Yesterday we went to Knutsford in Cheshire to have a wander around the shops there, which are mainly independent and individual.
Its a lovely little town with two parts to it, a top road as you drive in and then a more picturesque bottom road, which has lots of eateries for a spot of lunch.
One of the shops that caught my eye was Aunty Mabels Seat, which is run by Rebecca Davies, who recently scooped the title of best Newcomer at The Northern Design Awards. Rebecca used to run an interior design business in near by Didsbury and has taken her skills of co-ordinating interiors, to incorporate a bespoke upholstery service and craft workshops above the premises she now inhabits.
Just up the road from Aunty Mabels is the very smart florist , The Black Rose which caters for the Cheshire set’s events and had some lovely sculptural displays of succulents and seed heads in the window.
If you’re an antique hunter, you will love Knutsford Antique centre, housed in a grade II listed building opposite The Angel pub, where you will discover three floors of antiques and vintage finds. The centre has an assortment of dealers who all have separate units, making the variety interesting, from shabby chic french chairs, to old leather bound books.
Many of the antiques probably come from Marshalls Auctions which is just around the corner, in the old Victorian school building. If you want to beat the dealers to the best finds, make a date in your diary for the next auction, which is usually a good mix of furniture, art work and bric a brac. At the time of writing, the next date is Tuesday 10th September but a full calendar of dates is available on their website.
There are also lots of very good quality Charity shops in Knutsford, where you can still find vintage items at reasonable prices, but that’s between you and me!! sssh!
If you’re decorating your home you will find a good choice of specialist shops in Knutsford offering bespoke services. There’s a concession of The Little Greene Paint company at The Church Hill Gallery, where you can also stock up on cards & gifts and a branch of Laura Ashley.
After all that shopping you’ll probably be ready for a bite to eat or a drink. There is plenty of choice and some really good traditional pubs. Knutsford Wine Bar is an institution and known for it’s live entertainment and is warm and welcoming with open fires and a great wine list.
Gusto is a chain serving Italien cuisine. The Knutsford branch has lovely large windows, which open right onto the street, perfect for summer and a buzzy atmosphere great for dining with young children.
The Belle Epoque has long been established as a fine dining restaurant and the venue of choice for many smart wedding receptions. Its certainly an interesting building. Built in 1907 by a glove merchant, in an Italianate style, it’s reminiscent of Portmeirion in Wales. It’s worth popping in for a coffee just to have a look around. I do remember eating there a few years ago and being slightly disappointed by it’s faded grandeur but things may have moved on since then and as I’ve said the architecture of the building itself is intriguing.
If you fancy a nice long walk after eating, you are right on the door step of The National Trust owned, Tatton Park which can be reached by walking to the very far end of King Street, right past The Angel pub. The park is vast and home to wild deer. There’s also a rare breads farm which young children will enjoy and an adventure playground, a great cafe and National Trust gift shops and of course the former estate mansion to have a look around.