Autumn may only just be upon us, but as any savvy shopper will tell you, it’s never too early to plan for Christmas. If you are heading to Norfolk for a stay at Heacham Manor, or know someone who loves our fine county, get ahead and find festive inspiration with our gift guide which celebrates some of the region’s producers, makers and purveyors of utterly gorgeous gifts.
With entertainment and street food to make the moment twinkle, the Christmas Lights are switched on at Holt on 17 November and Burnham Market on 18 November, so why not treat yourself to an extra-special mini break at Heacham Manor, shop on and spread a little Norfolk ho, ho, ho this season…
Norfolk is renowned for its fabulous food and drink, and for gourmands there is a veritable feast of delicious goodies to treat them to this Christmas. Make it super easy with a hamper from Hunstanton’s Norfolk Deli which offers a carefully curated selection of treats that are grown, fermented, distilled, brewed, matured, roasted, blended or made in the county. Or build your own with Norfolk Hampers, where you can even select a hamper with products from the recipient’s favourite Norfolk village.
Turkey aside, Christmas isn’t complete without a cheeseboard so treat a turophile to some of Mrs Temple’s Cheeses and, for something different, award winning goat’s cheese from Fielding Cottage. Where there is cheese, there should be chutney, and a jar or two from Candi’s Cupboard, sold widely locally, are the perfect accompaniment for your Boxing Day table.
Switch savoury for sweet with an indulgent selection of chocolates from Hunters Chocolate, handmade by chocolatier Gary Hunter at Helhoughton, near Fakenham. You might even gift a stay at Heacham Manor and one of Gary’s chocolate-making courses with the box for a truly memorable gift.
Norfolk is also home to an incredible array of winemakers, distillers and brewers, so it would be rude not to raise a glass to toast the season with a bottle. Burn Valley Vineyard at North Creake, South Pickenham Estate and, further south in the county, Flint Vineyard, all produce superb, low-volume wines that are well worth adding to someone’s cellar.
If their favourite time of day is gin’o’clock, Norfolk has plenty to choose, but closest to home is WhataHoot which hand-distills five flavours plus a vodka at its King’s Lynn distillery in the heart of the Hanseatic town’s historic quarter. You can even gift a tour or gin-making masterclass too!
Classic luxury usually fits the fashionista’s Christmas wishlist, and Norfolk has some ab fab brands to shop. The county’s own Fairfax & Favor, which has a store in Holt, is at the forefront of rural vogue and, with men’s and women’s clothing, footwear and bags to choose from, one of its blue-crested boxes under the tree is sure to pique excitement!
For traditionalists, a trip to Gun Hill Clothing Company in Burnham Market or Holt offers a wealth of brands and attentive staff, while Nelle DK at Thornham brings chic Scandi fashion to the Norfolk coast.
Seek out the county’s growing number of sustainable, independent labels, including Charl, which makes knitwear inspired by Norfolk fishermen’s Gansey jumpers, and traditional Norfolk clothing from the Carrier Company.
Glittering baubles are synonymous with Christmas, so treat a special lady with gems from jeweller Monica Vinader, or, for a dapper chap, gift grooming products from Captain Fawcett. While both are now global names, they are in fact Norfolk brands.
It’s hygge season, so why not give a gift that adds a little home comfort. With a utility store, perfumery & wellbeing pharmacy, and plant & garden store in Holt, Norfolk Natural Living has almost every aspect of domestic life covered, and its scents are heavenly. We’re hotly anticipating this year’s advent candle, perhaps an early gift and a blissful way to count down the days to Christmas.
At Thornham’s Drove Orchards, Joyful Living also has a cornucopia of stylish homewares including cosy throws and Bamford toiletries, while closer to home Norfolk Lavender has been growing the purple plant since 1932 and sells its own collection of scented products at the Heacham site’s gift shop.
We’re slightly obsessed with dogs in Norfolk, so it should come as no surprise that there are some brilliant goodies to take home for your four-legged friends too. After many muddy walks with her pooches, Norfolk’s Alison Priestley created the Ruff and Tumble dog drying coat, a game-changer for winter walks – a gift for you AND your pup. But, for something they can truly call their own, stuff their stocking with a pack or two of Norfolk’s finest Pooch’s and Norfolk Doggy Deli dog treats, both locally made without the nasties found in many manufactured snacks.
If the challenge is to find a present for the person who already has everything, an experience gift makes a wonderful, memorable choice. Our own Heacham Manor Gift Vouchers can be redeemed against a stay, dining or even a game of golf. A traditional afternoon tea for two or 18 holes at Heacham Manor Golf Course is a treat they’ll really thank you for, so why not save on the shopping and get Christmas sorted early, leaving you more time to enjoy the season!