Top shops in Buntingford
PUBLISHED: 09:20 10 November 2015 | UPDATED: 13:10 10 November 2015
Discover award-winning businesses offering everything from fabulous food to lovely lingerie in this attractive east Herts town
Buntingford’s title as the smallest town in Hertfordshire may now be in dispute due to recent expansion, however its quaint High Street cannot be argued with and with free parking for three hours visitors can enjoy a great morning’s shopping.
Gifts and clothes
Hall and Glory has been trading in the town for 11 years. This stylish boutique stocks clothes and a lovely range of gifts and interior pieces. ‘People come back time and time again because we have something a bit different,’ says owner Siw Hall. ‘We only have two or three of a style so you are unlikely to see anyone wearing the same thing.’ At the Bell House Gallery gift shop you can find gorgeous satchels, and decorate your home with beautiful blooms from the wonderfully-named Crazy Daisy florist.
Flutterby’s Boutique is a Tardis; don’t be fooled by the small shop front. This dress agency and vintage boutique opens up to reveal not only clothes but a range of accessories and jewellery. Owner Karen Calder says it’s a great way of swapping and recycling. ‘The whole idea is that you will never get the same outfit twice,’ she says. Karen has an eye for detail and people often phone ahead to let her know what event they are going to so she can work her magic.
Agora with Quiller Books opened its doors in August. This charming shop is part-owned by Ben Fenton who owned a bookshop down the road for five years. He has teamed up with Jennie Keeling to offer antiquarian and secondhand books as well as retro pieces and vintage furniture.Ben came out of retirement to start his business when he downsized and found he had far too many books. ‘It’s a lovely little emporium which really lends itself to the High Street,’ he says.
The award-winning MyLingerie offer not only a professional and friendly fitting service but beautiful lingerie for all occasions. ‘We offer a personal service; something the internet doesn’t easily provide,’ says partner Jo Dawson. ‘Lingerie is such a personal thing and sizes vary depending on styles. We don’t just do high-end but cater for people that are at different stages of their life, be that health, age or circumstance.
‘I think Buntingford is really growing as a shopping destination because of its strong presence of independents. You can get things here that you can’t get in other places. It attracts people from outside the town but also has strong local support, that’s why it is able to sustain two butchers.’
Founded in 1741, family firm Days of Ashwell is a Hertfordshire institution. It serves freshly baked bread and pastries, and for those damp autumn days try its warming soups. The Cheese Plate, with its range of artisan cheeses, has proved a popular edition to the High Street. For those looking for a different take on the traditional wedding cake, its wedding cheese cakes are a delicious alternative. The Cellar stocks a range of wines and beer from the excellent nearby Buntingford Brewery. Over at Piggotts Family Butchers Carl Billings believes if you do not make people welcome they will not return. His ethos has certainly paid off as he has run his shop on the High Street for the past 26 years.
Buntingford Kitchen opened last year offering contemporary English food and has already notched up three awards including best fine dining restaurant in Hertfordshire. ‘I think Buntingford, like many towns is under-catered,’ says owner Damian Clarkson. ‘Our menu changes every four to six weeks so we have people rushing back so they don’t miss anything and locals asking when the new menu comes out.’
For tapas, head to the regular tapas nights at the Buntingford Coffee Shop, and for succulent steaks and seafood go to Billings.
Health and beauty
There are plenty of places to enjoy a bit of ‘me time’ in Buntingford. Feeling stressed? Then try a bamboo massage from Touch of Glamour. The bamboo canes are gently warmed to provide a deep but soothing massage. Nearby, Attend2Health will get you back to your best with a range of treatments from acupuncture to osteopathy. Jo Morden Hair Design brings West End styling to the town, and for gents style there’s Damian’s Barbers Shop.
If you have been inspired by Sir Bradley Wiggins, visit Trax Bikes. This friendly family-run shop will service, sell or even custom build you a bike.
Staff will also point out plenty of good cycling routes in the area.