Victoria Clothes and Gifts


Last year I decided that I was going to do all, yes all, of my Christmas shopping in Penrith. It was actually quite easy because we have so many interesting independent shops here. Even easier because I was able to do all of my ‘female relatives and friends’ shopping in one shop, and that shop was Victoria.

The swag included: necklaces and earrings, a notebook with an embroidered cover, scarves and mittens.  Then there are the clothes. Victoria stocks Fairtrade and organic cotton clothing in the most beautiful jewel-like colours. These are very special clothes; ethically made, distinctive and stylish.  Since Victoria’s clothing is well made and good quality it also lasts; I am still wearing a skirt bought from Victoria close on 10 years ago, and my favourite blue cardigan is not far behind.

A final tale from last Christmas – I put my Victoria bag down in our shop and somebody else picked it up by accident. I hadn’t even noticed it was missing until I had a ‘phone call from Victoria.  The people who picked it up realised it wasn’t theirs, but saw the Victoria label on the bag and took it back to the shop. They remembered me buying the necklaces, earrings and so on and took the trouble to hunt me down. That’s local service.

Victoria Clothes and Gifts, 53 Castlegate, CA11 7HY

01768 840994

Nominated by Liz Tipping, The New Hedgehog Bookshop

Photo by John Burrows Photography

Just Sew

Just sew2

Just Sew is an Aladdin’s Cave of everything textile-related. Helpful, knowledgeable staff can help you with your selection. Their fabulous array of dress and patchwork fabrics is complemented by their range of ribbons, buttons and trimmings, patterns, cross stitch kits and craft items.

Just Sew run classes and workshops and attend patchwork fairs to promote themselves and Penrith

Just Sew, Poet’s Walk, Penrith CA11 7HJ
01768 866791

Nominated by Liz Allinson, The Lion Gallery and the Unicorn Gallery

Photo by John Burrows Photography

Dave Hudson Electrical


Dave Hudson Electrical in Great Dockray stock just about any electrical appliance you could possibly need. There’s so much more than you can see from the street; they have two floors of fridges, freezers, cookers, and on and on it goes, and it’s all reliable good quality stuff.

But the thing that makes Dave Hudson Electrical so special is that it’s really easy to buy from them. Really it is. They know what they have in stock and if they don’t have it they can find it. Best of all, they deliver throughout Cumbria at a time that suits you. There’s none of this internet business of “we may arrive any time between 8am and 6pm and probably when you just nipped out for 5 mins so you’ll need to take another day off work” with Dave Hudson. Not at all, Dave Hudson deliver when it’s actually convenient for you.

Sometimes that is very quickly; years ago when our washing machine broke down the day before we were due to go on holiday I made a quick call and they delivered a new machine within hours. That’s a level of service which you just won’t get from a big chain.

Does this mean it costs you more? Not necessarily. Dave Hudson Electrical are often cheaper than the “big boys” as well. When I bought a new vacuum cleaner for the shop it was actually £10 less than the same thing online, and I didn’t need to wait days for delivery either.

The other thing I need to mention is vacuum cleaner bags. You know how supermarkets never have the right sort? Dave Hudson do.

Dave Hudson Electrical 31-32 Great Dockray, Penrith CA11 7DB

01768 862747

Nominated by Liz Tipping, New Hedgehog Bookshop

Photo by John Burrows Photography

Worldwide Travel

Worldwide travel2Worldwide Travel is a family-run independent travel agent, where nothing is too much trouble. They really care about your holiday. Lorraine and her team provide a friendly helpful service which is second to none.

They support the local economy by using local printers and cleaning services.

Worldwide Travel, 4 Bowling Green Lane, Penrith CA11 7GN

01768 865918

Nominated by Stephen Hall, Five Gifts

Photo by John Burrows Photography




Sands Giftware


If you’re inspired by programmes like Masterchef and GB Bake-off, you’ll love browsing Sands kitchenware department for new gizmos to brighten up your kitchen and make light work of cooking and baking. Or maybe you’re looking for a great wedding, birthday or kitchen gift?

From functional to frivolous, there is a wide range of kitchen ware to choose from, including the addictive and colourful Joseph Joseph. Sands giftware department houses a huge collection of Border Fine Arts gifts, the fun retro of Orla Kiely as well as the traditional china and glass ranges such as Royal Crown Derby and Waterford Crystal.

John and Sandra Siddle opened Sands in 1976 and still play an active part in the business, which their son Dale now manages. For Dale, being surrounded by the best in cookware is a far cry from his time as a Scots Guardsman in Northern Ireland, when his kitchen equipment consisted only of a mess tin and a Thermos. Dale says “When I first set up home for myself, I bought a load of cheap equipment that didn’t last – my aim for Sands is to make sure I get in products that do last, but are still good value.”  His friendly team are always happy to explain how things work, and recommend the best product for the job in hand.

Sure, you can get kitchenware online (and Sands have an extensive web catalogue), but there’s nowt to beat picking things up, and trying them out.

Sands Giftware, 16 Devonshire Street, Penrith CA11 7SR

01768 865783

Nominated by Ali Turnbull,

Photo by John Burrows Photography



White & Green

white and green

White & Green sell an eclectic mix of accessories for the home and garden. The inspiration comes for free. It’s a shop that fills you with ideas and inspiration, the mix of accessories for home and garden helps you to complete that look you are after for your home. I use a lot of the fantastic paints White & Green have for the photo frames I sell to my customers, and for giving life to some old furniture I may use for a photo shoot..

From the first time I met the owner Sonja Tilleard, she has been friendly and asked about my business so she can point people in the right direction if they require my services. She has a great eye for detail and is fantastic at helping you if you need advice – whether it be choosing the correct paint, how to give your furniture a new lease of life, finding someone that special gift or finding that item to accessorise your home or garden.

Sonja lives in Ireby and helps to organise the annual Ireby Festival.

White & Green, 44 King St, Penrith CA11 7AY

01768 868558

Find White & Green on Facebook   

Nominated by John Burrows, John Burrows Photography, who also took the photos

Lemon Tree Café-Bistro

Henry Lynch, Lemon Tree Cafe

You can tell that the Lemon Tree is a family-run operation, by the relaxed atmosphere, and attentive, personable service that you receive. The owners – Henry and Helen Lynch – are always working extremely hard whenever I go in, but they always have time for a chat with customers. The menu caters for all needs, whether it be a light bite or something more substantial.

Henry and Helen work their socks off, are very amenable, and the food is great. Their homemade drizzle cake is amazing!!

They are ever-willing to help and support the local area, and wherever possible they source produce from other local independent suppliers, including Littles the Butchers, The Fish Cellar (both near neighbours in the Devonshire Arcade) as well as James’ Fruit and Veg, Appleby Creamery and Farrer’s of Kendal. They are open from 8.30am – 5pm, but are happy to open up for groups booking an evening celebration.

The Lemon Tree Café-Bistro, 20 Devonshire Arcade, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7SX

01768 864110

Nominated by Greg Forbes, Smoked

Photo by John Burrows Photography

Gentleman’s Clothing & Accessories

Jumali Gentlemans clothing and accessoriesI love this shop. I have been lucky enough to have ‘proper’ gentlemen in my life, and every time I waltz into this quietly unassuming shop, the smells and impeccable order of the accessories reminds me of very happy memories with my grandfather and stepfather, and how traditional male grooming ‘should’ be.

Jumali has been bringing a little bit of Bond Street style to Penrith for four years. His range includes shaving products from Geo F Trumper (the only supplier in Cumbria) and Taylor of Old Bond Street; Cheaney English shoes , Gardeur trousers and Greencoast knitwear.

Jumali’s service is excellent and the sheer range of products in such a small space is astounding. Each customer is dealt with individual attention (which sometimes means I have had to wait – but tis worth it) and when you buy anything, he wraps it in tissue paper before popping in a bag which makes it feel like a special treat. I think this shop is so underrated, I didn’t know it existed for years, but now rave about it!

Nominated by Jili Allen, Jili Allen Creative

Jumali stocks a fantastic range of colognes, shaving and gentlemen’s grooming products, as well as quality shirts, suits, trousers, shoes and accessories. Nothing is too much trouble for Jumali, he’s very friendly and knowledgeable about the products he stocks.

Nominated by Tim Lorton, Tattie Tim’s (World famous) Baked Potatoes

Gentleman’s Clothing & Accessories, 6 Devonshire Arcade, Penrith CA11 7SX

01768 868777

Photo by John Burrows Photography

Seagraves & Dixon


Seagraves & Dixon electrical shop in Cornmarket sells a wide range of light bulbs, lamps, lampshades and other electrical appliances. Kelvin and Helena Kate Dixon offer a personal friendly service – they let me take two lamp shades home so that I could see which was most suitable. Kelvin is very active with Penrith Chamber of Trade, and with Penrith Players.

 Nominated by Nicky Higgins, Ginger holiday cottages

I highly recommend Seagraves & Dixon lighting shop in Cornmarket. Kelvin Dixon is fabulous and will literally go to any lengths (I’ve seen him offer to cut and rewire an extension cable because an elderly customer was insistent it had to be 5 feet – no more, no less) to make sure a customer leaves happy and on the understanding that nothing is too much bother.

Nominated by Jili Allen, Jili Allen Creative

Seagraves and Dixon, 24 Corn Market, Penrith CA11 7HS

01768 862126

Photo by John Burrows Photography


Tim Roebuck Opticians

tim roebuck and team

If Tim Roebuck were not a dispensing optician, a career in stand-up comedy would surely await him. There is always a smile and often uproarious laughter in this optician’s practice. The happy atmosphere makes everyone feel at ease for the sensible and professional business of eye testing and choosing new glasses. True family businesses are a dying breed, but this is one of them – with Tim’s wife Susan, daughter Kerry and son Jonathan all making up the happy team with Eric, Diane, Lesley and the occasional Dalek.

Tim found his calling when he realised he was rubbish at maths and left school early to work with Eric in Carlisle.  Now Tim spends a lot of his day doing the measuring and sums to make sure your glasses and contact lenses fit. Nothing wrong with his maths, then!

There’s no pressure to choose frames in a hurry and the team are happy to open every drawer in the shop till you find what you like.  Listen for the sharp intake of breath that says ‘these ones aren’t quite for you’ – they know what they are talking about and they give good advice.

Tim Roebuck Opticians, 4 King Street, Penrith CA11 7AR

01768 899944

Nominated by Ali Turnbull, fit to print

Photo by John Burrows Photography

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