Forget Kindles! Once you’ve visited the Persephone bookshop in Lamb’s Conduit Street, WC1, you’ll want to read and own every one of their beautiful books. Persephone publish books by undeservedly neglected authors. As well as being entirely engrossing reading, each one is a beautiful object in itself, with its silver-grey covers and endpapers which reproduce designs from the period during which it was written. The shop itself is delightful; crammed with books and beautiful objects, and run by charming staff who are always happy to help and advise, it’s a firm favourite of mine – my bookshelves are the proof!
The Southbank, London
I’ve been coming here since I was a child, when my parents used to bring me to the National Film Theatre (now the BFI) and the Festival Hall. I love the mix of different things that are always going on, whether its music, dance, films, market stalls or exhibitions – and it’s very family-friendly too. A great place to visit, especially during the summer or at Christmas time.
Another place that holds very happy childhood memories for me and one which my partner and I still continue to visit.
George Borrow said “You can only see Cornwall or know anything about it by walking through it.” He was right, and our walking-boots are proof that we’ve followed his advice, having covered miles and miles of its coastline and footpaths.
So much more than just a coffee shop, Caracoli has a great atmosphere, and serves an array of wonderful food and drink, including home baked cakes, delicious salads and fresh bread. They also stock some beautiful products for the home. My favourite seat in the shop (and I suspect it’s everyone else’s too) is right at the end, where you can sit on a high stool and get a great view of the length of Guildford High Street. The perfect place to enjoy a coffee and watch the world go by.
Bar des Arts
Another fantastic venue that’s also a relatively new addition to Guildford, Bar des Arts is a cafe during the day, and a wine and cocktail bar by night. The atmosphere and the decor are truly unique, and there’s a really lively buzz about the place, due in no small part to the energy and enthusiasm of the staff.
Bar des Arts host some brilliant events too, including live music nights, art exhibitions and business networking meetings.
Not on the High Street
If you’re after a unique gift either for someone else or as a treat for yourself, then this is the place to go. I love their jewellery and could quite happily spend ages looking at the wonderful designs on offer. The service is great and you really feel as if you’re getting something special and a bit more meaningful.
Quite simply, Kusmi Tea does the best Earl Grey I’ve ever tasted. And the tins are beautiful too.