Independent Bristol

This is the second article in my on going series of articles I’ve previously published. Again this is from The Bristol Magazine and was first published in February 2010.

Independent Bristol

Go to almost any town or city centre in the Europe and you will see many of the same shops. Our bland shopping habits have changed the independent face of our cities leaving us with an homogenised, boring façade of choice. Luckily, the fringes of city centres still hold rare gems holding in there against all odds. These shops not only compete against city centre chain stores, but massive supermarket chains. Without our independent shops Bristol would be much worse off.

This time of year is the worst for the retail sector and as we are still supposedly in the worst recession ever so my place to visit this month is all of our independent shops; we need them to keep our Bristol from becoming homogenised and bland.

It is to the fringes of our great city that we have to travel to really see some of my favourite shops. Shops that are run by people who have a passion for what they sell and not for how much money they are making.  As a writer I feel I must fly the flag firstly for Durdham Down books, especially as its the only independent bookshop left in the whole of Bristol. Family run and by bibliophiles  and situated on North View. It is exactly what you want from a bookshop!

This is a bit of step away from my favourite shopping area which has to be the bottom of Cotham Hill. Here we can find an off licence that sells only the best booze from around the world, an antique shop run by two wonderful eccentrics who love dolls houses and Earthbound a health food shop that beat off Fresh and Wild and where the owners seem to know everyone by name. I have noted a few shops closing down round here so do shop in all of these and your favourite shops, especially at this time of year.

Of course there just isn’t the space to mention all of my favourite shops in Bristol, albeit to mention just my favourite new shop – The Urban Fringe Dispensary a herbalist ran by the inspirational Max Drake this place is nestled in area rich in independent shops just by the Christmas Steps.

Now rip up those club cards, burn your nectar points and shop till you drop!


Andy Hamilton

Brewer, forager, broadcaster, spaceman occasional liar

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