Staff have been in touch with us to share some of their favourite, independent shops from coffee houses to family farms, from gift shops to bookstores. Now that regulations have eased, these independent businesses are going to need support more than ever in the wake of the pandemic. Here are suggestions from staff for hidden gems in Worcester and the surrounding region. No one has paid for the inclusion of a link here – these are all genuine tips.
Method Coffee – Worcester
“The Method Coffee Shop is next to our very own Jenny Lind building. They sell fully traceable single origin coffees, sustainably sourced and freshly roasted on site.
Their shop is now open, with temporary hours, but you can also subscribe to them online. They will deliver your coffee through your letterbox!”
Rock Follies Vintage – Worcester
“I really like ‘Rock Follies Vintage’ in Worcester city centre’s Reindeer Court. Rock Follies Vintage offers an Aladdin’s cave of vintage clothing, jewellery, bags, sewing patterns and accessories. From costume brooches, to retro glassware this place is a gallery of curiosities and delights that plays timeless musical classics whilst you browse.” The shop has re-opened Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm.
Paradiddles Music Café bar – Sidbury, Worcester
“They are an independent café and bar in Sidbury, Worcester and they do a brilliant job of supporting the Worcester music scene. They have recently started putting on gigs outside in their courtyard – all socially distanced and so carefully thought through. They also offer great food, including stone baked pizzas and vegan cakes from a local vegan bakers Rebel Rebel bakes (another independent business). The owners, Rachel and Kit, are so friendly and welcoming and they do so much for Worcester’s creative folk!!”
The venue is offering table service at the moment and you can either walk or book a table in advance. The gigs are all being held outside in their courtyard and they have limited tickets which have to be bought in advance to manage social distancing.
Goodroots coffee shop – Diglis, Worcester
“An urban, modern cafe based in the Diglis area serving local produces tasty dishes from breakfast and lunch. Their very own custom coffee blend is amazing and has a real sense of community with sustainability at it heart. Lovely to stop there after a walk around the river.”
Fuego Neapolitan Pizza & Grill – Worcester
“An amazing pizza restaurant.”
The restaurant has put in place a number of measures related to Covid-19 guidelines, such as hand sanitisers on the way in and out, updated cleaning procedures and temperature checks for staff. Open for dine in or takeaway.
Jingo Clothing – Worcester
“A lovely small independent men’s clothes shop in Worcester. Jingo is in the the heart of the high street and offers vintage fashion and streetwear for men as well as lots of different clotting accessories for all. Very friendly staff and always have new stock coming into store to keep up to date with trends.”
Checketts of Ombersley
“Whether you’re looking for fresh meat & fish, local deli goods, homemade snack or sandwich to take away or a tranquil spot for breakfast brunch, lunch or afternoon tea Checketts has it all! There are also some lovely walks around the local area of Ombersley so make sure to check them out.” Checketts of Ombersley includes a butcher’s shop, bakery, fishmongers, deli, gift shop and coffee shop. The name has been associated with the village since 1925.
Churchfields Farm – Droitwich
“Churchfields is a favourite as, in my opinion, you really can’t beat their ice cream! In normal times there’s nothing better than a lunch in the restaurant, followed by your favourite scoops. There’s always a wide variety of tempting flavours to try, with over 30 on offer – from bubblegum to jaffa cake! You can also take home a tub afterwards.” The fifth generation family farm is a working dairy farm, producing award-winning milk and ice cream. It has managed to remain open in some capacity throughout the lockdown and is continuing to offer a call & collect service, bringing groceries out to people’s car boots. But it is now able to offer a wider range of its normal services, including food and drink (all must be eaten outside), the fairy trail, maize trail, farm shop and ice cream counter. Latest guidance for what is open and how they are operating is on the website.
Abbey Road Coffee – Malvern
“Hidden in plain sight, this coffee and tea shop just off the High Street is just a stone’s throw from the Abbey in Great Malvern. It also offers plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options too.” At present the venue is only open for takeaways, and the aim is to be open as much as possible, 10am-3pm.
Great Malvern Farmers Market
“One which immediately springs to mind is the Great Malvern Farmers Market – this runs on the third Saturday of every month so the next one will be August 15. It’s small, friendly, with great value and local produce – bread, veg, cut flowers, chutneys, cheeses, cider, and all superbly organised and run by Steve and Becks Boffy. There has been lots of lovely feedback on their Facebook page about how safe people felt shopping there.”
Hus and Hem – Ledbury
“Hus & Hem is on online Scandinavian design store where you will find a smörgåsbord of delicious furnishing, fabrics and gifts for the house and home. Their brick and mortar shop is elegant and full of interesting things, but you can also shop online. Their Nursem hand cream and Haan Hand sanitsers are terrific!”
Black Bough – Ludlow
“Black Bough sells vintage watches, household items, stationery, art, and books old and new. They say: ‘We stock items that we think are well made, well designed and… well priced. Some of the things that we stock are old, some are new, all are made with consideration and care’. All available to buy online.”
Isherwood and co. – Birmingham
“Isherwood is an independent neighbourhood florist in Stirchely, Birmingham. They have an amazing house plant selection, and happily share their knowledge and expertise. They have paused their mail order service while they concentrate on re-opening their bricks and mortar shop, but hope that their online offer will return soon!”
Bartrums – Hay on Wye
“Bartrums is lovely small stationery, fine pen and gift shop in Hay-on-Wye. Monty Don wrote that it’s a “pen shop that I love dropping into to feed my pen addiction. It smells right, with that inky, papery smell all good stationery shops should have and they are just as happy to sell you a pencil as a finely crafted 18 carat pen”. You can also order some of their products online. Although you could probably find most things on Amazon, they take the time to wrap everything and put it together so beautifully – a good old fashioned parcel.”
Booths bookshop – Hay on Wye
“After you’ve visited Bartrums, pop across the road to Booths Bookshop – a renowned 3-floor emporium for new and used books, in a striking tiled building. Keep an eye on their website and watch for the re-opening of their charming café and cinema.”
“Meringue Girls are your go to for sweet treats. They aren’t local to Worcestershire, but they are a small and independent bakery, with options to ship their products anywhere in the country. Their postable birthday boxes were very helpful for lockdown celebrations with faraway family. They are also very generous with their recipes and tips, so you can make your own meringues.” You’ll find all the details on their website.
Narraways Butchers in St Johns, Worcester
“Supported me while shielding by taking orders over the phone and delivering pies cheese black pudding and my usual favourites”
Pack it In – Zero waste living – Worcester
“In the old covered market hall in Worcester – had flour when none was to be had from online suppliers, and keeps me sorted for refills of washing liquid, washing up liquid, loofah pan cleaners, spices, nuts, muesli and the best chocolate covered cherries and ginger anywhere!”
House of Haby – Worcester
“Again in the old market hall, a proper haberdashery shop, (remember haberdashery?? look it up, they are rare!) even had fluorescent elastic last week when I popped in for mask supplies. Nice range of knitting goods, sewing needs and fabrics. A boon now the lovely Tything and Crowngate independent fabric shops have gone.”
We want to hear about more of your favourite places, be that book shops, music venues or coffee houses. Send us your suggestions and we’ll include as many as possible in a a future blog post.