Paxton & Whitfield has been Britain's leading cheese monger. The rich and the famous, royalty and politicians alike all beat a path to their door. In Stratford, that door hides a beamed shop with low ceilings and a warm, intimate atmosphere. The inviting shop is a perfect place to browse and taste a variety of hand-made cheeses that are aged to perfection. Every tasty morsel associated with cheese is available, from bread and biscuits to pickles and the most plump olives with herbs. Please call for open hours.
Meridien Maps carries an exclusive range of old prints. For example, you could buy a delicately hand-colored 19th-century print. Choose from rolling landscapes, detailed still life or a sporting moment frozen in time. You will also find a wide range of fascinating old maps, all of which tell you so much about the changing face of Britain. If you cannot find what you want, then you could use the unique search service that the gallery offers. All of the prints are mounted and you can have them specially wrapped and sent anywhere in the world.
The jewelry industry developed in the city from the mid-19th Century. At its peak in the early part of the 20th Century, it employed nearly 20,000 workers. Today, the Jewellery Quarter is a bustling area that produces over a third of the UK's jewelry, and you can find tons of bargains in its many small shops. It's also home to the award-winning Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and some good restaurants.
Chaucer Head Bookshop is a gloriously, well-organized stock of books that seemingly covers every subject. There are specialist sections on Shakespeare, the theater, English literature, topography and natural history, nestling amongst the shelves. Many of the books are easily affordable but you will also find the more expensive "coffee table" photographic masterpiece here. The shop carries a range of unusual greeting cards and Tudor quills with which to make your mark! Note that the building is thought to date back to Shakespeare's time.
Set in the old market area of Stratford-upon-Avon, Rother Street now plays host to a series of Farmers' Markets. Held on the first and third Saturdays of the summer months, the Farmers' Market is your chance for you to buy local produce directly from local people. As more of us become concerned about what we eat, these markets give you the chance to ask before you buy. Whether it's cheeses, chutney or sausages you want, you can be sure that this market will pass your taste test. This market is held only on the first and third Saturdays.
Vinegar Hill is a delightful gift shop which leads on to a coffee shop and then on to a sandwich shop. All offer items of exquisite taste! The gift shop specializes in hand made wrapping paper and cards, ribbons, bows and a range of candles and small picture frames. It also features a selection of unique gifts including East European blue and white ceramics and a great collection of handcrafted wooden toys.
The Stratford Antiques Center is a joy for both the serious collector and the bargain hunter. Almost everything in antiques and bric-a-brac (except for large furniture) can be found here. The center's model train-maker is renowned for his ability to build and repair models to an incredible level of detail and accuracy. The owner has an impressive collection of art deco china, and is an accomplished author on the subject. Kate's Corner boasts jewelery from Victorian times to the 1960s, while in complete contrast nearby you will find toy soldiers, antique guns and fascinating scientific instruments. Pottery here includes Toby Jugs, Royal Worcester and Winstanley cats. Upstairs you will find nearly new clothes and fabrics, while the courtyard specialists have books, comics and portraits to tempt you to linger a little longer.
Color and creativity are the two words that sum up this shop. Whether you are browsing or buying, you will marvel at the effects and the glorious rainbow colors of these hand-painted silk designs. Choose from scarves to ties, waistcoats to handkerchiefs, cards to cushions. If you fancy trying silk painting yourself, take a look at the professionals at work in the shop. You can then buy a kit that contains everything you need to get started and to create your first highly individual mini masterpiece before you leave. Note that if you are arranging a wedding, you can commission personalized wedding items for a keepsake with a difference.