Shop local in The Lakes this Christmas. Home, gifts and more

Introduction

Introduction

If there’s one thing that the Lake District and Cumbria can really shout about - along with the beauty of its landscape - it’s the wealth of independent shops, producers and makers that you find in every corner of the county. And this Christmas is a perfect time to support them all, buying from gift shops, independent bookshops, furniture makers, galleries, artists, makers of skincare, and all those who create such wonderful things from wool. Take a look at the places and businesses below to find some great ideas for Christmas. Picture: Pure Lakes. 

Parma Violet, Kirkby Lonsdale

Parma Violet, Kirkby Lonsdale

If it’s gifts or stocking fillers you’re after this Christmas, Parma Violet will leave you spoilt for choice. Julie Evans’ shop has one of the most eclectic and occasionally eccentric range of gifts, cards, toys, clothing, homeware, crafts and pet products of any place in the county. Tintin merchandise is a big thing here but then so are cuddly toys, presents for pets, animal puppets, bags, scarves and much more. A free Tintin shopping bag is given away when customers spend £50 or more online.

www.parmaviolet.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

Castlegate House Gallery, Cockermouth

Castlegate House Gallery, Cockermouth

Make someone a gift of original art this Christmas by visiting Cumbria’s best known commercial art gallery. 20th century and contemporary British painting and ceramics are the major themes here, with household names such as Grayson Perry and David Hockney sitting beside exciting, young and emerging talent. Work by some of that talent - William Reinsch, Alex Hain, Louis Appleby and Alice Campbell - is in the Covid Contemporary exhibition at Castlegate, November 7-December 19. Abstract Cornish harbour by Percy Kelly.

www.castlegatehouse.co.uk

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Rheged, near Penrith

Rheged, near Penrith

Clothing, cards and stationery. Toys, textiles and artists materials. Gifts for the home and presents for the outdoors. Food, drink and kitchenware. Where else in Cumbria is there a choice like this, all under the same roof, with a centrepiece 100 seat café, and loads of free parking right outside? Rheged, one of the county’s largest visitor attractions, re-opened in December, so if you’ve been here before you’ll certainly notice some changes. Upstairs is the sixth annual Great Print Exhibition, itself showing hundreds of art works to buy and cherish.

www.rheged.com

Eden Valley and the East

Laura’s Loom

Laura’s Loom

Not so much a stocking filler as the lovely Howgill walking socks. Keep warm this winter with something soft, sumptuous and sustainable from Laura Rosenzweig’s own-designed range of scarves, socks, throws and comforting blankets, all inspired by the natural tapestry of Cumbria’s Howgill Fells. ‘Our goal is to create beautiful items in simple, classy designs that show off the wool at its very best,’ she says. The socks are sold online, at Farfield Mill near Sedbergh, the Cumbria Woolshed in Kendal and Tebay Services on the M6. 

www.laurasloom.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

Ollie Collie

Ollie Collie

Who can resist this cheeky little chap with his cute face and boundless energy? Inspired by their own Border Collie, Heather and Paul Thomas have created a range of fun homeware and clothing ‘for people who like to live life in full colour’. Check out the mugs and coasters, the hoodies and beanie hats, the T-shirts, key rings and fridge magnets of the various collections, one of which - the ‘Rainbow Collection’ - helps raise money for the charity Young Minds. The couple also run wonderful Westwood Books in Sedbergh. Pic: Joanne Withers.

www.olliecollie.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

Heaton Cooper Studio, Grasmere

Heaton Cooper Studio, Grasmere

Four generations of a renowned family of Lakeland artists - the Heaton Coopers - are represented at this studio, which makes it a great place to come for a choice of original paintings, fine art prints, sculpture, ceramics, greetings cards, art/nature/lifestyle/children’s books, gifts and artists’ materials. The studio has been here since 1937 when William Heaton Cooper (whose mother was a Norwegian woman called Mathilde) bought a piece of land just off the village green. There’s a delightful café here too - with a Scandi influence - called Mathilde’s.

www.heatoncooper.co.uk

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

The Wool Clip, Caldbeck

The Wool Clip, Caldbeck

There’s no better time to wear wool than in winter and no better place to find ‘all things wool’ than at this co-operative in the northern fells. For craft enthusiasts there are yarns, kits, patterns and equipment while for gift buyers there are accessories (gorgeous scarves, socks, bags and hats), clothing and homewares like rag rugs, cushions, felted pictures and tufted wool hangings. Plus cards, books and much more. All this in a restored 18th century corn mill called Priest’s Mill. The co-operative has 12 members.

www.woolclip.com

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Westwood Books, Sedbergh

Westwood Books, Sedbergh

Heather and Paul Thomas have brought massive enthusiasm and great ideas to the running of this, the largest book shop in England’s Book Town, since taking over in spring. Over 70,000 titles are stocked, mainly secondhand but with plenty of new and antiquarian books as well. Plus Ollie Collie gifts (see this page), games, toys, maps and stationery. Relax, have a coffee and decide whether to go for fiction, science fiction, Wordsworth classics, history, natural history, crime, travel, biography and much more. Pic: Joanne Withers.

www.westwoodbooks.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

MJ Cabinetmakers, Braithwaite, near Keswick

MJ Cabinetmakers, Braithwaite, near Keswick

‘Contemporary design is married with traditional methods of making’ at the workshop of MJ Cabinetmakers, near Keswick where Matt Jardine and his team create furniture - tables, chairs, cabinets, sideboards, mirrors, chests of drawers and dressers - that is ‘functional as well as beautiful’. At their showroom (normally open Mon-Fri) you can also find smaller items such as coasters, clocks, bowls, cabinets and wooden boxes, as well as a selection of furniture. All of them perfect for Christmas presents. Contact them for more information.

www.mjcabinetmakers.co.uk

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Tebay Services, Farmshop and Kitchen, Tebay

Tebay Services, Farmshop and Kitchen, Tebay

Snuggle up this winter with a sheepskin rug from Westmorland Ltd’s own family farm, and check out the sheepskin slippers, pouffes and hot water bottle covers. The farmshops, with their own butcher’s counters - Specialist Retailer or Supplier of the Year at the Cumbria Life Food and Drink Awards 2020 - are also a great place for food and drink. You can buy Westmorland’s own-brand skincare and candles, and much else besides. The farmshops are northbound/southbound on the M6.

www.tebayservices.com 

Eden Valley and the East

Farfield Mill Arts and Heritage Centre

Farfield Mill Arts and Heritage Centre

If you want a great choice of Christmas presents, handmade by artists and makers from Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales, then head into glorious countryside on the doorsteps of Sedbergh to this 19th century former weaving and spinning mill. Farfield is home to some 20 artists and makers while its art and craft gallery sells the work of almost 100 others. Check the website for resident artists because some of them sell online as well. Better still to come here, if you can, because it’s a fascinating place to visit.

www.farfieldmill.org

Eden Valley and the East

Pure Lakes

Pure Lakes

‘A fantastic local company,’ said one happy customer of Pure Lakes. So why not check out its choice of skincare and its dozen or so gift sets and give someone a real treat this Christmas? The family business makes a range of skincare ‘with natural and, where possible, organic ingredients’, a selection that embraces body lotions, shampoos, soaps, bath foams, massage and bath oils, lip balms, hydration creams and more, a number of award winners amongst them. A range of reed diffusers has also recently been launched. A percentage of online sales goes to two charities.

www.purelakes.co.uk

Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop, Ambleside

Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop, Ambleside

For anyone wanting to buy local books or Lake District guides and maps this Christmas head to Cumbria’s best known independent bookshop, opened in 1956. Arthur Ransome used to come here in the old days and his stories are sold in hard back, with their original dust jackets. Thousands of other titles (adult fiction and children’s books amongst them) are spread across two floors, with the service as friendly and efficient as ever.

www.fredsamblesidebookshop.co.uk 

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Chimney Sheep

Chimney Sheep

Who knows how many times Father Christmas will come across a Chimney Sheep when he delivers his presents on Christmas Day? From small beginnings in Maryport, the wonderfully named draught excluder - made with the wool from Lakeland’s Herdwick sheep - can be found in chimneys all over the world. The firm also sells sheep wool insulation and a range of ‘natural and environmentally friendly’ garden products, some of its profits ‘buying land and planting trees’. So that’s a gift for everyone.

www.chimneysheep.co.uk

Carlisle, Hadrian’s Wall and Solway Coast

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