11 of Norfolk's most beautiful shops
- Credit: Denise Bradley
The Elm Hill Craft Shop
This gorgeous little shop is filled with magical treasures and as an added bonus, is on Norwich’s most beautiful street, Elm Hill. First opened in 1936 by two friends – Joyce Wilkinson and Doris Jewson – it was one of the first craft stores to open in England and in the early days, spinning, dying and weaving of wool took place on the premises. Elizabeth the Queen Mother was an early customer, purchasing hand-woven blankets and rugs. Today run by the lovely Christina Morris, who began work at the shop in 1979 and bought it in 1981, it offers a kaleidoscope of enchanting gifts and a doll house miniatures which will delight any child. Curated with an artist’s eye, this shop is a box of delights and boasts the best stocking fillers you could imagine.
The retail wing of The Dial House, Vintage Vegas is a designer and vintage fashion boutique house on the first floor of this glorious Geogian building on Reepham’s market square. You’ll find immaculate Prada shoes, hard-wearing Marc Jacobs’ leather handbags, head-turning zingy coloured sequin dresses by Dolce and Gabbana, gold label cocotte corset dresses and bold prints by Vivienne Westwood, classic shirts and knits by Ralph Lauren. There’s also a great range of carefully-selected vintage items such as beautifully aged biker, 1980s’ puff ball dresses, colour-popping sixties numbers and a rainbow-coloured collection of Converse trainers. Downstairs there are lots of antiques to swoon over.
Verandah at Holt
This little arts and crafts store in Holt champions local makers and craftspeople and is filled with beautiful items you’ll covet for friends, family and yourself. Covered in scented honeysuckle and hollyhocks in summer, the shop is a gorgeously curated collection of ceramics, paintings, clothing, decorations and fabrics, marbled paper, greetings cards, prints and toys. A wonderful celebration of Norfolk’s talent.
Littleblood at Walsingham
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A hidden gem which deserves far more recognition, Littleblood is an atmospheric treasure house packed with “unusual and unique objects for buyers with a distinct disregard for the conventional”. Housed in an old painter’s studio which has also been used as a carpenter’s workshop, Littleblood has an evolving collection of unique and varied objects, furniture and lighting with presence, dramatic pieces with personality, history and a sense of fun. There is magic on every shelf, from ceramic mermaids to old shells, gorgeous leather bags to vintage treasures, antiques to puppets, chalkware to curiosities. Owners Jon and Helena are warm and welcoming and you’re guaranteed to find something utterly enchanting in their beautiful shop.
Norwich’s flagship independent store in Norwich (it also has branches in Wymondham and Cromer plus an art and stationery branch, a sports shop and interior shop The Granary) is based in a stunning Art Nouveau building designed by the legendary George Skipper in 1903. Skipper also designed The Royal Arcade, nearby, itself always worth a visit on a shopping trip to the city. Jarrold is filled with different departments to delight every customer. A family business which has been trading for 250 years, it boasts more than five floors filled with 50 departments which include a beauty hall, a book department, fashion, shows, a cookshop, furniture, a haberdashery and craft, three restaurants, a delicatessen, a hair salon and a the brand new Store Folk, a curated range of beautiful products from Norfolk makers. Jarrold looks like a glittering wedding cake at Christmas when it is decked with fairy lights.
A really wonderful little store in the middle of this beautiful village in North Norfolk, in addition to browsing an incredible selection of beautifully-curated items, you can also pick up a freshly-brewed coffee and a croissant. From baskets to dolls, candles to eco homeware, toiletries to books, fruit and vegetables to Brick Pizza, fresh flowers to toys, clothes to gifts, this is an Aladdin’s Cave of gorgeousness. A real gem in Norfolk’s coastal crown.
The Book Hive, Norwich
Instagrammably lovely, The Book Hive is run by charismatic owner Henry Layte and is a beautiful store packed with books of every imaginable genre from fiction to poetry, cookery to children’s and non-fiction. A favourite of Stephen Fry, it also has a writers’ booth on the top floor where Margaret Atwood put the last touches to her novel The Heart Goes Last. Staff are brimming with knowledge and know-how and can help you choose a book to get lost in or the perfect present.
Bayfield Hall Antiques and Interiors, Holt
The stable block of this elegant 18th century country house set in 120 acres of parkland in the heart of North Norfolk is filled with wonderful antique and curated gifts. The brick and flint building is home to a group of traders with years of buying experience and a passion for finding the unusual. From jewel-coloured antique Persian rugs to 19th century painted furniture and 1940s chandeliers, mid-century classic to English antique furniture transformed with chalky paint, decorative lighting to pottery, glassware to scented candles, architectural antiques to one-off treasures, there is joy to be found around every corner. Look out for the sculptural botanicals on your drive to the stable block and pay a visit to Natural Surroundings – a wildflower centre – next door.
Much Binding, Cromer
Step inside this small shop on Cromer’s busy Church Street and you’ll find yourself transported to a completely different world filled with literary delights, from fiction to non-fiction, serious to peculiar, everyday to rare. Out of print books jostle with classics, first editions next to contemporary titles. The owners’ knowledge is second to none and it’s easy to lose hours in this powerhouse of a second-hand book shop lost in words and pictures. A real seaside delight a stone’s throw from the pier.
Itteringham Village Shop
There has been a village store in Itteringham since 1637, making it the fourth oldest shop in Britain with a long and proud history. Run by the Itteringham Community Association since 1997, this lovely little store is in the heart of the village on the edge of the Blickling Estate and is packed with delicious treats such as rare breed pork pies, cheeses, dairy produce, honey, cold-pressed oils, chocolate tiffin and freshly-made cakes. There are gifts to buy, a café which is hugely popular with visitors, cyclists, walkers and locals and a huge emphasis on produce from Norfolk.
Creake Abbey, near Fakenham
In the shadow of the atmospheric ruins of an Augustine 13th century abbey and in the middle of gorgeous water meadows, this shopping complex in North Norfolk has a host of beautiful shops to visit and at its heart is Creake Abbey Café and Food Hall and the famous monthly Farmers’ Market which visits on the first Saturday of the month. We love Home by Annie Lambert, a gorgeously-curated selection of antiques and Constance Rose – a beautiful floral and botanical shop (look out for the Christmas Wreath workshops).