Homes and gardens

By-pass Low Newton on the A590 between the M6 and Newby Bridge and you’ll miss one of Cumbria’s great, unusual shopping experiences. This 19th century Westmorland barn is vast enough to be its own attraction but it’s the extraordinary, changing collection of architectural antiques that amaze so many people who come here.

Opened by Fred Holdsworth in 1956 ‘with minimal stock and maximum enthusiasm’, this is one of the best known independent bookshops in Cumbria.

Soft, sumptuous and sustainable are the defining characteristics of Laura Rosenzweig’s lovely own-designed range of scarves, throws and comforting blankets, all inspired by the natural tapestry of the Howgill Fells in Cumbria’s Yorkshire Dales. ‘Our goal is to create beautiful items in simple, classy designs that show off the wool at its very best,’ she says.

‘Great craftsmanship’ and ‘beautiful furniture’ should be two short phrases that spring to mind when you pull off the A66 at Braithwaite and head down the lane to the workshop and showroom of MJ Cabinetmakers, the workshop officially opened by Prince Charles in 2005. 

Watch the craftsmen at work and wander around the showroom and you’ll see that the British tradition of fine furniture making is in exemplary hands.

For many years lovers of Peter Hall’s fine furniture used to head to its showroom and workshop at Staveley near Kendal.

Right next door to the tea room, the canine café (Bark and Brew) and the Hadrian’s Wall visitor information centre, the shop here stocks a varied and quirky collection of mainly ‘Made in Cumbria’ and ‘Made in Britain’ gifts.

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