Homes, gifts and gardens

Opened by Fred Holdsworth in 1956 ‘with minimal stock and maximum enthusiasm’, this is one of the best known independent bookshops in the Lake District.

More than 70,000 titles are stocked at this, the biggest book shop in England’s Book Town and the ‘largest book shop in the Yorkshire Dales’. Most of the books are secondhand but there plenty of new and antiquarian titles on the shelves as well.

Soft, sumptuous and sustainable are the defining characteristics of Laura Rosenzweig’s lovely own-designed range of scarves, throws and comforting blankets, all inspired by the natural tapestry of the Howgill Fells in Cumbria’s Yorkshire Dales. ‘Our goal is to create beautiful items in simple, classy designs that show off the wool at its very best,’ she says.

Few company names capture the essence of a business quite so succinctly or wittily as Chimney Sheep. Founded in 2012 by Sally Phillips, its major product is a draught excluder - made from the wool of Lakeland’s iconic breed of sheep, the Herdwick - which is placed in a chimney and then easily removed when the fire is lit. 

‘Great craftsmanship’ and ‘beautiful furniture’ should be two short phrases that spring to mind when you pull off the A66 at Braithwaite and head down the lane to the workshop and showroom of MJ Cabinetmakers, the workshop officially opened by Prince Charles in 2005. 

Infectious energy and boundless enthusiasm are two great attributes when starting a new business so thanks to the character of their beloved Border Collie, Heather and Paul Thomas had a head start when they set up Ollie Collie in 2018.

Where else in Cumbria but at Parma Violet can you find Tintin T-shirts, space hoppers and Emma Bridgewater pottery rubbing shoulders - on the shelves - with cashmere scarves, playing cards and rubber ducks? 

‘Capture the true essence of Randy Pike. Luxury, opulence and comfort’. If you’ve stayed at this sumptuous B&B between Ambleside and Hawkshead you’ll know exactly what that means.

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