Not only is the Isle of Wight a wonderfully windswept spot to hike, cycle, horse-ride and bird-watch, it’s also a prize location for some serious shopping therapy. With a gleaming array of stores to browse, visitors to this pretty island can guarantee a bag or two full of brilliance to be squeezed into their suitcase on the way home. From home-grown produce to sugary sweets, books to bracelets and everything in between, here’s our guide to the top places to find a unique memento of your trip to the Isle of Wight.
The Garlic Farm
Whether you’re a budding chef, a believer in natural remedies or simply unconvinced that vampires are fictional, head to the Isle of Wight’s magnificent Garlic Farm. Approved by England’s other queen and everyone’s favourite nana Mary Berry, the farm offers a vast range of products, most of which are unsurprisingly garlic based. With the sometimes controversial kitchen staple available in all forms (for cooking and eating, for growing and as a gift) the farm makes for a brilliant day out as well as a unique place to stock up on local veg.
For unrivalled elegance, head to Isle of Wight Pearl. Stocking beautiful handcrafted jewellery featuring pearls carefully sourced from all over the world, the store itself affords incredible clifftop views, making your visit a truly sensory experience and an utter joy. Though the gifts are at the pricier end of the scale, these unique pieces will be a memory to treasure forever, and what could be better than supporting a 30-year strong family business on this tiny but spectacular island?
The biggest arts and crafts centre on all the island, Arreton Barns is a collection of studios and stores open seven days a week to visitors. This traffic-free community space with its own pub, shops, duck pond, church and village green offers a taste of island life before the complications of traffic jams and poor Wi-Fi connection. Pick up a slab of local cheese from Farmer Jack’s or a lump of melt-on-your-tongue fudge from Sweet Memories.
An unmissable stop on your spending spree. For the true eccentric character of the Isle of Wight, head along to the much-loved Babushka Books. One of only three bookshops on the whole island, Babushka is a lively spot and something a little different from the hallowed silence that can swallow you among the shelves of most second-hand stores. Proud of its jolly atmosphere, impressive selection and tumbledown appearance, Babushka is vital if you’re looking for a literary memento of your visit to this picturesque isle.
With a kaleidoscopic window display just crying out to be shown off on your Instagram feed, The Pink Elephant Sweet Shop tastes just as good as it looks. More than just pretty pink confections, when it comes to sugary delights, this store truly delivers. From tumbling gummy bears to classic towering jars of traditional lollipops, The Pink Elephant guarantees you a sugar rush to remember.
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Originally founded in 1994 to restore French furniture, Bayliss and Booth has since expanded into a reassuringly tasteful homeware store. Along with its original fare, the shop now stocks beautiful bee-patterned glassware, sumptuous bed linen, artisan cosmetic products and a great deal more besides. Treat yourself to a sweet-scented soap, a hand-crafted candle or an exquisitely designed rolling pin (rolling pins are going to be big in 2018, you heard it from us first!)
A few footsteps farther off-the-beaten-track is the lovely Oasis (not to be confused with the fancy women’s clothing store, though we think it’s probably just as much fun to shop at). This place is bursting with quirky animal carvings, delightful ornaments and original artwork too. It’s unpretentious and a world away from the trendy highstreet hygge we’ve become obsessed with. Head back to basics and search among the bizarre trinkets for something entirely unique, and unmistakably ‘Isle of Wight’.
Sometimes just buying the gift isn’t enough. An unquestionably memorable souvenir is the one you made yourself. While away a blustery afternoon on the island at Fire Art Ceramic Studio, where you can carefully paint your plate or butter dish, wait for it to be fired and take it home as a lasting relic from your Isle of Wight adventure.