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Based on the title of this post, you would be forgiven for thinking that we were writing about museum gift shops. Well, as exciting as gift shops may be, we’re actually taking a look at those streets with history where you can really shop until you drop! You might not think it when walking around high streets filled with Primarks and Boots’ but, just like much of the UK, beneath the shiny commercial exterior of our favourite shopping destinations lays a wealth of history. Today we’re putting the spotlight on a few of these historic shopping destinations to give you some inspiration of where you can go to fill up your wardrobe, grab a coffee and take in a bit of history.
Providing a much calmer atmosphere than the hustle and bustle of the ultra-modern Liverpool One and originally used by sailors in the 1700s to measure rope for sailing ships is Bold Street; Liverpool’s most popular shopping destination for over a century and now home to a variety of both independent shops and chain stores. Whilst the shops that fill Bold Street have seen many changes through the years, the buildings haven’t and it is a must for anyone interested in architecture. When walking down the road of Bold Street or the cobbles of its neighbour, the club-lined Concert Square, you can be sure that you are walking down the same streets as the people who shaped modern Liverpool.
Arguably one of the most popular tourist spots in Brighton is The Lanes; a rare type of area where the outside of shops are just as attractive as the items inside. Being developed throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries has given The Lanes in Brighton an interesting architecture, with the high buildings and narrow streets endowing the fronts of the shops with a medieval feel. With a host of original features such as the brick paved streets, stone walls and 400 year old fisherman’s cottages that are untouched by modern development means that The Lanes are a real piece of Brighton’s history.
Dating from the medieval era but with speculation about its true origin is The Rows in Chester. There is nothing similar to The Rows anywhere else in the world, this alongside the attractive façade makes The Rows one of Chester’s most popular and photographed attractions. The Rows are galleried buildings with covered walkways that would have been used as housing in the medieval period. Today, The Rows are home to a variety of shops, cafes and also offices making it a popular destination for people wanting to shop with the benefit of covered walkways should the weather turn sour. As the origin of The Rows is unknown, there are many theories surrounding who first created these fantastic buildings; some people think they were built in the medieval period, others have suggested that it was shortly after the Roman occupation of Chester. Whatever the origin, there is no doubt that The Rows is a stunning place to visit for those interested in shopping, history or architecture.