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The Best Shipping Container Food and Retail Parks in the UK

Shipping Container food and retail parks are the latest urban trend to sweep the UK.  Every few weeks we find news of a new container outlet opening in a disused city location, and we absolutely love them.  Judging by the reviews we are hearing, the UK people love them too, and because we are a helpful bunch we have put together a list of our current favourites.

What is a Shipping Container Outlet?

Take a neglected piece of land that is usually in a city location, add some shipping containers, and turn it into a shopping and entertainment mecca!  Using shipping containers to house small businesses, venue organisers are able to offer premises with lower rents, in a location that will be designed to attract a crowd.  These shipping container communities offer more flexible leases and are a fantastic option for new or independent business owners who are not ready to take on the commitment of a fixed unit in a high street location.

Shipping Container outlets are a great stepping stone for business owners who can’t afford a shop or office lease or wants to test out their new business venture without many of the high start-up costs that stand in their way.

Shipping Container Parks are ideal for pop-up food businesses, street bars, indie shops, art galleries, nail salons, barbers, and hairdressers, and even offices or co-working spaces.

Shipping Container Parks in the UK

BOXPARK (various locations in London)

BOXPARK Shoreditch

With three locations in Shoreditch, Croydon and Wembley Boxpark is leading the way for container parks in the UK.  BOXPARK Shoreditch launched the UK’s first pop-up shopping mall back in 2011 and since then it has gone from strength to strength opening two new locations around London.

BOXPARK venues are a blend of urban cool independent businesses that attract regular crowds (currently in a socially distanced way) to enjoy delicious street food while they shop for unique items, and enjoy some awesome entertainment.

Each BOXPARK has a slightly different vibe and offer.  We are drawn to Shoreditch as the original pioneer, but we can’t wait to enjoy a night out at Wembley or a food tour around Croydon.

Check out their website to plan a visit here.

CARGO Bristol

Located at the rather trendy Wapping Wharf, CARGO is a unique retail yard made from shipping containers.  CARGO boasts two shipping container parks with independent businesses taking the spotlight. Shops, restaurants, and bars in glass-fronted shipping containers span over two levels looking out over the Bristol waterfront.  It’s a fantastic nod to Bristol’s shipping roots and a great way to breathe new life into a once-neglected part of the city centre.

Find out more on their website here.

STACK North East

STACK started out with STACK Newcastle in 2018, followed by STACK Seaburn in 2020.  STACK Newcastle is a shipping container retail park made from more than 50 shipping containers.  Resident businesses include independent shops, burger bars, sushi bars, cocktail bars, and even yoga therapy.  There are regular events held onsite including live music and comedy gigs (please note that these events are currently on hold due to COVID19 restrictions)

STACK Seaburn was originally due to open in August 2020 but this was delayed slightly due to the coronavirus lockdown.  STACK Seaburn is a social and community hub located on the coastline created using repurposed shipping containers that are now occupied by independent street food and lifestyle businesses.

Learn more about STACK Newcastle here – and STACK Seaburn here.

Hatch Manchester

HATCH Manchester

Hatch Manchester is a retail, eating, and drinking outlet which is home to more than 30 independent businesses trading from shipping containers.  With a big focus on sustainability and supporting independent business owners, Hatch hosts theme nights and shopping events such as their festive shopping evening in 2019 which carried the title of Manchester’s first completely sustainable Christmas market!  Their social media hashtag #FORTHECURIOUS says it all, and we are!  We can’t wait to pay this one a visit too.

Find out more about Hatch on their website here.

SPARK York

With a vision to transform the central area of Picadilly in York into a community destination that champions collaboration and independent businesses, SPARK York is a cool shipping container destination with big plans.  SPARK York hosts a range of popular events including parent groups, open-air cinema nights, and art installations to attract and involve the local community.  Onsite businesses include trendy tap houses, street food sellers, and one of a kind retailers, and all of them are very at home in their upcycled shipping containers.  This venue was the vision of two young local entrepreneurs Sam Leach and Tom McKenzie who’s aim was to transform their pocket of York into the new York – and it looks like they might have achieved it!  We really need to go ourselves to find out!

More information about SPARK York is on their website here.

Become a container park trailblazer

Shipping Container Cheese Toastie Bar

There’s no doubt about it, Shipping Container retail parks are a cost-effective and more sustainable way to regenerate neglected areas of land while also supporting independent UK businesses.  Not only do they breathe new life into land that would have otherwise be left to stand empty, but they also promote upcycling of shipping containers that are no longer in use.

Their open-air style of location is also a huge bonus in an era where the outdoors has become so important to our retail, events, and hospitality industries.

If you are a budding container park entrepreneur looking to buy new or used shipping containers for conversion, or if you are a budding business that is searching for a container to upcycling into a new premises, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Budgetshippingcontainers.co.uk offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale, which also includes our ranges of flat pack sheds, container canopies and more. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 7pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).

Images: BOXPARK Shoreditch and HATCH Manchester

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