If you’re like me, the idea of jostling a hoard of shoppers in malls during the run up to Christmas fills you with dread. While it’s easier to shop online, it’s a solitary task. You miss the festive decorations, the boozy lunches, etc. And let’s face it, many virtual images bear no resemblance to what is eventually delivered (which can be after Christmas if there’s a rush on).
Having a short break in Harrogate this autumn will give you access to some fantastic stores. In addition to the common shop brands that you find on every high street, Harrogate has an appealing mix of independent retailers. Read on to see our top picks for Christmas shopping in Harrogate.
Miss Claire Rose – 4a Commercial Street
Brimming with practical and whimsical items, you’re bound to tick off several gifts at Miss Claire Rose. From pretty homeware to handmade lingerie, it’s amazing what you can find in this shop, many of which are hand-crafted or Fairtrade. And if you really can’t decide, they offer gift vouchers.
Hoopers – 28-32 James Street
If you’re after designer-led gifts, Hoopers must be the store of choice. Having only three other locations in the UK, they are not your run-of-the-mill department store. They have a top fragrance and beauty section, as well as an impressive choice of high-end hosiery for those Christmas parties. They have many appealing gift ideas, such as a funky Joseph corkscrew, or handmade glassware by LSW International. If you have no idea what to buy, they even offer a personal shopper service.
Rafi’s Spicebox – 15 Commercial Street
The amazing aromas, as you walk through the door of this family-run business, will have you salivating for tandoori masala with pilau rice. They take spice mixing seriously, and their wonderfully crafted blends, both delicate and eye-watering, will delight anyone you know who enjoys making authentic curries from scratch. You can also pick up condiments and breads to complete the dishes.
Sophie Likes – 36 Beulah Street
There’s no other way to say this – Sophie Likes is definitely girly. But that’s okay by me, as she sells fantastically frivolous and fun gifts. If you know a gin fanatic, why not go for the gin & tonic bath soak? If you need to buy for a baby, you’ll love the alien leggings. Sophie has gone to great lengths to sell items that you won’t easily find elsewhere. They also sell a selection of fairy lights that you can use all year round. (Or am I the only one who doesn’t take them down after Christmas?)
Illingworth’s Hardware – 113 Cold Bath Road
If you know a DIY fan, it’s worth heading over to Cold Bath Road to this traditional hardware store. Apart from a comprehensive array of DIY products (and expert advice), they have gift ideas such as attractive enamelled kitchenware by Garden Products, fresh flowers and baskets. With such an eclectic mix of items, Illingworth’s is a top place to browse for Christmas gifts in Harrogate.
I hope you'll come and see for yourself all the unique Christmas gifts Harrogate has to offer.
Kimberley Wilson & Simon Storer
owners and operators of The Camberley