Bristol has simultaneously been voted the best place to live in the UK, crowned the vegan capital of the world and even has its own currency to support the local economy. The thing Bristolian’s are most proud of, however, is its undying love for the humble independent. 

The independent shopping scene is particularly on fleek and we want to share our top tips for how to shop local this Crimbo. So join us on a tour of the most fabulous indie shops Bristol has to offer. 

Let’s kick off the tour on the UK’s longest road of independent shops, Gloucester Road. First thing’s first, there’s a plethora of charity shops for those who like a rummage, and hey, it’s better for the environment too, right? IOTA is great for homewares and unusual gifts, Grape & Grind has a stellar selection of organic wine, craft beers and artisan spirits. Wild Leaf is Bristol’s original plant store solely dedicated to indoor plants and will happily help you find the perfect gift for your green-fingered friend. Next door is Kiln Workshop, where you can settle in for an afternoon of pot painting with your best pals, this year we’ve even got some ready made gift vouchers, the perfect pressie for the craft lover in your life.

Over in Stokes Croft we recommend ducking into The Vintage Market for all your up-cycled needs. Think of it as an Aladdin’s caved of vintage, antique, vinyl and taxidermy (if you’re into that) treasures. The Little Shop is crammed with hand-made crafty bits from local creative talents - our very own Marketing Manager’s side project, Pink Moon is even stocked here. Stokes Croft China is a collective of artists who recycle fine English bone china and turns them into uniquely decorated pieces with a political Stokes Croft twist. 

Now let’s wander on down towards the Christmas Steps and Colston Street. This part of the city is steeped in history, as well as some nifty little indies. Bloom & Curll is fab second-hand book shop and Weber & Trings is a brilliant bottle shop that hosts regular gin and whisky tastings. Pirrip is an illustration, design and print studio where you can pick up some gorgeous silkscreen gift cards. Other standout shops to pop into are Lowlands and Blaze

Meander down to St Nick’s and explore the maze of indie retailers whilst stopping for some delicious street food snacks along the way. Keep an eye out for their late night and Christmas markets, it’s the prettiest place to be at Christmas time. In the neighbouring Old City we’d recommend paying a visit to The Rummer and checking out Bristol Dry Gin’s snazzy selection of micro-brewed spirits. Grab a bottle on Wriggle here. Stop into Source afterwards and pick up some lush foodie gifts from the freshly stocked food hall. 

When you’re finished up in the city centre, mooch over to Park Street and the Clifton Triangle. The gift shop at the RWA gallery stocks a stunning range of prints, books and art supplies produced by local artists. And Averys is a 5th generation wine merchant with a stellar selection in the cellar. 

Next stop is Clifton Village, littered with stylish boutiques, cosy cafes and hidden passageways. Papadeli is a gorge little Deli with the best handmade choccies, biscuits and cakes. Clifton Arcade is a Victorian shopping centre housing 17 unique antique, vintage and gift retailers. A little place we love nearby is Otomi - they stock all manner of Mexican products, from hammocks and textiles to stationery and food, mexcellent.

Walk down towards Hotwells, towards Underfall Yard, then cross the bridge by Spike Island and head towards North Street, by the Tobacco Factory. Then work your way down North Street, checking out Bedminster & Southville. Here you’ll find Corks of North Street with a scrummy selection of world class wines. Friendly Records is a must for vinyl lovers and Mon Pote is a stylish lifestyle shop with great inspo for homewares, stationery and gifts. 

Moving onto Wapping Wharf, Bristol’s shipping container community, we urge you to check out Mabboo, a sustainable organic bamboo and accessories company, they even stock a bamboo calculator, who’d have thought! Beer necessities is an indie craft beer bottle shop that aims to keep its pricing accessible so everyone can enjoy their hoppy delights. The Bristol Cider Shop does exactly what it says on the tin, it also just happens to be one of the very few specialist cider shops in the UK.

And if you’re still feeling enthusiastic after all that, head over to Old Market. PRIOR is a quaint shop working with handcrafted homewares that have been responsibly and sustainably made. They also host regular craft workshops in their ‘makers space’. Old Market Plants is an immersive plant shop with a wealth of exotic greenery and first-rate tips from the friendly staff. 

So there you have it, this is our guide to the best of indie shopping in Bristol. There are of course tons of other awesome businesses that we haven't mentioned, so get out there and get exploring!

Published -22nd November 2019