If you love shopping, then Northumberland has a number of unique places where you can pick up artisan gifts and works by local artists or uncover vintage homeware and second hand books.
Alnwick or Berwick upon Tweed are where you will find most shops, but Bamburgh, Craster, Alnmouth and Amble all have independent retailers where you will find coastal and Northumberland themed items.
Amble’s Harbour Village is a lovely shopping experience of 15 wooden retail pods selling cards and prints, bespoke gifts and food and drink.
Barter Books in Alnwick features on our top 10 list of things to do mainly because of its location – it is housed in a converted railway station – and because it is one of the largest second hand and antiquarian book shops in Britain. Book lovers could easily spend hours here browsing, drinking coffee and eating cake.
Carnaby’s Cafe is just off the A1 at Chathill and as well as being a great place to eat (Coastal Retreats guests receive 15% off food as part of our partner offers), it has a gift and homeware shop and a children’s play area.
As a company we are keen to support local artists and showcase a number of works in some of the walls of our cottages. You may see work by Alan Smith Page, Bill Hindmarsh, Mick Oxley, Ryden Astrop, Mike Bell, Kevin Westlake, Sue Moffit or Karen Willis.
Mick Oxley’s gallery in Craster is worth a visit. Mick, a self-taught artist, is constantly inspired by the surrounding landscape, creating watercolour and acrylic seascapes which are a response to the changing weather, the scudding clouds and the roll of the sea, alongside textural works that capture the rugged character of the Northumbrian coastline in vibrant acrylic paint and fleeting, jewel–like inks. Not only does the gallery sell his artwork but also handmade jewellery by Green Tea and other pieces of hand sculpted wooden furniture and wall hangings by other local artists. Mick is happy to offer a 10% discount on any of his original artwork at his gallery to all Retreats guests.
The Fenwick Gallery in Warkworth, The Aln Gift Shop and Gallery and The Old School Gallery in Alnmouth are two other great spots for picking up local artists pieces – stocking everything from paintings to jewellery and homeware. For more touristy gifts try The Farne Gift Shop or The National Trust store, both in Seahouses.
If you love interiors or vintage homeware then The Old Dairy in Ford should be on your must-do list. This concept store has architectural reclaim pieces, antiques and upcycled items alongside its Champagne bar and its quirkily cool coffee shop.
Shopping day trips
The cities of Edinburgh and Newcastle are a train ride away from our Northumberland cottages if you want to browse the major stores, designer boutiques and high street brands.
In Edinburgh you will find Multrees Walk, home to Harvey Nichols and Louis Vuitton and other exclusive fashion brands, Princes Street for high street stores and George Street for more on trend boutiques. There are also several shopping areas with independent stores, gift shops and Scottish crafts.