We’ve fallen big time for the Cotswolds as we give you the low down - with info from our Gloucestershire insider Katerina Kitkat Gibb - on where to find the best antiques and home ware outside of London, our favourite clothes boutiques and with a few knock out lunch spots thrown in. We’re thinking of moving …
Starting out in Tetbury which is one of the best places in the country for antiques and interiors. Head to Amy Perry Antiques where you’ll find English and French painted furniture mixed with chrome, reupholstered sofas with Union Jack cushions. Leather chairs and architectural antiques mixed in with lots of zinc. Lots of contrasts and surprises here. This place is always ahead of the game.
Also in Long Street (53) and definitely worth a visit is Brown and White Antique Centre which has more quirky antiques, including great pieces from Sharland and Lewis. You’ll want pretty much everything in the shop, including the Cornishware, kitchenware, linens and armoires. There’s also a great café there, Café 53 where you can mull over all the things you’re thinking of buying.
Then comes the Ark Angel which is just unique. Loads of antiques and decorative stuff for your home from all sorts of different eras. Plus if you’re looking for great unusual garden antiques this place has them in its lovely garden.
Finally on Long Street, you couldn’t miss Lorfords (main image). If you’ve got a mansion this is the place to furnish it. Big, spectacular pieces, occasionally with a price tag to match. Antiques from the 18th to the 20th Century, interior designers head here for good reason.
Once the house is sorted, Tetbury also has its fair share of great boutiques. First stop has to be Anna Lizzio, one of our favourite clothes shops. Odd Molly (before anyone knew about it), Ally Cappellino, Velvet and colourful pieces sourced from Argentina. Lovely shop assistant who sews corsage and belts while manning the till. If you browse for long enough you may even get offered a cup of coffee. Perfect and one of Vogue’s Best British Boutiques in 2010. Moving on 1st June but luckily still in Tetbury to 59 Long Street.
Then there’s Overider – cowboy cool meets sexy swineherd. Cowboy and biker boots along with scrumpled linen shirts and dresses all made for the shop. Opposite the Snooty Fox in Tetbury – perfect festival gear and a stand alone reason to visit Tetbury.
Don’t miss Qetty Bang Bang boutique which mixes things up with a lovely vintage clothing collection and quirky new clothes, unique jewellery and accessories. The place to get things ahead of time as it often has UK exclusives in its jewellery and accessories range as it previews upcoming designers.
Also worth checking is Sassy and Boo where you’ll find vintage accessories with contemporary glamour, plus their hand made collection of 1920s dresses.
And finally you’ll clearly be starving by now. Check out the Chef’s Table, housed in a former antiques shop this is a serious treat for either lunch or dinner. There’s also Prince Charles Highgrove Shop to check out. Or if you’re keen to get back to the shops grab a warm sausage roll from Jesse Smith’s butchers and head back out there. Or try the Blue Zucchini bar if flagging.
And of course if you need some fresh air after this to consider your bank balance there’s the Westonbirt Arboretum
Moving onto Stroud, we suggest leaving Saturday morning free to check out Stroud’s weekly Farmer’s Market. One of the best farmers markets in the Cotswolds with delicious local produce, our advice is go hungry. From fragrant curries to oozing doughnuts, squidgy bread and muddy veg – it’s all here.
Allow a chunk of time to check out the great Griffin Mill, which is a bumper emporium of antique and shabby chic bargains. Has had everything here from yachts to French day beds and a revolving coat stand should you want one. Started in 2000 when 23 antique dealers put their stock on show together in this 10,000 foot shed. It’s a one stop for something pretty unique for your house and garden.
Stroud also has some great vintage shops to check out including Time After Time which has retro, designer and vintage pieces from the 1860s to present.
Plus Duffle Vintage Outfitters on John Street which is a fairly new but really inspired retro vintage interiors and fashion store, which manages to have a refreshingly masculine feel about it in the interiors world. 70's swirly browns, men's suits and Levi's alongside cushions made from men's suits. An air of Flip about it (that used to be on The King's Road).
Don’t be fooled by the fact that there’s seemingly not a lot going on when you first visit – it will grow on you with every trip. Lily Allen’s stomping ground after all.
Onto Cirencester, start by heading to the Corn Hall Arcade, Market Place, where you’ll find a plethora of unique and exciting clothes and home ware shops. First stop is Sue Parkinson which has everything for the fashionista with a well stocked wallet, including Mulberry, Maison Scotch, Goat, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, J Brand and Citizens of Humanity and other must have labels. Hultquist jewellery, plus Hanky Panky. It also has a great home ware shop as well with Comptoir de Famille abd Nkuku.
If you’re in need of a sugar rush then head to one of our favourites, the delicious Hobbs bakery which we profiled in our Top 10 Artisan Bakeries where you’ll come away with bags of cakes and bread. Or head to Made By Bob (Bob Parkinson who used to be head chef at Bibendum) for lunch at this restaurant and deli which is delicious and a serious treat.
And finally try Just Maude, another favourite boutique which is run by a great lady who buys in ususual beautiful dresses and costume jewellery but also customizes vintage pieces for one off stunning creations. Lovely lacy and feminine. Just Maude also make beautiful art from everyday furniture.
Not forgetting Nailsworth which is definitely worth a visit for the recently opened new vintage and homeware store Sharland and Lewis Home at Days Mill. Stuffed full of eclectic vintage trove, including French mirrors, imaginatively reupholstered sofas and sun loungers - lots of one offs from their travels through Europe, plus more every day presents including retro toys. A magpie's den. This and the fact that Nailworth has Hobbs House main bakery and of course, Williams Fish Market and Food Hall, an outstanding deli and fish mongers with their Moorish Oyster and champagne Bar to try. Perfect way to finish.