When it comes to big name stores it's hard for a town centre like Halifax to compete with huge out-of-town shopping malls like Meadowhall or Trafford Centre. But not everyone enjoys the shopping mall experience (and in any case it usually involves a trip on a motorway, so tends to be an occasional day out more than a weekly outing). Many prefer to shop in pleasant surroundings where there is room to walk, fresh air, wonderful buildings to look at and go into. They prefer somewhere with character, a huge variety of shops and plenty of places to eat and drink when they fancy a break from the shopping. They prefer wood and stone to plastic and plasterboard !
Woolshops, towards to bottom end of the town centre, is where most of the best known high street names are to be found. Like much of Halifax centre, it is completely pedestrian friendly, but with a 300 space car park right next to it, bus station next door and railway station a few hundred yards away, walking can be kept to a minimum if preferred !
If market stalls are your thing, take a look at the borough market, the grade II listed Victorian building which dominates the town centre. Inside, under the original glass and cast iron roof can be found approximately 180 stalls of every kind and around the outside and in adjoining arcades are a further 50 or so shops. On the South side, Albion Street used to be known as the fish market as it was almost entirely devoted to seafood stalls. Now only a couple remain.
Next to the market is the award winning Westgate Arcade, full of shops, cafe bars, delicatessens and restaurants all under a glass and steel canopy built in 2005.
If you walk down through Westgate you will see the main entrance to the Piece Hall. This is yet another jewel in Halifax's crown and first time visitors will be amazed at the site that awaits them as they pass through the entrance of this grade 1 listed Georgian square. Around the Piece Hall galleries are some 25 independant retailers, selling clothes, jewellery, chocolate, books, music, musical instruments and much more. There is a market on Thursdays and at Christmas.
Elsewhere in the centre you can find some quality family-owned, family-run retail outlets. One of the longest established stores in Halifax is Harveys, a department store boasting some 30,000 sq. ft. of retail space, plus a 170 seat restaurant. In the store are a variety of departments such as ladies and gents fashion, home, cosmetics, shoes etc.
Harold Crabtree has been open in Halifax for over 50 years and was recently refitted to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the original Harold Crabtree shop in Hebden Bridge. With both ladies and men's fashions in store, they stock many high quality brands.