There’s never been a more important time to shop local. Whether in person or online, put these local businesses at the top of your list

Great British Life: Collen and Clare has been a Southwold High Street staple since it opened nearly 20 years ago and offers a fantastic choice of women's and men's clothing rivalling any national chain. Picture: Collen and ClareCollen and Clare has been a Southwold High Street staple since it opened nearly 20 years ago and offers a fantastic choice of women's and men's clothing rivalling any national chain. Picture: Collen and Clare (Image: Archant)

More Suffolk retail businesses than ever are now trading online as they adapt to changing circumstances and step up to help customers get what they want, when they want it. So, whether you’re shopping for scented candles or craft beers, books or jewellery, art or your Christmas turkey, visit the friendly, family-run businesses on your local high street. Or, if you’re shopping online, think local before automatically searching the big, national chains. You’re bound to find a much more interesting, individual and appealing gift by shopping local.

Suffolk has hundreds of wonderful, independent businesses – here’s a selection that we’ve crammed into the space available to us, chosen with gifting in mind, plus some top butchers for your Christmas , whether you’re feeding two or six.


The traditional Ipswich Christmas lights switch-on event in the town centre has been cancelled but the town will still be illuminated with lights in the main shopping streets, the traditional tree on the Cornhill and the modern bauble tree on the Waterfront. Ipswich is home to an incredible mix of fiercely independent businesses offering everything from fashion, books and gifts to food, jewellery and homewares. Throughout Ipswich town centre there are clusters of indie shops for you to explore, each with their own unique character.

Berridges – family jewellers since 1994 offering bespoke jewellery services along with hand-picked collections of contemporary and vintage pieces.

Dial Lane Books – Scandi-style book shop. Classic and modern fiction and specialist sections of children’s, travel and local literature.

Zeebra Chic – women’s boutique with latest Italian fashion, quirky gifts, homewares and accessories.

Emma’s Florist – contemporary florist. Seasonal bouquets, gifts and house-plants using fresh locally sourced flora and fauna. Bespoke services for any occasion.

Hopsters –specialist craft ale and spirits store selling local, national and international beers.

The Italian Shirt Shop – menswear store specialising in Italian tailoring with seasonal shirts, suits and jackets imported directly from artisan makers.

LoveOne – quirky gift and homewares store packed with Suffolk-made wares and community products from across the world, from candles and jewellery to cards, art prints and stationery.

Maud’s Attic – eclectic vintage store with antique jewellery and one-of-a-kind gifts.

Merchant House – eccentric homewares, garden furniture and movie-themed gifts with specialist collections from Harry Potter and Game of Thrones.

Cake & Catwalk – lovely, well chosen fashion clothing, jewellery, bags, scarves, belts and more.

The House in Town – bold homewares and interior accessories all personally selected for a unique, artsy look.

Carats – contemporary jewellers. Beautiful rings, bracelets, bangles and men’s collections in the on-site workshop.

JG Andrews – fine jewellery and watches.

Pocket Watch & Petticoats X Twist & Shout – award-winning boutique duo offering men’s and women’s retro fashions from the 1940s and 1950s.

Robert Gatward – luxury watches and jewellery, official retailers for Rolex, Gucci, Tudor, Tissot, OMEGA and Tag Heuer.

Music World – Ipswich’s dedicated music shop and one of the biggest in Suffolk. Everything a musician needs.

Uniform Research – dedicated menswear store. Edwin, Lee Jeans, Fjallraven, Dickies, Armor Lux and many more.

Zest – unique concept charity store created by St Elizabeth Hospice offering fashion, accessories and homewares from popular high street and online brands.

Coes – high quality casual and formal clothing for men and women, top fashion brands, selected by experienced buyers.


Bury is a great shopping destination with a good selection of interesting independent shops. Many of them also trade online.

While Bury’s annual Christmas Fayre won’t take place this year, there will be an alternative Christmas fair at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. The Christmas lights will be illuminated on Friday, November 20, Saint Edmund’s Day, as planned, although without the usual event organised by the Business Improvement District (BID) group Ourburystedmunds. The aim is to avoid large crowds in the town centre. The fair will take place in the magnificent nave of the cathedral on Friday, 4 December and Saturday, 5 December, from 11am to 4pm, with stalls stocked with festive goods, arts and crafts.

Sunrise – independent, high profile fashion store also taking phone orders and trading online. Leading brands Nomads, Dr Martens, Carhartt Workwear and Lily & Me.

Mistral – women’s fashion, accessories and gifts.

Aubyn Davies – independent menswear stocking top brands.

Quest Gifts – cards, gifts, home accessories and fashion accessories.

Love it – Award winning gifts and cards for all the family.

Buy the Light – candles and reed diffusers (Christmas essentials!), burners, fragrance lamps and perfumes, Steiff & Silver Tag bears, scarves and bags, and natural hand and body lotions and purse sprays.

The Parsley Pot – memorable giftware from Emma Bridgewater, Jellycat Toys, Willow Tree, Sophie Allport, Think Pink, Orange Tree Toys, Bombay Duck and many more.

Beautiful Beers – some of Europe’s finest beers as well as a selection from local East Anglian micro-breweries.

Jewellery by Tony Strowger – bespoke pieces in platinum, gold and silver from this goldsmith and jeweller, plus quality brands.

Mick’s Cycles – one of the region’s best known and longest established bicycle shops stocking Merida, Whyte, Specialized and children’s brand Frog.

Auntie Pam’s Sweet Shop – the town’s only independent, traditional sweet shop.

Pocket Watch and Petticoats – vintage retro glamour from the 1940s and 1950s. Also in Ipswich.

Sew Much To Do – gorgeous fabrics, yarn, haberdashery, knitting and crochet supplies.

Vintage Fairy Garden – home furnishings with a focus on upcycled shabby chic furniture and related home decor, gifts, jewellery and accessories.

Trotter and Deane – premium menswear collection combining British tailoring with Italian colour and style. Personal service and made to measure.

Preston and Duckworth – high quality, top brand watches and jewellery.

Denny Bros – extensive range of art and craft supplies, stationery, framing and photo printing.

Smoking Monkey Antiques – ecelectic shop selling antiquarian books, prints, rural bygones, furniture and homeware.

Beautiful Beers – enormous range of beers from around the world, ciders, meads, liqueurs, gluten-free, gifts.

Vinyl Hunter – everything for lovers of the vinyl sound.

Garland Street Interiors – luxury furniture and accessories boutique.


If ever there was a setting for some Christmas magic it’s Lavenham. The wonderful annual Christmas Fair is cancelled this year due to Covid-19, but the town’s businesses are determined to celebrate and are opening their doors for late night shopping every Friday until 8pm, up to 18 December. Here are some great independents you’ll find there.

Lavenham Butchers – this is the place to go for locally sourced meat and produce. Bespoke butchery service providing traditional cuts, help and advice with choice of cuts, preparation, recipes and more. Delicatessen with an impressive range of sumptuous pies and pasties, all handmade on site. Lavenham Butchers specialise in game and, as well as meat, they sell shoot day attire by Laksen and Hoggs Of Fife. Open 8.30am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday, now taking orders for locally sourced free-range Bronze Gosbeck turkeys.

Tatum’s Teahouse – festive cakes made order, or visit Tatum’s Teahouse for hot chocolate and cream teas, or freshly made soups, freshly baked scones, amazing cakes, bagels, jacket potatoes and more. Open 10am to 4pm for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Call 01787249674 or

The Beagles Easel – the studio of Elizabeth Martland de Alwis. Exhibitions of her paintings, prints and cards, art workshops, after school art club, weekly adult classes and private tuition for all abilities and ages. Open studio weekends 21/22 and 28/29 November, 5/6 and 12/13 December. Elizabeth also works at the new Boxford & Lavenham Wine Shop & currently has this watercolour painting she did in Cuisery, Burgundy on show in the shop.

Blue Magpie – Water Street, next to the Swan Hotel, artisan picture framing workshop and lifestyle store. Artisan made items, homewares, vintage and gifts. Open 10am to 4pm every day except Wednesday. Owner Sarah Cornwell and her team are passionate about repurposing, reusing, recycling and reducing waste. In response to the Covid crisis, this unique independent is launching an online shop at

Posy gallery and lifestyle boutique – hand-picked, beautiful collections of homeware, original artwork, accessories and gifts. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm.

Pickles & Lillies – quality children’s clothes and traditional and wooden toys, including ethical brands Frugi & Kite. Free deliveries within a five mile radius of Lavenham. Christmas competition to win a set of Christmas Lanka Kade toys.

Open every day in November and December up to Christmas, and late on Fridays.

Hadley’s Ice Cream Parlour – award winning ice creams, sorbets and milk shakes, delicious sundaes and smoothies, award winning hot chocolate served as a shot, or a warming drink topped with handmade marshmallows. The Parlour’s fresh cream truffles made with Tosier bean-to-bar chocolate were highly commended in the Great British Food Awards.

Home Kitchen Lavenham – brand new refillery and micro department store on Water Street offering responsible organic food pantry essentials, cleaning and sanitary refillables, and a beautiful selection of jars and bottles for those looking to start a low-waste lifestyle. and

Read: Lynne Mortimer ‘Why shop local is not just about what’s on the shelves’


The lovely town of Clare will be be lit up for Christmas from November 28 and will have a tree as usual, although its fair won’t be happening this year. Clare has some terrific independent businesses which will be welcoming Christmas shoppers through a combination of late night shopping and seven-day opening, so there’s still plenty of opportunity to find the perfect gifts.

Blue Dog – gifts and homewares. Open seven days a week with a limit of three people in the shop at once. Gift vouchers available.

Harris & Harris Books – independent bookseller with new and second-hand books. It’s a tiny shop so only two people at a time and until Christmas you can book a late night shopping slot any day of the week except Sunday, from 5pm to 6pm (aimed at workers/commuters who are busy during normal shopping hours). It can be one person or a support bubble. Gift vouchers available.

Sea Pictures Gallery – original, affordable, contemporary art with a marine bias. Open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm and Just For You Sundays by appointment for a maximum of four visitors. Gallery will close for Christmas at noon on Christmas Eve. Complimentary gift wrapping and secret present storage if required. Gift vouchers available.

Maison de Clements and Jardin de Clements– eclectic antiques and homewares, garden furniture, ironwork, plants, gifts and fresh wreaths hand-made to order. Open six days a week (closed Wednesday) and opening until 6pm every Friday up to Christmas for people who can’t get to the shops during normal hours.


Woodbridge is well-known for its impressive collection of independent shops and is a marvellous place to find gifts, food items and homewares. There are too many to list them all, so here’s a selection.

Notcutts Garden Centre and Restaurant – for all your garden and home needs, gifts, pet and wildlife care.

Open Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm, Sunday 10.30am to 4.30pm

Children can see Santa at Notcutts on 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 22 and 23 December, 10am to 12pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm. No booking or ticket required. There will be no grotto or gifts but, there will be an opportunity to take photographs or a selfie from a safe distance to create some Christmas memories.

Vanil – Scandinavian inspiration. Beautiful home wares, bags, jewellery, stationery and accessories from leading Swedish brands including Ceannis, Pappelina, Sägan and Rie Ellise Larsen. Open 10am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

Toytown Woodbridge – toys and games for boys and girls aged 0 to 90. All major brands including Lego, Playmobil, Tomy, Airfix Kits, Skipper Yachts, Thomas the Tank Engine and Sylvanian Families.

Woodbridge Emporium – books, teas, wellbeing. Just what we need right now.

Barretts of Woodbridge – independent department store specialising in inspiring and beautiful home furnishings.

Chenevix Jewellery – beautiful, unique jewellery designed by Susannah Chenevix-Trench, qualified gemologist and jewellery designer. Modern and classic styles to suit all.

Dzodzo – card and gift store delivering old fashioned service with a modern twist.

Fiona’s Fabrics – fabric, yarn and haberdashery shop offering a wide rand of workshops including, dressmaking, patchwork and crochet.

Gallery East – new contemporary art gallery. East Anglian art, sculpture and ceramics, and contemporary British art.

JR Creasey butchers – locally sourced, high welfare beef, lamb, pork, poultry and game, deli counter with cheeses, olives, cold meats and preserves.

Les Chocolats Belges – 70 choices of individual luxury loose Belgian chocolates, specialist dietary chocolates and other unique gifts.

The Cake Shop Bakery – family run business, hand crafted bread and cakes using traditional skills handed down through three generations since 1946. New shop also selling coffee, wine, cheeses and soft serve ice cream.

Woodbridge Antiques Centre – fantastic selection of antique and vintage jewellery, silverware, glassware, porcelain, pottery, watches, clocks and

Woodbridge Kitchen Company – everything from kitchen gadgets and premium cookware to electrical products and cutlery.

Browsers Bookshop – great independent bookshop with something for everyone. Open every day, Monday-Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday 10am to 4pm. Six customers in the shop at any one time and shop early for Christmas. Sign up for book news, recommendations and events.


Denny of Southwold – smart casual clothing and accessories for men and women.

Adnams Store & Cafe – branches throughout Suffolk selling beer, wine, spirits, kitchenware and gifts. Some have tasting bars.

The Amber Shop & Museum – authentic amber jewellery, gifts and charms.

Chapmans of Southwold – greetings cards, gift wrap, gifts, party ware, stationery, helium balloons, magazines, books, maps, art prints, tea towels, souvenirs, calendars, newspapers, children’s activity books, games, jigsaws and more.

Lift Store Suffolk – home accessory and liftsrtyle store.

Collen & Clare – wonderful range of niche and big name brands across womenswear, menswear and beauty products, in the heart of Southwold.

Blackshore Coastal Clothing – coastal clothing, hand-made in Southwold, and British-made knitwear.

Stag Interiors Southwold – unique collection of homewares and accessories.

Seaweed and Salt – gifts and homeware on the Pier.

Craft Co – permanent showcase for contemporary applied arts from East Anglia. Unique prints, ceramics, jewellery, textiles and toys.


O&C Butcher – quality men’s and women’s clothing from top designers including Barbour, Modalu and Hackett.

Aldeburgh Bookshop – new books, local books and a fully-stocked children’s department. Knowledgeable staff on hand to help with recommendations. Greetings cards, wooden jigsaw puzzles, classic board games, Christmas wrapping paper and charity cards, plus their own bookshop vouchers.

Salter and King – pasture-fed, slow-grown meat, extensively farmed organic and free-range meat with a focus on seasonality and traditional breeds.

Alde River – huge range of gifts with brands such as Weird fish, Dude Shoes, Crocs and Jelly Cat. Something for everyone.

Riley & Riley – jewellery, wedding rings, engagement rings, hand-made pieces, Aldeburgh Pebbles, second hand and period pieces.

Wag & Bone – boutique for all canine needs including leads, collars, harnesses, coats, foods (including raw), treats, supplements, accessories, gifts.

Aldeburgh Contempary Arts – orginal paintings, large selection of ceramics, sculptures, glassware and stoneware.

Snape Maltings – House & Garden, Food Hall, Craft Shop and Maltings Gallery, pop-up areas with products from Little Rascals, Books & Cards and Samphire.


Tatty Broyds – fashion boutique, great fitting clothes for women of all ages.

Idler Bookshop – new books, wide range of second-hand books and publishers’ remainders, greetings cards and artists’ materials.

Rachel Boutique – women’s clothing, brands including Masai, Sandwich, Part Two and NYDJ.

Partridges – a traditional, independent home and garden store with safe online shopping. Extensive range of quality cookware and hardware.

Ferguson’s Delicatessen – well established delicatessen with a superb range of cheese, antipasti, fresh bread from Lavenham and Capel, preserves and pickles. Focus on locally produced foods.

Labels to Love – lingerie specialists with online shop and lingerie fitting studio.

Hadleigh Maid – high quality hand-crafted chocolate. Vegan friendly, milk chocolate and dark chocolate truffles, walnut whirls, tea cakes and slabs.

The Suffolk Craft Shop – at Kersey Mill. Craft items, gifts and locally handmade produce from some of the regions most talented craft makers and suppliers.

Andrew’s Quality Butchers – traditional family-run shop serving high quality fresh meats, award-winning pies, pasties, scotch eggs and quiches all made on the premises. Good deli section with fresh cheeses, olives, charcuterie and cold meats. Bread baked fresh daily.

Will Bishop Jeweller, Boxford – beautiful, unique contemporary jewellery informed by Will’s training as a sculptor, his extensive travels in Africa and his life in rural Suffolk.

A Leeder Butchers, Boxford – family-run butchery selling high quality meat. Sausages, chipolatas and burgers made in store, wide range of fruit and vegetables, cheese, eggs, pies, pasties and bread.


The Makers Shelf – showcasing more than 70 independent makers.

Martha V – known for its occasion wear collections, brands including Veni Infantino, Gabriella Sanchez, Luis Civit, Frank Lyman, Joseph Ribkoff, Gina Bacconi, Michaela Louisa and more.

D’Oro – carefully selected collection of vinatge clothing and accessories.

La Hogue Farm Shop & Café – butchery, fruit and vegetables sourced from local producers, award winning La Hogue Café with indoor and alfresco eating.


Ruby & Scarlet – lovely homewares, cookware, tableware, gifts and Christmas shop.

Stillwater Books – small but beautiful bookshop offering hand-picked titles for readers of all ages.

Suffolk Living – beautiful things for house and home, decorative arts, gifts and more.

Russell Smith – women’s clothing, shoes, lingerie and accessories, with labels including SeaSalt, Weird Fish, Joules, Masai, White Stuff and Barbour.

Coes - branch of main Ipswich store, high quality men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories.

Hills The Jewellers – wide range of jewellery, favourite brands such as Swarovski, Thomas Sabo and Trollbeads, watches and more.

Abbeygate Lighting – carefully selected range of indoor and outdoor lighting, and giftware. Other stores at Bury St Edmunds and Norwich.

The Wool Baa Felixstowe – friendly independent yarn shop for all knitting and crocheting needs, with a cafe serving freshly ground coffee or tea and homemade cakes and scones.

The Card Centre – great selection of cards not found in other shops, friendly service.

Wine Boutique – independent wine sellers with warehouses in Colchester and Ipswich, shops in Felixstowe and Frinton, and products not found in supermarkets.

Treasure Chest Books – one of the UK’s leading dealers in secondhand and antiquarian transport books and ephemera, selling both online and from a traditional bookshop. A simply astonishing collection of books on all subjects.

Deben Butchers – expert, professional knowledge high quality meat, including game, freezer orders and more.

Tea and Kate – interiors concept store selling homeware, furniture, lifestyle products and kids ware.

P and K Home Interiors – shop and online store selling home accessories, ceramics, bags, and refurbished furniture.

Michaels Butchers – high quality meat, including game, prepared by professional, expert butchers.


G Tydeman Jewellers – family business with lovely range of jewellery and watches. Bespoke and remodelling jewellery service. Full repair service.

Doodledales – great local independent pet supplies. Raw feeding experts.

Baldwins Department Store – local independent department store with other branches around Suffolk. Full range of departments offering clothing, homeware, toys and more.

Lilac & Lily’s – small, independent in Needham Market selling an eclectic range of cards, jewellery, furniture, clothes, toys and unique gifts.

Times Past Antiques, Needham Market – Antique and vintage collectables, toys, kitchenalia and china, Kevin’s Vinyl & Retro, Militaria Of Needham, Chilvers Ephermera & Postcards, FMV fun, little collectables.

Simply Splendid, Needham Market – occasionwear to hire, shoes and accessories to buy.

Vintro Interiors, Needham Market – hand-picked items, vintage, retro and contemporary furniture and accessories, and new items for home and garden.


The Framlingham Wine Shop – great range of wines, in store and onlilne, delivery available.

Ruby Tyger – wonderful range of fashion accessories in a lovely shop, with an on;ine shop launching soon.

Better On Vinyl Record Shop – everything for vinyl aficiandos. All genres from pop, to world music and classical.

The Jewellery Studio – lovely range of traditional and contemporary jewellery.


Anouk Fashion – stylish and affordable women’s clothing.

Peddars – family owned business selling quality, affordable menswear.

Compact Music – hexcellent independent music store.

Angelo Smith & Son – traditional family business with exciting contemporary range of jewellery and watches, plus interesting jewellery made by remodelling everyday items.

Winch & Blatch Homewares Store – independently-run homeware shop with excellent kitchen and bedding sections.

Goslings – craft shop selling everything for the crafter and artists’ materials.

Mandy’s jewellery and Gifts – one stop online shop for jewellery, jewellery making kits, unique gifts, accessories and more.

Torque – independent bike shop stocking Factor, Orbea, Ridgeback, Nukeproof, Juicy and Genesis, as well lightweight Frog Bikes for children. Parts and clothing, fully equipped workshop.

The Barn At Assington – wide variety of independent, small businesses, including a cafe and restaurant, gifts and interiors, farm shop, florist and more.

Nutmeg – high quality women’s fashion and accessories.

Melford Antiques, Interiors and Lifestyle Centre – formerly Long Melford Antiques Centre, with a new owner and new direction. Refurbished and re-opened. Information:

Hall Street – high quality leisure and business casual clothing for men, offering personal appointments. Book via the website, where you can also order clothes.

Long Melford Country Clothing – high quality outdoor and leisure clothing, equestrian supplies.

The Wool Patch – yarns and fabrics, Lavenham Blue range from local sheep, gifts, haberdashery.

Salvage Thread - vintage clothing shop, and home decor.

The Jessica Muir Gallery – artist led gallery in Long Melford, showcasing original work from artists and makers in the UK.

The Rug and Carpet Studio – beautiful rugs and carpets, traditional and contemporary, expert restoration, throws, blankets, cushions, gifts.

Prudent Nellie – at The Antique & Lifestyle centre, eclectic home decor, accessories, furniture, gifts.

The Famous Old House Gallery – collectable, original art. British 19th century, European, modern and impressionism, Aboriginal, African.

Lime Tree Gallery – contemporary fine art and glass, with regular exhibitions throughout the year. Specialists in contemporary Scottish artists. Christmas Exhibition 14 November to 31 December.

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