Shopping Heaven in Exeter Devon

Exeter is the perfect place for a spot of early Christmas shopping in Devon writes Claire Toze

Exeter’s unique shopping quarters make it so easy to find what you are looking for. Each quarter has its own distinct character, and the city’s 2,000 year history means there are many elegant buildings and heritage attractions to discover during your visit.

Starting in the West Quarter, you will discover side streets and arcades with shops selling quirky and unusual items. Visit the McCoys Arcade for vintage and retro fashions at the Real McCoy, beads, buttons and all items needed to make your own jewellery at Bunyip Beads, and a fantastic collection of acoustic, bass, electric and classical guitars at Mansons Guitars.

Art and craft lovers should head to Fore Street and South Street in the West Quarter for art supplies, the independent South Gate Gallery and wool shop, Heavenly Yarns. On Preston Street you will find Spacex, a contemporary art space displaying changing exhibitions of work from both emerging and internationally renowned artists.

The Quayside Quarter beside the river Exe has a rich and varied maritime history which stretches back to Roman times, and today it’s a great place for shopping – the perfect place to pick up an antique or special gift in small, independent shops and galleries. There are workshops located in historic cellars and bonded warehouses, where artisans can be seen working at their crafts. Cross the River Exe to reach the galleries and shops around the canal basin and Piazza Terracina on Butts Ferry.

Just a ten-minute walk away is the Cathedral Quarter, where you will find independent and classic retailers such as the award-winning gentlemen’s outfitters

Luget’s, elegant gift retailer Orvis, and Cadastre – a shoe, handbag and luggage shop – based in the historic Mol’s Coffee House. Just past the West Front of the Cathedral is Domani Antique & Contemporary, selling quality antique furniture with contemporary ironwork, art, ceramics and glass.

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The Cathedral Quarter is also an ideal place to stop and have lunch, at one of the restaurants or caf�s overlooking the Cathedral, or in the Cathedral Refectory itself, which also serves delicious Devon cream teas! For a taste of the continent, enjoy lunch in the European piazza-style Bedford Square in the Princesshay Quarter, where you can enjoy cuisine from Italy, France and Spain at Strada, Caf� Rouge and La Tasca, amongst others.

The pedestrianised open space of the Princesshay Quarter offers a dynamic mix of shops and restaurants in a contemporary and relaxed atmosphere. Here are some of the most aspirational fashion retailers including Karen Millen, Zara, All Saints, LK Bennett, Hobbs, Coast, La Senza, Jane Norman and Reiss. Prestigious fashion retailer Caroline Charles is situated on Roman Walk, amongst local and regional independent retailers including jeweller Carol Anne and Mediterranean delicatessen Chandos.

Princesshay is linked to the High Street Quarter, where you will find major high street names. There are also two undercover shopping centres – the Guildhall and the Harlequins – offering a great mix of high street names such as Primark, Argos and Habitat, and independent shops such as Exeter Rare Books, Robert Price Jewellers, and the Cook Shop.

The Castle Quarter, which offers mainly independent shops selling clothing, jewellery, art and crafts. The cobbled Gandy Street in the Castle Quarter is home to the Paragon Gallery, selling contemporary fine art, Devon jewellers the Silver Lion, Jo Downs selling stunning hand-made glass and the new Coco fashion boutique.

To find out more about shopping in Exeter, visit Pick up a copy of the 2010 Exeter Christmas brochure, available from mid November at Exeter Visitor Information & Tickets in Dix’s Field, 01392 665700

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