showcasing the best of the south west

The Country Calling Panel: Your Favourite Shop?

Pictured: Anna Lizzio, Tetbury

Sophy Roberts, freelance writer and Financial Times columnist on travel and culture. 

The shops I like in my part of West Dorset tend to revolve around two things: kitchens and travel. Susie Cole (15 Broad Street, Lyme Regis; www.susiecole.co.uk) in Lyme Regis is one. At first glance, you think Cath Kidston trinkets. Dig a little deeper and the limited smattering of vintage furniture is genius for a free-style kitchen. The so-called Vintage Quarter at St Michael’s Trading Estate in Bridport is also good but becoming so popular, you have to do more than dig for a bargain but spend a whole morning mining for the stand-outs. Here The Old Albion (54d St Michael’s Trading Estate, Bridport;07879 051 362www.theoldalbion.com) is good for old circus and industrial lighting. The shop that’s worth travelling a day for is T. Snooks (30-32 West Street, Bridport; 01308 458 224; www.snooksthehatters.co.uk)





Pearl Lowe, designer

I first stumbled upon Susannah by chance one day whilst taking my children to the cinema in Bath. Unfortunately it was shut, but as I peered through the window I discovered it was full of many treasures. I made a conscious effort to go back there as soon as I could and it definitely didn't disappoint. Susannah has been an avid vintage collector for many years and her travels have taken her to many flea markets across the world. Her shop is filled will the most incredible 30s & 40s dresses as well as the finest vintage french furniture. She also hand sews handbags, quilted baskets and lavender filled hearts & lots of vintage quilts. Susannah is a must for all vintage lovers; it's worth a trip to Bath just to visit this shop.


Steven Lamb, brand director River Cottage

My favourite independent shop is Rusty Pig in Ottery St Mary. It is a cross between an artisan charcuterie and a pop up supper club. It is the sort of place that is unique but should actually be more like the norm up and down the country. I am always looking for the real authentic foodie experience when I am on holiday abroad  - the sort of place that welcomes you and your family like long lost friends and you hang out tasting great food and buying various cured goodies. Well that place isn’t abroad – it’s in Devon      






Roger Saul, Founder Kilver Court Designer Village

"Well I am going to cheat again, I am going to pick a generic subject for a shop which is reclamation! Why? Because I just love shopping forrecycled, previously loved, regenerated, junk,….whatever the current term is I am always looking for some piece of architectural heritage to restore some part of our buildings at either Sharpham Park or Kilver Court. There are three brilliant places in Somerset and they are all good for different things. Glastonbury Rec, is my favourite and recently I found amazing pine cheese truckle boards which we used for my son Freddie’stables. Wells Rec is the oldest and the best laid out, keep going back and once you get to know Hayden, he might just show you that special piece that nobody else sees, on the other hand he may be saving it for me, so perhaps not! Then there is Frome, Karl has the very best quality of all and if I am looking for something special then that is where I will go, there I bought all my plant troughs for Kilver Court. You need to keep circulating even if you are not sure what you want as buying is all about timing, you have to be there while it is still in stock! It's only there once!"

Laura Campbell, Stylist and DJ 

I love all that’s on offer at Dig Haushizzle on Colston Street in Bristol. Owners Cassandra and Edward source unique, one-off vintage pieces for the home including furniture, taxidermy and decorative as well as industrial lights. Aside from the covetable shop stock, the pair will also hunt down specific things you might desire for your house and sell unwanted furniture (if it fits with their style). Up the road in Clifton you can have a really good noodle through all the bric-a-brac in Focus On The Past on Waterloo Street. Rise on Queen’s Road on the Clifton triangle, is a funky record store selling vinyl you can listen to before buying, alongside DVDs and books. In my humble opinion, there’s no richer sound than music on vinyl. There’s also a café downstairs where you can reboot while pondering your purchases. When in Bath, I always try to pop into Topping & Company bookshop, a proper old school bookstore where authors give talks, cooks give culinary demonstrations and wine buffs offer tastings. You can sip on a freshly brewed coffee while browsing through the endless shelves of wonderful literature on offer, easily whiling away a few hours. I often make a special trip to Tetbury to snoop through all the antique shops, ducking into Anna Lizzio (pictured), one of the few decent clothing shops, en route to Top Banana at the far end. Here you can pick up anything, from an Art Deco necklace to a nice old wooden trug. Olive Clothing in Cheltenham has a appealing selection of carefully-chosen clothes and quality accessories, beautifully packaged apothecary as well as arty off-piste magazines. I have a friend I often stay with near Totnes and if my visit coincides with the Friday morning market, I wend my way, via the man who sells vintage denim, the stallholder with exotic smelling homemade incense, cheese makers (the locally made Ticklemore is hard to beat) and hippie dudes of Common Loaf Bakery



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