While Durham isn't a particularly large city (you can walk from one side of the city centre to the other in about 20 minutes!), it does have quite a lot to offer shoppers looking for something to spend their hard earned cash on.
If you're a visitor to Durham, chances are you will park in The Prince Bishop's Shopping Centre car par as it's the easiest to find. From here you have easy access to the centre. From the name you would be forgiven for thinking it was a shopping mall, but infact it is just 1 curved street. It's home to shops such as BHS, HMV, Next, New Look, Superdrug and Boots.
From here we are lead into Durham Market Place. The Market Place is semi pedestrianised and here there is 2 entrances to the Indoor Market. It's fairly large and is home to a lots of different stalls including a butchers, book seller, mobile phone repair, bakers, shoe shop and a haberdashery. It also has a cafe and public toilets. There are over 80 stalls in total and on Saturdays there are extra stalls in the Market Place.
There is a Farmers Market held in the Market Place on the third Thursday of every month.
The other shopping mall in Durham is called The Gates. I'm not a massive fan of The Gates, quite a lot of the units are empty and the shops there are not really worth a special visit. They include Julian Graves, Evans and Poundland.
Aside from all of these high street shops, Durham is also home to a selection of creative shops and workshops. Fowlers Yard is located next to the River Wear and the workspaces are open to the public, providing visitors with the opportunity to meet the artists and craftspeople and observe different creative processes, such as hot glass arts, metal work, textile arts, photography and a Micro Brewery.
If you're looking for a typical high street, Durham probably have the most choice available, but for those looking for something a bit different there is lots to see and do.
Durham's retail industry has suffered in recent years with the increasing cost of unit spaces and recession.
The once full to the brim 'Gates' shopping centre (was Milburngate centre) is now fileld with more empty units than shops! The shops still running are Clintons (although there is a larger one on Silver Street), X-catalogue shop, The Works (cheap book store), Savers (cheap cosmetics), Poundland, Pawnbrokers, cheap scarf shop, cheap bag shop, keycutters (with other facilities), Yorkshire Trading (full of everything), Bon Marche (elderly persons clothes shop)m Evans (plus size shop), Julian Graves (health food), Ponden Mill (household) and Miss Selfridge (young fashion).
On the whole the empty stores put off any decent stores from opening there and the majority of stores are cheap and nasty. The manager of the gates did want to improve the client base but failed miserably.
I would avoid North Road at all costs. It attracts many alcoholics to the cheap bars of Yates and Whetherspoons and is full of cheap and nasty shops, apart from a Chinese mini supermarket and nearby vintage clothes shop.
Silver Street is the main street to the market Place and is full of mobile phone shops, 3 outdoor shops, Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, alternaive shop triple S, past times, the bosy shop etc.
The new prince bishops area has a few vacant spaces but has more high street chains such as Boots, monsoon, New Look, HMV, Superdrug, Toni & Guy, fat face.
Overall there is an average array of shops but you could not spend more than 2 hours here, and what shops you do have don;t have a great deal of stock and you may find the outfit you bought for your night out was also on the back of another 10 people. It is ok if your bored and want some essentials but not good for choice plus parking is quite expensive, even on park and ride schemes.
For a small town Durham has a nice selection of fashion stores.
In the Milburn Gate complex there is Evans (women's size 14 to 32) and also the x-catalogue shop - which, although selling mostly tat, a bargain can be found if you're prepared to rummage! There's also Bon Marche and a couple of non-chain clothing stores (which seem to come and go and change ownership).
Walking from Milburn Gate up in to the Market Square you pass Topshop (young fashion, latest trends), Dorothy Perkins (which has Burtons for men downstairs), Marks and Spencer (Men's and Women's upstairs) and Triple S (designer/higher end fashion). There are also a couple of outdoor shops selling walking/climbing and general outdoor clothing. Walking up the hill next to Marks and Spencer they are in the process of putting a Tesco's which I believe will have a small selection of clothing upstairs, turning right towards the cathedral you pass East (Women's classic clothing) and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill (older women's). If you head further up the hill towards the cathedral there is Wills Jack. Head left in to the High Street and there is a new New Look (good tall and larger lady range upstairs), BHS (Women's, men's and children), Monsoon (Women's and children), River Island (Women's downstairs and Men's upstairs), Fat Face (women and men's) and Next (women's downstairs, men and children upstairs).