Market Harborough: a backwater or a shopping destination?

Quite a few people who pop into Respectacle are often surprised about the range of diverse eyewear we stock within the store. They are surprised because they are under the illusion that you can only purchase interesting and quirky frames from stores in London and other big cities.

Jacks for Women

Since opening our doors in 2016, we have become well-known for unusual and unique eyewear. We have customers who come to us from many different areas. They travel far and wide, including Nottingham, Birmingham, and Cambridgeshire. Once we launched our online store, we received enquiries from around the world. We have even sent a frame to Australia!

Some customers travel specifically to view our eyewear because they follow a particular brand we stock. But others pop in when visiting Market Harborough for a day out. And why not. Market Harborough has a fabulous array of interesting independent stores and eateries.

Without sounding biased, Market Harborough is a lovely place to work. It has a pleasant high

The Grammar School and Church


street and even more interesting side streets and courtyards, all to be found as you wander around. It’s a town which also boasts a deep and fascinating past.

First founded by the Saxons, Market Harborough has grown from a small market sett



lement which held sheep markets on the square into a diverse and thriving high street. The high street is so popular it was named one of the top three high streets in the Great British High Street Awards in 2016. It lost out to Bridgnorth in the Large Market Town category. Hinckley in Leicestershire was named joint runner-up.


Market Harborough has many buildings of historical significance, like the Settling Rooms in Sainsbury’s car park. Once the settling room for the cattle market, it is now home to a delightful café/bar. St Dionysius Church, with the 17th-century Grammar School on stilts situated next to it, is a centre point of the town. The current council office building was originally a corset factory. Catherwood House on the square once belonged to local chemist William Bragg, whose descendants won Nobel prizes for work on x-rays.

Randalls Confectionery


There was a time when crisp company Golden Wonder had their head office in Edinburgh House on the High Street, and Thomas Cook lived and worked in Market Harborough, where he started his famous travel company. Cook’s first excursion was to take a group of anti-alcohol protesters from Market Harborough to a rally in Loughborough. Market Harborough is also the birthplace of the clothing company Joules, with the first Joules shop situated on the High Street.

There are many noteworthy places in and around Market Harborough, including The Three Swans coaching inn, Foxton Locks, and Bosworth Battlefield. The market town is also home to many fabulous independent shops, boutiques, and eateries. For womenswear, there’s Limehouse, Doyles Fashion and No.34 on the High Street, Jacks for Women on Church Street and Bebooted on Church Square. For homeware, Bagel and Griff, Snug, Gilberts, The Kitchen Range Cookshop and Barker Fleming. Jewellery stores include Silverpot, Ada Gallery and Wilkinson Goldsmiths, although there are more throughout the town.

Kitchen Range Cookshop

As for local independent eateries, we are lucky to have an abundance of different establishments. Blend on Manor Walk, Two Old Goats on Church Square, Milos Café just off the High Street, Aldwinckles, and The Garage Bakehouse are a few of our favourites. We have the EcoVillage on St Mary’s Road, selling an abundance of eco friendly wares. And Randalls -who specialise in American candy and other unique treats from across the globe – in Sulleys Yard off Adam and Eve Street.

Two Old Goats Cafe

We are spoilt for choice here in Market Harborough. You don’t need to visit Leicester, London, or any other big city to get a bigger and better shopping experience. You can do all your shopping here in Market Harborough. Our lovely little town has it all.

So, the next time you are in Market Harborough, please pop by our shop on Manor Walk. We would love to see you. And if you need recommendations for places to eat, drink and shop, we will happily oblige!

Further reading:

Respectacle Celebrates Four Fabulous Years in Market Harborough

Spotlight on Market Harborough’s Independent Retail Scene