There is a wide range of shopping facilities throughout the country, from out of town hypermarkets to specialist shops in town centres. Due to the steady rise in property prices and rents, many supermarkets and hypermarkets have opened up away from urban centres; the same applies to DIY (hardware stores), furniture and other large outlets.

London has the widest choice of shops with many of its localised high streets offering a truly cosmopolitan feel with a variety foods, clothing and restaurants from around the globe.

Shopping On-line

In the age of the internet generation it is now commonplace for the UK public to order their groceries on-line and arrange to have them delivered, for a small fee, or arrange to pick them at their local store. The vast majority of the major Supermarkets in the UK now offer this service and so much more. In fact when visiting certain stores on-line you can buy everything from groceries to clothes, electrical items, car, home and pet insurance or even apply for a credit card or open a bank account.

Some of the larger Supermarkets in the UK include:


Electrical goods are sold at discount prices at large specialist outlets such as Comet, Curry's, PC World and Dixons

Bookshop chains include Waterstones and WH Smith, which also sell stationery, magazines and CDs.

Popular Clothing retailers include Next, Burton, TopShop and New Look, whilst for those with more discerning tastes there is a wide variety of Designer Outlet villages spread throughout the country.

Nationwide Department Stores include Debenhams, Marks and Spencer and John Lewis whilst those looking for something a little bit special such stores as Harvey Nicholls, Harrods and Selfridges should cater to your needs.

Opening Times

Department stores in the major cities are usually open: 09.00 to 09.30 until the early evening on Monday to Saturday and 10.30 to 16:30 on Sundays.

Supermarkets are usually open 08.30 to 20.00  Monday to Saturday and 10.00 to 16.30 Sunday, however some of the larger stores are now open 24hrs a day.

The typical weekday for most other high street retailers is 09.00 to 17:30. Whilst shops in suburban and rural areas typically follow the same routine these can be prone to closing for lunch breaks and in some instances not trading at all on Sundays.

Shopping hours have been deregulated and all shops are now permitted to open 24 hours Monday to Saturday and on Sunday subject to certain rules on the number of hours.

In many cosmopolitan areas of London and other cities, Jewish and Muslim communities observe their own religious holidays on Friday or Saturday.


Most towns have a market once or twice a week with stalls selling a wide range of goods, usually at prices lower than those in shops. Car-boot sales have gained in popularity in recent years and take place in carparks on Sunday mornings.

In many multi-racial areas of London and other cities, Jewish and Muslim communities observe their own religious holidays on Friday or Saturday.

Quality & Availability

Plentiful supplies of meat and fish, both fresh and frozen, are always available. Fresh fruit and vegetables are in good supply throughout the year, and specialist freezer centres are recommended for variety. Dairy produce, baby foods and all specialist items are easily obtained throughout the country, and an increasing number of stores are offering delicatessen and imported foods, so that visitors from all parts of the world can obtain their own special favourites.

Such London stores as Harrods and Fortnum and Masons offer an infinite variety whilst the supermarket chains (Sainsbury, Waitrose, Tesco and Asda etc.) also have a wide variety of produce. Branches of Marks & Spencer stock a range of high quality food.

Many varieties of tea and coffee are sold. Alcohol is available from licensed stores, including many supermarkets which offer particularly good value for money. All alcoholic drinks are taxed, spirits and liqueurs are expensive but there are good quality imported wines available at reasonable prices. Each area of the country produces its own locally-brewed beer and some are exceptionally good, visitors are recommended to enquire about local pubs selling "real ale".

Fruit juices and soft drinks are always available and most grocery shops now stock bottled mineral waters.

Missing that Taste of Home?

Whilst there are an ever increasing variety of specialist food shops appearing in the UK there is by no means a comprehensive variety. Below we have listed a number of useful websites that may help you find that taste from home that you can just not find on the High Street.

Herb, Spices, Pickles & Preservatives

Meat & Fish