a John Lewis Department Store.
As you make your way down Buchanan Street, make sure you take a pit stop to George Square and the beautiful buildings surrounding it. Buchanan Street itself is a haven for shoe-lovers with Russell and Bromley, Jones Bootmaker, Dune and Office stores. Another department store giant, Frasers, offers a huge range of luxury fashion and beauty products. Back out on the street, you will find more popular High Street brands.
Princess Square Shopping Centre
The rather luxurious Princess Square Shopping Centre is a historic sandstone building that was built in 1841 and is now home to a four storey shopping and dining experience. Inside, the building sparkles.
It is no wonder when you can purchase Vivian Westwood, Ted Baker and Kurt Geiger here, as well as other more affordable brands. For all your beauty and make-up essentials, this is the place to go. Space NK, Jo Malone, Crabtree & Evelyn, and the Scottish label Arran Aromatics are all open to cater to your every need.
Argyle Street is another mecca for major fashion labels such as Next, Topshop, Gap and TK Maxx and Primark. It is also home to the largest M&S in the city. St. Enoch Centre is one of the city’s most established shopping centres offering everything under one roof, from home and interior to fashion, toyshops including Hamleys, and a large Debenhams department store. You will also find the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow on Argyle Street, ideally located for the ultimate shopping experience, and close by to drop off all your purchases.
Everything about the Victorian, Parisian style, Argyll Arcade is glamorous. It was built in 1827 as an access route for tenements houses and can be reached from both Buchannan Street and Argyle Street. Today, it contains the largest selection of jewellery in Scotland with over 30 jewellers and diamond retailers.
Merchant City is a cultural institution and one of the oldest quarters in Glasgow. Although situated close to the main streets of the city centre, its miles apart in style. The pace of life seems to slow down here. The area is full of specialist shops and charming boutiques, as well as cafes, restaurants, workshops and galleries. To make the most of your visit to Merchant City, download one of the handy General or Historic Audio Guides to lead you through this part of town.
Italian Centre and Luxury Brands
In contrast, Merchant City is also home to some of the world’s leading designer labels, including Emporio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Gant, Cruise and many more. You will find these on John Street and Ingram Street. The latter is an elegantly lined with beautiful sandstone buildings, also known as the Italian Centre or ‘Mini-Milan’. You will be forgiven for forgetting you are in Glasgow. Find several Italian designer stores under one roof, including the first Versace Store in the UK. The contemporary theme of the area is continued with pavement cafes, where you can sit with refreshment and admire the scenery, including the fountains and statues.
The best of the rest
As with most British cities, the main concentration of shoppers focus on the city centre. However, there is much more to experience when it comes to shopping in Glasgow. The city has charming bohemian and student areas that should not be overlooked, as well as large shopping centres. It is recommended to do some research and visit the West End and Byres Road, or The Barras Market if you have time.
As already mentioned, culture is quite high on Glasgow’s agenda. There are plenty of opportunities for niche shopping here, particularly when it comes to Books and Music. Whether you want independent bookshops, high street chain stores, new or second hand books, you will find it here. Glasgow was named UNESCO City of Music and has produced many artists that now tour the global stage and has many concert and gig venues. These reflect the importance of music to the people of the city. There are still several independent music stores to be found across the city. Check out Monorail, Rubadub Records and LOVEMusic.
Once the shops are closed
All of the areas mentioned above don’t just present great shopping opportunities. They are bustling with cafes, restaurants, wine bars, pubs and clubs. When the shops close their doors, the city’s hottest nightspots open theirs. You never have to go far for the evening’s entertainment, whether that’s attending a concert, dancing or enjoying a meal or drink with your travel companions. But first, remember to drop of your shopping at your hotel and freshen up for what ever the evening brings your way.