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Originally published 2018
For the best Christmas shopping in Norfolk, we recommend a blend of the vibrant shops and boutiques of Norwich with some of the unique shops in the area’s market towns – that way you’re bound to find something for everyone!
If you fancy a change of scenery then heading out to some of the county’s historic market towns is a great idea, so here’s our favourite spots in Holt, Diss, Wymondham, and Harleston. Finish your Christmas shopping, have a bite to eat, and perhaps round the day off with a bit of sightseeing.
Wymondham (just 10 miles south of Norwich) is packed full of history and amazing architecture, but there’s also lots of lovely shops. Foodies are in for a real treat, as the town is full of delightful delis, cafés and other food shops; we recommend checking out Disney’s Deli, Reno Wine and Yum Yums Sweetshop – and that’s just to start!
Kett’s Books is a lovely independent bookshop run by volunteers to help give back to the local community – and they have some brilliant events throughout the year, too – whilst The Annabel’s Egg Shed is a really unique café, shop and gift shop all rolled into one. Enjoy tasty coffee and snacks in the quirky setting of a working farm, and dogs are welcome too!
There’s also the town market every Friday, and on every third Saturday of the month there’s the Wymondham Farmer’s Market. Here you’ll find scrummy locally-produced treats, drinks and other produce.
Diss was established around one of the deepest natural inland lakes in the country, and as well as pretty scenery it also has plenty of independent boutiques and shops to browse through. It sits on the border between Norfolk and Suffolk, just over 20 miles south of Norwich.
Head over to Diss Iron Works and Ninny’s Cave for homeware items or The Sweetie Shop for cake and sweets galore. If you fancy picking up some fine food then Fredrick’s is the place to go – they have a great Deli to pick up delicious meats, cheeses, chutneys and more (plus French bread and pastries on Saturday mornings – what could be better?!)
Diss is also a great place to pick up antiques; head to TW Gaze’s auction rooms for plenty of choice. Go on a Friday to catch their Auction Day (it’s often televised too!)
The town’s general market day is on Friday, but on the second Saturday of the month their Farmer’s Market comes to town and this provides a great opportunity to pick up some locally-produced Christmas gifts.
After all that shopping take a short walk over to their famous 6-acre mere. It’s set within plenty of green and luscious parkland so is a great setting to walk off that lunch!
Harleston – nestled on the old coaching route from London to Great Yarmouth, around 20 miles south of Norwich – is a vibrant market town, filled with historic buildings, a thriving arts scene and plenty of character.
Make sure you check out the Cornucopia; it’s housed in an impressive Victorian building and is stuffed full of amazing vintage goods for sale, as well as the 1940’s-style parlour tea rooms, a 1950’s snug bar, a pretty fountain and gallery and museum space. Plenty packed in!
Check out Harleston’s market every Wednesday with a variety of interesting stalls or visit on the third Wednesday of the month for their Farmer’s Market.
For a delightful café with delicious freshly-made cakes, amazing coffee and great service, head to The Apiary – definitely a great spot to enjoy lunch and a sweet treat. They also keep bees, so pick up a jar of their honey and one of their ‘ideal-for-Christmas’ hampers.
Then take a walk through some of the town’s ancient buildings which span centuries of architecture, and don’t forget to pop into the Harleston Museum to learn more about the town’s history.
This is a truly picturesque market town in North Norfolk, boasting a great range of boutiques, fine food shops and gorgeous cafés – and the town has been used as a filming location on more than one occasion, most recently the indie flick Chick Lit.
Pop into Bakers & Larners for… well, just about anything really! This traditional and independent department store is family-owned and stocks everything from ladies’ clothing and accessories to homeware, cookware and furniture.
There are some high street favourites including Joules and White Stuff as well as plenty of independent stores and vintage boutiques – try Pollard & Read, Past Caring, The Tannery (they have a sister shop in Norwich’s Royal Arcade) and Rumours Boutique of Holt. The Holt Bookshop is well worth a visit too!
Byford’s have a lovely café and deli area, which is ideal for a spot of lunch, or the Folly tearoom with its beautiful shabby-chic décor and divine cakes. And whilst you’re in the area, pay a visit to The North Norfolk Railway or Spout Hills, a pretty area of greenery and water, described as an ‘oasis’ which sits just off the town’s bustling High Street.
Byfords Posh B&B is also great if you fancy a quick stopover!