Home to rich culture and fashion capitals of the world, a visit to any place in Europe demands a shopping spree. While Paris and Milan -for good measure and obvious reasons- have been crowd pullers for decades, one must not discount the potential of smaller cities. Nestled comfortably in Nottinghamshire, England, the city of Nottingham provides for retail gems, often overlooked by travellers. If you are in town to catch the World Cup and have time on your hands to explore the city, we recommend a shopping trip (or maybe two) for the best products that the city has to provide. These are four shopping centres of the city a tourist must check out.
Capture the retro-chic aesthetic at Hockley
Start out vintage with the Bohemian charm of Hockley at the city centre’s creative quarter. With a vibrant, old-school ambience, Hockley fronts some of the best vintage clothing stores that the city has to offer. Called the Soho of Nottingham, the area is packed with clothing retailers, record stores, cafes, bars, galleries and even iconic theatres. The carnival spirit of the place makes it a unique experience, almost out of a book.
The acclaimed theatre Arthouse Cinema occupies a humble position in the area. Well-reputed, nationally as well as internationally for their film exhibition, the theatre has been the premiere screen to some crowd-favourites. Revived in 2018, was the theatre’s film festival of the 90s- Shots in the Dark, dedicated to the crime, thriller and horror genre. Quentin Tarantino’s cult masterpiece Pulp Fiction was first exhibited here in the United Kingdom.
Don’t be alarmed to find mysterious bars in the alleyways, it’s all part of the aesthetic.
Adjacent to Hockley is the historic lace market. Once the world’s centre for manufacture of intricate lace, the market still provides impeccable craftsmanship and unique material that you can’t help but shell your dough on.
Explore the local tastes at the Old Market Square
The heart of Nottingham City Centre, the Old Market Square is one of the largest shopping centre in the city. Spread across an enormous area of 22,000 square metres, the Square is an ideal venue for the fairs, markets, exhibitions and other local events it hosts. Two of the most popular large-scale events are the Riviera Beach event in the summer and the Winter Wonderland at Christmas. To familiarise yourself with the local tastes, visit the farmer’s markets held in the square to indulge in some fresh produce and crafted cheese and meats.
Dominating the market is The Exchange, popular as the city’s oldest shopping arcades. With only a handful of stores, the arcade provides a more exclusive experience. 17 non-competitive stores reside at the Exchange offering a wide gamut of products, including fashion, art, home shops and even a couple of eateries. The 90-year-old building is also shared with the Council House of the city. Carved stone lion heads guard the steps of the council. Popularly known as Lennie and Ronnie, these stone lions are an artistic marvel in themselves.
To get a more wholesome look at the Square, travel south of the market and hitch a ride on the Nottingham Express transit tram. The tram skirts through the fringes of the Square and also gives a peak of South Parade towards Hockley.
Bring out the elite in you at Flying Horse Walk
Just at the end of the Old Market Square is the Flying Horse Walk. This is a place ideal for those who have a palette for the finer things in life. Named after the iconic former pub the Flying Horse Inn, the centre holds some of the most upscale brands and independent stores. While the prices might make your wallet quiver, the diverse range of products and the design of the arcade itself is definitely worth a visit. The arcade offers everything from food and beverages to fashion and art.
The food lovers could try artisan cheese at the Cheese Shop or taste craft beer at the Brew Cavern or even visit 200 degrees for a delicious cup of coffee. Those who know their fashion can explore all the designer boutiques with a drink in their hand. And those who are looking for artistically tasteful collectibles can visit their art galleries, maybe even pick one to take home.
With the air of luxury that is persistent in the air, it’s no surprise the arcade is sometimes referred to as "the Posh One".
Do not miss out the 3 dimensional horses that stand grand at the entrance of the arcade. Thanks to these, the arcade has made its spot on the map.
Intu Victoria Centre
What was once a site for an old Nottingham railway station, now has paved way for possibly the most well-known shopping attraction in the city. Situated in one of the most populous areas of the city, the intu Victoria Centre was constructed between 1967 and 1972 and has slowly made it to the top of every tourist’s shopping list. The shopping centre is a popular stop for high street fashion retailers and holds a large number of store-fronts selling a wide range of goods.
Recent renovations have turned the arcade into a contemporary retail space featuring cafes, restaurants, fitness centres and popular clothing and fashion stores.
The clocktower dining quarter of the arcade now provides free space for a new culinary experience, supporting culinary ventures and even complementing it with a casual dining area.
Do not miss out an opportunity to check out the Victoria Centre Market on the first floor of the structure. It is Nottingham’s largest indoor market and sells a colourful range of products from the more common meat, fish and fresh food to the novelty goods of jewellery, books and haberdashery (small items utilised in sewing, such as buttons, zips etc.). The store has even received the accolade of Greenest market in the Midlands by the National Market Traders Federation.