Independent businesses are enjoying a resurgence.
With many town centres falling prey to an influx of chain stores,
enterprising creatives are bringing a dose of verve and excitement
to cities across the country. There are many creative hubs forming
across the UK - perfect for visitors looking for a long weekend
So where are these menageries of imagination? What
sort of off-the-cuff businesses can visitors find in these
A truly dynamic city that's practically bursting
with great retailers, bars and shops, Manchester is truly the
capital of the north, offering similarly delightful accommodation
such as The
Midland to guests.
The city's Northern Quarter is home to a huge
number of independent treasures. If you're looking for a quick
drink, you can't go amiss with trendy hangouts Common and Soup Kitchen, while there's
one-of-a-kind shopping opportunities to be found at Fred Aldous, Oi Polloi and the popular Manchester Craft and Design
Just a stone's throw from Manchester, Leeds is
currently experiencing something of a cultural renaissance, with
all sorts of happening bars, clubs, boutiques and eateries popping
up along the city's grand Victorian terraces.
Staying at QHotels' countryside retreat, Oulton Hall, or in the
beating heart of the city centre at The Queens, visitors enjoying
a daytime excursion should head for a spot of shopping at the
Corn Exchange, followed by some bargain hunting at the city's
vintage clothing stores. For tasty treats, head to the vibrant
Kitchen for a variety of culinary delights, or enjoy a taste of
Asian street food at the much-lauded Bundobust.
All tastes are catered for in this city, from the
crisp Japanese food served up at Little Tokyo, all the way to the
fine platters whipped up by Friends of Ham, while
lovers of ale will be satisfied by the offerings of Whitelock's, Belgrave Music Hall
and North Bar.
A truly beautiful city, Oxford is known for its
academic zeal, but the city hosts a great variety of indie treats
too. Enjoying a night at The Oxford Belfry, an
exquisite QHotels location near to the city, those with an eye for
all things indie should first head to The Missing Bean for a
cup of fine coffee, before strutting down the grandiose streets to
Truck Store - home to a truly extensive record collection.
Come nightfall, the quirky Big Society bar stocks
a wide selection of beers and ciders, great for a tipple after
catching a show at the century-old Phoenix
Picturehouse. Bringing the evening to a close, make sure to
head to the Jericho
Tavern, once a favourite of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein.
Having shed its post-industrial past, Sheffield is
today a thriving university city, offering all kinds of creative
haunts and experiences. Guests of the city can stay at Tankersley Manor, a
place perfectly situated for heading into Sheffield for days of
shopping, tasting and sipping!
Sheffield has it all, and then some. The
exceptional Strip the
Willow café - known for its many pieces of hand-built furniture
and locally-produced wares - and the forward-thinking vegetarian
and vegan restaurant and massage parlour Woodland Holistics provide
great dining and relaxing treatments, and the thriving vintage
clothes shops that dot the city mean a bargain is never too far
away. If you love music, the city's Tramlines Festival hosts
great acts year in, year out too.
For those that crave experiences that can't be
replicated anywhere else, the above cities are the best places in
the UK to enjoy some time away from home. Do you know of any other
great independent cities or secret gems? Let us know your
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