The Idealist

Shopping in Chester: A northern gem

Steeped in Roman history and renowned for its magnificent Cathedral, there can be little doubt that Chester remains one of the UK’s most loved cities.  Not only is its race course the oldest sporting venue still in use but its infamous ‘rows’ around the city’s four main streets are unique not only the UK, but anywhere else in the world.  In fact, double level shopping has been evident in the city since the 13th century and even today, retains its unique and medieval charm.

The rows
The Rows

The Rows themselves are home to many designer outlets such as Nichols and Co., which
stretches the full two floors of the rows. 

As you enter through the ground floor you’ll find an array of jewellery and gifts, whilst the first floor is simply bursting with ladies fashion including scarves, leather bags and footwear.

Nichols and Co

Just a short stroll from here – on the edge of Chester’s Grosvenor Centre – you’ll find Life Interiors Furniture.  Again, this is spread over two floors and contains just about everything you need for house and home including bespoke furniture, lighting and all things quirky!  All stock here is personally selected from buyers so if there’s anything you’re specifically after, you only have to ask and its yours.

Staying on bustling Pepper Row you’ll also find the Langhorns Wooden Furniture store.  In addition to having some amazing pieces quite literally ‘ready to go’, they also design and provide handmade kitchens and offices in locally manufactured styles such as Edwardian, reclaimed and shaker.  If you have a specific design in mind then their team of designers will happily work with you to create that look you’ve always wanted.

Chester is also home to that wonderful store we all know and love – Cath Kidston.  From selling pretty fabric and car boot finds from a small shop in London back in 1993 (complete with Cath’s dog, Stanley!), the store is now home of modern vintage bringing cheerful and practical products to each and every home.  With over 200 stores across 16 different countries, Cath Kidston stocks everything from vintage inspired handbags right through to homewares and clothing.  You’d be barking mad to miss it!

Located a few steps from the Cathedral and market area you’ll also find The White Company who specialise in everything … white!  Renowned as being one of the UK’s fastest growing multi-channel retailers, most of their products are made exclusively for them and this is reflected in the quality of everything you’ll see in store.  From hand-stitched high thread-count pillowcases to simple, elegant pieces, you’ll find it all here.

Cookwares

For budding Chefs and bakers, no trip to Chester would ever be complete with a trip to the Steamer Trading Cookshop, which was first set up in Sussex by Liz and David Phillips.  Displayed across three floors, the shop supplies everything and anything you’ll need from kitchen utensils right through to essential kitchen appliances such as coffee makers and much, more more.

Browns of Chester, or Debenhams

Moving back towards the city’s Grosvenor Centre, you’ll find everyone’s favourite high street store, Debenhams.  Simply dripping with designers such as Jeff Banks, Jasper Conran and Ashley Thomas, Debenhams simply has everything and anything you could possibly need – from clothes through to furniture.  This store’s got it all – and more!  If you fancy a little pick-me-up then why not stop by at one of the many beauty counters for a makeover, or book into their beauty salon for a massage, facial or pedicure.  As you leave Debenhams, you’ll enter the Grosvenor Centre (next to the Grosvenor Hotel, which is definitely worth a stop off for high tea!).  As you stroll through the Grosvenor Centre you’ll find all the top high street retailers such as Laura Ashley and the Futon Company, not to mention an array of enticing places to rest and take a break!

Artful choices

Before leaving the city, Watergate Street Gallery is also worth a look since it tends to stock affordable yet quality artwork.  The Gallery source their work from across the globe and also exhibit exclusive prints from some of the top leading publishers.  Staying on Watergate Street, you’ll also find Baron Fine Art who claim to have the most extensive range of watercolours in the North of England.  They’re tucked away in a fabulous little antique centre and even offer a personal delivery service across the UK … just in case it won’t fit in your bag to go home!

Suffice it to say, whatever your taste, Chester has a lot to offer.  But don’t just take our word for it … go and see it for yourself!

Image Courtesy: Feature image by Rock drum (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons. Chester shops by and copyright Tagishsimon. 

  • Jules is a Solicitor and Director hailing from the historic city of Chester. In her limited spare time you’ll find her ‘stable side’ with her beloved Irish Sports Horse, Rolex, or entertaining friends at home (…not always successfully!)

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