WE want everything but the candlestick maker. Britons have a very firm idea of what makes a 'perfect high street". And it starts with a butcher and a baker.

In a land of strip malls, edge-of-town supermarkets and soulless retail parks, shoppers still dream of traditional mom and pop stores.

A survey 2,000 adults has found a real community shopping street should have baker, a butcher, a barber, post office, and hardware store.

And even in an era of downloads, those surveyed said they would want a record shop.

So we all know want makes the perfect high street. But where can we find them?

Well, forty are now vying to be officially named the best in Britain - based on their shopping experience and community initiatives.

In Scotland, Turriff and Alness High Street are in the running alongside Prestwick Main Street, while Wales has Narbeth, Treorchy and Swansea High Streets under consideration.

English high streets shortlisted in the Champion High Street Category are Hitchin Town Centre, Freeman Street in Grimsby and Belper in Derbyshire.

For Northern Irish shoppers, Newtownards High Street, Enniskillen Town Centre and Bow Street, Lisburn, are up for the prize.

The eventual winner will be required to demonstrate their commitment to their local community, great customer experience, an environmental mindset and innovative approach to retail.

Judges will also visit each destination on the shortlist, to get a feel for its personality and general ambience.

The winning street will be awarded the coveted Great British High Street 2019 trophy, and a £15,000 cash prize to put towards a local high street initiative.

The announcement follows research commissioned by Visa, in partnership with the Great British High Street demonstrating the positive impact the local high street has on communities.

Seven in 10 consumers say shopping locally makes them feel happier, compared to shopping online or at a shopping centre - the main reason being that they know where their money is going.

Half of consumers also feel their high street gives them a sense of pride in their local community.

Spending time with friends and family (22 per cent) and offering a sense of community (21 per cent) were other reasons cited for why high streets make people happier.

After a rigorous selection process, 12 high streets from the South East of England to the Scottish Highlands have been shortlisted in the Champion High Street category, which recognises the nation’s best high streets.

Additionally, 28 high streets have been shortlisted in the Rising Star category, identifying those which are taking the lead to adapt and diversify.

Sundeep Kaur, head of UK & Ireland merchant services at Visa, said: “We’ve seen some fantastic entries for this year’s Great British High Street Awards across both the Champion High Street and Rising Star categories.

“In particular, the desire to innovate stands out among this year’s entries, with high streets adapting to the challenges presented by a rapidly changing retail environment to find ways to thrive at a local level.

“As our research shows, high streets play a vital role at the heart of communities, so this is a great opportunity for those communities with shortlisted high streets to show their support by placing their votes on the Great British High Street website.”

Last year’s winner was Crickhowell High Street in Wales, located in a bustling rural town nestled in the Usk Valley on the edge of the Brecon Beacons

It was commended for its community-led initiatives and strong network of independent businesses.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “Congratulations to the shortlisted nominees for this year’s Great British High Street Awards – the quality of the entries this year has been fantastic.

“High streets make people happier, and people want to see their hard-earned cash supporting the local economy.

“That is why we are celebrating those that go above and beyond to keep their high streets thriving for generations to come.

“Inspiring high streets like these will play a key role in the Government’s vision to boost local growth and level up our regions.”

Out-of-town malls and online shopping have decimated community high streets. But this week Doug Gurr, UK boss of Amazon, the world's biggest internet vendor, insisted physical retail – which is 82 per cent of UK shopping by value – was working 'hand-in-hand' with e-commerce working to drive growth.

Shortlisted high streets – Champion High Street category


1. Hitchin Town Centre, Hitchin

2. Freeman Street, Grimsby

3. Belper Town, Belper


4. Turriff High Street, Turriff

5. Prestwick Main Street, Prestwick

6. Alness High Street, Ross-Shire


7. Narberth High Street, Narberth

8. Swansea High Street, Swansea

9. Treorchy High Street, Treorchy

Northern Ireland

10. Newtownards High Street, Newtownards

11. Enniskillen Town Centre, Enniskillen

12. Bow Street, Lisburn

Shortlisted high streets – Rising Star category


1. Wellington, Telford

2. Daventry Town Centre, Northamptonshire

3.Northwich Town Centre, Cheshire

4. Willesden Green, London Borough of Brent

5. Sir Isaacs Walk & Eld Lane, Colchester

6. Rochdale Town Centre, Rochdale

7. Dalton Road, Barrow in Furness

8. Yarm High Street, Stockton-on-Tees

9. Tankerton High Street, Whitstable

10. Market Street, Ashby de la Zouch


11. Aberfoyle Main Street, Aberfoyle

12. Kempock Street, Gourock

13. Falkirk High Street, Falkirk

14. Lanark High Street, Lanark

15. Cowdenbeath High Street, Cowdenbeath

16. King Street, Castle Douglas

17. The Square, Kelso


18. Palace Street, Caernarfon

19. Carmarthen Town, Carmarthen

20. Llanelli, Llanelli

21. Mold High Street, Flintshire

22. Triangle House, Welshpool

23. Pembroke High Street, Pembroke

24. Caldicot Town Centre, Monmouthshire

Northern Ireland

25. Armagh City Centre, Armagh

26. Newry High Street, Newry

27. Broughshane Street, Ballymena

28. Carrickfergus High Street, Carrickfergus