There are things that are way cheaper to buy in the UK than anywhere else.
In 2016, luxury brands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton were found to be cheapest in Britain, as the country’s bid to leave the European Union plunged the British pound’s value against the euro.
From British tea, chocolates, bath and beauty items, to clothes and linens, you can find the best deals in several stores that dot London’s vibrant commercial districts.
And whether you’re a tourist or a resident, there’s nothing more annoying than having to put up with leg cramps or pain after hours of walking along the High Streets of London. It may not be the cheapest item you could buy in the area, but it’s worth the investment.
If you happen to be visiting London and you are in need of an ice pack, this is your lucky day. We’ll run through the basics about high streets and spill the tea on where you could buy ice packs near you.
High streets: The name
The Old English language uses “high” to mean elevated in rank or of excellent quality. Years later, it was applied to main roads, evident in the use of the term highway, around the ninth century. These “highways” were located in between two towns or cities, and as an essential communications link, they were under the monarch’s special protection.
Years later, it evolved to mean a substantial thoroughfare, and thus, the main commercial and retail streets in the UK are now called the “high street”.
High streets: The myth
Tourists may be confused with the term “high street” and that’s completely understandable. The high street in a specific town does not necessarily mean it is located in the town’s highest portion. In addition, there are high streets which may not carry the said phrase on its name, and places named “High Street” which are, in fact, not recognized as such.
High streets: The legend
To add to the confusion, there are 5,410 high streets in the UK, according to a 2009 statistical compilation. In Britain, there are a total of 5,300 high streets, more than half of which are called as such and some 2,300 with variations of the same name, such as Upper High Street, High Street West, and so on. More than 600 of these are situated in London.
What’s usually found on a high street?
A district or neighborhood will likely have its own high street that consists of, at the very least, a pub, a small convenience store, a clothing store, a mailbox and a public payphone.
In bigger towns, there would be a hardware store, a coffee shop, bakery, gift shops, banks, other service providers and, of course, a pharmacy (or chemists’ shop) theperfect place if you’re searching for ice packs, which will be discussed later on.
For now, let’s continue with high streets.
The most famous high streets
Since 2008, several retailers have decided to shut down as costs of keeping a physical store proved to be too high. Most stores located on high streets started to suffer when shoppers began to shop exclusively in out-of-town malls. The problem continued when online shopping broke out.
Various efforts have been initiated to reinvigorate London’s high streets and, in general, it still has a fixture of worthwhile shops. Below are few of the more famous shopping areas in London’s high streets3:
- Oxford Street – As Europe’s busiest street, it accommodates about 500,000 daily visitors. As of 2012, there were 300 popular shops and department stores lined up in the area.
- Bond Street – Designer boutiques such as Armani, Versace, and Chanel are present on this street. This area links to Piccadilly and Oxford Streets in the south and north, respectively.
- Brick Lane – Located in the East End of London, it is the heart of the Bangladeshi settlement. Diverse stores are located here, including vintage stores that are open all week and curry restaurants.
- Covent Garden – The world famous Royal Opera House is located here. Clothes, accessories and souvenir shops also make this one of the liveliest streets in London.
- Knightsbridge – This is the residential and retail district in the heart of London. With its exorbitant property rates, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the world’s richest people can afford to reside in the area. As a major shopping destination, department stores like Harrods and Harvey Nichols dot the streets of this retail district in central London.
- Marylebone Street – Voted as the best street in London in 2002 by listeners of BBC Radio, this street is somewhat secluded. Also called the “hidden wonder of the West End”, Marylebone Street is touted as a refuge in the middle of the chaotic city.
- Regent Street – A major shopping street in the West End of London, it houses famous clothing shops and the Apple Store. The largest and oldest toy shop in the world, Hamleys, and the University of Westminster, are located here.
Are ice packs available in a high street near you?
Because there are retail shops and pharmacies on the high streets, ice packs are available here. You can find some of the stores that offer the said products, below.
Lloyds Pharmacy is one of the leading pharmacies in the UK and offers a range of products, including ice packs.
1. Lloyds Pharmacy (Selfridges Concession)
400 Oxford St, Marylebone, London W1A 1AB, United Kingdom
9:30AM-9:00PM (Mon-sat); 12:00PM-6:00PM (Sun)
2. Lloyds Pharmacy
209 High St, Lye, Stourbridge DY9 8JX, United Kingdom
Store hours: 8:30AM-6:30PM (Mon & Fri); 8:30AM-7:00PM (Tue-Thur); 9:00 AM-5:30 PM (Sat)
3. Lloyds Pharmacy
Moss Grove Surgery, 15 Moss Grove, Kingswinford DY6 9HS, United Kingdom
Store hours: 8:15AM-6:30PM (Mon-Fri); 9:00am-1:00pm (Sat)
John Bell & Croyden
Founded in 1798, John Bell & Croyden has been a fixture on Marylebone Street since 1912. It holds a Royal Warrant of Appointment, indicating it supplies to the royal family.
Don’t let the store’s fancy looks fool you, because this posh pharmacy does offer ice packs, according to their website.
4. John Bell & Croyden
50-54 Wigmore St, Marylebone, London W1U 2AU, United Kingdom
9:30am-6pm (9:30am-6pm); 12-6pm (Sat)
In 2019, one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK, Sainsbury’s, closed several of its subsidiary stores. The decision to close 70 Argos stores and relocate them inside its supermarkets could save the retail giant up to £500 million over the next five years.
This doesn’t mean the end of Argos, however, because the reorganization includes the opening of 10 new supermarkets and more than 100 new convenience stores. Sainsbury’s supermarkets have planned to house 80 new Argos stores, along with more than 10 small stores to house an Argos or a pharmacy.
Known as a high street catalogue retailer, Argos hosts a wide range of brands and products – ice packs included.
Brierley Hill Amblecote in Sainsburys Sandringham Way, Brierley Hill DY5 3JR, United Kingdom
Store hours: 8:00AM-10:00PM (Mon-Tue); 8:00 AM-9:00PM (Wed-Sat); 10:00AM-4:00PM (Sun)
Rowley Regis Blackheath in Sainsburys
Store hours: 8:00AM-10:00PM (Mon-Sat); 10:00AM-4:00PM (Saturday)
Heath Mill Rd, Wombourne, Wolverhampton WV5 8AP, United Kingdom Store Hours: 8:00AM-10:00PM (Mon-Thur); 8:00AM-8:00PM (Fri-Sat); 10am-4pm (Sun)
Pharmacy and health and beauty retailer Boots is one of the leading companies in the UK and Ireland, with over 58,000 employees. This number does not include the staff in its international branches in the Netherlands, Italy, Norway and Thailand.
Formerly known as Boots the Chemist, it was founded in 1849 as a family-run herbal medicine shop in Nottingham. Decades later, it has successfully expanded its foothold in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, beauty and photography industries. And yes, the humble ice packs can be purchased in their stores.
Brierley Hill DY5 1QT, United Kingdom
Store Hours: 9:00AM-9:00PM (Mon- Fri); 9:00AM-7:00PM (Sat); 11:00AM-5:00PM (Sun)
5 Ryemarket, Stourbridge DY8 1HJ, United Kingdom
Store Hours: 9:00AM-5:30PM (Mon-Sat); 10:00AM-4:00PM (Sun)
107, 115 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9NT, United Kingdom
You’d be surprised to find reusable ice packs in Halfords, a known retailer of car parts, car tools, camping and touring equipment. With over 400 stores in the UK, Halfords created its own brand of ice packs best used for your next outdoor adventure.
Merry Hill Unit 4, The Merry Hill Centre, Pedmore Rd, Brierley Hill DY5 1SY, United Kingdom
Store Hours: 9:00AM-6:00PM (Mon-Sat); 10:00AM-5:00PM (Sun)
Oldbury Birchfield Ln, Warley, Oldbury B69 1DT, United Kingdom
Store Hours: 9:00AM-8:00PM (Mon-Fri); 9:00AM-6:00PM (Sat); 10:00AM-5:00PM (Sun)
Other high street pharmacies that offer ice packs are:
13. Fairdale Pharmacy
360 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 0AH, United Kingdom
Store hours: 9:00AM-6:00PM (Mon-Fri); 9:00AM-5:30PM (Sat)
14. Holborn Pharmacy
88 Southampton Row, Holborn, London WC1B 4BB, United Kingdom
Store Hours: 8:30AM-4PM (Mon-Tue, Thur-Fri); 8:00AM-4:00PM (Wed)
15. Rex London
3-4 Allied Way, Acton, London W3 0RL, United Kingdom
Store Hours: 8:00AM- 3:00PM (Mon- Fri)
16. Clock Work/Victoria Park Pharmacy
215-217 Victoria Park Rd, Hackney, London, E9 7HD
Store Hours: 9:00AM-7:00 PM (Mon-Wed, Fri); 9:00AM-1:00PM (Thur); 9:00AM-6:00PM (Sat)
Now that we’ve identified some of the high street stores that offer ice packs, the next useful tip is to determine which ice pack is suitable for your needs.
Cold packs are made for two main purposes: for pain and injury relief and for keeping your food and drinks chilly for longer. Read on below to find out which one suits you best.
Types of cold and ice packs
1. Instant ice packs (disposable ice packs)
To activate these single-use instant ice packs, you must squeeze or crack the packs to spur a chemical reaction. They keep cold for a short period of time and work best for emergencies on the field. As such, your first aid kit could use a piece or two of these instant ice packs. The downside is that these kinds are filled with toxic chemicals such as ammonium nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate, or urea.
2. Reusable cold/ice packs
These types are usually filled with gel and can be kept in the freezer until you need them.They are reusable and are widely available in pharmacies, general merchandise stores and some grocery stores. Online shopping platforms also offer various forms of reusable cold packs.
It is possible to make homemade ice packs with some items you have at home like a plastic bag or ziplock, ice, towel, sponge, rice or liquid dishwasher detergent. If you’re too tired to put an ice pack together, just revert to your handy bag of frozen peas or other vegetables.
3. Ice pack for coolers
Ice packs meant especially for your food and beverages are usually made from hard plastic and non toxic components. Apart from chilling your meals, it also helps to keep your food from spoiling. For a weekend out in the great outdoors, whether camping or hiking, ice packs are a great way to keep your foods fresh and chilled.
Ice packs are not elusive. There are plenty of stores that sell them, wherever you may be in the world. However, if the physical stores near you run out of stocks, you can always purchase online.
If you want to know more about gel packs, contact us anytime.