Where to Visit the Best Lifestyle Emporiums across the South East
The Packhouse, Farnham - this stunning building houses a wonderful mix of gifts, homeware and jewellery.
We all love a lifestyle store. They feel like shopping in the past, before the internet, when you were never sure what you were going to find but you knew that there would be plenty of hidden treasures to discover. These lifestyle stores are starting to pop up across the country but there are still only a few that really tick all the boxes. At The Oak Tree and Acorn Company our criteria for a top emporium covers four key areas: convenient location, attractive building, selection/range of gorgeous products and a quality tea room!
A lot of places try to get it right, but a lot also fail. The problem is that to have a great selection of gifts and homeware products you need to draw in a wide range of suppliers, but you then also need to make it look fantastic and not like a jumble sale. One of our favourite destinations, that does this beautifully is The Packhouse in Farnhamwww.packhouse.com Being our most local store we have watched this gorgeous building evolve and develop over the past few years and it now draws crowds in from across the south with it’s fantastic product range and renowned restaurant www.bearsrestaurant.com .
It holds a selection of affordable, but attractive gifts – including our range of mugs, teatowels, crockery, jugs and bowls – but you can also find antiques next to soft furnishings and handmade, local products. Located just off the A31 in Farnham it is so easy to visit that it’s not surprising the restaurant is often fully booked and the carpark full.
And so, on a long weekend of shopping experiences, we may find that we decide to wind our way to The Emporium Somerset in Wellingtonwww.theemporiumsomerset.co.uk . Another beautiful location, set in a pretty market town, offering products from over 50 different sellers.
We love the historic building and vibe when we enter this quirky space. It’s a place to go for inspiration, they run heaps of workshops for people who fancy getting their creative juices going – have a go at upcyclying, sewing or painting. There’s no space for a coffee shop amongst all the gorgeous bespoke stalls and original local products, but being in the heart of Wellington there is no shortage of places to stop for drink and to discuss your inevitable purchases.
Another option could be Mabel’s Emporium, Burgess Hillwww.mabelsemporium.com set in the heart of the town, a stone’s throw from Brighton, this a surprising find in this commuter belt town. Whilst the actual exterior of the building isn’t as pretty as some of the other lifestyle stores we’ve been in the interior has been designed to create a fantastic space for displaying a diverse range of gifts, homeware, antiques and local products.
You definitely get a feeling of creativity as you enter the building and you’re never sure what you might find within. There’s a wide selection of workshops on offer that will appeal to people wanting to learn new skills. On the day we went there was a scrapbooking event and we could see a sewing workshop in the diary for the following day. Finally, it has the added bonus of fantastic tea room nestled into the store and stocked with plenty of homemade produce, with most dietary requirements catered for.
Further afield, if your travels take you closer to the M5, then a great destination shopping experience is at the Original Malthouse Emporium, Tewkesburywww.malthouseemporium.com .
Walk through the doors and you find an eclectic mix of antiques, gifts, collectables and upcycling. A cute little café sits in the centre of the building selling a delicious range of teas and coffees and light snacks. Rumour has it that they will be opening a second store in Stroud, using the same formula of unique traders all under one roof, with a selection of diverse, carefully stocked products.
We’re always more than happy to while away some time in these carefully put together stores. We love how they are managed by people who really want to offer something different to the market. They encourage local talent and crafts people by selling their products next to more established names that are always a hit with customers. Why spend hours trawling the internet for the perfect present when you can find a unique venue like a lifestyle emporium all across the South and South East. We’re always interested in your opinions about any stores you’ve been to that tick all our boxes, we’d love to know, so we can visit too email@example.com
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