In my ‘Highstreet Happiness’ edits I love to be inspired by the character of local highstreets in the UK. As more people turn to online shopping our British highstreets are undergoing a transformation through necessity as well as through desire. Although many choose to shop solely online I firmly believe that highstreets have a place in the future of shopping in the UK and with a mix of multiple shops along with Independent boutiques your local highstreet may have more to offer than you think. I’d love to hear how your local highstreet is faring so feel free to message me with events and campaigns that are taking place in your corner of the world. I also love to compare the UK with other countries to see what we can learn so if you’re visiting my blog from outside the UK why not get in touch with some pics of your local retail scene?
This week I’ve been discovering superb Saddleworth in the borough of Oldham, Greater Manchester. We planned to meet friends for a long overdue catch up and as they know that I have a passion for all things independent they suggested Saddleworth which is just down the road from them.
The first thing I love about this little village? Free parking! The holy grail for highstreet shoppers everywhere and one of my own personal drums that I love to bang when I talk about the regeneration of local shopping. We found the parking fairly easily though it is worth noting that if you plan to spend a while shopping it’s worth seeking out the long stay car park which is only a couple of minutes from the main highstreet. Parking here is free and plentiful and it’s a few minutes downhill walk back to the highstreet.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink in the village, we chose Caffe Grande Abaco which is directly on the highstreet . I was all ready to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine on the terrace but as we eyed the clouds we decided we’d be better off inside! We ordered the sharing platter which they were happy to make part vegan for my friend and the caffeine lovers tried the specialty coffee while I had a yummy ‘Dragon Green Tea’. To fill the four of us is quite a challenge and yet the sharing platter gave us enough so we could all have a light lunch – hooray! I’ve also got to mention the Italian lessons in the loos – amazing! I should note here that obviously they were recorded and not an awkward situation of somebody speaking to you on the toilet…!
After eating we went to explore the rest of the highstreet and found an amazing bookshop (is there any other kind?) that was independently owned and had been a stalwart of the highstreet for 25 years. The Towpath Bookshop name should also give you a clue that there is a lovely canal to explore although we decided to visit again with our Cairn Terrier Gandalf to enjoy the walk together. He gets very sulky if we try new walks without him…
We also called in to All Wrapped Up to buy a belated birthday card for my lovely Gran (don’t judge me, she’s been on holiday) and had a walk around the beautiful park with a thought provoking ‘peace pole’ featuring the different languages spoken in Oldham.
Saddleworth is well worth a visit and it’s a beautiful , although sometimes hair-raising, drive back through the Peak District if you happen to be headed that way.
I hope you enjoyed our whistle-stop tour of Saddleworth, fancy your local highstreet being featured on my next blog? Get in Touch for a chat…
If, like me, you’re a supporter of all things Independent take a look at the fabulous Just A Card campaign that supports Independent Creative businesses by raising awareness of how even the smallest of purchases can make the biggest of differences.
Until the next time, Happy Highstreet Shopping!