THIS ARTICLE IS UPDATED FOR CHRISTMAS 2009
If you’re heading across the border to Northern Ireland to do your Christmas shopping (or for the January sales) this year, then Enniskillen is the place to go. It’s situated in the heart of County Fermanagh and borders counties Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan in the Republic. It’s popular for shoppers from the surrounding counties and beyond (even Dublin!) and especially at Christmas time when the town centre is buzzing with bargain hunters.
Many shops accept the Euro as well as Sterling and you can make some genuine savings here!
Asda is a popular first port of call. There’s lots of car parking here, so no worries! There is, however, a limit of 2-3 hours free parking, so bear this in mind. Asda doesn’t need any further explanation, basically anything and everything you’ll need for Christmas you’ll find here. It’s got the lot, decorations, all the food and drink you could ask for, clothes, electrical goods and much more.
You can pay in Euro or Sterling here and you really do save money (shoppers from the Republic) and it’s especially good for alcohol. No Christmas would be complete without the odd tipple!
When you come out of Asda you can turn right for Tesco for more of the above (groceries, clothing etc.) or take a left for the Erneside Shopping Centre. Again, there’s lots of parking here, both in front of the building and in the attached multi storey car park.
Inside the Erneside you’ll find over 30 well known stores including Marks & Spencer, River Island, New Look, Exhibit, Harry Corry, Holland & Barrett, Next, Barratts Shoes, Game, H Samuel, Monsoon, Claire’s Accessories, Carphone Warehouse, Clinton Cards, Clockwork Orange, d2, DV8, Lifestyle Sports, Le Bistro, Costa Coffee, Millets, Belleek Living and more. Many shops within the Erneside will also accept Euro as well as Sterling. Be careful though as each store offers a different exchange rate, once you get to the check out you’ll generally see a sign stating the Euro rate on offer.
There’s also Semi Chem and Superdrug, both of which are health and beauty retailers. Here you can pick up your favourite perfumes, and all types of lotions and potions at really good prices. Both are very popular with shoppers from the southern counties as even when you consider the exchange rate it’s still great value for money.
If you’ve the little ones with you there’s a Santa’s Grotto – you can’t miss it, it’s right in the centre of the shopping centre.
To get to the town centre from here, just cross the pedestrian bridge at the back of the shopping centre – it’s about a 5 minute walk.
One place which always catches your eye when crossing the bridge is Crabtree Cottage (near the traffic lights). It’s usually all decked out for Christmas and is definitely worth taking a look inside – it’s full of unique pressies and Christmas decorations. From here it’s only a minute’s stroll to the main street .
On Eniskillen’s main street you’ll find a whole host of popular stores including Topshop, Boots, Gordons Chemist, Dorothy Perkins, Heatons, Easons, Bargain Books, Kells Ladies & Mens Wear (a local favourite) and one of my top choices, Houstons at the top of the street. It sells womenswear, menswear, gifts and also has a section housing a number of popular high street stores. These include Warehouse, Oasis, Wallis and many others.
There’s always a festive atmosphere on this street, especially at Christmas, with carrol singers etc. And if you’re feeling peckish at this stage there are a number of cafes as well as pubs serving steaming hot lunches.
Some of the other big name supermarkets in Enniskillen include Dunnes Stores and Lidl, the well known German chain. When it comes to toyshops there are two in the town – Hanna’s Toyworld, not too far from the Erneside Shopping Centre and Toytown near Iceland. And for good value in electrical goods you’ll find a Currys store near Lidl. If, on the other hand, you want to make your pound go further there’s a Poundstretcher near the entrance to Tesco.
The Buttermarket Craft & Design Courtyard is also well worth a visit. Formerly a 19th Century dairy market, it now consists of about 16 craft units, a gift shop and a coffee shop. You can browse through the handmade jewellery, pottery, crafts, paintings, much of which is locally made. It’s open 10am until 5pm, Monday to Saturday all year round.
Enniskillen attracts shoppers from both Northern Ireland and the Republic in the weeks running up to Christmas and it’s a great spot to soak up the festive atmosphere.
Why not make a weekend of it and stay the night? Book your Fermanagh accommodation now.
Do you go shopping in Enniskillen? Any tips for getting a bargain this Christmas?
Do you reckon you can save money by shopping in Northern Ireland even with the exchange rate? Let us know in the comment box below!