A shopping city

We know you’ll be on a budget while you’re at NTU, but for those moments when you need a bit of retail therapy, Nottingham won’t disappoint. It’s got everything you’d expect from a major city and more, with its multitude of high street chains sitting happily alongside designer and vintage boutiques as well as unique and quirky independent shops.

It’s no wonder Nottingham is consistently ranked as one of the UK’s top shopping destinations.

Another great feature of Nottingham’s city centre is that everything’s really close together. You can walk from one side to the other in little more than ten minutes, which only means one thing – less walking and more shopping!

So what are you waiting for? Grab your shopping bags and let’s see what Nottingham’s shops have got to offer you.


Take a stroll to…


Walk past one of the most beautiful, historic buildings in the city – which used to house the flagship store of Boots the Chemist and is now home to fashion chain Zara – and you’re heading into Hockley, Nottingham’s most bohemian, cosmopolitan and creative quarter. You might feel like you’ve entered another world as you browse the treasure trove of one-off boutiques, second-hand vintage shops and chilled-out cafés you’ll find here.

Some must-visit Hockley shopping highlights include:

  • Cow, Wild, A Vintage Obsession, and the massive Vintage Warehouse – an eclectic mix of treasures from the 1940s to the 1980s. You really need to have a good rummage around in these shops, so don’t drop by when you’re in a hurry!
  • MIMM – Unique men’s clothes shop combining the worlds of fashion, art and music.
  • Cobden Chambers – This one’s easy to miss but worth hunting down. Dating back to 1801, Cobden Chambers is a regenerated courtyard with beautiful buildings, spaces to relax and eat, and unique independent shops.
If you’re into the vintage thing, there’s a really cute shop in Hockley called Cow. That’s somewhere that me and my friends always go to.

Sinead, BA (Hons) Special and Inclusive Education and Educational Development

Bridlesmith Gate

The Lace Market and Bridlesmith Gate

From Hockley, wander into the Lace Market, the second half of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter. Once a world-leader in lace making, this historic area of Nottingham is a great spot for coming across independent boutiques.

Head back down towards the city centre, and you’ll hit Low Pavement and pedestrian-friendly Bridlesmith Gate. You’ll find plenty of chic boutiques and designer labels in this area, including Nottingham designer Paul Smith, Ted Baker, Kurt Geiger, Cath Kidston and American Apparel.

You’re watching your money, we know, but you don’t have to go on a big spending spree – it’s fun to go window shopping here, too.

The Exchange

The Exchange and Flying Horse Walk

Situated right beneath the iconic Nottingham Council House dome, the Exchange is the oldest shopping arcade in the city. As it’s predominantly home to an array of upmarket fashion chains including Karen Millen, Warehouse, Dr Martens and Jaeger, you could say it has a bit of an exclusive feel about it. You might not be spending too much of your precious cash here, but it’s a lovely place to wander through, especially when the Christmas decorations are up.

Cross the road where the tram lines run and you’ll reach Flying Horse Walk, an historic arcade-cum-walkway crammed with independent boutiques.

Intu Victoria Centre

Shopping centres

Intu Victoria Centre

And for those times when you do want the big-name chain stores, watch out – the over 100 shops, restaurants and cafes in the recently-refurbished Intu Victoria Centre are just a five-minute stroll from our City Campus. Might be a bit too tempting for some.

Topshop, Superdry, HMV, John Lewis, JD Sports, Lipsy London, Office, and Urban Outfitters are just some of the big retail names that might interest you here, and many of them offer student discounts.

And while we’re talking about discounts, keep a look out for student nights at the Vic Centre, with discounts of up to 30% as well as special events and competitions.

Then there’s the likes of home-grown Boots, Superdrug, WHSmith, Vodafone and Poundworld, not to mention a big Tescos for stocking up on all the basics. Wanting to personalise your room with a few knick-knacks? Tiger is the place to go.

If all the shopping makes you a bit peckish, the Vic Centre’s got you covered there too. What are you craving? Tacos from Tortilla, a retro American burger from Ed’s Easy Diner, Thai street food from Thaikhun, or just a grab-and-go Cornish pastry from good ‘ole Greggs? These are just some of the delicious options on offer.

Broadmarsh Centre

Walk ten minutes in a straight line down from the Victoria Centre’s main entrance, and you’ll reach Nottingham’s other big city centre shopping centre, Intu Broadmarsh. It’s currently a great place to pick up bargains, but plans are afoot for a huge redevelopment, including a multi-screen cinema, restaurants, and a walkway linking the train station with the city centre.

If you fancy a break from shopping, there’s also a surprising tourist attraction hiding at the bottom of an escalator here. You can discover the hidden world under the streets of Nottingham at the City of Caves – part of a network of over 500 caves dating back to the Dark Ages. Go on an organised tour or wander through at your own pace with an audio tour.

It's not all about clothes...

More favourite must-visit shopping haunts in Nottingham include:

  • FOPP in the Broadmarsh shopping centre for CDs, DVDs, vinyl and books.
  • The West End Arcade between Chapel Bar and Upper Parliament Street – for anything and everything. You never know what you’ll find here!
  • Page 45 – Interested in comics or graphic novels? You’ll find an incredible selection at this shop on Market Street.
  • The Tokenhouse – A rabbit-warren of a cutesy gift shop on Bridlesmith Gate. Particularly handy for good value gifts and just-right cards.
  • The Victoria Centre indoor market – for fresh veggies, meat and fish, as well as cheap household goods.

And for the gourmet food lovers among you, don’t miss:

  • the regular farmers’ markets held in the Old Market Square
  • independent delicatessen Delilah for a relaxed café experience and gourmet treats
  • the Ugly Bread Bakery, Hockley – follow your nose to their delicious freshly baked breads, cakes and pizzas.

Sneinton Market

Walk down Hockley, cross the road, and you’ll be at Sneinton Market. A market’s been held here since 1860, but today the market is run by the local community. Saturday morning is a great day to pop down there. There’s an organic food market as well as vintage and bargain stalls.

A lot’s been going on here lately, with plans for an exciting refurbishment of old units into workshops and studios for creative enterprises. Keep your eye out for special events here, too, such as festivals and specialist food markets.

Is Sneinton Market on its way to becoming ‘The Covent Garden of Nottingham’?

I’d like to…

Experience Nottinghamshire

A shopping city

Published on 21 September 2016

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