Shopping in the North East

Polly Checkland Harding

Many of the best shops in the North East of England are a reflection of this unique part of the UK, with outdoor clothing and equipment shop Reynolds Outdoor Centre in Sunderland an ideal resource for the surrounding countryside, the North East Art Collective in Newcastle a snapshot of work by local artists, and bespoke jewellery shop Gavin Shelley Jewellery adopting Durham Cathedral for its trademark. These independent boutiques, gift shops and bookshops are also distinctive in their own right: discover an eclectic mix of clothing and products across six rooms of a listed building at The Mugwump in Durham, or radical view and unusual second hand volumes at the People’s Bookshop. Read on to discover more of the best shops in the North East.

 

Our top picks

Glamorous Owl

Glamorous Owl, 2 Old George Yd, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1EZ - Visit now

Both a gift shop and jewellery shop above this, the award-winning Glamorous Owl in Newcastle stocks jewellery, leatherwork and art from over 40 artists, as well as offering workshops and courses.

Glamorous Owl
Courtesy of The Glamorous Owl

North East Art Collective

North East Art Collective, 45 Eldon Garden, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 7RA - Visit now

Selling work by artists based in the North East of England, the North East Art Collective sets out to offer something for everyone – including oils, watercolours, photography and jewellery by notable local creatives

North East Art Collective
Courtesy of North East Art Collective

Fenwick

Fenwick, 39 Northumberland Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7AS - Visit now

This designer department store in Newcastle first opened in 1882, and has served the city and its visitors ever since. A shopping destination in its own right, Fenwick has everything from dining to fashion spanning five floors.

Fenwick
Courtesy of Fenwick

The Grainger Market

The Grainger Market, Clayton Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5QN - Visit now

Another historic shopping venue in Newcastle, The Grainger Market first opened over 200 years ago, and remains a hugely popular hub for shopping, indoor dining and entertainment. The historic venue was voted ‘Britain’s Favourite Market’ in the British Market Awards 2020.

The Grainger Market
Courtesy of Grainger Market

The People’s Bookshop

The People’s Bookshop, 70 Saddler St, Saddlers Yard, Durham, DH1 3NP - Visit now

Dealing mainly in second hand books, The People’s Bookshop is a radical outfit in Durham that seeks to reflect the local community, pull focus away from best sellers and help contribute to improving the world. An admirable aim and a local institution.

The People’s Bookshop
The People’s Bookshop

The Mugwump

The Mugwump, 37 Saddler Street, Durham, DH1 3NU - Visit now

Spread across six rooms in a listed building, the Mugwump in Durham was established in 1966 by two art school graduates, and continues to sell womenswear, contemporary glassware and ceramics, homewares, prints and more. Drop in for unusual finds in an eclectic mix.

The Mugwump
Mugwump

Gavin Shelley Jewellery

Gavin Shelley Jewellery, 72 Saddler St, Durham, DH1 3NP - Visit now

A bespoke jewellery shop named after local jeweller and owner Gavin Shelley. Each piece is created in Shelley’s unique style, with Durham Cathedral used as a stamp of quality.

Gavin Shelley Jewellery
Gavin Shelley Jewellery

Port Independent

Port Independent, Unit 4 St Thomas Street, Sunderland, SR11QD - Visit now

Port Independent in Sunderland stocks four in-house streetwear brands, as well as concessions including Redstar, Vaux Merch and Art of Football. A go-to for all your streetwear needs.

Port Independent
Port Independent

Aphrodite

Aphrodite, 8 Vine Place, Sunderland, SR1 3NE - Visit now

This men’s designer clothing store in Sunderland has been operating since 1994 and is now an official stockist for international brands including Barbour, Belstaff, CP Company and Fred Perry,

Aphrodite
Aphrodite

Reynolds Outdoor Centre

Reynolds Outdoor Centre, 6 Derwent St, Sunderland, SR1 3NT - Visit now

Friendly expert staff, repairs services and a wide range of outdoor clothing and equipment all set Reynolds Outdoor Centre in Sunderland apart. It’s a great resource, whether you’re beginning your adventures, or a seasoned explorer.

Reynolds Outdoor Centre
Reynolds Outdoor Centre

Where to go in North East

North East
Shop
Bookwyrm

This LGBTQ+ bookshop, nestled in the heart of Durham’s city centre, is more than a business but rather is a community hub.

Retro Clothing, Newcastle
Newcastle
Shop
Retro Newcastle

Retro is a popular, quirky vintage shop selling one-off, unique pieces in a slinky interior close to Newcastle town centre. It’s renowned for its individualism, putting into the town an eclectic and varied shopping experience for fashion that it would otherwise be missing.

Reynolds Outdoor Centre
Sunderland
Shop
Reynolds Outdoor Centre

Reynolds Outdoor Centre has provided outdoor wear, military surplus and camping gear since 1860. In the North East of England there is a fantastic array of wilderness to explore, from hills and mountains through to beautiful valleys and seaside walks.

Aphrodite
Sunderland
Shop
Aphrodite

In 1994 Aphrodite was established by two brothers, Andrew and Duncan McKenzie, who had a passion for bringing good menswear to people in their city. Since then, they have been providing designer clothing from a range of high-quality brands that have large scale appeal to those who love fashion such as Stone Island, Canada Goose, DSquared2, Kenzo & Balmain – though that list is not exhaustive as they have clothing from every brand from A-Z.

Port Independent
Sunderland
Shop
Port Independent

Port Independent is an independent clothing retailer selling high-end fashion and quirky, carefully curated pieces.

The National Glass Centre
Sunderland
Tourist Attraction
The National Glass Centre

The National Glass Centre tells how glass, a delicate and light material, came to be such a large part of Sunderland’s stature and history.

Gavin Shelley Jewellery
Durham
Shop
Gavin Shelley Jewellery

Within the side alleys of Saddlers’ Yard, there is a small shop that many would pass by, but holds a wonderful surprise for those who go in. Going to Gavin Shelley Jewellery you will be able to see a fantastic range of items from rings to pendants, and earrings, it is likely that the piece you are looking to buy has been made by him.

The Mugwump
Durham
Shop
The Mugwump

The Mugwump is a unique boutique on Saddler Street. With a history stretching back to 1966, when it was founded by two art school graduates, it has grown to have something for everyone. The ambition of The Mugwump is to find the most wonderful clothing, glassworks, ceramics, and gifts that can be purchased and bring it together under one roof for all to enjoy and be owned by you.

The People’s Bookshop
Durham
Shop
The People’s Bookshop

The People’s Bookshop sits one of the alleyways that comes off Saddler Street and is a hidden gem and a treat for the book lover. Away from the bustle of the main streets, it is a treasure trove of books from all areas and periods and encourages those to enter to discover a whole new theme of knowledge through the book that they have purchased.

Glamorous Owl
Newcastle
Shop
Glamorous Owl

The Owl is a wonderful little independent gift shop and gallery surrounded by similar independent retailers. The building itself used to be a stable for the old George next door and is full of historical touches.

North East Art Collective
Newcastle
Shop
North East Art Collective

Inside Eldon Square shopping centre, within the Eldon Garden wing, you will be able to find the North East Art Collective. Founded in 2010, the North East Art Collective is a fantastic venue for discovering local art on any trip to Newcastle or the North East.

North East Visitor Guides

Walks in Sunderland
Walks in Sunderland

A cultivated array of walks and cultural spaces to visit, with nods to local history, sporting events, landmarks and heritage.

Walks in Durham
Walks in Durham

A curated guide on where to walk in Durham, featuring riverside routes, easy ambles, sought-out hikes and marked cultural stopping points.

Walks in Newcastle
Walks in Newcastle

A guide to the most attractive, rewarding and beautiful walks in central Newcastle and the landscape beyond.

The Kingslodge Inn
Hotels in the North East

To make life easy when it comes to booking your stay, here’s our guide to the best hotels in the North East of England.

Pillock at Contact
Spotlight on

Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

Take me there

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.