If you fancy a bit of retail therapy in Britain’s Ocean City, you’ll see that Plymouth shops are split into three areas. At the east end of the city centre, you’ll find Drake’s Circus – a hive of over 60 high street stores – while Plymouth City Market sits at the centre of the Independent Quarter at the west end. There’s also the Barbican with a unique array of stores lining its historic streets. There’s more about all three of Plymouth’s main shopping areas below.
Shopping in Plymouth
In the ‘Plymouth Blitz’ of 1941, German bombers ravaged the city by dropping over a quarter of a million explosives during the air raids. With swathes of shops destroyed, the Plymouth City Market took on the responsibility of giving local communities the chance to continue buying produce from the traders who had lost their premises. It’s a market that still thrives today, and you’ll be able to find whatever you’re looking for amongst the stalls of florists, butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, goldsmiths, and more. Pay them a visit; the city market’s open every day except Sundays and bank holidays.
Plymouth City Market
Drake Circus Centre
The main retail hub in Plymouth is the Drake Circus Shopping Centre. It’s nearly 40,000 square metres of temptation with over sixty stores – all indoors and across three floors – and more than 1,250 parking spaces for your convenience. There’s a large Primark, along with other high street names you’d expect – M&S, River Island, TK Maxx, New Look, Topshop etc. You can grab a coffee at Costa, and some Krispy Kreme doughnuts if you get peckish. If you’d prefer a bigger meal, you’ve got options like Yo! Sushi, Bill’s and Burger King, too.
If you want to steer away from international chains, then perhaps the west end of Plymouth is more up your street. Here, The Independent Quarter surrounds the City Market, with more than 200 independent stores to choose from. They range from Fetish Jester, which sells not-so-practical leather attire, to Final Frontier, your friendly neighbourhood comic book store, and Mama Rita’s Kitchen, a popular Afro Caribbean café.
The Plymouth Barbican houses some of the city’s oldest buildings in what was the least damaged area of central Plymouth following the blitz of World War II. As one of the historic areas of the city, the shops you’ll find here tend to be more high-end, including jewellers, galleries and bridal stores. But the beauty of shopping on the Barbican is you never really know what you’re going to find when you start exploring its narrow streets of independent shops.