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How to shop in the UK and SAVE

The UK Government has announced plans to re-introduce sales tax-free shopping for international visitors to Great Britain. 


The new VAT-free shopping scheme for non-UK visitors to Great Britain will enable international travellers to obtain a VAT refund on goods bought in the high street, airports and other departure points and exported from the UK in their personal baggage.


“Australian travellers to the UK spend more and stay almost twice as long as the average visitor, so we welcome this news providing another incentive for Australian visitors to travel to Britain,” VisitBritain’s Country Manager, Australia & New Zealand, Maria Sykes said.



Britain offers an unrivalled shopping experience with a tempting mix of iconic department stores, retailers ranging from luxury to high-street to vintage to the downright quirky, plus an abundance of independent stores and markets that have been around for centuries. 


Whether it’s the world-famous department stores of Selfridges, Harrods and Liberty, or characterful shopping districts like London’s Carnaby Street, Glasgow’s Style Mile or Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter – visitors will discover shopping havens around every turn in Great Britain.


Hare are five unique shopping experiences you can only find in Britain:


Historic Markets

Some of Britain’s markets have been around for centuries and are housed in beautiful historic surroundings. Some markets specialise in antiques, others in flowers. But all over the country visitors can wander stalls and find vintage clothes, homewares, retro trinkets, or fashion by up-and-coming designers.


Landmark London Shopping

In Britain you can find those iconic department stores of every shopper’s dreams – from one of London’s oldest and most exclusive department stores, Liberty to the leading light of Harrods and mesmerising window displays at Selfridges along with the historic Fortnum & Mason - home to gourmet foodie heaven. Afterwards, head to London’s Savile Row to find the country’s finest tailors or take a trip down memory lane at one of the world’s most famous toy-shops, Hamleys. For one of the newer shopping experiences, head over to Coals Drop Yard near Kings Cross Station, home to independent craftspeople and brands both big and small.


Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter

Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter is home to the largest concentration of Jewellery businesses in Europe. This is the place to find high-quality bespoke jewellery, and whilst in town, visitors can stop by the Jewellery Quarter Museum to discover its long and fascinating history.


Glasgow’s Style Mile

With more than 1,500 shops, Glasgow provides one of the best shopping experiences outside London. Buchanan Street is Glasgow's main pedestrianised shopping area lined with all the big names you’d expect from the great British high street including, the original House of Fraser department store – founded in Glasgow in 1849. Around the corner find Argyll Arcade, which is one of Europe’s oldest covered shopping arcades and is now home to a stunning selection of over 30 jewellers and diamond merchants. 


Shop Medieval Style

Stroll along The Shambles in York - one of Britain’s best-preserved medieval shopping streets. Once voted “Most Picturesque Street,” it's well worth a visit to the flag-stoned avenue overhung by timber-framed houses dating from the 15th century. Today, the restored buildings house an appealing mix of shops and places to eat. From unique jewellery, leather goods, woollens, curiosities and antiques in old-fashioned shop fronts.


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Published: 28 September 2022

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