When thinking of Devon, the idea of commercial and well-established shopping centres don’t immediately spring to mind; however, this just isn’t the case! Granted, we don’t have mega-malls with rows upon rows of designer shops, but what South Devon does offer is a well balanced and relaxed shopping experience with a combination of high street brands and independent businesses.
We’ll be breaking down the best places to go shopping in South Devon, and which town, village or city will be best for your type of retail therapy!
South Devon is fortunate enough to be home to two cities, Plymouth and Exeter, which both have excellent shopping opportunities. Exeter is mainly focused around its award-winning Princess Hay, a concentration of over 50 high street stores with big names such as Debenhams, Apple, Superdry and many more gracing the stores. The area also has a variety of restaurants and places to grab a bite to eat in between your retail adventures! Venturing out of the main high street area, you’ll be able to find a number of independent shops that have been thriving for years. Fore Street is home to various small outlets that are all worth a visit. We’d also suggest heading to The Quay where you’ll be able to find a small selection of shops selling vintage, handmade and unique items.
Plymouth has a population nearly double that of Exeter, therefore, the retail outlets have needed to accommodate such numbers. The result is a grand array of shops concentrated around the city centre with many of the bigger name brands being located in the Drake Circus shopping centre. Plymouth also has its own variety of independent businesses that can be found by venturing away from the busy main shopping areas.
If you’re travelling to South Devon with the intention of escaping the busy city lifestyle, then you may be more interested to learn that along with the two city areas, there are also a collection smaller towns and villages that will still scratch the shopping itch but in a slightly different way.
By venturing out of the city, you’ll find a number of towns that are either located in a beautiful rural location, or in an idyllic coastal setting. These towns typically offer a smaller number of shops, but you’ll likely find businesses that are unique to that town or village.
Coastal towns such as Sidmouth, Exmouth, Dartmouth, Teignmouth and Salcombe all use their seaside location to their advantage, with a selection of shops that follow a nautical theme. The items that these shops sell range from clothing, homewares, food and drink and locally made gifts. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy the picturesque coastal views while you meander through the streets.
Rural towns such as Honiton, Kingsbridge, Totnes, Crediton and Newton Abbot all aim to make the most of their countryside location with a focus on community. Markets and fairs are put on throughout the week giving visitors and locals a chance to sample the cream of the crop when it comes to local produce. These towns also benefit from being unbelievably close to vast open planes of land such as Exmoor which means you can pop to the shops before a walk in the tranquil wilderness.
Because of the combination of coastal and rural influences, farm shops, markets and independent food businesses such as butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers all benefit from being able to offer fresh and local produce. Often, markets will also have stalls run by local startup businesses that have cultivated their own unique product, such as jams, sauces or coffee. This is a great chance to try something new whilst supporting a new business!
In this same vein, markets are also a great place to get your hands on locally made items too. Homemade products that look to maximise sustainability are commonly for sale in these Devon towns, so you’ll be able to play your small part in benefitting the environment and take something away with you that looks quirky and stylish.
Hopefully, this article has given you some inspiration to head to South Devon for your next break. If you’re looking for a coastal base while you explore the best places to go shopping in South Devon, why not check out our Dawlish hotel with sea views? You can book online here or give us a call on 01626 248993 to discuss availability.