Special South Suffolk
The market towns and villages of south Suffolk each have many more independent shops than you’ll find in other parts of the UK. Hadleigh, Sudbury, Long Melford and Lavenham are all beautiful, historic locations for a spot of Christmas shopping. So let’s g
WHERE TO FIND PERFECT GIFTS
Jina of Tatty Broyds in Hadleigh has a keen eye when it comes to accessories, and the high street fashion shop is laden with lots of classic and statement pieces from brands such as Tutti, Treaty and The Branch. If it’s stocking fillers you’re after, take a look at the long, patterned Avoca socks, which are gorgeous.
Over the road, and gift store Plum Green will have its special Christmas room up and running by the end of November, which is well worth a look. You’ll find everything from vintage style Santa sacks, to candles, tree decorations and tinsel. A short drive away in Monks Eleigh is Bridge Farm Barns complex, where you can make a morning or afternoon of your shopping experience. There’s an art gallery selling mixed media pieces, from printed cushions and sculptures to jewellery, all made by local artists.
Next door is the lifestyle store, where you’ll discover a huge range of Sophie Allport, and the main shop, Corncraft, brims with all kinds of treasures including lotions and potions, pens, handbags, games, kitchenalia and books. There’s a good café on site too, plus a patchworking shop and vintage store.
Ten minutes or so from here is Lavenham where there are several art galleries to browse if you’re after a very special present. Well worth a trip too is Lavenham stalwart Curiosity Corner. From the outside you might just think this is a toyseller (the shop specialises in Charlie Bear, Steiff bears, wooden toys and baby gifts) but step inside and you’ll see plenty of grown-up gift options too, be it jewellery, bags or British-made Moorcroft pottery.
A nip over to Long Melford opens up loads of further Christmas shopping possibilities. In this fine Suffolk village, with its long high street, you’ll find galleries, antiques shops,
fashion outlets and more. A relative newcomer is The Duck Deli, where you can make your own Christmas hamper from the handselected goodies, which could include banana ketchup and cocktail flavoured fruit pastilles.
In busy Sudbury, no trip is complete without stepping into the various branches of Winch & Blatch. Spanning four shops, and selling everything from fashion to homeware to kitchen equipment, you could probably get all your presents bought in one trip.
We rather like AG Lifestyle too. For starters there’s a café attached! Inside, the shop has a French/Scandinavian feel. Every nook of AG is draped with something beautiful, be it Danish soft furnishings, silk dressing gowns or botanically scented Italian bath and skin products.
Head to Dedham and you’ll find a great election of gift ideas at Dedham Art and Craft Centre. Housed in a converted church, the centre is full of historic charm as well, as more than 60 specialist shops over three floors, selling everything from antiques to jewellery to furniture, clothing and books. There’s a lovely teashop, making the centre the perfect place to visit, shop and eat.
TIME FOR A CUPPA
In Hadleigh make a beeline for Crabtrees. In Lavenham you simply have to rest your bones at Suffolk Food and Drink Awards winner Hadleys Ice Cream Parlour. Tea lovers visiting Long Melford need to go to Tiffins. Or, if you’re shopping in Sudbury, stop at The Secret Garden Café
In Hadleigh the main car parks are just a couple of minutes from the high street and you can park free for up to three hours. You’ll find both car parks on Magdalen Road – the largest being behind the East of England Co-op.
The Sudbury Christmas Tree festival in St Peters Church.
New lifestyle shop at Bridge Farm Barns (Corncraft)