A Popupspace city guide to… Bristol

As the shopping capital of the South West, Bristol is among our clients’ top target pop up locations. A vibrant city with a laid-back feel, Bristol is a hotbed of culture and creativity as well as a buzzing incubator for start-up businesses. Bristol has been voted the best place to live in Britain and is also one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations.

Cabot Circus

Bristol is the South-West’s largest city with nearly half a million residents. The population is diverse – in 2018, 16% of people living in the City were from a black or ethnic minority background. Home to two major universities, Bristol has a large student population and a young population generally (with children under 16 outnumbering retirees, and a young median resident age compared with the rest of the UK). Bristol has a strong tradition of activism and independent spirt, and a thriving eco-culture – the City won the EU’s European Green Capital Award in 2015.

The Harbourside Market

The City offers is home to variety of interesting retail locations – from the Regency splendour of Clifton Village with its upmarket boutiques, to the vintage and independent heaven of Stokes Croft and Gloucester Road. Popular markets include Harbourside Market and St Nicholas Market. The Mall at Cribbs Causeway boasts over 500 brands under one roof, while Cabot Circus offers the mall experience in the heart of Bristol Shopping Quarter. Shoppers and tourists also love the maze of small streets around Bristol’s Old City.

Bristol’s Old City

Bristol has a flourishing art scene and has been Awarded UNESCO City of Film status. Residents and visitors enjoy the UK’s only regional Royal Academy of Art, as well as the City’s Arnolfini gallery and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Banksy’s original artworks can be seen all over Bristol, with Stokes Croft and Southville also home to urban art.


It’s easy to see how pop up retailers thrive in this creative and inspiring environment. Want to join them? Contact us today if you would like a pop up space in Bristol.

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A Popupspace city guide to… Glasgow

Scotland’s biggest city is also the third largest in the UK, making it a prime target destination location for many of our pop up retailer clients. Glasgow is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with a fascinating industrial history as Britian’s main seaport.

The greater Glasgow area is home to well over a million people, with by far the most ethnically diverse population in Scotland. Over 600,000 people live in Glasgow City, with the population dominated by the 25-44 age group. Millions of tourists visiting each year swell day visitor and shopper footfall significantly.

Glasgow is Scotland’s biggest retail centre, ranking second only to London’s West End in terms of shopper expenditure. The ‘Style Mile’ (the square mile in the heart of the City centre) is the principal retail area and a shopper’s paradise, catering for all tastes and budgets. Buchanan Street, Sauchiehall Street, Argyle Street, Ingram Street and Royal Exchange Square are home to many independent designers as well as flagship stores for British and international retailers. City centre malls include Buchanan Galleries, St Enoch Centre and Princes Square.

Princes Square

Buchanan Street

The City also has a vibrant dining scene and is a melting pop of culture and creativity, and famed for its nightlife and music scene. Glasgow houses some of Britain’s best museums and galleries. Local pioneer Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s work and inspiration can be seen all over the City.

Glasgow cannot be discussed without reference to sport. The first ever international football match was held here. There are three professional football clubs in the City. Both rugby union and rugby league are played professionally and Glasgow is also home to Scotland’s professional basketball team, the Glasgow Rocks.

Contact us today if you’d like to find pop up space to rent in Glasgow.

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A Popupspace city guide to… Birmingham

Custard Factory

Britain’s second-largest city and located at the heart of the UK, Birmingham is known for its industrial heritage as well as its innovative modern architecture. With world-class shopping, dining and attractions aplenty, it’s no surprise that we are often asked to source pop up space in “the city of a thousand trades”.

New Street Station

Home to well over a million residents, Birmingham is even more ethnically and culturally diverse than London. The City has a young demographic in comparison to the national average (with under 25s accounting for nearly 40% of its population, including students across multiple universities). Birmingham is a popular tourist destination – one of the most visited cities in the UK. The day population is also swelled by commuters, with Birmingham being a major employment hub for the surrounding area.


Many of the top attractions and shopping hotspots in Birmingham are clustered within easy walking distance of the central transport hub, New Street Station. The historic Jewellery Quarter is full of architectural gems from Birmingham’s industrial past. To the west are the streets and squares of Brindleyplace. For a creative, arty vibe, head to Digbeth’s Custard Factory – home to arts, street food and live music galore.

The City is a foodie paradise, with several fine dining and Michelin-starred restaurants as well as eateries reflecting Birmingham’s diverse population by serving cuisines covering over 30 countries of the world.

The Bullring

Malls include the famous Bullring (which boasts shopper footfall of 39 million per year), as well as Mailbox and Grand Central Shopping centres. There’s a world of opportunity in Birmingham for pop up businesses to trade alongside international brands, high street retailers and the huge variety of creative and independent traders thriving in this City.

Contact us today to talk about renting pop up space in Birmingham.

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A Popupspace city guide to… Manchester

The Arndale Centre

Manchester is a city full of culture, sport and … shopping! Attracting over 1.3 million visitors every year and with a population of 2.5 million in the Greater Manchester area, you can see why pop up retailers want to have a presence in this fabulous city.

King Street

New Cathedral Street, King Street and Market Street are popular high street destinations in the City, and have some upmarket designer retailers and stores such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. The Northern Quarter is a haven for hipsters and is full of independent and quirky shops, trendy bars and restaurants with a buzzing atmosphere.



Spinningfields is a an area that has seen a huge amount of change in recent years and is now home to some of Manchester’s most popular restaurants, bars and shops as well as being one of the biggest commercial destinations in the city. The Arndale Shopping Centre, right in the middle of the city, has the second highest centre footfall in the UK at 42 million a year and there are plenty of spaces within the centre for pop up promotional events.

Northern Quarter

Alongside retail space to rent, there are many pop up venues to hire in Manchester, both large and small, as well as indoor and outdoor event space. Manchester is at the top of many of our clients’ destination wish lists, and Popupspace has worked with landlords and venues throughout the City.



Contact us today to talk about renting pop up space in Manchester.

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A Popupspace City Guide to…. Brighton

Located just an hour from London, seaside city Brighton is renowned for its tourist industry and trendy, alternative culture. We explore why Brighton is also a top destination for pop up retailers.

Brighton has a young, vibrant and diverse population, with two universities and a significant proportion of residents falling within the 16-44 age bracket. Culture, music and arts pervade the city with theatres, cinemas, galleries and festivals on the doorstep. The City has a large LGBT population and has been called “the unofficial gay capital of the UK”.

Brighton Beach Huts

At the 2011 census, the City’s official population was 273,400 and growing, with the profile of local residents relatively affluent. Brighton also attracts millions of visitors each year.

A highly qualified and creative population drives entrepreneurialism – Brighton has one of the highest business start-up rates in the UK (ranked eighth in the country by the Centre for Cities). The creative and tech sector is at the forefront of its growth, with a plethora of digital advertising and marketing agencies, design and gaming studios based in the City.

Shopping hubs include the North Laine and Lanes, North Street, East Street, Western Road and Churchill Square Shopping Centre, which has a footfall of 13 million per year. There are also hundreds of independent shops, bars and cafes as well as all the usual multiple and national retailers, it’s no wonder Brighton is a popular target destination for pop up shops.

Brighton also has plenty of event venues for hire, and promotional space on the Promenade, in Churchill Square Shopping Centre and Jubilee Place.

Contact us today if you’d like to rent a pop up space in Brighton.

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Welcome to 2019!

Happy New Year to you from all of us here at Popupsace Towers, we are looking forward to the year ahead and to working with great clients, brands, venues, agents and landlords!

Over the past year we sourced venues for clients all over the UK. Major shopping cities including London, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham all featured heavily in our location searches, but we also sourced property for clients further afield in places such as Winchester, Folkestone, Edinburgh, Bristol, Newcastle, Cardiff, Brighton and more.

We’ve worked with some big brands including Next, Sainsbury’s and Blu Nation and many smaller boutique retailers, creative agencies, charities and individuals wanting to branch out into the world of retail.

We’ve found locations for London Fashion Week, escape rooms, venues for press events, pop up bars and café’s, art galleries, promotional space for brands, space for immersive events, retail units for pop up shops – many short term lease requirements were covered.

We also widened our pop up insurance to cover cafés and bars, which we’ve had very positive feedback on, and we hope to continue to grow this very important piece of the pop up jigsaw.

So here’s to 2019 being a great year for one and all and we look forward to helping you achieve your pop up goals!

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Insurance for pop up shops and cafés – we can help!

Pop up shops are a great way to start or boost a business and over the last ten years have gone from being relatively uncommon to being part of everyday retail life, used by a wide range of industries.

When you decide to open a pop up and have found your ideal location, agreed terms on a short term lease and signed the contract, the next step is to fit out your property and stock it. Whatever kind of store you intend to open you will need a retail insurance policy that covers your stock and contents. A good insurance policy will protect you against damage to contents and stock, loss of profit, insuring your money, employer’s liability, public and products liability and legal protection cover.

Most insurance policies will not cover you for less than 12 months. That can prove to be very costly if you are only opening your pop up for a few days, weeks or months.

Damage to stock; having to close for a period of time for repairs; a customer slipping over in your shop; even a car crashing through your shop front! – anything that impacts on your business can be a costly experience and it’s essential to have the right cover in place to make sure your business is protected. Suitable insurance cover is also a requirement of most pop up leases.

At Popupspace we have exclusive access to specialist pop up insurance with the UK’s largest insurance company Aviva. Pop Up Insurance protects a wide range of customers, and has recently been extended to include cafes, coffee shops, tea rooms and takeaways* alongside a huge range of shop trades.

Pop up insurance is tailor-made to your individual needs and costs depend on location, duration and proposed use. To get a quick, no obligation quote just fill out the form on our website https://www.popupspace.com/pop-up-shop-insurance-quote

* Subject to a customer obligation document for cooking equipment which would apply to all pop up insurance policies.

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Pop up shops: The beginner’s guide

Wondering if you can really make that pop up shop idea work? We’ve got some top tips and resources that’ll get you started and well on your way to running your own pop up venture in no time. Take a look, and don’t forget to contact us if you need any help finding a venue – that’s what we’re here for!

Do your research. This should always be the first step. Market research will tell you how many people might be interested in your product, and what kind of people they are. This will inform everything – from branding to location. You should also research the history of pop-ups in your area. Have they been successful? What’s the general health of the retail scene in your target location? How can you offer a distinctive experience to offer something missing from neighbouring permanent shops? A great pop up shop might offer personalised customer service, exclusive products and special offers or something new for the location.

Think about why you’re doing it. Temporary retail spaces have all sorts of uses. Maybe you’re testing the popularity of a new product, selling something that’s time-sensitive, promoting your existing brand – or maybe you just want to try something new. There’s no wrong reason to do it – just make sure you know what it is, and everything you want to get out of your venture.

Set your goals. Once you know why you’re setting up a pop up shop, you need a goal, something that will indicate that you’ve been successful. Maybe you want to make money, sell a certain number of units, or gather data on your potential customer base. Maybe you just want to stay open for a few weeks, test the water and see if your business can work in a high street location.

Get a business plan together. A business plan is essential, even for a short-term venture. It covers everything from budgeting, staffing and financial projections to marketing and demographics. If you already run your own company, you probably know what this entails; if not, have a go at creating one, based around your pop up venture.

Find a venue. Alright, so we’re biased – but finding a suitable venue for your pop up shop or project can be hard work, and we recommend hiring somebody to help you if your budget allows. A property consultant like Popupspace can help you with everything from finding a property and negotiating hire, to drafting a short term lease and advising on planning and licensing issues. Think about everything you need from a venue before you start searching – size, location, capacity, internet connection, licensing, services available, customisation and branding options – and split them into must-haves and would-be-nice-to-haves. This will make it a lot easier for you or your consultant to target the right venues. When approaching landlords and property agents about a property you’ve spotted, consider their priorities. A short summary of your brand and business, and the proposed activity, will be of benefit but a potential landlord will also want a concrete proposal including your proposed hire dates and rent offer.

Get insured. Most landlords will insist that you have your own insurance cover for your pop up shop (check your draft lease if in doubt). Pop Up Insurance provides comprehensive cover on a short term basis for pop up shops and includes protection for Public Liability, Products Liability, Employer’s Liability, Trade Contents/Stock, Accidental Damage and Business Interruption.

Start marketing. Your market research and business plan should be enough to tell you how and where to market your pop up – whether it’s flyers and adverts in the local paper, or an Instagram hashtag and an online giveaway. Don’t forget to write up a press release about your pop-up and send it to newspapers and magazines – local papers in particular are often actively looking for things to write about, so you can easily get some press into the right hands quickly!

Open your shop! If you’ve planned it, advertised it and budgeted it, your shop should be a resounding success.

Further reading

Here are some great resources on launching your own pop-up shop – do lots of reading, and you’ll be ready for anything.

The Ultimate Guide to Pop-Up Shops – An incredibly comprehensive guide by Shopify, covering everything from concept to opening day.
Top tips on starting up a pop-up shop – A great interview by Guardian Small Business, with small business owners from around the UK.
Set up a pop-up shop – This small business owner’s guide is written by NI BUsiness Info, for those in Northern Ireland, but the practical tips offered apply to anybody, wherever you are.

Do you have any tips on launching your own pop-up shop? Let us know at @popupspaceuk!

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Shop fitting on a budget: Cheap ideas for your pop up shop

Opening a new retail store is an exciting process, but one that traditionally requires a big budget and a large commitment. The pop up shop concept allows almost anyone with an idea and a modest budget to open their own store and test an idea quickly.

001-Fashion-ShopSetting up a shop is not without its challenges, and our guide has been put together to help first timers set up a store and achieve a great result with minimal cost.

The ideas below should give you inspiration to get out there and create something in the physical world.

1. Create an achievable concept. Look at your brand and identify its unique selling points. Select the strongest aspects of your brand that can be easily re-created or applied to a physical space. Keep it simple. Simple concepts are easy to identify, easy to execute and easy for your customers to understand. A complex, high-end concept will be not only expensive, but time consuming to fit out. A concept that is simple and direct can be just as effective at getting your message across.

2. Your product. Can you make use of your packaging or any existing marketing materials you might already have? Repetition of your product, flyers, or posters can be effective at creating impact in your store. Some of the largest brands around use their empty boxes, bottles or containers to cheaply add visual interest and texture to their stores.

001-Wood-Pallets3. Recycled materials. The use of recycled materials can be very affordable or even free. Timber is a versatile building material and can be salvaged from a number of places. Try old pallets, shipping crates or scaffolding. Once you know what you are looking to create, you can be selective as to what you look for. Ebay and Gumtree can be a great source of a range of raw materials, from timber to tiles.

001-Piano4. Borrow from yourself. Do you have the perfect table or bookcase that can be used for a short time in your pop up shop? Have any of your family or friends any unused furniture or ornamental artwork that would suit perfectly? Don’t be afraid to ask: most people are flattered to hear you would like to borrow an item for use in your shop! Take care of any items you borrow and protect pieces from damage in the retail space.

5. Local artists. There are artists and creators everywhere. Is there anyone in your area doing great work that would look good in your shop? You can give an artist great exposure by showing their work, and at the same time enhance the experience for your customers. Make sure you credit the source of any artwork in your shop, and that it fits your concept.

6. Create relationships. You are now part of a retail community, a tight knit group of people who work alongside each other. Go out and meet your neighbours; tell them what you are doing. Explain your vision and create connections with other local people and businesses. Is there a printer that will print your flyers in exchange for a discount at your shop? Is there a local builder that can do some work for you? If you are trading services, make sure that the terms or your arrangement are clear and that there is a positive outcome for both parties. And remember to spread the word – when you do well, the local community does well.

Guest Blogger: Jared Maddern is an Industrial Designer working for RoomOne Design in London, a Retail Design company that designs and manufactures retail units and shop fitting solutions throughout the UK and Europe. To discuss retail design, strategy and shop fitting, contact Jared at jared@roomonedesign.co.uk.

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The UK’s strangest pop ups

Ever wondered whether there’s an audience for your pop-up? Don’t worry – if nudist cafes and knitted corner shops can draw a crowd, so can you. Here are some of the quirkiest pop ups we’ve ever heard of. See if you can find some inspiration!

Clothes are optional at The Bunyadi pop up restaurant

Clothes are optional at The Bunyadi pop up restaurant.

The Bunyadi…London recently got its very own “clothes-optional” restaurant. The Bunyadi opened in June on a first-come first-served basis – and the current number of applications is over 45,000 people. The restaurant itself is split into two sections: “clothed” and “pure” – although why anybody would go to a nudist restaurant to dine fully covered is beyond us (thankfully, phones are banned inside the premises). Perhaps most worryingly, the food is prepared on a wood-flame grill…

London's first water-only bar

London’s water-only bar, raising awareness for RNLI.

H2Only…Last year, Shoreditch saw the opening of H2Only, a pop-up bar serving tap water and nothing else. Reception was mixed, as you might expect, but the bar was for a good cause: the franchise was part of a scheme to raise awareness of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) by encouraging people to save money on expensive drinks, drink more tap water, and donate the savings.

All products on sale here were hand-stitched in felt.

All products on sale here were hand-stitched in felt.

The Cornershop… The Cornershop was the brainchild of artist and creator Lucy Sparrow, crowdfunded on Kickstarter and created over seven months. It was, in essence, a normal grocery store – but every single thing in it, from the cat food to the magazines, was hand-stitched in felt. When asked why she created the project, Sparrow said “’I’ve always made big things. I like coming up with huge projects where the result is bigger than me and it takes over my life. I’m very obsessive and I want that to come across in the work and get people thinking “Who would be crazy enough to do this?”

A pop up adventure, with domestic-themed rooms.

A pop up adventure, with domestic-themed rooms.

Keeping Up With the Joneses…A bizarrely silly, playful pop-up adventure awaited London’s excited event-goers recently; Keeping Up With the Joneses was spread across seven “domestic-themed” rooms, featuring surprises like detergent bottles filled with champagne in the bathroom, ongoing pillow fights in the bedroom, and an entire room dedicated to one giant dishwasher. It lasted just three days, during which time hundreds of visitors were guided through in groups and delivered to the garden bar to party the whole night through.

In a private pop up restaurant, hosts open their own homes to guests.

In a private pop up restaurant, hosts open their own homes to guests.

Private dining…Perhaps the strangest trend we’ve seen so far is the The private pop-up restaurant, in which people open up their own homes for an evening or two and turn their houses into restaurants. It’s much like a dinner party, but this way at least, the hosts can charge a handsome price. If you’re ever worried that you’re not offering your customers enough, remember that somewhere in South London is somebody who’s paid £30 to eat their dinner in somebody else’s living room!

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