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Beautiful UK market town that’s one of the best for independent shopping



A beautiful little market town that’s one of the best places in the UK to pick up your shopping in independent stores is also one of the best locations to live.

Pretty Petworth, in West Sussex, came sixth in the ranking based on the variety of business types it boasts, its number of visitors, and shop occupancy rate in research commissioned by Amex.

And it’s not the first list to pick the town out for praise – as it was recently named as one of the best places to live in Britain according to the Telegraph. In 2020 it also featured on The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live list.

Located two hours away from London, well to do Petworth is nestled in the heart of the South Downs National Park.

As well as its array of independent stores, the beautiful town is home to Petworth House which is a stunning National Trust country mansion surrounded by a stunning deer park and a blue lake. 

It’s also a location known in particular as a place to pick up quirky vintage goods. Petworth Antiques Market, Thakeham Antiques and Tudor Rose Antiques are all a great place to start if you’re after fabulous finds from days gone by.

But living in Petworth does not come cheaply – as according to Rightmove homes have an overall average price of £801,209 which absolutely dwarfs the UK national average of £284,691.

George Cooke, age 49 who moved to the town last year told “We moved to Petworth from Hindhead in March 2022. Before that we had only visited as tourists.

“It’s further away from work and schools then we’d like. It’s great to be in a small town where everything is walking distance including a National Trust property and park. Plenty to do for people with time on their hands.

“Petworth has a prestigious music and literary festival and cinema, live opera etc screenings in the Leconfield Hall.”

The town centre was selected to include the High Street, Middle Street, New Street, East Street, Park Road, Lombard Street, Golden Square, Market Square, Saddler’s Row and Pound Street.

Dan Edelman, head of merchant services at Amex UK, said: “We know how vital independent businesses are to all our communities, so it’s great to once again hero high streets during this crucial trading time.

“With everything from grocery stores, bespoke gift shops and pet stores, there’s something for everyone, and now is the time for people to step out and support the small local businesses on their doorstep.”

Matt Piner, research director at Global Data which brought together the research, added: “Despite the challenges small businesses have faced over the past decade, this research shows that a wonderfully diverse array of small businesses remain prominent on high streets across the UK. 

“These small businesses have endured by offering a broad range of services which meet consumer demands, continually evolving in a nimble and agile fashion, and offering a personal touch.”  

The top 10 high streets for independent shops in the UK:

Victoria Street and West Bow, Edinburgh

High Street, Stockbridge

The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells

Church Street, Hereford

Broadway, Cotswolds

Town Centre, Petworth

High Street, Burford

Magdalene Street, Cambridge

The Lanes, Brighton

Town Centre, Llandeilo

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