Categories: shopping

Northern Ireland appreciates the joy that a good day’s shopping can bring. So, wherever you go, you’ll find top class shopping centres, wonderful local markets, boutique design stores and artisan craft shops. All perfect places to pick up something special as a gift to bring home – or a way to treat yourself.

Victoria Square Shopping Centre, Belfast

Roam through over 70 inviting shops and restaurants, home to top brands such as Ted Baker, Hollister, Tommy Hilfiger, LK Bennet and Hugo Boss - to name just a few. If it’s time to dine, try the Ivory Restaurant. And afterwards head for the Dome and 360 degree views of the city. You’ll see all the way to the famous Harland & Wolff Cranes - Samson and Goliath, to the locals.

CastleCourt Shopping Centre, Belfast

CastleCourt’s motto is simply: Shop. Eat. Play. Repeat. Which you can do to your heart’s content in over 80 high street stores, such as Debenhams, Matalan, Vila, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, New Look and more.

St. George’s Market, Belfast

St. George’s Market is one of Belfast’s oldest and most colourful attractions. Here, you’ll find the best of local produce and speciality foods from around the world, all under one roof. Look out for fresh fruit and vegetables, artisan meats and the widest range of fish in Ireland – there were 23 fish stalls alone here, at the last count. For extra local flavour, check out the soda farls, ‘Belfast Baps’, Suki Tea and Broughgammon goat's meat.

There are also plenty of antique and collectibles stalls, clothes, local craft sellers and live music from local bands.

Lisburn Road, South Belfast

If independent designers are more your bag, take a stroll down the Lisburn Road for the latest in fashion and homeware style. JoJo Maman Bébé, Oliver Bonas, Velvet Boutique, Moda Shoes and Hugo Thomas are all within reach. As are great bars and restaurants – such as Deane and Decano, The Albany, Chelsea or Shu.

Bloomfield Avenue, East Belfast

There’s more individual style in Bloomfield Avenue’s neat boutiques. It’s a browser’s heaven and you’ll more than likely walk away with something special. Siren, Peels Fashion Store, Harlequin, Annabelle Ladies Fashions and Arabesque shoe shop (fantastic selection of Italian and Spanish shoes and handbags) are all great places to start your search.

Abbeycentre Shopping Centre, County Antrim

On the outskirts of Belfast, the Abbey centre and surrounding Valley Retail Park is popular with locals. High Street names such as Next, Dunnes, Marks and Spencer, TK Maxx, B&M and Matalan have all made their home here. As have Synge and Byrne – the perfect spot to enjoy an artisan coffee and a shopping break.

Ballymena, County Antrim

The town of Ballymena has an eclectic mix of independent shops and department stores. Try Primrose in Greenvale Street for fashion or check out bigger stores such as McKillens in Church Street and Camerons in Broughshane Street.

Nearby, Marmalade and Pretty Woman are great for well-known labels and up and coming designer fashion. And Junction One, just off the M2 motorway, is a destination in its own right with its Next Clearance and M&S Outlet stores.

The Craft Village, Derry-Londonderry

It’s hard to imagine a more inviting spot than Derry’s delightfully Dickensian Craft Village. Here, a reconstructed 18th century street meets a 19th century square. The result is home to a mix of artisan outlets, with 70 local crafters, restaurants and coffee shops. Fine art prints, jewellery, glass, silks, tweed and knitwear live side by side with delicate soaps and scented candles. Edel McBride is here too, the Aran knitwear designer who’s a hit with both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Coleraine, County Londonderry

If you’ve a passion for unique and interesting small shops, you’ve come to the right place. Lovers of vintage-style will fall for Daisy Mae boutique in Belhouse Lane. Specialising in reproducing vintage looks in clothing, footwear and accessories, this is timeless charm for a modern age. While in the Diamond Centre, it’s always worth visiting the Bishops Footwear store and Ken Young for the finest menswear in Ireland.

Magherafelt, County Londonderry

Magherafelt is a shopping hotspot too. All on Broad Street, Spoilt Bella, Sarah-Jane and The Queen Bee stock handpicked collections from Europe’s top designers. The Fashion House in Market Street is worth a look too or, for covetable footwear and handbags, it’s got to be the Four Seasons Boutique in Queen Street.

The Linen Green, County Tyrone

A stunning designer shopping village in Moygashel, the Linen Green has it all. First class quality homewares and interiors shops - including Anthologie, Bedeck, Gareth McFarland Design Yard and Lavish. And alongside them, fashion stores such as The Lingerie Room, Storey, Panache Shoe Company and The Boudoir. That’s where you’ll find incredible fashion labels and much sought after dresses from leading fashion blog, My Sister’s Closet.

The Buttermarket, County Fermanagh

If you’re looking for original art and crafts, The Buttermarket in Enniskillen is the place to go. Formerly the site of a 19th century dairy market, it’s now the heart of Fermanagh’s thriving craft industry – with everything from original art, pottery and ceramics to handmade jewellery, textiles and picture framing. Plus Rebecca’s Café with original homemade goodies.

The Outlet Village, County Down

Shoppers with an eye for value know all about the Outlet at Banbridge. It’s well worth a trip to get 70% off retail prices at stores such as Gap, Jaeger, LK Bennett, M&S and many more. Now with an Omniplex Cinema on site too, you’ll find it beside the main A1 Dublin to Belfast road.

The Quays, Newry, County Down

You’ll find the Quays shopping centre right on the edge of the Newry Canal, hence the name. With easy access from the M1 motorway between Dublin and Belfast you’ll find extensive car parking in and around the centre, and the bus station is nearby.

The stores – where to start? Might as well start with some of the biggest and best known names, including Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, H&M, River Island, Superdry, Next, Sports Direct and Ernst Jones. Sostrene Grene’s made it all the way here from Denmark, and there’s also the heady scents of Lush cosmetics to check out. If you’re planning a trip to Northern Ireland’s great outdoors, there’s a Trespass clothing and equipment store here too. Elsewhere in the Quays you’ll come across Skechers, Stat Sports, Peter Mark, Pure Gym, O’Neill’s sportswear, Belleek Living, Pandora, Houston’s and Claire’s.

Your appetite is covered too, because there’s also a plethora of food and drink outlets to choose from, including Subway, Café Nero, Eddie Rockets, Starbucks, Bravo Liive Cuisine, Deli Lites, Ground and Cunningham’s.

The Buttercrane Centre, Newry, County Down

The Buttercrane Centre is on Buttercrane Quay in the heart of Newry, just minutes from the train and bus stations, and 1 hour by road from Belfast and roughly the same from Dublin. With over 1,000 car parking spaces on site, you’ll always find a spot even at the busiest times. The Buttercrane is home to over 50 stores, from Dunnes to Dorothy Perkins. Jack & Jones, Primark, Dv8, Clarks, Boots, Trespass, Vera Moda and Newry native, Louis Boyd, are just some of the temptations here.

Food and drink are equally well catered for here too, with Burger King, Costa Coffee, Subway, Pancake Junction, Greggs (home of the sausage roll and vegan sausage roll), Vivo and T2 Coffee Shop and Bistro all on site.

Wherever your Northern Ireland itinerary takes you, there’s always time to fit in some local retail therapy. And it’s pretty certain you won’t leave empty-handed. So, it might be wise to add another suitcase to that shopping list, just to make sure you can get it all home.