Thursday, 16 October 2014

Shopping is GREAT Britain event at El Corte Inglés (& other UK home comforts)

Britain is GREAT: A celebration of British culture & shopping at El Corte Inglés

From the retail giants of the Inditex group to the barrio stores, Spain is definitely not a country short of shopping opportunities. However, as an expat, there's nothing like a bit of retail therapy from your own country. 

When you move abroad after your first flush of youth (ahem), your tastes are largely set. So if you're a Twinings rather than a Tetley girl or guy, you may struggle to get your fix. And it's not just that good old British stereotype of tea – away from the costas, all manner of British goods can be hard to track down (and often come with a premium price tag).

That's all set to change temporarily, thanks to the Shopping is GREAT Britain festival at El Corte Inglés which starts on 17 October and runs for 3 weeks. With the aim of promoting British food, fashion and culture, there will be a bigger focus on British brands than usual, with more than 600 products from the British Isles on offer in 35 selected stores. The clothing brands to be featured are largely high-end (not sure how many average expats can stretch to Vivienne Westwood or Victoria Beckham Denim), but the food focus looks more accessible, with free tastings available in the pop-up areas in store.

The flagship branches of El Corte Inglés participating in Shopping is Great Britain are the Castellana store in Madrid and the Diagonal branch in Barcelona, plus Bilbao, Marbella and Valencia stores.

In addition to showcasing and selling British goods, the festival also offers a chance to meet British authors, with in-store storytelling sessions for kids and a book signing by Chris Stewart (author of Driving over Lemons) in the Marbella store on 18 October. Shopping is GREAT Britain also links to international festivals taking place around the country, including a British BAFTA Shorts event at the Conde Duque Cultural Centre in Madrid on 20 October, education fairs in Barcelona and Madrid, and the Bizkaia International Music Experience in Bilbao, which features several British bands. 

UK stores that ship to Spain

If your British retail cravings can't be satisfied in a mere 3 weeks, why not check out the online offers at some of these UK stores?


No offence, Body Bell, Juteco and Marionnaud, but you're never going to match up to the mighty Boots. This one-stop shop for cosmetics, toiletries, medicines and baby products has no equal in Spain. But miss your make-up no more: if you order from the Boots International website, delivery to Spain is £10 no matter how large your order. Aren't you glad you didn't chuck out that Advantage Card?

Marks and Spencer
If you live in mainland Spain or the Balearic Islands, British stalwart M&S will deliver to you free when you spend over €30 or for £4.95 if you spend less. This applies to clothes and homewares (sadly no delicious ready meals for us). There's a dedicated website for Spanish customers so you can pay in euros and forget currency exchange worries. If you live near Marbella, you can shop in store – there's a branch in Parque Comercial La Cañada. There are also rumours of stores being built in Barcelona and Madrid. 

Currently limited to clothing, you can order from Tesco for £6.95 delivery.

You can find more shops that ship to Spain for a decent rate at Money Saver Spain

What UK item do you miss the most? What do you wish you could pick up easily in Spanish stores?


  1. Thanks for this - I didn't know about it. :)

    I definitely miss Boots, although I already knew that they deliver to Spain. Another shop I love is Next who, as good luck would have it, started delivering to Spain last year. See:

    1. Will have to check it out and see what they've got in the food front! That's great - more shops should start delivering here, they would do well with all the expats.

  2. Funny that the event is on the exact time that I am in Blighty! Great tips on store delivery, thanks Kate!

  3. I went down to the event at the Castellana store in Madrid yesterday and I couldn't actually find it! Shameful for the supposed flagship store. There was red, white & blue carpet & flags on the Ted Baker section, but couldn't find the pop-up area at all. Has anyone else been to any of the stores?


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