I can’t believe my thoughts are turning towards Christmas but inevitably they must. Although we’re spoilt for choice in the South West for small town shopping destinations selling such an abundance of one-off, eclectic, gorgeous hand-crafted gifts I do rather like relaxed shopping under one roof.
These are my favourites:
Hawksfield on the A39 near the Cornwall Showground between Padstow and Wadebridge in Cornwall. You can start off your trip here (and end it, why not?) with a coffee at Strong Adolfos which does a particularly good vegetarian breakfast. The Goose Shed sells original vintage interior pieces, unique designed furniture and reclaimed decorative items. Jo & Co is an interior and lifestyle shop selling furniture, interior accessories, tableware and cookware. Wadebridge Flowers always seem to have unusual, stylish plants and flowers on offer, as well as pottery, candles, baskets and small pieces of furniture. For foodies there’s BinTwo at the Arc. Although it’s quite small it’s packed to the gunnels with enticing food from suppliers both local and further afield, including Italy, Sweden and Sardinia.
Darts Farm at Topsham in Devon, an award-winning farm shop well known to many both far and wide. At its heart is the farm shop with its on-site butcher, fishmonger, baker, deli, cider maker and restaurant but it has evolved in to a whole lot more than this too. Stylish interiors and decorative items can be sourced at Orange Tree and Fired Earth and the Aga shop will be hosting ‘An Aga Christmas’ on 7th, 12th and 19th December. And for the little ones at Christmas there’s a lovely selection of baby and children’s clothing as well as a toy section with high quality toys, games, soft toys and books.
The Shops at Dartington near Totnes, Devon, another shopping gem. There’s an extensive Food Shop selling mainly South West products, an inspiring Craft Centre which is a great, airy space for meandering, the well-equipped Kitchen Shop and a Fashion & Beauty store which always has some beautiful handmade jewellery. There’s a lot more besides as well as some foodie stops including the Venus Café, The Green Table and Bayards Kitchen.
And finally, and probably my favourite, Avon Mill at Loddiswell near Kingsbridge in the South Hams, Devon. This garden centre is tucked away and may be only small but it’s well worth hunting out. As well as the garden centre itself which sells some really interesting and unusual outdoor decorative items, MOSS Trading sells beautiful bouquets, candles and cashmere alongside natural products from Devon artisans and craftsmen. The Gallery showcases Devon arts and crafts complete with a jewellery workshop on site, all in a casual, light-filled space. And Threads Boutique is home to some great, quirky fashion. And of course, as you’d expect, there’s a café too with a deli, with a menu prepared in the kitchen from fresh, seasonal ingredients. From 14th to 29th October, as part of the South Hams Arts Forum’s Arts Trail there’ll be local arts and crafts on show in the greenhouse.
Happy shopping the relaxed way!