It’s hard not to fall for Ledbury’s many charms. The pretty jumble of 17th-century and Georgian buildings, the famous cobbled lane and many secret alleyways are a photographer’s dream. But it’s the eclectic array of independent shops which is perhaps Ledbury’s true superpower — it makes Christmas shopping stylish but stress-free.
Tinsmiths is a place of pilgrimage for interiors junkies. Their beautiful selection of homeware, ceramics and artist prints is known for its timeless style. Up the street, Hus & Hem is a smorgasbord of Nordic delights for your home and their Danish felt slippers are the stuff of local legend. It’s always worth a peek into John Nash for lamps and cushions whilst across the road you’ll find cool homeware, clothing and jewellery in the tiny Tusk Collection. Next door, The ODD Shop offers a curated selection of vintage goodies and a brilliant little art gallery.
Meanwhile, the colourful Take 4 Gallery showcases locally and nationally renowned contemporary artists, including painters, sculptors and jewellers.
Other favourite stops include Ceci Paolo which is home to fashion, kitchen and lifestyle stores, plus a deli. No 12 High Street is the place for heavenly merino knitwear whilst Raft specialises in women’s style, accessories and gifts. For all things ethical and fairtrade, from Christmas decorations to clothes, a trip to Ethos is a must. And pop into Juice Collection for jewellery and leather goods from luxury British brands or Bra Boudoir for lingerie and swimwear.
Wander around Blandfords for heaps of gift ideas, award-winning cards and a toy department which would impress Father Christmas. And take a look in the two independent bookshops – Ledbury Books and Maps and Three Counties Bookshop (which also stocks a great range of art materials). Other recommendations include The Apothecary Shop for organic beauty and wellbeing products, Sweet Memories for that old-fashioned sweet shop experience, and Choccotastic for Belgian chocolate loveliness, including scrumptious stocking fillers.
Mistletoe is a favourite festive tradition and this year you can pick up a charity bunch, gathered from local apple trees and ribbon-tied ‘with love from Ledbury’. Just head to the stall under the town’s stilted black and white market house.
For that essential coffee stop, there’s no shortage of cafes. Special mention goes to The Malthouse Café & Gallery which is renowned for its cakes, and you can’t beat cosying up on one of the sofas by the fire at The Feathers Hotel. Staying for dinner? Book a table (there’s only room for 12 guests!) at the intimate 33 The Homend for a delicious dining experience or head to The Seven Stars which sources seasonal ingredients from its own farm.
If you fancy exploring nearby, pop up the road to The Nest, a farm shop and café with vintage finds and a plant centre set in an orchard.