From Malton to St Ives, our favourite high streets are packed with brilliant independent retailers – all of which are worth visiting once they re-open.
The Hauser & Wirth gallery put this characterful Somerset town on the art map when it opened in 2014. Since then, the high street has evolved into a creative hub with shops such as Hole & Corner (selling handmade ceramics, textiles and furniture) and Caro Somerset (for homeware and lifestyle objects, from candles to clothing) sitting alongside retail-exhibition spaces Make Hauser & Wirth and Antitaupe, where the exhibitions all celebrate colour. After browsing, pop into At the Chapel, a buzzing bakery and restaurant housed within a beautiful Grade II-listed former chapel, for lunch.
Stay: Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath (approx. 45 minutes away)
©Little Bird Photography
Renowned in the 16th-century for its wool trade, more recently this historic market town has garnered a reputation for antiques. Dealers – including Lorfords Antiques, Number 52 Antiques and Chloe Antiques, which specialises in French and Swedish furniture – can be found on Long Street and Church Street, interspersed with shops such as Henrietta’s House for children’s toys, the Yellow-Lighted Bookshop and Highgrove Shop (profits are donated to the Prince of Wales charitable fund). Don’t miss The Fig Store, which sells homeware, textiles and garden products, or next-door retailer Domestic Science for gifts.
Stay: Calcot & Spa, near Tetbury (approx. 10 minutes away)
First, a gourmet festival launched in 2009; then the late chef and restaurateur Antonio Carluccio called Malton Yorkshire’s food capital. It’s a label that’s stuck, and now the town is a destination for those wanting to source produce of the highest quality – whether it’s Yorkshire Pots from Derek Fox Butchers, macarons from pâtissier Florian Poirot or craft gin and whisky from McMillans of Malton. Of course, there are plenty of retailers selling non-edible items too, from Hare & Wilde home store (think kilim rugs, seagrass baskets and natural French soaps) to Kemps General Store for quirky gifts and comic book shop Universal Geek.
Stay: Middlethorpe Hall & Spa, York (approx. 30 minutes away)
4. Brighton, Sussex
While the seaside city of Brighton has always had a hip shopping scene, the North Laine quarter traditionally feels more bohemian, more retro. Now, vintage fashion shops (Oranssi in particular is worth a look) are joined by the likes of Tidy Street General Store (selling sheepskin vests and linen stripe sundresses by Cawley, mohair sweaters by Hansel from Basel); Magazine Brighton, which specialises in independent publications; Dowse design studio and shop (go for art prints, ceramics, jewellery and gifts); and lifestyle boutique Hold Brighton where items range from oak stools by Another Country to leather purses and brass pepper mills.
Stay: Ockenden Manor, Cuckfield (approx. 30 minutes away)
5. St Ives, Cornwall
Equally famous for its surrounding beaches and surf scene as it is for inspiring artists and potters, it’s no wonder that this former fishing town is home to a plethora of independent shops and galleries. The best of the bunch includes St Ives Ceramics, Plumbline, the Tate Modern St Ives shop and New Craftsmen Gallery. Meanwhile stores Academy & Co (for womenswear and menswear, plus lifestyle products such as Pendleton wool blankets) and Number 8 (menswear only) offer a fashion fix. Before you leave, head to The Liquor Cellar to pick up a bottle of Cornish craft cider.
Stay: The Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay (approx. 45 minutes away)
Article written by Emma Love