Recently I spotted an edition of The Resident, a local magazine (with separate magazines for various segments of London including Blackheath / Greenwich), which had lots of information about where you could buy Christmas presents. Unfortunately none of the shops mentioned seemed to be local and Blackheath is a fantastic place to go Christmas shopping so I thought I’d see what I could find.
Pootling around Blackheath Village is not always that fun on a Saturday afternoon as the pavements are narrow and the shoppers are numerous (a lot of prams) so I spent a bit of time in shops I’d not usually associate with ‘Christmas shopping’ as well as the more obvious ones. There are quite a few I missed out so I’ll have to make an excuse to do this again.
By the way, on Saturday 6 December 2014 it’s the inaugural Blackheath Village Day with events and lantern-making, Santa’s grotto and our local horses trotting parade-ly around the village. There’s a big switch-on of the Christmas lights by Nick Ferrari at 4.30pm.
Blackheath rail: live departures & arrivals
Buses: 54, 89, 108, 202, 380
Blackheath Village shops
Landing page for Blackheath Village shops
A. Tranquil Vale • Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3
B. Montpelier Vale • Section 1 | Section 2
C. Blackheath Village • Section 1
D. Royal Parade • Section 1
E. Lee Road • Section 1
F. Blackheath Grove • Section 1
G. Montpelier Row • Section 1
H. Hare And Billet Road • Section 1
I. Lawn Terrace • Section 1
J. Cresswell Park • Section 1
K. Tranquil Passage • Section 1
Fergus Noone Photography has lots of gorgeous prints of local things and a spectacular Greenwich 2015 calendar. He has some lovely pics of Greenwich Park in the mist and snow, his website’s well worth a look. I also spotted some PiP Studio china items and soft fluffy lambswool Avoca throws.
Hortus is a magical place (I took loads of photos) though not generally of much relevance to me as I’m not a gardener but it does have plenty of other things for the home, including cucumber-scented candles (a new one to me, very cucumbery) and plenty of Christmas decorations and Christmas trees. It also has a nice selection of toys including a sparkly-looking balloon modelling kit and grow-your-own plants kits, including Foodie Garden items. They also sell A London Village Cookbook and lots of ‘Gifts in a Tin‘ items from Apple to Pears, including Build Your Own Microscope (website says it’s not available until Feb 2015 but I beg to differ as they had them in the shop – see the picture with coloured tins, it’s the dark blue one).
Sparkly balloon-modelling kit
A London Village Cookbook and Foodie Garden items
Gifts in a Tin, from Apples to Pears, including ‘Make your Own Microscope’
Christmassy things, not entirely sure what they’re for
Chocolate-covered brazil nuts and Christmas decorations
Cucumber-scented candles, among others.
Christmassy wrapping paper
I didn’t go into Fat Face but it’s probably a good place to go if you’re in need of snuggly jumpers and fleeces.
Rymans has a good range of basic necessities such as wrapping paper, cards, sellotape etc as well as a good range of coloured pencils and pens (I am a sucker for a full set of coloured pencils – also for a tenner they have a complete range of those Sharpies pens which have become.. trendy? We used to use them in the lab to mark glassware, I think they only came in four colours then. Anyway they’re great and I might treat myself). Also batteries! And, strangely, a thing called a ‘Nutribullet’ which seems to macerate food for you to help you extract nutrients and energy. To be honest, thanks to evolution coming up with chewing, stomach motility and enzymes, your digestive system will do the same job at no cost but if you can’t chew well I suppose it’s ideal. And they had those plastic geography globes that tell you where everything is.
I was particularly taken by the fact that McColl’s newsagents has, right at the back, a pretty decent selection of ready-to-go plastic gift cards. To be honest I’d have thought they’d want to advertise this fact a bit more at the front of the shop – surely everyone would want to know that they have a range of flat credit-card sized gifts from £10 to £50. Anyway they had Amazon, Waterstone’s, iTunes and App Store, Google Play, Primark, Debenham’s, Claire’s Accessories and B&Q gift cards. They also had one month or six month subscriptions for Moshi Monsters and the usual things like chocolate advent calendars, gift cards and crackers. And Lindor chocolates.
Lindor chocolates also featured in Shepherd’s Foods along with walls of other chocolate-y items including Charbonnel et Walker (glorious packaging) and Pfeffernusse which might be an essential festive item in my household. They also have Bendicks Mints, Guylian, Lindt and stollen as well as a massive range of fairly obscure jams and preserves (I don’t really know the difference to be honest, but they’ve got everything you might ever want to put on your toast). I spotted a Gruffalo advent calendar (and proper old-fashioned chocolate-free advent calendars) and a Ninjabread Cookie Kit from In the Mix for £5.99.
Blackbird has lots of nice-looking clothes and a very blue window display, liked the bag with stars on it, though I’ve not much use for it myself.
Cookery Nook always has fun themed coasters (eg Dr Who), also a large Dr Who mug with a dalek on it. They have everything any cook or food fan might want including cake tins and those little things to rest spoons on as well as ‘I heart Blackheath’ mugs and tea-towels with local maps on them, eg Kidbrooke. Presumably if someone’s cooking they’ll need to wash it down with some plonk, fortunately Oddbins is but a short stagger away.
Age Exchange: an interesting twist on the aeroplane kit concept – the one in pink is a flying fairy.
I also popped into Cancer Research UK where you can find Christmas cards and Christmas crackers as well as decorations (possibly these are second-hand). Then I had a nice cup of tea and a lemon bun in the Age Exchange where I picked up some little painted wooden vehicles (for little hands) but they have a few other stocking-filler type items as well (see pic above).
See Part Two
Christmas shopping in #Blackheath – pt 2, Royal Standard, #SE3