I'm not sure if this response will help you as I don't really know your geography that well but it turns out that for planted tank enthusiasts the critical equipment and plants can be found via e-trade. For equipment such as filters and sundries Aquatics online do a fairly good trade and have excellent prices: http://www.aquatics-online.co.uk/catalo ... oducts.asp
Specialist equipment such as glassware, CO2 equipment, dry fertilizer as well as quality commercial fertilizers are found at AquaEssentials: http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/
There's nothing like walking into a shop and choosing plants directly but we are still a bit behind. A popular choice for plants is Greenline: http://www.aquaticplants.eu.com/
Unusual items can be found via some of the ebay vendors. have a look at this fellow who sells Asian knockoffs for fairly low prices making it a bargain even after shipping is factored in (I bought a regulator kit from him): http://stores.ebay.com/AquaticMagic/Home.html
You ought to be able to get started on plant essentials from these reputable vendors until someone finds local venues for you.
From Yorkshire myself, so I feel your pain. It is nigh on impossible to find a LFS that has anymore than the usual half dead stems in or any selection of dry stock for the planted tank. Or any knowledge of planted aquaria beyond the usual you need to remove nitrate, phosphate etc. Even had one LFS in Leeds refuse to sell me fish once they discovered I was adding POISON to the tank (KNO3).
For my dry goods I usually buy online, Aqua Essentials, Ebay etc.
However there is one little gem hidden away in Knaresborough, nr Harrogate called Harrogate Aquatics (formerly Tropica). They are primarily a Dennerle specialist but do stock quality Tropica plants (And will order in for you delivery every 2 weeks from tropica) and also have a nice selection of loose stems etc.
They also have a nice selection of fish, with some nice rarities from time to time, especially killis. So far the best LFS i have found in Yorkshie.
Hi Milla, yep, I know Harrogate aquatics, was there a while ago.
I usually get my plants from greenline mail order.
I'm looking for a fire extinguisher and maybe some ferts - well I say maybe but I suppose if I want decent growth then I don't mean that.