Like your lavender homegrown and your glass blown locally? Here's a round up of some of the best hand-crafted products still being produced in England, as they have been for centuries...
Hand crafted and made to last in the North of England, Barbour’s classic wax jackets have been protecting generations of families from the cold and rain for over a hundred years. Recently, they’ve become a bit of a fashion must-have for city and country dwellers alike, with the likes of Alex Chung and Lily Allen both donning the Queen’s favourite waxed jacket. Who would have thought Barbour began life in 1894 in South Shields, supplying oilskins and other garments to protect the growing community of sailors, fishermen and dockers?
Once you’ve set your eyes on a Pashley bike no other will do. They’re one of only a few bike companies to still manufacture all of their bikes in the UK, a factor has seen Pashley gain fans and enthusiastic customers who recognize that the UK is still the place to have something made if you want outstanding quality. Traditional frames illuminated with vibrant colours make Pashley bikes really stand out from the crowd. Famous (paying) customers of these classic English bikes include Vivienne Westwood, Ewan McGregor, Lily Cole and Kelly Brook.
Nottingham has always been famed for its lace making and Debbie Bryan Heritage keeps the tradition alive in the trendy Hockley area. The boutique sells exquisite collections showcasing traditional British industry and hand-made craftsmanship. The beautiful tablecloths, placemats and trims for sale are meticulously crafted less than eight miles away by Levers Lace designs, a family-run company now in its ninth generation. Debbie's award-winning scarves and brooches are designed and made on the premises in her studio just behind the shop – a space which is also used for creative workshops covering everything from lampshade making to jewellery classes.
Dating from the 1700’s, Rye Pottery is one of the country’s oldest manufacturing potteries, producing collectable ceramics for hundreds of years. It’s one of a handful of production potteries left in the world that continues to produce everything by hand, using a 17th Century decorating technique to decorate highly-designed pieces. Currently run by the third generation of Coles, timeless design and the finest quality are at the heart of every piece produced. Their most popular pieces include hand-crafted figures from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the traditional Sussex Wedding present, hand-painted Sussex Pigs. Visit the shop to see Rye Pottery's talented team in action and pick up a few trinkets while you're there.
Founded in 1932, Norfolk Lavender is England's premier lavender farm, with nearly 100 acres of lavender under cultivation. Visit the tranquil gardens in summer when the lavender bursts into flower and the air is filled with a soothing fragrance. Book a guided tour and learn about the wonderful world of this famous herb, from how it’s harvest and distilled to make perfume to learning how to grow and care for your own plants.
Be sure to pop into the Lavender Kitchen Restaurant for a freshly-baked lavender scone, and stop by the gift shop too to pick up everything from luxury toiletries to lavender-flavoured fudge and chocolate.
For more things to see and do in the countryside check out: VisitEngland.com/morecountryside
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