Love historic villages, stone cottages, cosy pubs, quaint tea rooms, stunning views, great food and quirky and interesting shops? If so, we heartily commend a visit to the stunning Northumbrian village of Corbridge. We’ve just returned from a idyllic morning strolling round the centre.
Our first stop was Re for the home, an Aladdin’s Cave tucked up an alley off Main Street. This independent shop boasts a section in the iconic Liberty of London department store, and when you visit, you will immediately understand why. The riot of colour, texture and range of products immediately pulls you into the shop, and there is something to exclaim about or remark upon every time you turn your head. Richard was very tempted by some tiny spoons (in Talbot Jones branded colours!), I was drawn to some luxuriously thick, striped French fabric and the children were impressed by beautiful and intricate cushion maps and a felt tiger rug. It’s the type of shop where everyone will find something that delights them
Next door, in a large antique shop we picked up an egg cup for Miss Mini-Apprentice to replace one I broke this week. Richard spotted some Scout cufflinks that he really loves, and, if they’re still there on our next visit, he’ll be getting them for his birthday. (Please get in touch if you can tell me the name of the shop.)
A short walk away we reached Finale Shoes and Accessories. It was a real pleasure to meet the lovely Faye face to face- she runs the business’ Twitter account, and her supportive and interesting posts were what prompted us to consider a trip out to Corbridge for the first time in years. It is a lovely shop, with some fantastic bargains at the moment, and it was great to have a chat and hear her talk with passion and enthusiasm about the village she loves and its wonderful businesses.
She talked about the unique nature of Corbridge, with its wealth of independent shops. It really is quite remarkable- we noticed one high street bank and one nationwide pharmacy. Apart from that, the shops were refreshingly independent- and they are all of a high quality with friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff.
Down the street we made a bee-line for Skrumshus the sweet shop. The sweet shop of dreams, with colourful jars piled high behind the counter with every kind of treat you could imagine, we spent a few delicious minutes perusing the selection, before continuing our exploration armed with bags of fried eggs, dolly mixtures, chocolate chewing nuts and spogs.
While searching for a link, I came across this newspaper article, explaining that the business sends sweets out to soldiers serving on the front line- at the time of print, the owner had sent out 3,300 bags of sweets, half funded by customers’ donations and half donated by the shop. What a wonderful sense of community and concern!
Passing by our Twitter connection Grants bakery and pattisserie we were sorely tempted by the delights in the beautiful window display- beautiful!
A few steps away, we found Forum books– the children’s section is found a short walk away in another shop. The selection of books is eclectic and original. It is homely and comfortable, with bare bricks and a very welcoming open/closed sign drawn beautifully on cardboard by a nine year old customer. The website claims “we’re staffed by bibliophiles happy and eager to talk books and make informed recommendations” and signs on the wall draw attention to books signings and discussions coming up. What a vibrant and interesting place!
On the way, we picked up some painting supplies in Delight & Wisdom, a lovely little art shop that is stocked full of beautiful gifts for children and adults alike.
We can’t exactly claim to have “worked up an appetite” after such a short walk, but the T-J’s are always ready for some scran, so we headed to the Angel Inn for an early lunch. The children scoffed their very respectable portions of homemade chicken goujons with chips and peas. I thoroughly enjoyed my pheasant terrine with black pudding and poached pear with lime and Richard enjoyed the best seared scallops with chorizo he has ever had. He even let me try a bit- the scallops were firm but fluffy and the chorizo was crisp and full of flavour. Perfect! The portion of French fries we shared were also spot on- beautifully crisp and tasty and perfectly seasoned.
After lunch work beckoned, so reluctantly headed back towards home. There was still plenty to see- left for another day! There are several clothes shops showcasing striking designer brands, independent jewellers who accept bespoke commissions, art shops, gift shops, quality butchers and delicatessens. There are homely pubs and quirky cafes and restaurants with mouth-watering menus of local produce. It is truly an idyllic place filled with beautiful products and a wonderful sense of community.
Just 20 miles to the west of Newcastle upon Tyne, and with regular bus services from the North eastern capital, it is a very accessible excursion. If you’re feeling energetic, you might even be tempted to take a ride out on your bike and revive yourself at Activ Cycles, an independent bike shop, café and hire centre.
Have you been to Corbridge? What were your highlights? Where should we make sure we visit next time? We’d really love to hear from you.
Talbot Jones Risk Solutions is an independent insurance brokerage specialising in commercial and charity insurance. We love to support other small businesses in all the ways we can- supporting, promoting and using them as well as ensuring they have the right cover at a competitive price. Check out our recent blogs highlighting some outstanding local small businesses and our exhortation to prioritise SMEs.