The best of the south west for Christmas shopping
December 04, 2013
The West Country is the best place to find unique Christmas presents to please and surprise says Clare Hall editor of www.countrycalling.co.uk
When it comes to Christmas shopping there is nowhere better than the West Country. Instead of trudging dispiritedly through a department store or spending hours surfing the web, you can actually enjoy the experience wandering through markets and Bath is one of our favourite pitstops. Here you have chi-chi Milsom Place with True Grace for spectacular candles and room fragrances, Cath Kidson for tweenies and grannies and Fig and Pinker for covetable homeware (not to mention Seven Boot Lane, of course). We also love Susannah, an amazing vintage emporium and Scarlet Vintage for party frocks and the best jewellery. The Bath Christmas market is brilliant too, full of original artisan goodies - head here for the best Bollywood inspired tree decorations, wool slippers, beautiful jewellery, handmade chocolates fuelled by a glass or two of mulled wine.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Catherine Hill in Frome, a shopping mecca and the best place to source unique presents. This pretty cobbled street is bursting with cool, independent shops, you could walk up and down it and complete your entire list with presents to surprise all. We especially love Herbs on the Hill, an apothecary selling amazing aromatherapy soaps and bath oils; Deadly is the Female, for vixen dressing; Make and Mend (28 Catherine Hill, Frome, BA11 1BY) for unusual vintage finds and Bramble and Wild for the coolest blooms, Cowshed bath products and candles. Bridport next, for its plethora of second hand book shops and the Art & Vintage Quarter on the St Michael’s Trading Estate where you can usually find something to suit everyone and a huge amount to please yourself.
We’re heading to the pub next, The Talbot Inn in Mells to be precise for its Christmas Market on December 14. You'll find a fantastic line up of stalls including stunning lighting products from TMO Lighting, beautiful cowhide slippers and bags from Brown Cow Organics, upcycled furniture from Forage Somerset and Bramley’s natural bath and body products handmade in Somerset. Serious shopping with a warming pint of buttered cider? I think so.
For the impossible to please I love this very cool anti-pasti board from Dorset's Velvet & Dash, which cleverly reduces dinner parties and TV gatherings to simply ripping open a few packets of salami, cheese and olives.
Finally a word for The Faithful Elephant in Wiltshire which makes tutus to make the little girl in your life’s heart beat faster. Gorgeous colours and 35 metres of double layered chiffon for proper swishing. This one comes guaranteed to please.