Top UK Christmas shopping destinations, as chosen by you

We asked you for your top Christmas shopping destinations across the country, you sent us your favourites, and here they are!

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Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre is one of the largest in the UK, but this 21st century shopping mecca isn’t all the West Midlands City has to offer. Head over to The Mailbox for a taste of cutting edge fashion paired with contemporary art and furnishings. If the hustle and bustle isn’t for you, why not browse through some of Birmingham’s best independent offerings in the Grand Western Arcade or pick up something sparkly in the Jewellery Quarter.

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10417520_720232888059867_20834247332345839_nFrom the somewhat Dickensian St Nicholas Christmas Fair to a bustling city centre and beautiful architecture, a shopping in York is a must this festive season. York city centre is pedestrianised, making browsing the wide array of boutique shops and markets easy. If you’re feeling really adventurous, check out the Medieval Market at Barley Hall for some truly one-of-a kind gifts.

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With the likes of The Arndale centre with 240 shops, and even more in the bustling city centre, it’s clear that shopping is a topic taken very seriously in Manchester.  Head to the Northern Quarter, for the biggest selection of independent retailers outside of London, for that really special gift, and take advantage of late night shopping as hundreds of stores open their doors for longer hours at Christmas.

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In addition to Edinburgh’s excellent Christmas market, there are some great places to shop in the vibrant Scottish capital this Christmas.

Check out our Top 5 Christmas Markets Countdown

Start off in the city centre, passing through all the essential shops on Princes Street and St Andrews Square. Move on to George Street and get your groove on with an exclusive selection of boutiques, showcasing the top names in fashion and jewellery. Don’t forget to stop for lunch in one of the many eateries in the area (shopping is thirsty work). Finally, for those who are a little harder to buy for, pick up some unique fashion or a rare book in one of the vintage boutiques of Grassmarket.

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Okay, so you can find all the big names on London’s Oxford Street… but London has so much more variety to offer you intrepid Christmas shoppers this season. Carnaby Street, birthplace of the swinging sixties, features a great selection of bars and retail stores set back from the hustle and bustle of Regent Street. A short walk through Soho will land you in Covent Garden, with its vibrant selection of high street names and boutiques, as well as some stunning Christmas lights. For the more intrepid shopper, London’s regular markets become a buzz of activity over the festive period. Try Portobello Road Market (West London) or Spitalfields Market (East London) for something different.

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5 Awesome Ways to Celebrate this New Year’s Eve

1. The Traditional

Fireballs festival, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

B Campbell, Flickr

Image: B Campbell, Flickr

Goodness gracious, blazing balls of fire! Stonehaven’s Fireball festival sees a parade of participants swinging flaming balls above their heads. Following the parade, the fireballs are cast into the sea at the harbour, and the stunning firework display at the Bervie Braes begins. This traditional welcome to the new year has been part of Aberdeen’s Hogmanay celebrations for over four hundred years. If you’re looking to end the night in a more contemporary setting, head back to the market square for a disco until 2am.

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2. The Wild Night

Newquay

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If partying into 2015 is what you’re looking for, then heading to Newquay this New Year is for you. The street party and midnight firework show are local traditions, and local bars and clubs offer tempting specials on food and drinks. Bar Help will even hose you down with ‘snow’ to welcome you to 2015.

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3. The Family Outing

Winter Wonderland, Cardiff.

Jon Candy, Flickr

Image: Jon Candy, Flickr

Get your skates on and spend the new year on ice at the Admiral ice rink in Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland. Those of us with less balance can enjoy a great selection of rides and attractions, as well as live music and a free bus service.

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4. The Wild Card

Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

Image: Stephen Harper, Flickr

Stephen Harper, Flickr

Fancy toasting the new year 500 feet in the air? You can do just that at Portsmouth’s Spinnaker tower. DJ’s, great views and the world’s largest glass floor make for a one-of-a-kind new year experience at Portsmouth’s world-famous landmark. Tickets are £45 and must be pre-booked here.

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5. The Big Bang

London

Matthias Rosenkranz, Flickr

Image: Matthias Rosenkranz, Flickr

Who can forget the Capital’s explosive welcome to 2014, and this year’s celebration looks to be just as epic! The midnight skies light up with increasingly innovative pyrotechnic displays, using the world famous landmarks along the River Thames. The event draws over 500,000 visitors each year, more than any other new year celebration in the UK, so turn up early to guarantee a good viewing spot. Tickets for the event are £10 and are available here.

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New personalised home screen on our iPhone app

In the latest version of our iPhone app (version 3.2) we’ve added a feature our Android users liked – a personalised home screen and simpler navigation! Take a peak below at the new look or download the app for yourself here

(Don’t have an iPhone? We also have an Android app or our Windows app)

iPhone app - version 3.2

The new home screen allows you to set your home station, check times, tickets & live departures and also view your recent and saved journeys more easily.

Tap the menu icon on the top left of the home screen to access other features of the app quickly. See below for details of the handy features you can access from the menu.

iPhone app menu

Features available in our latest iPhone app

Let us know your thoughts!

Time for one more?

I hate it when I’ve turned down that ‘one last drink’ to find my train home has left without me. I could have had ‘just one more’.

It doesn’t happen much these days. My trainline app knows my ‘home’ station so I just tap ‘next train home’ and see whether there’s time for one more or it’s time to dash. Genius.

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