Searching for those last minute gift ideas? The Isle of Wight has many towns and villages all brimming with individual and unique boutique shops, perfect for finding that elusive original present. So we’ve complied a quick guide to shopping on the Island…
Yarmouth, for example, is great for an individual gift for someone special. Lovely designer clothes shops Blue and The Beach Hut cater from teenagers up to trendy third agers, the Deli has a fantastic range of food and Harwoods has so much more than just chandlery, with a extensive homeware section and great clothes too. Up the High Street, Drift has beautiful Buddhas, colourful Jerusalem glasses made in Gaza and a wonderful range of ethically sourced goods from around the world – all personally found by Katya and her husband John. Anne Toms’ Yarmouth Gallery has her stunning paintings, seagull covered ceramics by Neil Tregear, quirky sculptures and so much more that is all totally unique.
Cowes is obviously great for the sailor in your household, or your heart, and it has great smaller chains such as Fat Face, White Stuff and Joules. It’s perfect for the more upmarket stylish present and Angels Attic has loads of reasonable pretty party togs and Weirdfish has great t shirts for, well, the weirder fish of course. Buff is a great shop to shop for the man in your life – be it your son, your other half or your dad – with quirky, designer and outrageous ideas – this shop will make you smile. Live Like This has lots of cool vintage and modern items that will have you drooling and Pelham House Gallery has lovely artwork from Island artists and others.
Ryde has a lot of charity shops but don’t sniff at this – they can be a great source of individual quirky gifts. It also has wonderful individual shops such as Crocus, Dilettante, Smith and Stephenson and for anything choclately there’s the Chocolate Apothecary opposite the pier. Flagship store The House of Zabre has opened where Liberties once stood and has beautiful fashion clothing to complement its handbag range, along with a lovely little café.
Ventnor is good for vintage, old, arty and stylish stuff such as Sophie Honeybourne’s unique hand-made jewellery and the delightful Suze’s Room that has the coolest things: a copy of Tretchiko’s green lady, gold decorated shot glasses with matching jugs and vases, lovely vintage and designer clothes, Poole pottery tea sets and all manner of dead good gear. The Ventnorian has the most wonderful wooden toys and the best sit-upon vintage style racing cars for kids on the Island, including a to-die-for red pedal saloon. This is also the place for all your eco goods, super scented soaps, Manuka honey and even cashew nut peanut butter.
Godshill is great for Fair Trade gifts from Daisy Daisy, all manner of stylish stuff including designer wear and handbags in the Old Smithy, stunning glass from Isle of Wight Glass, cider and country wines from the Cider Barn, chocolate galore from Chocolate Island and lovely soft furnishings and knick knacks from Style Interiors. Or you could buy a voucher for an art lesson with Nicola Gibbs at the Oracle Gallery or a treatment at the Rainbow Rooms in the former Christmas Cottage at the foot of the hill to Godshill Church.
And don’t overlook Shanklin, which was good enough for Johnny Depp so it’s good enough for you. The coolest man on the planet visited Shanklin Arcade and went into Edwina Hadgkiss’s quirky vintage emporium ‘Odds and Sods’ and spent some time looking into her jewellery cabinet. This shop is a commission sales agency and takes 25 per cent so you might like to take unwanted presents in to be sold. Johnny also had a look in Volume One music shop where you might like to get something for the musician in your life. Artist Tony Trowbridge immortalised his visit by painting ‘Johnny Depp Stood Here’ on the pavement.