Poll: Can Ipswich now rival Woodbridge and Bury St Edmunds? – The Saints is ranked as one of UK’s best high streets

The Saints area in Ipswich town centre has been ranked as one of the best high streets in Britain as

The Saints area in Ipswich town centre has been ranked as one of the best high streets in Britain as part of the Great British High Street Awards 2015. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Shopkeepers say the prestigious recognition means Ipswich can now rival Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge as top shopping destinations.

The Saints area in Ipswich town centre has been ranked as one of the best high streets in Britain as

The Saints area in Ipswich town centre has been ranked as one of the best high streets in Britain as part of the Great British High Street Awards 2015. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The Saints, which comprises St Peters Street and St Nicholas Street, was ranked in the top five in the Local Centre category of the Great British High Street Awards 2015.

“It is a brilliant endorsement of what this street has achieved and is a testament to the work we have all done,” says Cathy Frost, who has owned gift shop Love One in St Peter’s Street for seven years.

“The competition recognises high streets are under pressure with online and out-of-town shopping, and Ipswich has had a really bad reputation for shopping lately, but hopefully this goes some way to addressing the balance.

“Our main draws are the independent, quirky retailers, great food and drink, regular street markets, locally-sourced products, the history of the area and the location between the Waterfront and the town centre.

The Saints area in Ipswich town centre has been ranked as one of the best high streets in Britain as

The Saints area in Ipswich town centre has been ranked as one of the best high streets in Britain as part of the Great British High Street Awards 2015. - Credit: Gregg Brown

“The customer service is also really good and personal. We all offer something a little bit different with a lot of passion and enthusiasm. It’s got everything you need for a great day out.”

There is only one empty shop in The Saints, where antique books and furniture, modern designer fashion and vintage items are on sale.

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John Manning, owner of The House in Town, added: “There is a really diverse and vibrant feel here and there really is something for everyone.

“We have got a mini high street with independent shops who have really embraced the local shopping culture.

“We get a lot of tourists and we have got just as good shops as, if not better than, Bury and Woodbridge, which is deemed to be more fashionable.

“With the regeneration of the Waterfront, it won’t be too long before we’re seen as a destination like them.”

Lois Mickleburgh, owner of wool shop Jenny Wrens Yarns, said: “Saints is the place to be in Ipswich. We are like a mini town within a town. There is a nice community feel here.

“You get really fantastic customer service and hopefully we can compete with other local destinations now.”

Lynn Turner, owner of Cake and Catwalk, added: “I think people feel bad about not shopping in Ipswich but I think they want to – they want to have something different.

“It’s hard keeping up with Bury, Woodbridge and Norwich but I think we have started it.”

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, added: “Ipswich is blessed with some great independent shops and restaurants.

“Many of these can be found in The Saints area of the town and we’re proud that it has been recognised as one of Britain’s best high streets.

“Ipswich is changing. This is just the beginning.”