The British High Street is weathering the storms of economic turmoil with style and confidence. In every High Street you’ll find a range of outlets offering top quality merchandise well-designed, well-made and representing great value. Here are 8 fabulous British shops:
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Harvey Nichols is the epitome of a fabulous British Shop. The flagship store opened in the 1880s in London and since then it has come to represent the utmost in glamour, luxury, and the latest in fashion trends. The store now boasts eight floors of world-leading fashion, beauty and lifestyle collections with the Fifth Floor dedicated to Food and Restaurants. Since 1996, Harvey Nichols has opened new stores across the UK, as well as overseas, and there is now a thriving online business, harveynichols.com bringing the best in fashion, beauty and lifestyle to the rest of the world.
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When designer Terence Conran opened the first Habitat store, he created a ‘template’, with its quarry tiled floor, whitewashed brick walls and spotlights creating a feeling of space and focusing attention on the product. The huge and exciting range of easily affordable, stylish furniture and household accessories continues to attract customers of all ages and lifestyles, and there are now branches of this fabulous British shop all over the world, with a complete online service at habitat.co.uk.
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Whistles is a cutting edge, womenswear fashion brand for women who love great design, aren’t scared of a little edginess, and who want to reference trends without slavishly following them. Whistles has pioneered many new labels and designers, and is constantly launching new ranges. There are now 36 stand-alone Whistles stores across the UK and Ireland, and 49 concessions, a franchise store in the Middle East and a concession in Paris. The full collection from this fabulous British shop is also available online at whistles.co.uk
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The White Company offers affordable, stylish, white, designer quality items for the home. Today, the company which began its life as a 12-page mail order brochure has become a truly fabulous British shop, with beautiful stores throughout the UK, and a highly successful website thewhitecompany.com. At the heart of the range are essentials for the linen cupboard, as well as practical and stylish accessories, china, and tableware. There’s a luxurious clothing range, and then there’s The Little White Company - children's and baby wear, bedding, toys and gifts.
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In 1994, Topshop arrived at Oxford Circus in London. It remains there today, and this fabulous British shop is now considered a major style authority. Its brave and irreverent approach to style has captured the imaginations of fashion-conscious shoppers and industry insiders alike. With around 300 stores in the UK, and over 100 in international territories, it is Topshop’s individuality that has earned it a worldwide reputation. Since 2000, Topshop’s covetable collections have also been available beyond the high street thanks to the award winning topshop.com,
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Just mentioning the name Jo Malone will send most British women into a haze of delight, and provoke a sigh of relief in gift-seeking men. The signature cream boxes with their black tissue and ribbons are the icing on the cake as all the iconic products, perfumes, bath oils, skin care and home fragrances are truly to die for. There is a queue around the block from every one of her fabulous British shops, beginning well before Christmas. There are now branches and concessions across the country, and the online business jomalone.co.uk means customers from all over the world can avoid the queues and treat themselves all year round.
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Cath Kidston has been hailed as a design genius, and her name is synonymous with Englishness, and business success. Her distinctive nostalgic floral patterns and designs for home furnishings and accessories have made her a household name, and after opening her first shop in London’s Holland Park ion 1993 selling printed teatowels and brightly renovated furniture, her empire has grown to 41 shops and concessions throughout the UK, as well as stores in Ireland, Korea and Japan. Flaunt your florals by visiting any one of her fabulous British shops, or go online at cathkidston.co.uk.
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Here’s one for real foodies. Paxton & Whitfield began in 1742 when Sam Cullen set up a cheese stall in Aldwych market, later moving to Jermyn Street where there is still a shop today. Ironically it is the names of his partners, Harry Paxton and Charles Whitfield, which grace the shop fronts now. After World War II Paxtons rekindled their contacts with the traditional cheesemakers of rural Britain and started bringing in the best that Europe could offer. More recently two new Paxtons opened, in Stratford upon Avon and Bath, not to mention the virtual shop on the web paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk. Pop in, or go online for cheese, wine, celebration cakes, hampers and much more.
If I’ve inspired you to visit any of these fabulous British shops next time you’re in the country, or you know one you think we should feature, let us know.
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