Glasgow Shopping Guide
A quick guide to (mostly) city centre shopping
Glasgow has been recognized for being the second best shopping destination in the United Kingdom, after London, since 2008 so I thought it would be appropriate to write a Glasgow shopping guide. Although I prefer other pastimes and shop for necessity rather than fun, knowing the city as I do, I’m aware of the great variety Glasgow has to offer.
You can find all the major high street retailers in Glasgow, along with some quirky markets and interesting independent stores, and Wee Kilty is here to give you some shopping tips for Glasgow’s city centre, with just a couple of East End markets that I would recommend.
This Glasgow shopping guide would not be complete without first mentioning, Buchanan Street, which is known locally as the ‘Style Mile’. Situated in the heart of the city, it is a busy, pedestrian area lined with a mix of well-known high street stores. From outlets you’d see on the majority of high streets such as New Look or H & M to higher end stores like Diesel and Karen Millen, this shopping boulevard has something for most budgets.
At the top end of Buchanan Street you will find the indoor centre called the Buchanan Galleries. Its home to John Lewis in Glasgow, and has over 80 of the best retail names under their roof, from retail giants to small independents. Stores include high street chains such as Boots, Accessorize and Next, and it’s the Glasgow location of the Build A Bear and Lego stores.
With its main entrance at the lower end of Buchanan Street, Princes Square may appeal to the more discerning shopper, with its variety of designer stores and upmarket bars and restaurants. Princes Square has just been crowned Best Shopping Complex in The Glasgow Awards. This award follows on from their Best Shopping and Entertainment complex in Scotland award which was received in May 2018. Covering fashion, beauty, jewellery, gifts and lifestyle, there are variety of high end stores to choose from here.
Perhaps an unusual entry in a Glasgow shopping guide due to the focus on one product, but there is something unique and compelling about hte Argyll Arcade. Situated between Buchanan Street and Argyle Street you can find this covered street known for its plethora of Jewellers. The sheer range of jewellers and the items on offer make this a jewel lover’s paradise. There are more recognisable Jewellers such as H. Samuel or Ernest Jones to independent contemporary or antique jewellers. This might well be a sweeping generalisation, but in Wee Kilty’s opinion, a visit to the Argyll Arcade is perhaps too daunting for the less romantic men visiting the city – it’s the known go-to place for engagement ring shopping
Taking place in a lane between Buchanan Street and Argyle Street is Sloans Market. This famous Glasgow market features stalls selling delicious food, bespoke gifts and crafts, art and jewellery. From 11am to 5pm both Saturday and Sunday a bunch of local makers gather to sell their wares and it’s a lovely atmosphere with the scent of fresh waffles battling with aromatic soaps. It’s always worth a wander through when you’re looking for something you wouldn’t typically find on the high street.
St Enoch Centre & Argyle Street
Another must for this Glasgow shopping guide is another large city centre shopping mall; the St Enoch Centre on Argyle Street. The building is the largest glass structure in Europe and aims to be a friendly centre catering for all age groups and tastes. If you’re looking for fashion or footwear, health & beauty or homewares, there are a variety of stores that may meet your needs…..and if not, duck back out onto Argyle Street for further shopping opportunities, including TK Maxx and Marks & Spencer’s largest city centre store.
This once a month Sunday market at the East End’s Drygate is recommended to those looking for something different. Featuring many up and coming designers, there are many unique products available for sale. Their motto is ‘Do Sundays differently’ so why not give it a try. The Urban Market runs the first Sunday of every month, and weekly throughout December.
Glaswegians of all generations remember all too well a family trip to this historic market – started in the early 20th century by hawkers selling from handcarts, or ‘barras’ The smell of hot salty chips and fresh sugary doughnuts will let you know you’re in the right place, and cries of “three fur a poun’!” only add to the atmosphere under the arches. A new generation of traders, including craft collective Made In The Shade and Glasgow indie fashion mogul Camille Lorigo of Che Camille, are injecting fresh life into the iconic market. Don’t worry though, gentrification is a long way off. You can start early with a roll and sausage and a pint and lose a day there – the hipster craft stalls and fixed gear bike workshop sitting alongside fruit ‘n’ veg stalls, lifetime supply of cheap lighters and knock-off tracksuits neatly sums up the mix that makes Glasgow great.
Merchant City and the Italian Centre
The Merchant City has been promoted and built up in recent years, and an important element of the area’s transformation is high-end shopping. It is home to amongst others, Versace Collections (the UK’s first Versace store) and Emporio Armani, both at the Italian Centre. Recent shopping developments include Bang and Olufsen, Bose, Escada, Ralph Lauren, Mulberry and underwear and lingerie Agent Provocateur stores. Merchant Square at Candleriggs also hosts weekend craft markets which offer shoppers an alternative to store purchased goods.
There are many more popular shopping districts throughout Glasgow, from quirky independent stores in the lanes off Byres Road in the West End, to out of town centres such as Silverburn or the Glasgow Fort. This Glasgow shopping guide could go on an on since the city has so much to offer. You will certainly be spoiled for choice. Happy shopping!!