Shopping in Northern Ireland: Guide to shops in Belfast and beyond for last-minute Christmas gift purchases
With Christmas only a few days away many of us will still have some last-minute shopping to do for friends and family.
With this in mind Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a list of destinations to hit the shops in the lead up to Christmas Day.
Tourism Northern Ireland’s Destination PR Officer, Rachel Quigg, said: "From shopping centres and high streets filled with designer brands to village studios selling the wares of local craftspeople, Northern Ireland is a great place for shopping.
"Don’t forget to finish your shopping trip with a sumptuous coffee, festive cocktail or delicious meal at one of Northern Ireland’s award-winning eateries. After all, a hard day’s work requires a reward.” added Rachel.
Not sure where these stores are? Click/tap the links below to view the locations on Google Maps.
This luxury shopping centre located in the heart of the city has over 60 stores, including a four-storey House of Fraser, an Apple Store and many designer names: Michael Kors, Reiss, Ted Baker, Kurt Geiger and L. K. Bennett to name a few. For something extra special, dine in the Ivory Restaurant and afterwards take the elevator up to the glass dome and experience 360° panoramic views of Belfast.
Debenhams is the big draw at Castlecourt, where there are more than 80 high street stores. Spend a few hours browsing and you can even get a professional makeover by the experts including MAC, Urban Decay and Yves Saint Laurent. Additional stores in the centre include Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Jack & Jones, Schuh Kids, H. Samuel and Hawkin’s Bazaar.
Belfast’s historic St George’s Market is where much of the best local food produce is gathered under one roof – from fresh fish, fruit and vegetables to ‘Belfast baps’, Bailies Coffee and Ann Pantry’s award-winning black pudding potato bread. Named Best Market in the UK 2016 by the Observer newspaper, it is also great for clothes, vinyl, bric-a-brac and arts and crafts. The market takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a different theme each day.
Independent designer fashion and homeware boutiques are scattered along the Lisburn Road, interspersed with coffee shops and restaurants. Shop at Jo Jo Maman Bebe, Bedeck, Maven, Oliver Bonas, Velvet Boutique, Real, Moda Shoes, and Hugo Thomas. Then relax with great food and drinks at Deane and Decano, The Albany, The Chelsea or Shu.
Looking for something unique and individual, look no further than Bloomfield Avenue for specialist boutique style. Spend time browsing for that special item in shops such as Siren, Peels Fashion Store, Harlequin, Annabelle Ladies Fashions and Arabesque shoe shop with its selection of Italian and Spanish shoes and handbags.
For something old school head to south Belfast’s Queen’s Quarter. Botanic Avenue has the Vibrant Yellow Submarine and the Rusty Zip and Viva Retro is in nearby Bradbury Place. After you’ve come across that special outfit, why not indulge in great food at French Village Patisserie or get lost in a whodunit at No Alibis, a specialist crime bookstore.
Belfast city centre also has some vintage and retro shops: Fresh Garbage, Vintage Magpie, Liberty Blue and Octopus Garden.
With High Street names such as Next, Monsoon, Pandora and TK Maxx, the Abbeycentre and surrounding Valley Retail Park on the outskirts of Belfast is popular with locals. Take a break from shopping to sip a coffee at Costa or grab a bit to eat at Synge and Byrne.
The town of Ballymena has unique, independent shops with fashion at Primrose in Greenvale Street and the department stores McKillens in Church Street and family favourite Camerons in Broughshane Street. There are also two shopping centres in this bustling town centre – FairHill and Tower Centre.
Near Ballymena are Marmalade, known for its eclectic mix of well-known designer labels, and Pretty Woman Boutique in Kilrea for the latest designer fashion. There is also Junction One, located just off the M2 motorway, with its Next Clearance and M&S Outlet stores.
Visit the Walled City of Derry’s Dickensian Craft Village for gifts created by some of the best craft producers in Ireland. The quaint winding lanes showcase a dazzling array of fine art and photography, exquisite accessories, millinery tweeds and knitwear and jewellery along with beautiful soaps, candles and ceramics. Aran knitwear designer Edel MacBride is based here, who has designed for Hilary Clinton and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Here you will find a number of unique small shops: Daisy Mae boutique in Belhouse Lane specialises in 1950’s vintage style reproduction clothing and accessories, Ken Young is known to provide the finest menswear in Ireland and Bishops Footwear is in the Diamond Centre amid other high street brands.
Spoilt Bella, Sarah-Jane and The Queen Bee are all to be found in Magherafelt’s Broad Street, where stylish fashion collections have been handpicked from Europe’s best designers. Other shops include The Fashion House in Market Street and for glamourous ladies’ footwear and handbags a visit to Four Seasons Boutique in Queen Street is not to be missed.
This fantastic designer shopping village in Moygashel is full to the brim with quality homewares and interiors shops, including Anthologie, Bedeck, Gareth McFarland Design Yard and Lavish. These sit alongside fashion stores The Lingerie Room, Storey, Panache Shoe Company and The Boudoir – which is home to the leading young fashion blog My Sister’s Closet, whose popular dresses can be found in store. Anyone with a sweet tooth will love The Loft Coffee Bar’s cakes and traybakes.
The Buttermarket in Enniskillen, found on the site of a 19th century dairy is full or art galleries and craft studios waiting to be browsed, showcasing pottery and ceramics to handmade jewellery, textiles and picture framing. Your day can only be completed with a coffee and homemade fayre in Rebecca’s Café.
The Outlet at Banbridge hosts outlet stores offering up to 70% off their retail price, from Gap and Jaeger to LK Bennett and M&S. It sits alongside the main A1 Dublin to Belfast road, and now has an Omniplex Cinema on site.