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Devon is so much more than beautiful beaches, idyllic villages and wide, open countryside. It’s also got some of the best shopping centres in the country, with everything from big brand names to unique boutiques. Visit Devon and you can indulge in some serious retail therapy – whether you’re after local crafts or cutting-edge designer goods.
In Devon we're passionate about local, and you'll find a huge range of locally made crafts, gifts and produce from hand made jewellery for driftwood furniture.
Arts and crafts are an important part of the West Country and you’ll find plenty of shops and galleries selling local art, pottery, photography, handmade furniture and crafts. Some places even invite you to get artistic yourself! Head to Appledore in North Devon for art galleries and artists, or visit the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey. In July the Art Trek is in full swing, and you can visit, take part and shop to your heart’s content. Head to Cockington Court near Torquay and you'll find a hub for art and crafts with a canoe maker, a chocolate maker and you can watch glassblowers and blacksmiths in action.
In addition to the crafty side of things, local produce is an essential part of all holidays in Devon. There are daily farmers’ markets and farm shops across the county where you can buy local, organic vegetables, dairy produce, meats, fish and local ciders.
Literary buffs will enjoy Dulverton on the edge of Exmoor, packed with antique shops and quaint book stores., or you can enter into a voyage of discovery as you find lovingly polished antiques in the charming town of Honiton.
Many of the artists in Devon either take the landscape as their inspiration or literally take pieces of the landscape to use as materials for their creations. You can buy driftwood furniture, sculptures carved from Devon stone or simply beautiful paintings of favourite panoramas. Alternatively, visit the local antique shops and take home a piece of local history or discover something unusual. Bideford offers a great day out with plenty of antique and craft shops.
If you want the best of the high street or to indulge in some designer goods, then head to Drake Circus in Plymouth, Green Lanes in Barnstaple or Atlantic Village in Bideford. All venues offer a mixture of indoor and outdoor shopping with high street brands, and plenty of opportunities for a spot of alfresco refreshment.
For serious shoppers visit Exeter where big names in the High Street contrast with the specialist shopping/dining area of the multi-million pound development at Princesshay, what’s more Exeter will soon be home to a brand new John Lewis, opening October 2012. Visit the Heart of Devon’s dedicated shopping website to find out where to shop in Exeter.
Farm shops are becoming increasingly popular in the South West and many of them have on-site cafés or restaurants. Darts Farm near Topsham is a prime example, with a modern café and a rustic fish shed, where you can select fresh catch to be cooked. Most farm shops sell local ales, wines and ciders, as well as local meats and dairy produce. Take a trip to Sharpham Vineyard near Totnes for the chance to take home some locally made wine and cheese. A visit to Occombe Farm in Paignton will reconnect you with food. The Farm Shop, Butchers, Cafe, Education Centre and Nature Trail shows people how the way food is produced is important for our health, for the environment, for the economy and for society.
If you fancy a change from the high street, there are a good number of independent shops in the Barbican in Plymouth, the Castle and Cathedral Quarter of Exeter, the lanes of Barnstaple and market towns such as South Molton and Totnes. Browsing these, you can find clothes, jewellery and gifts that you simply won’t find anywhere else.
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