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8 cool independent shops on the Suffolk coast

PUBLISHED: 19:00 18 August 2020

A pair of pugs showing off their neckerchief collars from Wag & Bone Picture: Wag & Bone

A pair of pugs showing off their neckerchief collars from Wag & Bone Picture: Wag & Bone

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Visiting the beach this summer? Don’t forget to support local businesses - from vintage and high-end clothing stores to quirky stationers

Lift in Southwold's current shop front, which was illustrated by Norwich artist Lottie Hall Picture: LiftLift in Southwold's current shop front, which was illustrated by Norwich artist Lottie Hall Picture: Lift

There’s more to our Suffolk coastal towns than ice cream stands and fish & chip shops. Here’s eight independent shops you should definitely check out when you next visit the seaside – from stores that specialise in quirky stationery to boutiques selling vintage and high-end garms.

Lift, Southwold

Open seven days a week, Lift is a lifestyle store that sells a range of homewares, stationery, textiles and gifts. Currently in its fourth year in the town, the shop has recently moved to a new, bigger premises situated behind the Adnams’ store. It’s not hard to miss however – its current shop window was illustrated by Norwich artist Lottie Hall and features brightly coloured shapes.

“We’re called Lift because everything we design, make and sell is intended to lift you and make you feel good,” explained Lift owner David Frostick. “We design and make our own products locally, such as bags, aprons, pouches and stationery. We also collaborate with other exciting brands from across the world - our focus is always on great design with a firm emphasis on the balance between design, fun and function.”

Lift sells homewares such as mugs and candles Picture: LiftLift sells homewares such as mugs and candles Picture: Lift

Lift is open between 10am and 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 4pm on Sunday.

O&C Butcher, Aldeburgh

A well-loved and long-established fixture on Aldeburgh’s High Street, O&C Butcher is your one-stop-shop for quality clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and even dogs. This shop offers customers a number of country lifestyle and fashion brands, ranging from Barbour, Schoffel, and Dubarry to Levi’s Timberland, Oui and Gabor.

O&C Butcher director James Stacey said: “We have the feel of a small department store on the coast which makes for great destination shopping while maintaining a loyal following of local customers too. Being an independent means we can also change with the times and we hope that our extensive brand mix is a reflection of that.”

Some of the colourful menswear that O&C Butcher retails Picture: O&C ButcherSome of the colourful menswear that O&C Butcher retails Picture: O&C Butcher

O&C Butcher is open between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday to Saturday, and between 10.30am and 4.30pm on Sunday.

Stillwater Bookshop, Felixstowe

If you’re looking to grab a couple of books to read during your Suffolk staycation, Felixstowe’s Stillwater Bookshop is the place for you.

“We offer a diverse selection of hand-picked titles, and we have a focus on community. The secret ingredient is simple - we do this because we genuinely love it and this, we hope, feeds back to our lovely customers,” said Stillwater Bookshop’s Will MacGowan.

As well as books, Stillwater Books also sells stationary, cards and journals Picture: Stillwater BooksAs well as books, Stillwater Books also sells stationary, cards and journals Picture: Stillwater Books

Open Monday to Saturday between the hours of 10am and 4pm, this charming independent bookshop also sells cards, prints and gift wrap. Stillwater Bookshop is also able to order any book in print for next-day delivery to the shop, free of charge, and also offers free doorstep delivery in and around Felixstowe.

Fleur, Aldeburgh

A stylish stock paired with a relaxed boutique feel is why Fleur is a popular choice for both locals and tourists down in Aldeburgh – making it the perfect spot for some retail therapy by the sea. Its friendly staff are more than happy to help you choose from a number of clothing, footwear and accessory labels in-store, including Sandwich, Part Two, Selected Femme, Scotch & Soda, White Stuff and the ever-popular Victoria Plimsolls.

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Store manager Kassie Le Marchand said: “For me, Fleur works because it sells clothes that real women want to wear. We want to be on trend and stylish without sacrificing fit and comfort, and that is what our brands deliver. We’re also small and friendly – customers like coming back which is lovely.”

Fleur is open Monday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm, and between 10.30am and 4.30pm on Sunday. It is also running late night shopping on Thursday evenings until 8pm for those who would prefer to shop when town is quieter.

Ruby and Scarlet, Felixstowe

Situated on Felixstowe’s Hamilton Road, Ruby and Scarlet is an independent cookware and gift shop that has been in the town since 2015. Some of the popular brands available in-store include Sophie Allport, Emma Ball, Chilly’s and Gone Crabbing.

Some of the shop's wares have a coastal theme to them Picture: Ruby and ScarletSome of the shop's wares have a coastal theme to them Picture: Ruby and Scarlet

Ruby and Scarlet’s Donna Johnston said: “If you’re looking for a gift, we have everything from tasty tins of biscuits to gorgeous candles - ideal for that perfect present or as a treat for yourself. We would encourage everyone to come in say hello and take a browse.”

Ruby and Scarlet is open Monday to Saturday, between the hours of 10am and 4pm.

Collen and Clare, Southwold

If you’re looking to nail the ‘coastal chic’ look, nowhere does it better than Collen and Clare. Based in the Market Place opposite The Swan Hotel, this independent boutique has been based in the town for nearly two decades and prides itself on offering customers around 100 different brands, season after season.

Collen and Clare has been a Southwold High Street staple since it opened nearly 20 years ago Picture: Collen and ClareCollen and Clare has been a Southwold High Street staple since it opened nearly 20 years ago Picture: Collen and Clare

Open Monday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm, some of the labels that Collen and Clare stock include Barbour, Mulberry, Veja, Belstaff and Max Mara to name a few.

Founder and managing director Vanessa Collen said: “We’ve been here for just under 20 years but the shop we’re in has actually been selling clothes since the 1500s. We’re very focused on customer service, and have been featured in a number of national publications such as The Telegraph and The Sunday Times, who described us as ‘the ultimate boutique’.”

Wag & Bone, Aldeburgh

For any dog lovers looking to treat their pooch while visiting the Suffolk coast, Aldeburgh’s Wag & Bone is your one-stop-shop for all things dog-tastic. Having been on the town’s High Street since last year, it prides itself on its customer service and vast range of products, including ethically-sourced natural foods and treats, leads, collars and harnesses, coats, beds, grooming products, gifts, accessories and healthcare - pretty much anything you could need or want for your four-legged companion.

Aldeburgh's Wag & Bone Picture: Wag & BoneAldeburgh's Wag & Bone Picture: Wag & Bone

“For us, it’s all about the dogs and giving a personal service. We want to make it a great experience and for everyone to leave happy with something that’s just right for them and their best friend,” said Wag & Bone owner Gary Thompson.

Wag and Bone is currently open every day between 10.30am and 4pm.

Joli, Aldeburgh

Bringing a global touch to the Suffolk coast is Joli, an independent shop that specialises in Danish women’s fashion, design and handmade homewares.

Joli is an indepedent womenswear and lifestyle store based in Aldeburgh Picture: JoliJoli is an indepedent womenswear and lifestyle store based in Aldeburgh Picture: Joli

Situated on Aldeburgh’s High Street, Joli also stocks brands such as Elk from Australia and French label Humility alongside handmade English sunglasses from Bird, and stationery from Japan and Germany.

Joli is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sundays 12pm to 5pm.


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