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With the internet making the world a smaller place it is easier than ever to buy almost anything anywhere. It is increasingly difficult to find a gift or memento that is individual and can only be bought in England.
Having searched from top to bottom to find the best selection of items that you can or certainly should only buy in England.
Here’s a list of the top England Gifts and Souvenirs!
Traditional Authentic Sussex Trug
A Sussex Trug is a special kind of basket made with chestnut frame and willow boards.
A real Sussex Trug is handmade by craftsmen who have had the craft handed down to them through the generations.
Originally created for agriculture to collect produce the Trugs are ideal for a variety of uses in the garden or for storing or displaying in the home.
It is boat shaped and indeed, Trug is a variation on the Anglo-Saxon word “trog” meaning boat shaped and has a number of uses today such as for gathering flowers or vegetables from the garden, for holding fruit, vegetables or to hold potpourri or herbs and spices.
A great thing about buying a genuine craftsman made Sussex Trug is that the makers also take conservation seriously and a careful buyer should always look out for the “Association of Sussex Trug Basket Makers” stamp on the Trug before making a purchase.
The stamp of the Association of Sussex Trug Basket Makers on the base of a trug is your guarantee that it is a genuine Sussex Trug, made using traditional methods and materials. Beware imitations!
Buy in Sussex, ideally from The Truggery, which can be found on the outskirts of the Hailsham side of Herstmonceaux.
Hailsham BN27 1Q
There are a number of dedicated growers producing first class English white and red wines including some top-quality sparkling wine. English Wine growing was mostly concentrated in the south and south-east of England, where the chalky soil is ideal for the vines.
However, increasingly there are vineyards in many other parts of England, in particular in the south-west and even further north.
Here are four established vineyards:
The Mount, Church Street, Shoreham, Kent, TN14 7SD
In the quintessentially British village of Shoreham, you will find Mount Vineyard. Not only is it a great gift but a fantastic day out. You can spend the afternoon finding out about the history of Mount Vineyard, tasting five English wines and enjoying a cheese board.
Watch this video guide on exploring a day out in Mount Vineyard.
Biddenden, Kent, TN27 8DF
A commercial vineyard for over 50 years, Biddenden wine is a well known English wine. Their Bacchus is usually very good and competes admirably alongside the best Sauvignon Blanc from anywhere.
Near Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 5NB
One of the pioneers of modern English winemaking Bolney Vineyard offers a great collection of white, red and sparkling wines. Wine is a matter of taste, but you cannot go wrong with a selection of Bolney sparkling wines, made using the Champagne Method Traditionale, their sparkling wine is English and very, very special.
Breaky Bottom Vineyard
Near Firle, East Sussex, BN7 3EX
Breaky Bottom Vineyard is situated in a hidden valley on the South Downs and is only open by appointment. However, their wines can be bought from nearby Middle Farm Shop where a good collection of English wines and ciders can be bought. Owner and caretaker of the vines Peter Hall chose the location because it reminded him of the Champagne region of France and today he specialises in carefully blending the wines to produce some fantastic tasty wines. Look out for the Breaky Bottom Chardonnay Pinot 2010, it is truly fantastic.
English Craft Beer
In 2002 there were around 500 Craft Beer Brewers in England, then in the budget the chancellor offered a tax break to small breweries and that has seen a 200% rise of registered craft breweries, little wonder then that there are now plenty of craft beers to choose from, from deep, velvety, chocolate like porters, to gentle, refreshing pale ales and everything in between.
Most of these breweries only sell directly to the public or in their local area. If you like beer or want to take home something different, they are well worth seeking out.
Here are a couple in different areas:
The Black Sheep Brewery, Wellgarth Masham, North Yorkshire, HG4 4EN
York Brewery opened in 1996 and they have poured their heart and soul into brewing fine. Enjoy a range of handcrafted ales that are brewed from inside the historic city walls of York.
Due to rent increases they have relocated their production temporarily to Black Sheep Brewery.
Kingsbridge, Devon, TQ7 4BL
At the time of writing Salcombe Brewery offers 11 beers: pale ale, amber ale, golden ale, 2 seasonal ales, Christmas ale, a citrusy pale ale exclusively for Rock Fish, best bitter, light gold and brown ale.
There is sure to be a flavour to suit everyone. The brewery also sells merchandise items such as caps, mugs and tea shirts from the shop and Brewery tours are available.
Green Jack Brewery
Lowestoff, Suffolk, NR32 2NZ
Green Jack Brewery offers 10 beers and monthly seasonal special brews. With names like Little Green Man and Lurcher Stout they also offer ales in a box as well as bottles and cans.
For the best choice of craft beers, though, head for Derbyshire. Probably due to its pure spring water, Derbyshire is home to a large number of craft breweries, approximately 70 in all, so is a good county to visit to buy some English Craft Beer, too many to mention them all, but head to Buxton or Derby and you are sure to find a brewery and a beer that you like.
Read more about London’s craft beer scene and enjoying tasty beers on the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
English Cider and Apple Juice
Many regions in England claim to be the home of the best English Cider and this means that you will be able to pick up some tasty cider or apple juice just about wherever you go. Get out of the cities and visit a cider farm for a tasting session to get the best cider day out experience.
Somerset is a county known for its cider heritage and they call it “Scrumpy” as well as some of the big producers being there or using apples grown there, Somerset has a few really good cider farms to buy from including:
Perry’s Cider Mill
Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0NY
Perry’s is a long-established cider farm, visitors can enjoy a lovely few hours of a cider mill experience, including a small museum and a cafe.
Good range of ciders and juices.
Westnorth Manor Farm, Duloe, PL14 4PW
They make and stock a range of craft cider, hedgerow cider, alcohol-free, apple juice, other fruit presses and they provide very nice gift packs, flagons and cider in a box for parties.
The cider is guaranteed made using natural, animal and additive-free ingredients in South Cornwall.
Where better to buy English Gin than in England whether you plum for the old names like Gilbey’s or Gordon’s, it has to be English and with a lot of small producers setting up to make Gin, it is a great to buy some from a small or revamped producer.
Some examples of places to buy:
55 Stanworth St, Bermondsey, London SE1 3NY
Jensen’s is a London distillery that produces a great dry gin. Perfect for those old-style London gin cocktails with bursting with juniper flavour and aromatic bite.
Fishers Gin Ltd
Crag Path, Aldeburgh, IP15 5BT
Produced right on the coast and sold in a beautiful patterned bottle, Fishers Gin is made using botanicals from the Suffolk coast, so it is made using rock samphire, Bog Myrtle, spignel and wood avens and the aroma offers a hint of the sea and the flavour can best be described as a salty herbaceous aromatic unique flavour.
Ramsbury Single Estates Spirits
Stockclose Farm, Aldbourne, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 2NN
For a light, yet flavoursome gin, try Ramsbury Single Estates Gin which is made in copper vats and a feature is the floral aroma and fruity flavour from the combination of juniper and quince used to make the gin.
An older brand that was revamped in 2014 is Slingsby Gin of Yorkshire available from their shop at:
Spirit of Harrogate, 5-7 Montpellier Parade, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 2TJ
They stock over 150 Gins and 30 tonics at their Harrogate store, naturally including their own varieties, look out for the Rhubarb Gin and the Gooseberry Gin as well as the “London Gin”. Their Gins are made using natural spring water from the Tewit Well.
Rhubarb is their “London Gin” infused with Yorkshire Rhubarb from the Rhubarb triangle and described as having a complex flavour, with hints of primrose and green botanicals.
Slingsby Gooseberry Gin is described as having tangy sharpness, fruity sweetness and is unmistakable as an infusion using their “London Gin” as a base.
Whilst not as fashionable or as fruity as English Gin, English Vodka is another spirit that is being made in England by large and small distillers all over the country.
Wild Knight Distillery
Beachamwell, Norfolk, PE37 8BJ
Wild Knight makes their Vodka using water from ancient chalk aquifers and Norfolk Barley, creating a Vodka with some kick. They also make a caramel infused version called Nelson’s Gold for something creamy, sweet and completely different.
Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0EH
Organic producer Godminster began their Vodka making journey by experimenting with leftover fruit and the first batches were trialled by the staff and their families. They offer a small selection of infused Vodkas such as blackberry, elderflower and Horseradish using organic Vodka bought in from London. The blackberry is like drinking blackberry cough sweets but with a kick at the end, the elderflower is much more tame, being fruity and hints at citrus, being very refreshing and the Horseradish is not for the faint-hearted as it has some kick.
A good deal of England’s history can be told through its antiques and England is the place to buy them. Whether you are interested in a Queen Anne Chair or an Edwardian Bookcase, a Victorian Seed Pearl Ring or a Georgian Sapphire Brooch, maybe an antique costume, whatever you like, you will find unique antique items in England’s Antique shops in towns and villages all over, or maybe go to an antiques auction for an exciting buying experience; just be careful scratching your nose!
For hundreds of years, English Silver has been rated as the finest in the world and the best place to buy the best English Silver is of course England. Bargains can sometimes be found in antique shops, but most dealers will know the current value, so buy things you really like from auctions, antique shops or jewellers.
Blue John Items
Blue John is a natural stone crystal that can only be found from one seam in the hills near Castleton, Derbyshire. The Crystal is polished and used in jewellery and ornaments and because of the variation in the crystal each item will always be completely unique.
English National Trust and English Heritage Memento’s
The National Trust and English Heritage are charities that look after the heritage of the country. They both supplement their income with gift shops at many of their historical sites and have some shops in other places. They both often stock unusual and unique items as well as logo memorabilia; lookout for pretty mugs, milk jugs and tea towels from the National Trust or Stonehenge memorabilia or maybe a Battle of Hastings Chess Set from English Heritage.
Union Jack and County Flag Memorabilia
Union Jack memorabilia can be found in many places across England and include just about everything you can think of and maybe some things that you hadn’t thought of as well.
Some of the counties of England also have their own flags and it is also possible to buy flags, bumper stickers, T-shirts and so on when visiting the gift shops in the counties. Cornwall especially has a thriving market of Cornwall or Kernow flag items.
Buckfast Tonic Wine and Homemade Tonic Marmalade
Visit Buckfastleigh Abbey on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon and you can buy some wonderful tonic wine, still made from the original Benedictine Monk’s secret recipe. Or you could buy some of their tasty homemade tonic marmalade made using the tonic wine that you can also buy at the Abbey.
England is famous for its Arts and Crafts Movement Antiques and Architecture, today there are many artisan craftsmen and craftswomen working tirelessly in all areas of the country and it is possible to buy some fabulous items.
Look out for people like Holly Jordan Anderson – Woven Textiles, wonderful use of textures and colours into fabric. Or Sadie Clancy’s “Quirky art and steampunk collectables, all handmade and a one-off” or Fabric art by Aruna Mene, a textile artist who specialises in vibrant fabric art from recycled textiles. Or look out for hand-turned wooden bowls and vessels, sculptures and garden items.
Undiscovered English Artists
As well as the galleries in London and the big companies like Hauser and Wirth there are small galleries, selling the work of local artists in many towns and cities. Often, the work of these almost completely undiscovered artists can be bought at very reasonable prices and who knows…. maybe one day, your chosen artist will become famous and your chosen piece will be worth a fortune. A piece of original art makes a fantastic unique gift or memento; especially if it reflects the area you have enjoyed visiting.
Some small galleries selling local interest art include:
The Strand Art Gallery
Brixham Harbour Devon, TQ5 8EH
They boast over 400 paintings for sale featuring the Brixham Artists who often feature on television, offering seascapes and vistas of the local area and more.
Colchester School of Art
The Minories, 74 High Street, Colchester Essex, CO1 1UE
A professionally run gallery in a historic Georgian building, exhibiting and selling art from students.
Or for work from well known contemporary English artists, there is:
The Harley Gallery
Wellbeck, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, S80 3LW
They have exhibitions of work from leading contemporary artists that change about 5 times a year.
With names like Royal Worcester, Denby and Wedgewood, English pottery is world-renowned and the best place to buy English Pottery is in England.
Sadly the famous blue and white striped Cornishware pottery is now outsourced and made overseas, it is however quite possible to find some genuine Cornish Made Cornishware in antique and vintage shops and markets. There are also a few Cornish potters and you can buy some genuine Cornish pottery made with Cornish clay in Cornwall:
Chouch Studio Pottery
33 W End, Redruth TR15 2SA
Chough Studio Pottery sells a wide range of English Pottery from their Redruth store, or course this includes Cornish pottery.
Nat Bonney Ceramics, Unit 4 College Hill, Penryn TR10 8FN
Look out for Natalie Bonney Ceramics near Falmouth for functional handmade stoneware. Buy direct or from some local independent shops.
At craft fairs and markets all over England as well as in independent health food shops, you can buy lovely handmade completely plant-based naturally fragranced soap. Many are certified organic and vegan.
Fragranced with things like rose, geranium, lavender and rosemary the soaps are a luxurious treat as well as being good for your skin and often beautifully presented.
Hessle, East Riding of Yorkshire, HU13 0BW
Offer soaps made with olive oil are SLS and paraben-free.
The range includes Stimulating, Refreshing and Invigorating Rosemary Soap. immune system stimulant Tea Tree Soap and healing and purifying Peppermint Soap.
Or for a bigger brand go for Neal’s Yard whose products are all made in England, are cruelty-free, sustainable, natural and organic and they are a carbon-neutral company. They are Vegan Society and Soil Association registered too.
Gillingham Dorset, SP8 4EU
Choose from Lavender and Tea Tree, Wild Rose or Geranium and Orange soaps. They have a few shops around the country as well as the original Neal’s Yard in London where it all began.
English Lavender Products
These days when most people think of Lavender they think of the pictures of the Lavender fields of France, but England has a long tradition of Lavender fields and creating natural Lavender products too. Here are four Lavender fields in England:
Mayfield Lavender Farm
1 Carshalton Rd, Banstead SM7 3JA
In Banstead, you’ll find Mayfield Lavender Farm where 25 acres of lavender is grown. It’s popular as an Instagram hotspot but you can also buy organic oil and lavender product. The farm is open to the public from June to September.
Terrington, York, YO60 6PB
Yorkshire Lavender is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). They have a range of products created from their own Lavender, including bubble bath, hand wash, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner.
Hill Barn Farm Snowshill, Broadway, Worcestershire, WR12 7JY
Cotswold Lavender grows 12 varieties of Lavender and offer a wide range of Lavender products for skincare, fragrance, wellbeing, gifts, culinary and seeds.
The Hop Shop
Castle Farm, Redmans Lane, Nr Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 7UB
Castle Farm is the largest producer of Lavender in the UK and has a strong conservation policy.
Visit them and explore their shop where they sell pure lavender essential oils as well as therapeutic blends. They also sell plants, dried flowers and gift packs.
Fudge may have been invented in America, but English Fudge has a strong following and English producers have made Fudge their own.
Hemsted House, Lyminge Kent, CT18 8DL
With 35 years experience Fudge Kitchen offers a large range of fudge and fudge based items, such as selection boxes, gift boxes, union jack boxes and even a fudge wedding cake sculpture and a lot of their range is Vegan-friendly.
Burley, New Forest, Hampshire, BH24 4BS
Burley Fudge also offers a wide range of flavours and fudge based items, including sugar-free and vegan items. They have a decadent fudge hamper and even a Fudge Club.
Cadbury’s chocolate are famous world-wide but the chocolatier originally started in England by selling their Dairy Milk bar in 1914. While you can find the chocolates in any stores make your trip special by taking a visit to Cadbury’s World in Birmingham and get the full experience.
Church Cottage, Grasmere, Ambleside LA22 9SW
In a picturesque village in the Lake District, you’ll find the famous Grasmere Gingerbread. When you walk into the shop the smell of spices and the aroma of gingerbread wafting through. Invented by Victorian cook Sarah Nelson in 1854 it’s now been passed down to third-generation owners Joanne and Andrew Hunter.
Maldon Sea Salt
Located in Seaside town of Maldon Essex is Maldon Sea Salt. Generations of the Osborne‘s have been harvesting the naturally formed pyramid crystals to create some of the best sea salt.
In 2012, Maldon Sea Salt was granted a Royal Warrant by the Queen as official purveyors of sea salt so you know it’s pretty good.
This is just a selection of things that can only be bought in England and places where they can be bought. There are so many great things you can buy in England, I have a whole list just for London.