Having the largest population in Scotland it should be no surprise that Glasgow has the largest shopping area in that country. What might be a surprise is that Glasgow has the second largest shopping area in Britain, outstripping cities such as Birmingham and Liverpool. Of great renown to the city is Sauchiehall Street, which is now one of the many pedestrianised shopping streets in the city. As well as on-street shopping along Sauchiehall Street you can visit Buchanan Street and Argyle Street as well as the shopping centres and markets in the city.
The Argyle Arcade is one if the country’s original shopping malls, although the Victorians used to call them arcades. Built in 1827 it links Argyle and Buchanan Streets, today it is now considered to be the ‘Hatton Garden of Scotland’ due to the concentration of expensive and high quality jewellers in the arcade. Having passed through the arcade from Argyle Street on entering Buchanan Street you’ll see at the north end of the street the Buchanan Galleries. With its own car park that has 2000 spaces, the Queen Street train station, the Buchanan Street subway station and buses going past its door; the Buchanan Galleries is one of the easiest shopping centres to access. This spacious and light shopping centre is currently being further extended and improved, the jewels in its crown at present are branches of John Lewis and next. Buchanan Galleries is open daily from 9am to 6pm; except Thursdays when it’s open until 8pm and Sundays when it doesn’t open until 10am. Another shopping centre in Glasgow looking to attract the more refined shopper is the Princes Square, located by the elegant Victorian Princes Square building in the heart of the city centre. Not only does Princes Square have outlets like Moda in Pelle and Vidal Sassoon; but also cafés, restaurants and a nightclub. Whilst the shops and outlets keep the normal hours for a shopping centre the restaurants remain open until midnight whereas the nightclub is open until 3am.
If you’re looking for some ‘traditional’ Scottish shops, then one thing you’ll be interested in is seeing if you’re entitled to wear a tartan. In which case, you could head for Geoffrey (Tailor) Kiltmaker on Sauchiehall Street. With an incredible selection to chose from Robert Graham & Co. on St Vincent Street has whiskies and cigars to meet just about everyone’s taste. Whilst Peckham’s on Byres Road has a great selection of Scottish foods and beers. Not quite so traditional, but a sign of the times and the wealth currently to be found in Glasgow, is the Versace boutique in the Italian Centre on John Street and the Designer Exchange near the Royal Exchange Square in the city centre.
There are several city markets in Glasgow including whole-sale, retail and farmers markets. Open markets are held at; Easterhouse on Wednesday, Drumchapel on Thursday and Govan on Saturdays. However, the most famous of all Glasgow’s markets is the Barras Flea Market, not far from the Gallowgate. The Barrowland Market is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm.
St Enoch Shopping Centre is at St Enoch Square below Argyle Street. Stores located here include the usual run of High street chains like: Boots, HMV, BHS and Debenham’s as well as food stores and cafes. The Forge Shopping Centre is to the east of the main shopping area on the Gallowgate. Whilst there are some High Street chain stores here shops include branches of Poundland, Shoe Zone and Asda.
Other shopping centres in Glasgow include, south of the River Clyde and to the west of the city centre at Renfrew, the Braehead Shopping Centre off the A8 near junction 26 of the M8. Opened in 1999 it was the most expensive waterside regeneration project in the country and has further plans to expand even more. Monsoon, Wallis, Lacoste, Waterstones and next Home set the tone for the type and style of shops you’ll find here. The centre has plenty of cafés and restaurants to take a break from your shopping. Outside the shopping centre is a retail park which includes one of only two Ikea stores in Scotland.
Whilst the Braehead includes aspects of being a retail park the two true ‘out of town’ retail parks in Glasgow are the Glasgow Fort and Great Western ones. Glasgow Fort Retail Park is at the eastern edge of the city near junction 10 of the M8. Opened in 2004 it has parking for 1900 cars and is also served well by buses from the city centre. The 75 outlets are spread over 36 hectares and include: Boots, Argos, J D Sports and a wide selection of cafés. The great Western Retail Park is off the Great Western Road to the north west of the city centre. As well as a large Sainsbury’s store there is a B&Q superstore, Comet and JJB’s amongst others.