Lynton and Lynmouth, North Devon
Lynton and Lynmouth are perfectly placed for bracing sea walks and Exmoor produce. In Lynton, pick up handmade candles from Lyn Candles and browse jewellery and glass works in the Lyn Valley Arts and Crafts Centre, then stroll down to Lynmouth for harbour views and mulled wine in the 14th-century Rising Sun.
More than 200 art galleries, antiques shops, book stores and boutiques pack the high street and hidden flint-stone yards and alleys of the market town of Holt. Don’t miss the food hall of Bakers and Larners, a department store run by the Baker family since the 1760s.
Come December, Tenterden’s High Street is swathed in fairy lights, and tiny trees glitter above the town’s tile-roofed independent stores. Stock up on festive drinks at nearby Chapel Down Winery.
It’s best known for its literature festival, but Hay has plenty to offer in winter, too. There’s a themed Christmas tree and the town’s dozens of bookshops are an unbeatable hunting ground for thoughtful gifts for book-lovers.
Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire
Bradford on Avon is even more beautiful in its sparkling Christmas garb, and it punches well above its weight when it comes to shopping. Buy textiles and jewellery from Silver Street Studio, browse The Shambles’ timber-framed shops, and peruse the local crafts of
Made in Bradford on Avon.
Portree, Isle of Skye
The pink, blue, green and yellow houses lining Portree’s harbour are a welcome splash of colour in winter, and the jewellers, galleries and cafés in Somerled Square are just as vibrant. Skye Batiks’ bright Celtic designs make great gifts, as do the smellies from the Isle of Skye Soap Company.